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WTF Obama

10 Things We Learned About Obama from His WTF Interview With Marc Maron

Watch Maron Wednesdays at 9P on IFC.

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In the aftermath of the shooting in Charleston, President Barack Obama took a break from leading the free world to have a down-to-earth conversation with comedian Marc Maron on his WTF Podcast. He discussed his upbringing, what keeps him optimistic, the struggles of racism in America, and what he does to annoy Michelle. Here are 10 things we learned about Obama along with some photos from the interview. (Visit the Marc Meets Obama site for more photos and info.)

10. He’s a regular dad

Obama says he marvels that his girls, Sasha and Malia, have escaped the bubble of the presidency he’s stuck in. They go to the mall, have sleepovers and do other normal things. Malia is learning to drive, and has started chaffing at Secret Service protection. With a laugh, he says he reminds her that the only reason she can stay at her friend’s house until 11:30 is because the SecretService is there to drive her home. She’s crazy to think he would pick her up in the middle of the night.


9. He’s a fan of Louis CK and Richard Pryor

When Maron asked Obama about his favorite comedians, he was quick to cite Richard Pryor, who was influential when he was growing up. He also cites Dick Gregory, “when he was on the edge.” In terms of contemporary comedians, he likes Seinfeld and Louis CK, who he says has a good heart, despite all the messed up stuff he says.


8. He believes we are better now than we were four years ago

MarcMeetsObama.com

MarcMeetsObama.com

He quotes the old Ronald Reagan line, “are you better off than you were four years ago?” He believes we are, citing various examples, from saving people’s 401Ks, to reducing our carbon footprint, to helping high school graduation be the highest it has ever been. He’s particularly proud that LGTB rights have been recognized and solidified in a way no one could have imagined a decade ago.


7. He’s optimistic for change

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Pete Souza/MarcMeetsObama

He talks about supporters who express disappointment with his various accomplishments, because they didn’t go far enough. He says progress in a democracy is never instantaneous. You’re not going to fix everything all at once, you just have to try and steer the ship slowly in the right direction.


6. He’s the weak link on the basketball court now

Obama says, almost wistfully, that he barely plays basketball anymore. It used to be a favorite past time, and a way to stay in shape, but he’s gotten older and lost a step. Now, when he plays, he’s the old guy on the court, and the weak link. He doesn’t like being the weak link.


5. He’s pro gun law reform

Obama talks mournfully about the recent shooting in Charleston, saying the legal system will deal with the shooter, but the larger problem needs addressing. When other countries, like Australia, have had similar incidents, they drastically changed the laws and the shootings stopped.


4. He believes racism hasn’t been “cured”

“We are not cured of it,” Obama told Maron. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘n—er’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.” Obama is very candid about racial tensions in America, but says he prefers to view them within the context of the change that has happened, and the change that’s still capable of happening.


3. Michelle finds his lateness annoying

When Maron asked the president what Michelle finds annoying about him, he was quick to say his lateness. He used to roll in 10 or 15 minutes late to everything, and it drove Michelle wild. But he points out that, in a marriage, fights are usually about more than the obvious. In this case, Obama talks about Michelle’s father, and his battle with Multiple Sclerosis. He had to show up early to everything, just to make it there on time. This was instilled in his daughter, and led to her frustration with her perpetually late husband.


2. He found Congress’ reaction to Newtown “disgusting”

Obama says the response to the shooting in Newtown was the closest he’s come to being disgusted as President. The fact that 20 six year olds were gunned down, and Congress did nothing, infuriated him. He notes, sadly, that real change to our gun laws won’t happen with this Congress. At least, not until the people’s voices are heard.


1. He’s out of f–ks to give


Obama says that the more time he’s had on the job, the more comfortable he’s gotten with it. Much like a comedian on a stage, he’s grown fearless. That’s why he feels like he’s a better president, and would make a better candidate, than he’s ever been. He’s not just faking fearlessness any more. He feels it.

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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.