Season 6, Episode 2: Going Grey

Kumail Wants to Believe

5 Reasons Why Kumail Nanjiani is the Ultimate X-Files Fan

Catch Kumail Nanjiani at the 2016 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival.

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There are many things to love comedian Kumail Nanjiani for. His hilarious stand-up. His role on Silicon Valley. His all-star cameos on Portlandia. But the thing that’s perhaps most surprising, and most endearing, is his deep love, bordering on obsession, for The X-Files. No one, and we mean no one, has done more with their appreciation of the ’90s cult hit than Mr. Nanjiani, who’s turned a love of the show into a flourishing side career. With The X-Files returning to television, and the movies airing on IFC, we know you want to believe in Kumail’s super-fandom. Well, trust us, the truth is out there. Here are just a few examples.


5. He has a podcast dedicated to the show

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

For a year and a half, Kumail has hosted The X-Files Files, a podcast in which he and a guest break down specific episodes of the long-running show. Now 56 episodes deep, the podcast has welcomed everyone from Paul Scheer to Jack Black to Fox Mulder himself, David Duchovny. This is a deep dive into all things X-Files from someone who knows what it’s like to be obsessed with Mulder and Scully.


4. He moderated the X-Files Comic-Con panel

Kumail joked that he tried to wait as long as possible before accepting the offer to host the X-Files panel at last year’s Comic-Con, because he didn’t want to seem desperate. He lasted 30 seconds.


3. He hosted his own X-Files marathon

20th Century Fox Television

20th Century Fox Television

Kumail hosted a binge watcher’s dream for X-files fans in Los Angeles in anticipation of the new season. The marathon played six classic episodes, including the terrifying “Home” and the Bryan Cranston-fronted “Drive.” Show writers Glen Morgan and James Wong stopped by to share trivia, like how they made Mulder obsessed with Elvis Presley just to annoy Duchovny.


2. He thought The X-Files was a true story


Growing up in Pakistan, Kumail had limited access to American pop culture. As he told Conan, episodes of The X-Files had a warning before each episode, stating that they were based on true stories. This, unsurprisingly, blew his mind. It turned out to be a huge disappointment when he finally moved to the States, and realized how few aliens and monsters we really had.


1. He’s on the freaking show

@kumailn/Twitter

@kumailn/Twitter

Suffice it to say, all this love has not gone unnoticed. When it was announced that The X-Files was coming back to television, Nanjiani fans knew they had to get their boy on the show. A Change.org petition was set up, demanding he be cast on the new season. This tidal wave of support garnered 91 signatures. Okay, not exactly a movement, but it turns out it didn’t matter. Nanjiami secured a part on his own, and will be in next week’s episode, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” He told Comic Book Resources that he had to call his wife from the set to help him get through a scene because he couldn’t remember his lines. She urged him to calm down, and just think of it as any other show. He, of course, said, “I can’t! They look like Mulder and Scully!”

Missed Portlandia? Watch it now on the IFC App or click here to find IFC on your TV in your area. You can also catch Kumail on the 2016 Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival. 

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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.