DID YOU READ

“Portlandia’s” Jonathan Krisel answers fan questions on IFC SYNC

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This past Friday, “Portlandia” writer, director and co-creator (and sometimes performer) Jonathan Krisel joined viewers live on IFC SYNC: Portlandia to answer fans’ questions about the show. For those who couldn’t make it to the chat, you can read all of the submitted questions and Jonathan’s answers below.

Don’t forget to log in to IFC SYNC this Friday, March 2nd at 10/9c when our special guest, Kyle MacLachlan, will be joining us for our next fan Q&A.


Whose idea was it to use the “Washed Out” track for the theme? It’s one of my favorite elements of the show.

We were talking about the theme one day. The idea was that Fred and Carrie would record it. Fred brought out the “Washed Out” track as a reference. It was so good. We tried to top it and couldn’t. We did the pilot with it and I just decided we had to have it. Luckily the dude from Washed Out was cool and we got to use it. We really wanted to set a tone that was unlike other comedy shows. It wasn’t in your face rock and roll. It wasn’t in your face comedy. It was Portland comedy. it was mellow.

Carrie is one of my favorite musicians, but who knew she was a great comedy actor? Did she take extra work?

Carrie has always been an amazing performer. I saw Sleater Kinney perform back when I was in college. After I first met her, my sister reminded me how Carrie does the Pete Townsend windmill when she plays guitar. She is very vibrant on stage. Which for the indie rock era was not the norm. What I am trying to say is that she is down. She is ready to go for it. That fearlessness means that she can get really good at her craft. She had done some acting in a film right before we did Portlandia so she knew the drill. She was comfortable on set. I think her biggest asset was staying real. That’s soooo hard to do. She has really grown a lot since we started though. She has much more confidence. I think it is

Are each of the sketches already scripted? Or is a lot of it improvised?

They are all outlined, some more scripted than others, but most of the dialog is improvised. We kind of go and go until we hit on something funny on the day, then we exploit that and stick with that. “aoriver!” was not in the script. Once that came out of Carrie’s mouth, I reworked the whole scene to be about that. One my favorite scenes as a result.

What is your favorite thing about Portland?

Portland is utopia. My favorite thing would be it’s earnestness. I am earnest too.

Who wrote the “Camp Song” for the episode with Andy Samberg episode…. its my favorite. I love it.

I wrote that song with my friend Davin Wood making the music. We also did “Dream of the 1890s.”

How many sketches per episode are deleted, on average?

I think we had 5 duds for the season. They will end up on the DVD.

What was the first sketch written for the show?

Hard to say. The idea was there for Put a Bird on it very early. Carrie had that idea, which is brilliant, I had had a similar idea for a sketch on Tim and Eric called spray paint a raven on a shirt. I knew I wanted to do it as a weird commercial.

I am writing from Melbourne, Australia. Your humour is equally funny here! Does that surprise you?

I am huge fan of Australian comedy. Strictly Ballroom is one of my favorite movies. Definitely the British Commonwealth’s sensibility is where I draw a lot of my influences.

Is it weird that I have the urge to start a hide and seek club?

It was bound to happen. Someone asked me if it was real.

Is the feminist bookstore still open in Portland?

Yes. It’s a great place, but I am constantly putting my foot in my mouth when I am there because it is so funny.

Are the addresses real?

Most of the time, yes. Some of the private residences I change.

Portland’s mayor seems to be a real sport with his supporting role; does the city embrace the show?

Definitely. The mayor has been great. The city has been great. I want to do all of my work in Portland.

Jon, If I mailed you a pair of awesome bike shorts, would you put a bird on it or pickle them?

Duh.

Who came up with the whole “Put a bird on it” joke?

Carrie.

Will Isaac Brock ever grace the show with his presence again?

Maybe. He was awesome to be on the show. We are all big fans.

Now that the show is a huge success, who has the biggest trailer: Carrie or Fred?

They share one trailer. An RV. It’s a very small intimate family on set.

How did you get LaMarcus Aldridge for the show?!!

We knew we wanted a Trailblazer. Penny Marshall is friends with Marcus Camby, but at the last second he had to bail because his wife was having a baby. Good excuse. On of our producers tracked down LaMarcus through his network of friends in Eugene. Weird. He was awesome!

Who thought of the idea for Fred and Carrie to switch genders for Nina and Lance?

That was my idea. When we were writing it, I thought the female character was a little too timid to be played by Carrie. Fred seemed to have the voice of the girl down when he was pitching lines for her to say. I knew that I would lower Carrie’s voice in editing so I made sure they never spoke at the same time. I think that sketch is the funniest one of the series.

I quit my job as a mixologist after you guys tore me apart. What career path would you guys NEVER attack?

No one is safe. I don’t think we tore mixology apart. Other professions yes. My wife is an amateur mixologist right now, making drinks every night. I love awesome mixed drinks. We went to a great place in Chicago where the bartender talked about making her own bitters at home. That ended up in the show.

Who’s kid was Grover? That is my favorite sketch to date.

He was a local actor with a twin brother. What you see in the show, with his head down looking really sad was real. He hated filming.

Any plans to do a donut sketch? (I’m thinking of Voodoo)

We did. “I’m a little guy.”

Is it socially acceptable to drink PBR in Portland?

Yes. On tap.

How long does it take to gather up and experiment with enough ideas to start filming?

Takes about 3 months to write the season.

When are you going to have “Portlandia” visit the Oregon coast?

Good question. I visited the coast last year, it’s pretty beautiful.

Is it hard to schedule shooting due to Fred being on “SNL”?

We shoot during the summer when he is off.

Anything awkward ever happen while filming the show?

People have yelled “F@*k Portlandia” sometimes when we are shooting. It’s kind of awesome.

Has Portland inspired you, beyond just doing the show?

Definitely. I would love to live there.

I’ve always wondered what the folks who work at In Other Words think of their “Portlandia” counterparts?

I think they think it’s funny. I think they have a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

Do they over recycle in Portland? Is it possible to recycle too much?

There is no recycle too much. That’s an oxymoron.

Will there be another season with more cast from “SNL”?

I hope so.

Will there ever be a “Portlandia” movie?

I really want to make a movie with Fred and Carrie for sure.

Do you know what your Myers-Briggs personality type is?

No.

Is there any other city/place you would like to write a sketch like this for?

Not really. Portland is my favorite city of these. I have a much more personal connection to it. I grew up visiting it during the summers. To me it seems like the one place that never looked for outside approval, it never wanted a show, but it got one anyway. It’s super special.

What questions do you have for the people behind “Portlandia”? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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

via GIPHY

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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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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