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What a Year

Top 10 Most Memorable Late Night Moments of 2015  

Relive Comedy Bang! Bang! season four on IFC.com.

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2015 proved to be a banner year for late night, with big debuts and farewells from comedy legends. As we enter 2016, check out our Top Ten List of late night’s most memorable moments.

10. Obama Reads Mean Tweets

Presidents have feelings too, at least according to this bit. Jimmy Kimmel has had movie stars, sports stars and pop stars take the hot seat, and see what Twitter really thinks of them. So why not the leader of the free world? Obama seems a good sport here, even finally admitting it might be time to up his jean game.


9. Wheel of Freestyle with Lin-Manuel Miranda (from “Hamilton”)

It’s Lin-Manuel Miranda’s world, and we’re just living in it. Miranda is clearly having a moment, starring in the hottest show on Broadway, that he also wrote, while also hanging with the President and finding time to pen some music for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But this clip from his appearance on The Tonight Show, in which he shows off his otherworldly skills with a mic, proves that he’s earned every bit of the love he’s receiving.


8. Comedy Bang! Bang! Says Goodbye to Reggie…and Hello to Kid Cudi

IFC Original Productions

IFC Original Productions

Comedy Bang! Bang! entered its fourth season with a bit of a cloud hanging over it: Bandleader Reggie Watts was decamping for The Late Late Show with James Corben, leaving the keyboard empty. While the show would go on thanks to the amazing comedy and vocal stylings of Kid Cudi, it would first have to take a moment to say goodbye to an old friend. Thankfully Reggie stopped by later in the season with his “how to band lead” instructional video. (Missed Comedy Bang! Bang! season four or just want to experience it again? Watch full episodes right now.)


7. Colbert Debuts on The Late Show

Stephen Colbert has been, arguably, the most important comedic voice of the last decade. But staying in character for years at a time was starting to wear on him, and he was ready to call it quits. He’s stated that if CBS never came calling, he would still have hung it up back at The Colbert Report. And so, as he took the stage at The Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time, we were reminded that watching Colbert is a privilege, not a right. In character or not, the sharpest mind in late night rides again.


6. Jimmy Fallon Almost Loses His Finger

Mel Brooks famously said, “tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” Jimmy Fallon put that quote to the test, nearly ripping his own finger off after a fall in his kitchen. And yet, using his boyish charm, Fallon somehow turned the horrific accident into a funny anecdote.


5. John Oliver Swears At Terrorists (NSFW)

Oliver has carved his own distinctive niche in late night, combining a 60 Minutes style of in-depth reporting with a wicked sharp sense of satire. There’s no shortage of memorable moments from his show, if only because every episode feels like an instant classic, but in his first episode after the horrific attacks in Paris, Oliver spoke for all of us when he told those responsible to f*ck off. Catharsis had never been this funny.


4. Conan in Cuba

Conan is never better than when he’s out with the people, being the absurd butt of his own jokes. And so, with news that America was finally letting people travel to Cuba legally, Conan knew he had an idea for comedy gold, and a chance to show that what unites us is stronger than what divides us. The episode saw Conan getting drunk at a rum factory, learning to dance the Rumba, and making a mess of cigar rolling. It was also one of the funniest, and most fascinating, episodes in recent late night history.


3. Scott Aukerman Goes Full Frank-N-Furter

Comedy Bang! Bang! blew the roof off the haunted house for their Halloween episode, staging a spot-on spoof of The Rocky Horror Picture Show complete with costumes, cheesy props, and Kid Cudi’s perfect take on Riff Raff. But it’s the sight of Scott in full-on Dr. Frank-N-Furter cosplay that made for one of 2015’s most memorable moments. (Watch the full Halloween episode right now.)


2. Jon Stewart Signs Off

Jon Stewart took a forgotten show on a backwater channel and turned it into a force. Combing indignant rage with a brilliant comedic mind, he gave voice to a large swath of Americans that just didn’t know what the hell was going on in our country. He took down Crossfire, proved Fox wasn’t fair and balanced, and ripped Arby’s a new one. Only in his absence have we realized how much we needed his voice to helped frame and fight the madness.


1. Letterman’s Final Top Ten List

No one man, outside of perhaps Lorne Michaels, is as responsible for the modern state of comedy as David Letterman. Giving voice to sarcasm and absurdity in equal measure, he upended the more staid comedy voices of the time, and started a revolution. Everyone on this list exists in his wake, and for that alone, his stepping down from his turbulent throne in late night is a big deal. So it’s no surprise that everyone from Barbara Walters to Tina Fey came out to pay tribute to Dave and deliver jokes for the show’s final Top Ten list.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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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.