This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

DID YOU READ

Scott Aukerman on Comedy Bang! Bang!, SXSW and the worst job ever

scott-aukerman-comedy-bang-bang-ifc-sxsw-2013

Posted by on

During this year’s SXSW festival, Scott Aukerman couldn’t stick around Austin for very long because he had to get back to Los Angeles to continue working on the second season of Comedy Bang! Bang! He took some time out of his schedule of podcast tapings, Comedy Bang! Bang! live and panel discussions to chat about Comedy Bang! Bang!, being drunk and the worst job he’s ever had.

Hi Scott, how do you think season two is going so far?

Great! The stuff we’ve shot is really amazing. It feels bigger this year. We’ve shot a couple of huge, huge pieces that are really technically impressive.

You have always been good at Green Screen.

This is stuff that’s not even on Green Screen. This is huge builds and massive crews and special effects and stuff. It’s been pretty cool. We taped one show, which is kind of a dream come true show for me, which I can’t really talk about what it is. But it’s a crazy show. Some of the IFC people were actually on set that particular day and they were blown away by it. It’s a really incredible episode. So yeah, season two has been going great. We are about six episodes in so far and we have 14 more to do.

Was such a large order daunting or exciting?

It wasn’t daunting when they first told me about it because I kind of am of the mindset that you just say to yes to everything and then just figure out how to do it, how to work it into your life somehow. So I said yes and I didn’t think much of it until week one or two of writing. Well, the first few weeks of writing we just wrote pieces and put cards up on the board, but after two weeks I made the cards for 201, 202, 203 all the way through 220 and realized the slots that we would need to fill and that’s when it started to feel really daunting to me. Like, oh there are nine or ten slots per episode that we need to fill, if there are 10 slots per episode that we need to fill, we need 200 cards. That’s when it started to fill daunting, like we’ve been working for two weeks and we have 20 cards. But by the end of the writing we had more stuff than we needed and realized we could cut stuff. We didn’t have to use something just because it was there.

How is the process different between the show, the video podcast and your regular podcast?

Obviously we put a ton of work into the TV show. The podcast for me is 100% improvisational, so I put no thought into it other than the catchphrase and the engineer picks the plug song from the internet. That is just completely improvisational, I just show up and do it and fly by the seat of my pants. Same with the video podcast, they are just filming what I am doing. As for the TV show there’s just way more work going into it, but at the same time, half of it is improv’d as well. That’s the part that always give me a knot in my stomach on the day that we do it, like, ‘oh man, how is this going to go. I have this celebrity on the show and I’ve never met them before and I’m supposed to improv a whole interview with them and do bits with them.’ But it always turns out great.

Does grapefruit vodka help? [Ed note: Scott is drinking a grapefruit vodka.]

Yes, I’m drunk the entire show. It’s a lot like Match Game 77 like that. I am completely obliterated the entire time and that helps. So if you’re reading this, just get drunk! It helps! It helps you through life. You know, just self medicate. What I want to get out there to people is that you can bury your issues down so far that they never have to come to the surface.

Joking aside, your job does seem incredibly hard, because you’re improv’ing but you’re also in charge and have to keep the show moving along and on track.

Thank you so much for noticing!

You’re welcome, but really it seems like a stressful job.

It’s not stressful for the podcast any more, but it is interesting when I am on other people’s shows or podcasts, I can just be funny and be myself. If I’m on Doug Loves Movies, for instance, I can just lay out and tell a joke and I don’t have to be constantly talking. When you’re the host of the show you have to be constantly steering. Sometimes people tell me, ‘Oh wow, I heard you on another show and you were much funnier than you are on your show.’ Which is a lovely compliment, by the way. When you’re the host of something you do have to be mindful of the whole and keep it moving in the direction that you want it to go and you can’t just be the sarcastic jerk who says funny things.

Well you could, but it probably wouldn’t make great television.

Right, you could have as an interview style that you ask someone a question and whatever they say, just make fun of it and then stare at them.

You have been growing your Earwolf network, maybe there’s a space in it for a show like that.

