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

Ryan Pinkston Punkd 2


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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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.
Die Hard restroom

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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