Half Baked Cast

Stoner History

10 Things You Might Not Know About Half Baked

Laugh yourself silly with Half Baked this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal Studios/Everett Collection

There are lots of things we love and remember about Half Baked. That Dave Chappelle was an effortless comedy star, that you don’t need to be high to enjoy the movie (though it doesn’t hurt), and that Jim Breuer can’t look not stoned. But as you revisit this cult classic on IFC this month, here are a few facts you may not have known about one of the best stoner comedies of all time.

10. Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan Didn’t Talk About the Film Before Pitching It

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Universal

Dave Chappelle called his friend Neal Brennan and said, “If Universal calls, tell them we’re working on a weed movie.” Great news, except Brennan and Chappelle had never talked about pitching anything. Apparently, Dave Chappelle wanted to write with Brennan and offhandedly pitched the idea of a weed movie and the studio loved it.


9. The Film Went from Pitch to Production Incredibly Fast

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Universal

Just because a studio likes a pitch, there’s no guarantee that a script will be written, let alone the movie will actually get made. It can take years of development for a film to go into production. Not Half Baked, however. Chappelle and Brennan pitched the film in February, with zero script written, and they were on set by July.


8. The Writers Had Never Worked Together

Universal
Universal

Though the two were friends, Dave and Neal had never worked on anything together before Half Baked. Neal had offered some joke punch-ups to Chappelle’s stand up, but that was it. Later, they went on to create Chappelle’s Show, so it’s lucky Dave wanted to do a weed movie on a whim.


7. The Film Was a Commercial Flop

Half Baked
Universal

Though Half Baked is now a fan favorite, it opened in sixth place at the box office and was considered a failure. After the release, CNN proclaimed that Dave Chappelle’s career was over. Luckily, CNN is not known for its expertise in comedy and Dave Chappelle went on to star in one of the most beloved sketch shows of all time.


6. Neal Brennan Doesn’t Like the Movie

In multiple interviews, Neal Brennan is grateful for the fan love, but doesn’t really care for the movie himself. Once Half Baked got into production, people stopped listening to Brennan and Chappelle’s ideas, resulting in a film that was not what they pictured. Neal said it now looks like a “weed movie for kids,” when they wanted it to be a weed version of Larry Clark’s Kids.


5. Jim Breuer and Dave Chappelle first appeared together on an episode of Home Improvement

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ABC

Half Baked was not the first time Chappelle and Breuer worked together. In 1995, the duo appeared as bumbling buddies asking Tim “The Toolman” Taylor for love advice on an episode of the hit sitcom Home Improvement. This led to ABC giving Chappelle and Breuer their own sitcom, the short-lived series Buddies. Unfortunately, Breuer was replaced by actor Christopher Gartin before the show premiered. The series tanked, and when Chappelle needed someone to play the perpetually high Brian, he needed to look no further than his old friend.


4. Jim Breuer was Not High During Filming, Except One Time

Jim Breuer was a professional on the set of Half Baked, but one day he was dismissed from filming and decided to get high in his trailer after a hard day’s work. Suddenly, a PA knocks on his door and says he has to go back to set to shoot one more scene. Clarence Williams III (Samson Simpson) said he was quitting the movie unless they finished all his scenes that day. So, Jim dragged himself to set to say, “Sucks to be you, man.” Apparently, it took many takes.


3. Samson Simpson is a Tony Nominated Actor

Universal

Though he might not have loved his time playing Samson Simpson, Clarence Williams III is a legendary actor. Best known for playing Linc Hayes on The Mod Squad, he also worked extensively on Broadway. He once starred onstage with Maggie Smith and was nominated for a Tony Award for Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.


2. Some of the Cast Has Turned Against Weed

Universal

Stephen Baldwin has a cameo as “MacGayver Smoker,” but in the years since the film premiered the actor has become an evangelical Christian and is now violently opposed to weed use. Luckily Snoop Dogg’s cameo in the film has only enhanced his delight for the sticky icky.


1. Half Baked is the Director’s Follow Up to “MMMBop”

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Mercury

Tamra Davis directed many music videos and Adam Sandler’s first big hit, Billy Madison. But right before Half Baked, she was the visionary behind the music video of Hansen’s “MMMBop.” To go from the flaxen haired child group to Dave Chappelle’s ode to drugs takes a lot of range.

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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.