Dave Anthony – Maron – Season 4, Episode 8 – Roger Snider/IFC

Super Dave

Dave Anthony on Writing for Maron and Playing a Different Version of Himself

Find out how Marc deals with Dave's success on a brand new Maron Wednesday at 9P on IFC.

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Comedian, writer, and podcaster Dave Anthony started playing a fictional version of himself on Maron as a guest star in season one. By season two, he was a regular cast member and a writer on the show. An episode he wrote in season three, “Racegate,” was nominated for a 2016 Writers Guild Award and received critical acclaim. With Dave’s star on the rise on this week’s brand new Maron, we spoke with the real Dave Anthony about playing “Dave Anthony,” being recognized by fans and the WGA, and what he thinks of the future of podcasts.

IFC: How did you come to be a cast member and write for the show?

Dave: I had been on the first season [as an actor], and at that point, they said they liked me and wanted to have me in more episodes, but they had already sort of written out the season arc. They talked about bringing me back for the second season and then Marc [Maron], in the first season, he didn’t have another comic in the room writing. He said it was really important to have another stand-up comedian in the room, particularly one who had a little experience with alcoholism and sort of that world, which I have. He thought of me, [and] brought me in writing for the second season.

IFC: Is the writing process different than on other shows?

Dave: We have to get [our scripts] done before we shoot. A lot of shows will be writing while they’re shooting, but for us, it just won’t work that way. Marc has to be part of the writing process and there’s no way he could [act and write] at the same time.

IFC: How is it writing for yourself and also playing a version of yourself?

Dave: A psychopath version of myself. Marc and I have a little bit of similarities in the way our lives have gone and just how we sort of behave in life. We wanted my character to be a little bit different than me, just so it would have a better contrast. I don’t know who first started writing me that way, but it just started to turn into super deadpan. It just felt really natural to do it that way when I was dealing with Marc who is a character who is clearly more excitable and gets a lot more upset on the show. We thought it would be a good counter to that.

IFC: Do you ever find yourself saying, “Well, that’s not something that this character would ever say…”?

Dave: Yes! Which is crazy. I’ve been like, “The character isn’t super dirty, he’s just mean and weird.” You have these conversations and you’re like “wait, what’s happening?” It’s a literally made up character. We call him Dave Anthony, but he is just completely different than me.

Dave Anthony

IFC: Do people you encounter who watch the show have a hard time with that concept?

Dave: Yep. Totally. Most people think that’s what I am going to be like. A lot of people are scared of me a little bit when they first meet me, thinking I’m going to be that person. Then they’re like, “You’re not like that at all.” I’m acting, but it’s my name, so it does make it weird.

IFC: There are several scenes this season with Marc being recognized and interacting with fans.

Dave: We seem to be doing it more this season. As the show has gone on, his profile has increased. The [WTF podcast interview] with the president…he’s just kind of gone up a few levels so we just felt like, “Well, that’s what the show is.” We try keep it sort of based on his life, although this season is a departure.

IFC: Speaking of success, the “Racegate” episode was nominated for a 2016 Writers Guild Award. How did you find out about that?

Dave: Oh man, that was crazy. I was in the writers’ room and I got a text from [Everybody Loves Raymond writer] Mike Royce. He just texted me and was like, “Congratulations on your award.” I was like, “Wait, what’s happening?” Then I looked it up and it was already online everywhere. It was a pretty big deal because our show was the small show compared to all the other shows it was up against. It was funny, when I wrote that episode, we sat down to read it for the first time and [fellow Maron writer] Jerry Stahl looked across the room from me and said, “You’re going to get nominated for this episode.” I was like, “Shut up.”

IFC: Was the episode based on real life?

Dave: The storyline came from a tweet that someone made about Marc not having enough black people on his podcast. He, of course, was offended by that and I started asking him to name them. Then he was like, “Well, we travel in different circles and its hard to find them…” And I was like, “Well, there’s our episode. We have black people upset that you’re not having them on the show and we go from there.”

"RaceGate" - Trae Patton/IFC

IFC: The dialogue spoken by Bruce Bruce and the other comics just talking shop felt very real. Was that something that was written out or did you just give them a guideline of what to discuss?

Dave: No, because when you get into stuff like race, when it’s handled on comedy shows, it’s usually handled so poorly and so obviously. I actually locked myself in a hotel room for three days, and I started reading all these blogs or articles about black comics and how they felt and what it was like to be in sort of a segregated community. How they had to change themselves when they went into different clubs, which white comics don’t have to do. From that, I created the dialogue between them.

IFC: Were you surprised by the reaction to the episode?

Dave: No, you know what’s funny is I almost can’t remember the reaction. The only reaction that I really cared about was from black comedians. The comedians that we cast, because we cast all comedians, they were all super happy with the dialogue. I still get African American comedians coming up to me and saying, “Hey man, that episode was spot-on, thank you.” That to me means more than anything. I have no idea what the experience they go through is, but through reading what they were saying, I was able to translate it. That to me was awesome.

IFC: Just like Dave on the show, you have your own podcast. How did the idea for The Dollop come about?

Dave: I’ve always been super into history and I spend tons of time reading about stuff online. Because I feel like the time when you could start a podcast and just talk to people is over and I think you have to have really specific content now to have a podcast that sort of pops out of the ocean of podcasts.

IFC: Speaking of an ocean of podcasts, you’re part of the LA Podcast Festival, now in its fifth year. How did that start?

Dave: Yeah, we’re coming up in September. It was an idea I had because Walking the Room was a really popular podcast [I co-hosted]; our fans really wanted to see it live. I got together with a couple friends, Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini, who had the Comedy Film Nerds podcast. The one thing about podcasting is that it’s really people doing it on their own. We felt like if a big company came in and started being gate keepers, it probably wouldn’t have the same feel as if some actual podcasters started it. That’s why we tried to jump in, and sure enough, as soon as we started doing it there were a bunch of companies that said they’d planned on doing it and we got there before them.

IFC: Last thing: How do you think the Giants are going to fair this year?

Dave: I don’t know, man. I’m getting my hopes up and I feel like I shouldn’t. I think they’re doing really well. They have the 1-2-3 pitching combo so it could all happen, that’s the biggest thing.

Click here to read part two of our interview, where Dave shares his thoughts on Marc’s journey to sobriety in season four and his character’s newfound success. To see what Dave’s up to on Wednesday’s brand new Maron, check out the clip below. 

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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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