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Jeff Garlin on Improv, Little League, and Dealin’ with Idiots

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The world of youth sports can be a stressful, challenging experience, filled with awkward social interactions and unexpected life lessons. And that’s just among the parents.

In his new film, Dealin’ with Idiots, veteran comedian Jeff Garlin explores the strange world of Little League — specifically, the eccentric parents, guardians, and coaches that populate the periphery of such leagues — with some help from a few friends and the real-world characters that inspired the film. The film features an impressive cast of familiar actors (including Fred Willard, Bob Odenkirk, Timothy Olyphant, Gina Gershon, and Kerri Kenney) ad-libbing their way through bizarre interactions with fictional comedian Max Morris (played by Garlin), who has made it his mission to learn what these weird people are like when they’re not anywhere near a baseball field.

IFC spoke with Garlin about the film, which he starred in and directed.

IFC: So, I can probably guess the answer to this, but where did the whole idea for the movie come from?

JEFF GARLIN: Going to my son’s little league games!

IFC: Were the people there really this weird?

GARLIN: They were actually worse, because they weren’t funny and they had no redeeming qualities.

IFC: It seems like a good chunk of the film is improvised. Is that the case?

GARLIN: It’s not a good chunk. The whole thing was improvised.

IFC: Wow. Okay, so as a director, do you find it’s easy to direct a project with everyone improvising and ad-libbing? I mean, you never know what to expect from any take or what direction it will go…

GARLIN: Well, that’s what I like doing. That’s what I enjoy most.

IFC: Was there ever a point when you thought, “Man, I wish I had scripted something here…”?

GARLIN: There’s always going to be scenes you think would’ve been better scripted. That’s always going to happen. That happened on Curb Your Enthusiasm every couple of episodes. So maybe there were one or two things I wish I could’ve scripted.

IFC: I imagine there must have been some surprises during filming with the way certain elements developed. Was there anything that really surprised you as you were making the film?

GARLIN: It all surprised me, because I’m so entertained by everybody in the movie. I was surprised by everything they did and said.

IFC: The cast is fantastic. How did you connect each of the actors with the roles they played?

GARLIN: As I start writing things, I begin thinking about who would be good for what. I got only positive feedback from everybody in terms of wanting to do it, and as time wore on and we got closer to filming they said, “I want to talk to you about my character.” I said, “Just do what you want and we’ll adjust it there.”

IFC: That’s a pretty amazing amount of flexibility with the story. It seems like it would be a daunting task to make a film that’s so loose and unscripted…

GARLIN: Not daunting for me.

IFC: With all of that improvising, you must have accumulated a lot of footage. How much footage did you end up with?

GARLIN: My first cut was almost two hours, but I liked making it shorter [and] making it funnier.

IFC: Did you learn anything about the Little League experience while you were making this?

GARLIN: No, I learned nothing, to be honest with you.

IFC: Huh. Okay, I expected some sort of insightful answer there about what the experience taught you…

GARLIN: Right, I know! You expect I would’ve learned something, but I learned nothing.

IFC: So would you recommend the Little League experience to other parents?

GARLIN: I recommend nothing. I don’t know anything. I wouldn’t recommend it one way or another. They’d have to be motivated on their own with that one.

IFC: So what else do you have going on these days?

GARLIN: I’m still continuing on with my podcast, By The Way. I also have a new show on ABC called The Goldbergs, and I have a documentary I’m producing called Finding Vivian Maier.

IFC: What’s the documentary about?

GARLIN: It’s about an unknown, but now known, street photographer.

IFC: How did you get involved with the film?

GARLIN: I read about it.

IFC: Anything more you can tell us about it? It sounds interesting…

GARLIN: It’s sort of a mystery and a biography because this woman was a nanny and never put her pictures out publicly, and now that they’ve been discovered she’s considered one of the world’s most famous street photographers. But she died before all this happened.

IFC: That sounds fascinating. But before we’re through here, let’s change gears a bit. I feel like Curb Your Enthusiasm, which you produced and had a recurring role in, was this great product of its time and so unique. I’m not sure there’s any show right now that’s really filling that void, either — or even could, for that matter. Are there any shows that remind you of Curb Your Enthusiasmin some ways these days?

GARLIN: I think that you have something like Girls, for example, that’s very real and interesting and different from what’s going on. I also think Veep is similar to Curb Your Enthusiasm, so yeah, I think they’re out there.

IFC: So, after making Dealin’ With Idiots, can we expect to see on that side of the camera more often? Did you enjoy the experience?

GARLIN: I love it. It’s very creative. It’s very exciting. There’s nothing negative about it.

Dealin’ with Idiots is out in limited release now and available digitally via Amazon and iTunes. You can find out more about Jeff’s current and upcoming projects at JeffGarlin.com.

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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

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It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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