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10 Documentary Now! Facts From Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers and Bill Hader

Watch the full panel and get a sneak peek of season two.

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Production is well underway for the second season of Documentary Now!, and fans are clamoring for more episodes of the acclaimed show.

But while we wait for the next season to premiere, we do have some extra Doc Now! content to share. Co-creators Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers assembled for a live “For Your Consideration” event for Emmy voters where they offered a behind-the-scenes look at the series.

Check out the full video of the event below as well as 10 things we learned from the Documentary Now! live panel.

1. Why haven’t they done The Jinx or Making a Murderer?

Jinx
HBO

Seth mentioned how they’re often approached by folks wondering if Doc Now! had planned on tackling HBO documentary series The Jinx or Netflix’s Making a Murderer. As he explains, those longer series that trace an entire crime case would be tough to capture in one episode. “It’s hard enough boiling down a two-hour documentary to 20 minutes,” Seth said.


2. “Host” Helen Mirren immediately got the joke and played her part straight.

Helen Mirren

At the top of each episode, host Dame Helen Mirren sets the tone for the dramatic, real-life stories about to unfold. Of course, the pure silliness that results is perfectly juxtaposed by the gravitas that Ms. Mirren brings to the table — something she immediately understood. Bill and Seth remarked that it’s rare for an actor to approach a comedy scene without wanting to add zaniness. But Helen had the “perfect tone,” according to Bill and Seth, right from the start.


3. Bill’s fall through the floor in “Sandy Passage” was improvised practically on the spot.

Lima Beans

While shooting Little Vivvy’s tour of the mansion, Bill thought it’d be funny if his character fell through the floor and the directors agreed. And what would seem like a stunt with lengthy prep time was achieved with Bill’s pratfall and some spliced takes. As Seth remarked, the hardest part about the shot was Bill’s overzealous impression of suffering a concussion — an act he had to tone down because even the boom mic guy couldn’t stop laughing.


4. The directors got the actual camera lenses from “The Thin Blue Line” (and by coincidence, the same courtroom artist).

Eye Doesn't Lie

Fred, Bill, and Seth were effusive with their praise for Doc Now! directors Rhys Thomas and Alexander Buono and their incredible job at mimicking the style of multiple documentaries. Turns out, the directing duo’s hardcore dedication to their craft led them to use the actual camera lenses from Grey Gardens and The Thin Blue Line to achieve a more authentic style for “Sandy Passage” and “The Eye Doesn’t Lie.” And during the latter’s production, the courtroom artist they acquired coincidentally was the same artist from The Thin Blue Line. After praising his artistic skills in replicating the original’s look, Bill said the artist replied, “Y’know I did this on Thin Blue Line?”


5. Raccoons are terrible to work with.

Raccoons Little Vivvy

For the wildlife-infested abode in “Sandy Passage,” animal wranglers brought in a raccoon, which proved to be more problematic than you’d expect. Cast and crew had to wait for the right moment until the raccoon was “ready” to perform. However, Seth said one of his favorite moments of the shoot was the email he received which read, “How important is the raccoon? Because a raccoon isn’t cheap. Would you be okay with a possum?”


6. Filming Season 2 has been treacherous.

Dronez Guns

Fred went down to Columbia to film “Juan Loves Rice and Chicken,” Documentary Now!‘s upcoming take on the acclaimed “foodie” doc Jiro Dreams of Sushi. After filming on top of a mountain, Fred and another member of the crew were driven down a windy road by a particularly sleepy driver. As if that wasn’t scary enough, Fred said the show’s art director was bitten by a scorpion! Never let it be said that the Doc Now! cast and crew isn’t dedicated to their jobs.


7. Bill Hader’s President of Hollywood character inspired a Season Two episode.

One of the documentaries being spoofed for season two is The Kid Stays in the Picture, which recounts the ups-and-downs of legendary Godfather producer Robert Evans. In addition to Evans, Hader explained that his “President of Hollywood” character (a memorable presence at the recent Comedy Central Roast of James Franco) was also an inspiration for the aging producer he plays in season two’s Hollywood doc “Mr. Runner Up.” 


8. The head of Vice loves the Dronez episode.

Dronez NY Times

According to the gang, Vice co-founder Shane Smith was totally on board with the show’s parody of his Millennial-targeting news organization. Fred also noted that it was difficult for the directors to get the “on the fly” look of Vice news documentaries.


9. The Blue Jean Committee is based in part on The Eagles.

Blue Jean Committee

Fred, Seth, and Bill expressed their love for the 2013 History of the Eagles documentary, an in-depth look at the California rock band that Hader described as being about “tough guys playing p—y music.” Bill and Seth noted that the Blue Jean Committee episode was a way for Fred to write some original music, which he will also do for a season two episode. And sorry to break it to you, but that isn’t Hader hitting the high falsetto notes: Bill’s pipes were provided by musician and violinist Petra Haden.


10. They’d like to do sports documentaries, but they’re a challenge.

30 for 30
ESPN Go

Seth said they have been asked if the show would ever parody sports docs, but he noted that the team likes to focus on smaller, slice-of-life stories and capturing a sporting event with hundreds of fans could prove difficult.

Watch the full Documentary Now! panel below to hear Bill and Fred doing an impression of Obama visiting LA, the group’s thoughts on the season two episode “Globesmen” and much more! 

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…