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Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Peter Giles- Photo Credit: Augusta Quirk/IFC

Carrie's On

10 Awesome Things Carrie Brownstein Did in 2015

Carrie Brownstein returns to Portlandia starting January 21st at 10P on IFC.

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Writer, producer, actor, and bonafide rock star Carrie Brownstein has had an amazing year. Overstuffed with creative projects and lauded collaborations that span music, literature, comedy, and yes, even matrimony, 2015 has seen Carrie’s work explode and disseminate throughout the pop culture landscape with overwhelming critical acclaim. Heck, she’s even an emoji.

Here are Carrie Brownstein’s 10 best moments of 2015.

1. The goth-tastic fifth season of Portlandia

Portlandia goth

Wrapping up their fifth season in March and gearing up for the sixth next month, Carrie and comedy cohort Fred Armisen continue to earn praise from fans and critics for their incisive and hyper-literate skewering of hipster culture and beyond. Few social commentators truly nail the quirks and foibles of modern society quite like Portlandia.


2. Releasing her memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Riverhead Books

Released in October, Carrie Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl covers her complicated relationship with her parents, her whirlwind life on tour, and the co-creation of the Peabody-winning series Portlandia. The book has garnered rave reviews and offers a glimpse of a person who’s accomplished so much.


3. Sleater-Kinney’s long-awaited No Cities to Love album

As if the accolades for her TV and non-fiction work wasn’t enough, Carrie ensured yet another spot on year-end “best of” lists with her band’s latest release No Cities to Love. A decade since their last album, Sleater-Kinney once again wowed fans and critics with 10 raw, emotional tracks and was honored by 40+ outlets for releasing one of the best records of 2015.


4. Her role in Todd Haynes’ acclaimed film Carol

Carrie’s unstoppable work continued with the universally praised independent film Carol. Directed by venerated auteur Todd Haynes, the film is set in 1952 New York City and focuses on a young woman’s infatuation with an older woman going through a divorce. As Genevieve Cantrell, Carrie fills the supporting role with aplomb and rounds out the cast of a movie that’s already earned dozens of awards, over a hundred nominations, and is listed at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.


5. Her live Q&As with Questlove, Amy Poehler and more

Portlandia Q&A

The whirlwind book tour for Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl took Carrie across the country, where she talked about her memoir and career with everyone from Gaby Hoffmann to Amy Poehler. Her Brooklyn stop at Saint Vitus bar featured a lively Q&A with Questlove from The Roots and The Tonight Show, where the duo bonded over Madonna and the TV show The Affair.


6. Hanging out with Gaby Hoffmann on Transparent

As Amazon’s most acclaimed series, Transparent joins the ever-growing number of online programs that push the boundaries of scripted entertainment. So, of course, Carrie’s a part of it, too. As Syd Feldman, she plays Ali Pfefferman’s (Gaby Hoffmann) acerbic lifelong friend and source of comfort amidst her turbulent family.


7. Her appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

In October, Carrie dropped by the Ed Sullivan Theater as a guest on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show to chat about her memoir and offer up a selection from her true passion, traditional English folk ballads. In the clip above, the singer croons her way through a cripplingly maudlin tune about death and sorrow.


8. Officiating a wedding alongside Amy Poehler

Appearing at a live Q&A led by comedy dynamo Amy Poehler, Carrie was asked by two audience members if she could officiate an impromptu wedding. And she, being an ordained minister, was happy to oblige. Even with no speech prepared, Carrie still pulled off an amazingly heartfelt ceremony in front of a crowd who witnessed firsthand that this woman can do anything.


9. Getting miniaturized on Archer

This year, FX’s hilariously loopy animated series Archer welcomed the Portlandia star as a guest voice for a special two-parter season finale. Carrie plays Dr. Sklodowska who, along with the rest of Archer’s crew, is miniaturized and injected into a Russian defector’s body in a surreal parody of Fantastic Voyage. In the clip above, Carrie’s character is warned that warming up to Archer isn’t the wisest choice unless supplied with a heap of antibiotics.


10. Covering The B-52’s with Fred Armisen

Closing out 2015 with a string of live shows in New York City, Sleater-Kinney’s performance at Terminal 5 ended with a surprise appearance by Fred Armisen, who led the band in a pitch-perfect rendition of The B-52’s new wave hit “Rock Lobster.” Joyful and infectious, it was a beautiful topper to a year filled with amazing accomplishments for the Portlandia star.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

via GIPHY

IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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