Portlandia at the South Pole!


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Mikey Kampmann is a young comedian who, when he’s not making cameo appearances in Portlandia episodes (look for him in the park at Spike and Iris’ wedding!) was just about the funniest thing in town until he decided to go AWOL and work as a line cook at the Admundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica for four months. No joke. Still, true to the pioneering, DIY spirit of a true Northwesterner, Mikey has managed to bring Portland to the South Pole, with Oregon-roasted coffee, a hilarious blog, fresh local kale, and even fresher personal style. No small feat at the literal ends of the Earth.

We managed to catch up with him, despite the spotty Polar internet and 21-hour time difference, and chat about aliens, tunneling with Werner Herzog, and comedy on ice.

Portlandia: Get real with us about the Internet situation. Is it fast? Do you have wi-fi? Were you even able to watch Cool Wedding, the episode of Portlandia that you starred in last week?

Mikey Kampmann: We are in the Future at the South Pole, at least by 21 hours, but unfortunately in the Future the Internet is slow. We get Internet in waves depending on a few NASA satellites. One satellite is really slow and the others are faster, but still not fast enough to stream video with any dignity. So no, I haven’t seen any of the new Portlandia episodes and have only heard about the episode I was in last week, like from my local car insurance agent who emailed me to say he recognized me on the show. There is actually some really fast Internet here, but access is only given to Science research, which fair enough as they’re using it to map and understand the Universe at the beginning of time.

Portlandia: What percentage of the people you work with in Antarctica do you think are actually crazy?

Mikey Kampmann: This is a scary question. To be honest, I’ve had to ask myself this question a few times. The thing is we are incredibly isolated and the community is so small that it has become hard at this point to know who is for sure crazy. I think we’re all a little crazy, but not institutionally crazy. Wait, this is an institution though. Um, yeah, I’m not sure. No, nobody is like crazy crazy, but I did ask my friend what he thought and he said 65% including himself of course.

Mikey showing off the South Pole's own organically-grown local kale.

Portlandia: Have you done any comedy at the pole? Also, what is the Antarctican sense of humor like?

Mikey Kampmann: There have been two open mics at the South Pole since I’ve been here, but I haven’t had the energy to perform. I’ve sorta been using this time to take a break from comedy and instead simply focus on being present here during this remarkable time and within this formidable landscape. I have been writing down some jokes though. And I’ve made a few videos with comedy ideas, like Tunnelin’ with Werner Herzog. And I guess I’ve joked a lot about aliens on the blog. That has been my favorite part of the Antarctican sense of humor. My friend and I like to joke speculate about who amongst us here is really a Grey — the name we use for alien. But otherwise it’s a normal place with situational humor, except maybe the situations here are a little more unusual.

Portlandia: What on Earth possessed you to wrest yourself from the youth Utopia of Portland to go live in Antarctica?

Mikey Kampmann: It wasn’t easy. Portland is terribly seductive, which is why I love Portland. When I’m in Portland the rest of the world outside SE Portland doesn’t seem to matter and I’m surrounded by friends and cool shows. Honestly, four months has been a very long time to be away from the home I love, but I had thought about coming to Antarctica for over 3 years and I realized that if I didn’t do it now then I never would. I guess in the end I didn’t want to miss out on coming to the South Pole because I was worried about missing a cool show. And the best part was my friends were incredibly supportive and seemed excited for me. And now, in a way the time has gone by really fast and I feel like I’m returning to Portland with more to offer.

Mikey trading Portland-roasted Legare's coffee for a bottle of vodka and a pistol with "a Russian" at the South Pole.

Portlandia: What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get back to Portland?

Mikey Kampmann: Definitely a hard question, so many choices. I’ve sorta made a tradition of going to DC Vegetarian food cart to get a vegan bacon cheeseburger every time I come home to Portland. I’m not even vegan. And then after that, I think the first thing I’ll do is go to Clinton St. Theater to hang out with Sloppo and go get a drink next door at the pub.

You can follow Mikey’s adventures in the Antarctic on his blog, Mikey Going Down.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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