DID YOU READ

A brief chat with Scott Aukerman of Comedy Bang! Bang!

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As we wait for Comedy Bang! Bang! to premiere on June 8th at 10 p.m. ET, we find ourselves constantly devising new ways to kill time until the show starts. We’ve watched Reggie Watts sing with Jon Hamm and Will Forte. We’ve watched a full episode online and, of course, watched Scott Aukerman and Amy Poehler talk about topical humor. Then we realized we still had over a week to kill, so we did the only logical thing for someone in our position to do: We made the host sit down for an interview. Yesterday we chatted to Scott Aukerman about what gets lost in translation, Adolf Hitler, the truth about Paul F. Tompkins, and what he really thinks of Zach Galifianakis.

Nice to speak with you again. I was planning on asking the exact same questions from our interview last year and just swapping the name Comedy Bang! Bang! for Comedy Death Ray.

Oh that would have been good. Just to see if I noticed. “There’s something about this interview…..”

Maybe next time. When you were working on Comedy Bang! Bang!, what didn’t translate well between the podcast and the show?

The big problem in translating is that we had to translate the language. People may not know that we record the podcast in Japanese, translate it to English and then actors play us on the podcast. I’m not actually Scott Aukerman, I’m the actor who plays his voice on the podcast. Unfortunately, it’s cost prohibitive on a television show.

There were other issues that came up, too. The podcast is an hour and the show is only half an hour. We considered taping for an hour and then speeding it up and just running the show in fast forward. People don’t balk at slow motion in a show, why not fast motion? We would be pioneers.

Which podcast guests are you sad didn’t get to be on the show?

Jesse the Mind Ventura or I guess his nickname is Jesse the heart Ventura now. I wish we could have had Jason Mantzoukas on, but he was filming “The Dictator” the entire time and we all know how that turned out. We know he regrets it too. It’s the biggest regret of his life. I would have liked to have Marissa Wompler on, but she was off appearing on BFF the entire time.

Who is your dream guest?

Any guest living or dead? I guess I would have Adolph Hitler, so I could assassinate him on air. After I got a couple of questions in. I actually have a gun underneath my seat cushion just in case any guest is going to be a dictator in the future. That way I can assassinate them immediately. That is the Comedy Bang! Bang! promise.

Oh is that where the “bang! bang!” in the title comes from?

Yes.

Is working with Paul F Tompkins exhausting or fun?

Well, I’m always exhausted …from laughing so hard! One thing about Paul that you wouldn’t know because we cut it out of the show is that he’s great at making you laugh but also at making you cry. We edit it out of the show because he doesn’t want to be known for that. He’s really a nihilist. He just goes off about the inanity of life and how pointless everything is. He really goes off. But we cut that out of the show.

How much improv is used in the show?

It’s 150% improv. If that sounds impossible, it’s not. We just cram it in there.

That’s where the fast forwarding comes in?

No. It’s just that when we think we’ve finished, we’re not. We just keep going. Using the French art of improv until it reaches 150%.

The French art?

Yes, the French perfected it. Before they invented improv we would all just carry scripts around all day. When you woke up in the morning you would just Xerox — or in olden times mimeograph — your scripts and then people would read from scripts for every conversation. Then the French invented improvisation and a whole world or conversation was opened up. This show is an homage to that. That’s another French word “homage.” The French also invented homages. Before that there were no homages allowed. So this show is an homage to that.

How much more scripted is the TV show versus the podcast?

The television show is completely scripted. That may sound like the exact opposite of what I just said, and it is. I leave it up to the readers of your article to determine which answer is completely full of shit.

How hard is it to not laugh when you are filming the show?

I actually have someone pinch me if I look like I’m even going to start to crack a smile. One hint of a smile and I get a pinch on my bottom. I am quite black and blue down there and not black like you want to be down there, if you know what I mean.

I really don’t.

Oh. Well then I will give you hints throughout the course of this article. You can follow the clues Encyclopedia Brown style.

I look forward to finding the answer. In a recent article the New York Times called you a “curator of comedy.” Do you feel like that’s an apt title?

I would prefer they call me a king of comedy because they made a lot of money on that tour. I mean, Bernie Mac, rest in peace, but I could slip in there now with Cedric [the Entertainer] and who else? Oh of course Steve Harvey. I would like to consider myself the new slightly paler Steve Harvey. That’s what I wish the New York Times had called me, but you can’t control the media. You know that.

Yes, yes I do. In that same article Zach Galifianakis called you “a den mother.” Is that more appropriate?

I think he’s a very rude person. He knows I’m a man. I have proved to him that I am a man on more than one occasion. For him to call me a “mother” when he knows that is not true, is just rude. You know I don’t like him very much. He’s just not for me. I’m glad that there are some people who appreciate his look-at-what-I-grew-on-my-face thing, but he’s just not for me.

I asked CBB fans via Twitter and Facebook for some questions. At least one would like to know if there are any “Taint Magazines” still in circulation?

I gathered up all Taint Magazines in existence and have a secret stash in my basement. While many men have large collections of Playboy in their basement, I have Taint. I keep copies because the only way I can achieve orgasm is to look at pictures of myself.

Will “Harris’ Foam Corner” make its way onto the show?

Harris fans –if there are any — will be very very happy for one episode for about ten seconds.

I’m looking forward to the show. Thanks for chatting.

I will see you next year when I change the name of the show again and we have to do another interview.

Want the latest news from IFC? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCtv. You can also like Bunk and Comedy Bang! Bang!.

Comedy Bang! Bang! premieres on IFC on Friday, June 8th at 10 p.m. ET

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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