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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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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.