DID YOU READ

7 Comedians Who Started Out on Punk’D

Dax Shepard Punked

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Trucker hats and Justin Timberlake’s tears aren’t the only things we got out of the long running MTV celebrity prank extravaganza Punk’D. A slew of successful comedians got their start convincing Beyoncé she’d ruined Christmas or informing Eliza Dushku (remember when she was a thing?) that she was going to jail.

While Ashton Kutcher has continued to punk us all with his career, his field agents have slowly become big players in Hollywood. Before you see what sort of comic mischief Dax Shepard gets into on this week’s Comedy Bang! Bang!, take a look at some of Punk’D‘s most famous alumni.

7. Dax Shepard

Funnily enough, Dax Shepard has gone on to become a celebrity of the stature he once punk’d himself. His varied career has included everything from the cult comedy Idiocracy, to the family drama Parenthood, which recently concluded its run on NBC. He also married Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell, so things seem to have worked out for him so far.


6. Ryan Pinkston

Ryan Pinkston was one of the first breakout stars on Punk’d, where he terrorized red carpets as a children’s network correspondent all too happy to insult celebrities to their faces. At just 15 years old, he was the youngest field agent in the show’s history, and has gone on to a career in shows like Hannah Montana and Tower Prep.

Ryan Pinkston Punk'd

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5. Kaitlin Olson

She may now be known for playing “Sweet Dee” Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but Amber Tamblyn didn’t find her so sweet when she was driven to tears on a 2003 Punk’D episode. Kaitlin admits that many of the celebrities were pissed when the cameras stopped rolling, no matter what it looked like on TV.


5. B.J. Novak

Perhaps best know for NBC’s The Office, B.J. Novak has had a singular career — he’s been nominated for Emmys, written children’s books, and killed Nazis in Inglourious Basterds. But he got his start pretending be a driving instructor who assured Hilary Duff that hitting pedestrians was okay.


4. Stephen Rannazzisi

Stephen Rannazzisi spends most of him time these days on FXX’s The League trying to win the Shiva Bowl, but his first job in the business was as a field agent on the early seasons of Punk’D. He told Conan that the occasional bit would implode, and never air. For instance, one failed punking nearly resulted in him being knocked out by Alex Rodriguez.

3. Ahmed Ahmed

Star of the TBS sitcom Sullivan and Son, Ahmed Ahmed gained fame on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour in the mid-2000s. But before he tried to shake America’s preconceived notions of the Middle East, he cut his teeth pretending to hit on Travis Barker’s girlfriend.

Ahmed Ahmed Punked


2. Whitney Cummings

A celebrity torturing lifer, Whitney Cummings is best known these days as the cocreator of 2 Broke Girls and for her many appearances on the Comedy Central Roasts. But back in 2003, she learned how to ruin a celebrity’s day at the feet of the master, one Ashton Kutcher. Her Punk’d hit list includes Chris Klein, Adam Brody and a particularly angry Vivica A. Fox.

Whitney Cummings


1. Bill Hader

In one of his few appearances, future Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader ironically Punk’D Ashlee Simpson, who was still recovering from her lip-synching meltdown on SNL. Here, Hader convinced the young pop star that she had accidentally started a fire at an art gallery. Mr. Hader would soon graduate to another level of comedy, becoming perhaps the show’s most famous alumni.

Bill Hader Punkd

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.