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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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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