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DID YOU READ

10 Videos That Prove That David Letterman Should Return to Acting

Cabin Boy

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Now that David Letterman has thrown his last pencil and sent his Late Show off into TV heaven, everyone is wondering what the gap-toothed comedy legend will do next. Sure, he’ll probably spend some time with the family and show up at NASCAR events. But we wish Dave would bring his grumpy charm to sitcoms and movies as he has done on a few select occasions. The roles below may have been part of Dave paying his dues or maybe they were done as a favor to a showbiz friend. But that doesn’t make them any less hilarious. Here’s proof that Letterman should use his retirement to once again show off his acting chops.

1. Cabin Boy, Old Salt in Fishing Village

Letterman’s cameo as a crusty stuffed monkey salesman in protege Chris Elliott’s cult comedy is easily is most quoted acting role. What movie couldn’t benefit from Letterman chomping on a cigar, just barely committing to the premise? It was also the first time Letterman used the pseudonym “Earl Hofert,” a moniker he reprised for…


2. Beavis and Butt-head Do America, Motley Crue Roadie/Probably Butt-head’s Dad

Yes, that’s Letterman as the former Motley Crue roadie who brags about scoring with some chicks 15 years back in Beavis and Butt-head’s hometown of Hyland. (Assuming he’s telling the truth, does that mean Beavis and Butt-head have the same father? The other roadie does look an awful lot like Beavis…) Letterman was a big fan of the crude duo, often having them on as guests on The Late Show, so it’s fitting that he may be their father.


3. Spin City, Rags the Talking Dog

Michael J. Fox has always been one of Letterman’s favorite guests, which probably explains why he voiced a suicidal dog named Rags on an episode of Spin City. Why didn’t Rags get a spin-off? It would’ve been preferable to the Charlie Sheen Spin City-era.


4. The Nanny, Himself

In the episode “Pen Pals,” quippy domestic Fran Fine is nervous that her pen pal will find out that she isn’t actually an Olympic gold medalist who has appeared on The Late Show. Letterman has a brief cameo as himself in Fran’s fantasy, which suggests that in the Nanny universe, The Late Show would gladly give airtime to a member of a Broadway producer’s house staff.


5. The Building, Thief

Letterman and his Worldwide Pants production company were behind this short-lived sitcom vehicle for actress Bonnie Hunt. Unfortunately, Dave’s cameo as a masked thief wasn’t enough to save The Building from being the first of many critically acclaimed failures on Mrs. Hunt’s resume.


6. Open All Night, Man in Suit

Shortly before he took over the post-Tonight Show slot, Letterman poked fun at his failed morning show in a meta appearance on Open All Night, a short-lived sitcom about a convenience store created by Bob Newhart Show vet Jay Tarses.


7. Peeping Times, Dan Cochran

Ever wonder what Dave would be like as a Daily Show correspondent? Check out his performance as reporter Dan Cochran in this newsmagazine spoof from filmmaker Barry Levinson and actual newsman David Frost. A thinly veiled takedown of 60 Minutes, Peeping Times was filmed as a pilot with Alan Oppenheimer (the voice of Skeletor on He-Man!) as the Mike Wallace stand-in Miles Rathbone and Letterman as his Morley Safer-esque coanchor. Featuring Mel Brooks as Hitler and Christopher Guest on the writing staff, the special is begging to be rediscovered.


8. Mork and Mindy, Ellsworth

1979 was a big year for Dave, as he made numerous TV appearances and starred as a stand-up comic who becomes a talk show host in the forgotten NBC movie-of-the-week Fast Friends. (If anyone has a clip, please let us know!) He also shared a manager with Robin Williams, which explains why the future late night host turned up on an episode of Mork and Mindy as a shady self-help group leader with a penchant for fancy cars and open collars.


9. The Riddlers, Host

Dave showcased his snarky hosting skills on this failed game show pilot which also featured a young Michael McKean.


10. Mary, Cast Member

An awkward attempt to inject some youthful Saturday Night Live-style energy into the staid variety show format, Mary Tyler Moore’s disastrous solo showcase featured a cast of fresh-faced performers that included Michael Keaton, Swoosie Kurtz, and a visibly uncomfortable Letterman. Merrill Markoe, who wrote for Mary and would go on to make TV history with Dave on both his morning show and Late Night, recalls that Letterman and Keaton were forced to perform the YMCA classic “Macho Man” in a half-baked Deliverance parody that made Dave want to “retch.

 

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.