DID YOU READ

The 11 Best (and Worst) Actors Who Moonlight as Rock Stars

Tenacious D

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There comes a time for all of us when the world makes us grow up. We aren’t going to make the NBA with our one-inch vertical. Our garage band probably isn’t going to open for Bon Jovi, unless we learn what a C chord is. But for Hollywood superstars, no one ever says no. Just look at Keanu Reeves, whose band Dogstar did just that, performing as the opening act for the “Wanted Dead or Alive” rockers on their 1995 World Tour. Join us below for a look at a few actors’ musical projects, and help us determine which are legit, and which get by on a big name and an even bigger ego.

11. Worst: Corey Feldman, Corey Feldman’s Truth Movement

Oh boy. It’s hard to criticize a band when it’s clearly the result of some disturbing childhood traumas. Lord knows what made Mr. Feldman want to become a second rate Michael Jackson impersonator, vamping his way through a rental house in the Valley, with ads for an off-brand energy drink hanging in the background. Whatever it is, we wish him luck in his recovery so we never have to see anything like this again.


10. Best: Zoey Deschanel, She & Him

Love her or hate her, Zoey Deschanel is much more than her adorkable persona suggests. Singer-songwriter M. Ward met Deschanel on the set of The Go-Getter, and quickly discovered a kindred spirit. Deschanel admitted she loved to write music, but was embarrassed to share it because of her acting career. He encouraged her to do just that, and She & Him, a charming band that combines elements of indie pop, doo-wop and R&B, was born.


9. Worst: Jim Belushi, The New Blues Brothers

On a certain level, you’ve got to respect the hustle. I mean, a brother’s got to work. But aren’t we all a little uncomfortable that Jim Belushi has basically become a professional impersonator of his late, great brother? Sure, it looks like he’s having fun up there, but doesn’t he have enough According to Jim checks in the bank to just front his own band and not tarnish John’s legacy?


8. Worst: Bruce Willis and the Accelerators

Hey, if you were drunk in a South Jersey bar at one in the morning, maybe this is the type of music you’d want to hear. But this band, which is made up of one superstar, and a group of studio musicians who like money, goes on nationwide tours and headlines Netflix concerts. If there isn’t a dartboard within five feet of Bruce’s hip shaking harmonica moves, something is very wrong.


7. Best: Maya Rudolph, The Rentals

The Rentals is a rock band fronted by Weezer bassist Matt Sharp. It’s had a revolving door of musicians over the years, but one of the most popular was Maya Rudolph, who played keyboard and sang backing vocals on tour with the band before she broke out on Saturday Night Live. Since then, we’ve all gotten a taste of her powerhouse talents, but it just goes to show you, this was no vanity project. She’s the real deal.


6. Worst: Johnny Depp, The Hollywood Vampires

Before Johnny Depp put on pancake makeup and turned into a living pile of scarves, he was a musician in bands The Kids and Rock City Angels. 21 Jump Street would change that, to the point that he complained earlier this year about actors moonlighting in bands, saying it “made [him] sick.” He then immediately went and formed a new band, the aptly named Hollywood Vampires, with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry.

5. Best: Donald Glover, Childish Gambino

Few would have thought that Troy from Community would become one of the most interesting rappers working today. While many of us with too much time on our hands may have plugged our names into an online Wu-Tang rap name generator, Donald somehow turned his results into a flourishing career in hip hop. Somehow, in a few short years, he’s written for 30 Rock, starred on Community, had his own Comedy Central stand-up special, and been the focus of an online campaign to make him the next Spider-Man. But his rap career has increasingly become the thing he’s known for, and with good reason. Renaissance man, meet the Internet.


4. Worst: Billy Bob Thornton, The Boxmasters

Oh Billy, maybe just lighten up a bit, and you’d be left alone to play your rockabilly music in peace. The actor, who can most recently be seen blowing the lid off the joint on FX’s Fargo, is clearly passionate about his band. Maybe a little too passionate. When an interviewer deigned to ask him about his acting career, and not his tour with Willie Nelson, Thornton shut down, but not before insulting his Canadian audience, calling them “mashed potatoes without gravy.” The band ended up canceling shows rather than being booed off the stage.


3. Best: Steve Martin, Steep Canyon Rangers

Steve Martin first burst onto the American comedy scene with a banjo in his hand and an arrow through his head. The arrow was long ago retired, but the banjo has become a prominent part of his life. No longer in the service of a laugh, Martin is a two-time Grammy winner, and even set up the “Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass,” an award established to reward artistry and bring greater visibility to bluegrass performers.


2. Worst: Russell Crowe, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts

Another misfire, at least in terms of the music. If Russell Crowe wants to throw back a few pints and belt out a song with some friends, then more power to him. But if he stuck to karaoke night at the local pub, we might all be better off for it. (It might’ve spared us his tone deaf turn in Les Miserables.)


1. Best: Jack Black, Tenacious D

Jack Black’s whole identity is tied up in his comedy/rock band Tenacious D,  which he rocks out in with his band mate Kyle Gass. The two made their names by rocking as hard as any metal band ever, while also managing to make us laugh. It’s no easy feat. The band has fronted its own TV show, its own music and comedy festival, and its own movie. They even won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance at the 2015 Grammys which puts them in the same category as such luminaries as Metallica and Jethro Tull.


On the Fence: Jared Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars

Despite their critics, there are many people (particularly 12-year-old girls wearing too much eyeliner) who legitimately love this band. You have to admit, what probably started out as a vanity project has become the real thing. Hit records. Sold out tours. They were so successful, Mr. Leto seems to have forgotten he was an actor for a few years there until Dallas Buyers Club brought him back to the big screen. We’ll call this band a Rorschach test. Good or bad is in the eye of the beholder.

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

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

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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