DID YOU READ

A Brief Interview with Fred and Carrie from “Portlandia”

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“Portlandia” stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein took a few minutes out of their busy schedules starring on “Saturday Night Live” and touring with Wild Flag, respectively, to sit down and talk to us about the upcoming season of “Portlandia” as well as Portlandia: The Tour. Wasn’t it nice of them to make time for their little old network? We thought so too, because we’re not just a network, we’re fans, too.

Since we spoke last year, “Portlandia” has become a huge hit. And people are putting birds on things from coast to coast.

Carrie Brownstein: We’re surprised with the incredible reaction we’ve gotten from people. It’s nice. We’re really fortunate in the response we’ve had. And birds on things are nice.

Fred Armisen: You know, we’re fortunate it’s a bird. It’s nice to look at. It could have been a lot worse.

With the success of the show, how often do people ask you about putting birds on things and declaring things are SO over? Are you sick of it at all?

Fred: I’ll never be sick of anything. It’s just nice.

Carrie: Yeah, we’re just grateful.

You have some amazing guest stars in season two including Tim Robbins, Penny Marshall, Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg. Do you write parts for them specifically or just work them into stories?

Carrie: A little of both. Sometimes someone expresses an interest in working with us and we will try to come up with an amazing part for them. Sometimes the story comes first. Like the warlord with Tim Robbins. We write that part and had to figure out who we could reach out to for it. We’re lucky that we have been able to work with so many amazing people.

Tim Robbins strikes me as a natural warlord. Do you know the game fuck/marry/kill?

Carrie: Yes

Fred: Yes, we invented it.

Okay, so you know it then. Let’s play with some of your characters: Candace, Bryce, and Kath:

Fred: I don’t want to kill any of our characters.

Carrie: I don’t want to kill any of them, and I also don’t want to have sex with any of them. Even though there is some sex on the show, when I think about it, it’s just a blank. I mean it’s sort of like having sex with each other or ourselves. Is the third option marriage? I guess that’s an option. Although it seems impossible to imagine.

Fred: Especially the feminist bookstore ladies that’s impossible

Carrie: Kath would make a decent wife for the right guy. Nance is too high maintenance.

Fred: What’s the name of the woman you play in the band?

Carrie: Merrill?

Fred: Merrill would be interesting.

Carrie: She wasn’t an option!

Fred: I’m adding her. I’d pluck her out and add her.

Carrie: Well then if we can just choose anyone, I’d marry Gahvin. And you would be this little redheaded prop that I brought around.

Fred: Merrill wears like a white jumpsuit. That’s a million points right there.

Carrie: That’s a Devo fantasy for you.

Girls across America are going to be wearing white jumpsuits to your tour stops now.

Fred: Oh that would be nice. We’re bringing wedding rings with us. We are definitely prepared to have some proposals.

Carrie: We should do a couple marriages on stage. Maybe four different weddings?

Speaking of the “Portlandia” live shows, they sold out across the country in a matter of minutes. Was that a big surprise?

Fred: Yeah. Of course.

Carrie: It’s very flattering. We had no idea how things were going to go. We’re an untested live act, so we are just very flattered that people want to come see us.

What can people expect on the live show? Besides marriage proposals.

Fred: There will be music and a Q & A. We’ll show some clips from the show.

Carrie: We’re going to have some friends joining us on stage.

Fred: We want it to feel like it’s a visit in our living room.

You must have very large living rooms

Fred: Yeah, we do.

Are there going to be costume changes? Are you going to bring various “Portlandia” characters to life on stage?

Fred: We’re going to be dressed as Devo fans in white jumpsuits.

Carrie: I guess there’s no one to take over the show while we change, so we can’t really do it.

Fred: No costume changes. There’s no time.

Carrie: Well, while we’re screening some clips, maybe.

Fred: There’s no time! We can’t!

Carrie: When I saw Madonna’s Like a Prayer tour she changed her costumes six or seven times. She set the bar pretty high.

Fred: We can’t do it! But, no joke, Liberace did a month of Christmas shows at a theater where I was an usher. There were so many costume changes. But we can’t. Really. We can’t do it! There’s no time! We can’t.

Carrie: There’s no screen to go behind and change, I guess. However, there will be partial nudity, yes, but no costume changes.

Fred: Just costumes off. That will be a change.

Can you tell us who some of the special guests and friends will be who will be joining you on stage during the tour?

Fred: No.

Carrie: You can make guesses based on our location. For New York and Los Angeles that will be pretty hard, because there are so many people there. But you can guess anyway.

How are you going to be touring? Two on a match in a van?

Carrie: The actual dates are pretty far apart. The first couple of shows, yes, we’re going to travel by car. It’s just from Portland to Seattle. But the rest of the dates are really spread out from LA to Chicago and New York. So we’re going to travel via the greatest mode of transportation: A jet airplane. I tour enough.

Fred: Not a private jet.

Carrie: No, we can rough it.


Are we going to see some of the same characters from season one in season two?

Fred: There will be some new people, but some of our favorites are coming back, too. Like Candace and Toni from the feminist bookstore.

Carrie: Then there are lots of new characters who appear more than once.

If you had to be one of your characters for the rest of your life who would it be?

Fred: Oh it would have to be one that would keep us healthy and have the nicest things.

Carrie: That’s a nice way to think about it. Most of our characters are pretty healthy.

Maybe not the dumpster divers.

Carrie: Maybe not them. Maybe Kath and Dave are too high strung? Maybe Michelle and Brendan.

Fred: They at least enjoy things and enjoy life. Doug and Claire would definitely take us places.

Will the characters have grown at all during the hiatus? Or is it more of a “Seinfeld”-ian no hugs, no growing idea?

Fred: We got into all of them a little bit more. So you will see different and new aspects of each of them.

How should we spend the last few minutes of this interview?

Fred: Arguing of course.

How about instead, what is the most important thing people should know about the show?

Carrie: It is most important that people know it is on. Then once it’s on, there are a lot of messages in each episode.

Fred: We want them to watch One Moore Episode.

“Portlandia” returns to IFC on January 6th at 10 p.m. ET

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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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