Yeah, there could be a show like that. I’m not sure how I would get anyone to agree to be on it, but it could be a show.

Speaking of Earwolf, you have been building an empire for yourself there.

An empire? Oh you mean my house. Yes, I did set out to build the largest house in America, bigger than the “Queen of Versailles” house. The documentary inspired me, but not build a house solely of rooms, but comprised solely of bathrooms. I have a one-bedroom, 450-bath house, and I’m slowly adding more. Sometimes I’ll just think, ‘I need to add another bath.’

I agree. You should only use a bathroom once.

Exactly! I don’t want to use a toilet after I’ve already used it! That’s just diz-gusting.

It also seems that you have a great diaspora of talent coming out of your shows. Do you feel sort of paternal watching James Adomian get bigger and bigger or Chelsea Peretti writing on “Saturday Night Live”?

Well, James Adomian has been on my show a lot. I’ve been a fan of him forever. I saw him do an improve show back in 2000. It’s hard to feel paternal when you see a guy like that and you think, ‘Oh that guy is going to be huge.’ It’s more like you as a producer want to work with him because you know he is going to be successful. I wouldn’t take any credit for his success, because I’m just a guy who recognized that he was going to be incredibly successful and said, ‘Please do it on my show and not anyone else’s!’ Most of the people I work with would be incredibly successful without me and I’m just happy to be able to go along for the ride.

What is an awkward high school experience that you are willing to share?

An awkward time for me was day one of Freshman year through last day of senior year. I used to work at Knottsberry Farm…

Really?

I used to work at Disneyland as well.

Were you in costume?

I was in costume at Disneyland as Goofy and Brer Bear and Captain Hook.

Who is Brer Bear?

From the “Song of the South,” which is the DVD that the Disney Corporation would prefer you not see,

Oh right, they keep trying to make it less and less racist.

I don’t think they are trying to make it less and less racist. I don’t think they are altering the film every year. I don’t think can make it less racist. I think it just is racist and they buried in the Disney vault.

But you dressed up as Brer Bear.

Yes. It was probably the worst job I ever had, but I also worked at Knottsberry Farm in security. They don’t have costumed characters at Knottsberry Farm. I worked security there during the Halloween years and we had a system there where my friend, who was a really good-looking, hunky guy, a really popular guy in high school – he was the lead singer in my band – he worked in one of the mazes as a monster. If he ever saw two good-looking girls, he would jump into their car, take off his mask, show that he was handsome and talk to them and ask them out on a date. He would tell them to go give their number to his friend who was working security outside. I would constantly be working security and girls would come up to me and say, ‘Give my number to Dave!’ So we were going on one of these dates once. It was Dave, these two girls and me and we chatted for a while and we said, ‘Okay let’s go!’ and we got up to go and the girls said to me, ‘Oh you’re coming too?’

Ouch. That must have stuck with you for awhile.

Well, yes, when you asked me for an awkward moment, that was the first thing that popped into my mind. I probably have 30 or 40 other ones.

Is there anything that you can tell us about season two?

I think people can look forward to a beginning and then several episodes shall occur and then there will be an end. But it really will be bigger than what we did last year. It’s more ambitious. The guest stars are incredible. I had my dream guest on the show and I think people are going to be really excited to see that one. I think the writers this year were at the top of their game and came up with really funny sketches. I’m just really proud of the show and the way it’s grown.

Watch More
SistersWeekend_103_MPX-1920×1080

WTF Films

Artfully Off

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

Posted by on

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…

IFC_Comedy-Crib_Sisters-Weekend-Series-Image

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.

SistersWeekend_101_MPX-1920x1080

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).

IFC_Comedy-Crib_Sisters-Weekend_About-Image

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.

SistersWeekend_102_MPX-1920x1080

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

Watch More
IFC_BVSS_203_birthday-song-celebration

Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

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.

via GIPHY

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!

via GIPHY

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.

Watch More
IFC_NYTVF_EColi-High_blog

G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

ecoli-computer

IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

Watch More