DID YOU READ

5 Culturally Insensitive Comedies That Somehow Exist

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The Internet has exploded with “hot takes” on Rachel Dolezal, the Caucasian head of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP who has passed herself off as a black woman for many years. And if your brain is as pop culture-addled/rotted as ours, your thoughts immediately went to Soul Man, the 1986 “comedy” where C. Thomas Howell actually wears blackface in front of James Earl Jones.

Sadly, the history of motion picture comedy is rife with awkward and dated examples of actors portraying another race in a less than sensitive fashion. Here are five of the most egregious cases.

1. Soul Man

It’s difficult to watch the trailer for this infamous C. Thomas Howell vehicle today without your jaw dropping several times. Howell plays a rich kid faced with paying for his Harvard Law School tuition when daddy cuts him off. Instead of taking out student loans or, say, getting a part-time job, Howell’s Mark Watson instead takes tanning pills (which apparently was a thing if this movie is to be believed) in order to pass as African-American and deceive his way into a scholarship. Fun fact: This comedy from the producers of Risky Business was written by one of the creators of The Wonder Years, proving we all have off days. Less fun fact: Howell’s line “These are the ’80s, man — the Cosby decade!” is uncomfortable on a number of levels today.


2. Ernest Goes to Africa

After inadvertently giving his lady love a yo-yo made from rare African diamonds, Ernest P. Worrel gets embroiled in an adventure that takes him to Africa and involves all manner of dated jokes about tribal cultures. (Yes, Ernest almost gets eaten by the natives.) He also dresses in drag and dons blackface as a servant named “Hey You.” Definitely the low point of the Ernest franchise, which is saying a lot when you take into account outings like Slam Dunk Ernest, where our loveable yokel become a basketball sensation thanks to a pair of magic shoes.


3. The Love Guru

In a way, we only have ourselves to blame for Mike Myers’ painfully unfunny Guru Pitka character. If we hadn’t encouraged him to don a fat suit and insult Scottish people in several Austin Powers movies, perhaps he would’ve thought before adopting a stereotypical accent and ridiculous beard for his disastrous appropriation of Indian culture. Hopefully we have all learned something here.


4. The Party

Of course, Myers was likely channeling his hero Peter Sellers, who played an Indian actor in director Blake Edwards’ experimental comedy. The same Edwards of course who gave us Mickey Rooney sporting buckteeth and an exaggerated Japanese accent straight out of a World War II-era Bugs Bunny cartoon in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


5. Basically Any Movie Where Rob Schneider Wears a Wig and False Teeth

Really, this list could be comprised entirely of Adam Sandler movies where Rob Schneider pretty much commits a hate crime on film. Whether it’s Salim in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, the Asian minister in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Ula in 50 First Dates or even the Chinese waiter he played in Eight Crazy Nights, Schneider can always be counted on to offend some culture with his broad, stereotypical performances. Really, who hasn’t he offended at this point? The Dutch, perhaps? There’s still time. To crib from his famous line from The Waterboy, “You can do it, Rob!”

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Forget Oscar

Find Your Spirit Animal

The Spirit Awards are LIVE this Saturday at 2p PT/5p ET.

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In just a few precious days, the greatest, most epic, most star-studded awards ceremony of the year comes to IFC.

And please, we’re definitely not talking about the Oscars. We’re talking about the Spirit Awards. Hosted by iconic comedy duo Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, it’s a relatively under-the-radar awards show with serious cred. And if the past is any indicator, we’re in for a wild night.

If you feel like doing your homework, you can find a full list of nominees and performance excerpts here. It reads like a who’s who of everyone that matters – those larger-than-life personalities with status that borders on mythological. Our celebrity spirit animals, if you will.

This isn’t hyperbole. Literally everyone who takes the stage at the awards show is spirit animal material. Let’s see if we can help you find yours…

Do you

Live in someone else’s shadow despite shining like the sun? Do you inexplicably vandalize your pretty-boy good looks with a sloppy-joe man bun and a repellent pubic-hair beard? Do you think sounding stoned and sounding thoughtful are kinda the same thing?

Congratulations, your spirit animal is Casey Affleck.

He’s the self-canonized patron saint of anyone who’s got the goods but doesn’t give a damn.

Do you

Have mid-length hair and exude a certain feminine masculinity that is universally appealing? Are you drawn to situations that promise little to nothing in the way of grooming or hygiene as a transparently self-conscious attempt to conceal your radiant inner glow? Does that fail miserably?

Way to go, your spirit animal is Viggo Mortensen.

He’s the yoga teacher of actors, in that what should make him super nasty only increases his curb appeal.

Do you

Get zero recognition for work that everyone knows is unrivaled? Do you inspire greatness in others yet get shortchanged when it comes to your own acclaim? Are you a goddam B-52 bomber in an industry of biplanes?

Bingo, your spirit animal is Annette Bening.

What does it take for this artist to win an Oscar? Honestly now, if her performance in 20th Century Women doesn’t earn her every award on the planet, consider it proof that the Universe truly is a cold dark void absent of reason or compassion.

Do you

Walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with a room full of friends? Have you been hiding under the radar just waiting for the right moment to leap out into the spotlight and stay there FOREVER? Do you possess the almost messianic ability to elevate Shia LaBeouf’s on-screen charisma?

You guessed it (or not), your spirit animal is 100% Sasha Lane.

If you haven’t seen American Honey, then you haven’t heard of her. She came out of the blue with a performance both subtle and powerful, and now she’s going to be in all the movies from this moment on. Or she should be, at any rate.

Don’t see your spirit animal there? Worry not. There are many more nominees to choose from, and you can see them all (yes, including Shia LaBeouf) during the Independent Spirit Awards, this Saturday at 2pm PT/5pm ET only on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

car notes note

This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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