DID YOU READ

Portlandia at the South Pole!

Mikey-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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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.