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DID YOU READ

Banned in 73 Countries

Spoils Before Dying Author Eric Jonrosh Opens Up About Banned Books and Playboy Bunnies

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The Spoils Before Dying was the book the government didn’t want you to read.

The sultry pulp-noir murder mystery was banned in 73 countries and burned in even more, was thought lost to the ruins of time and the small-mindedness of man, but one copy remained. Starting on July 8 at 9p, writer-turned-director Eric Jonrosh (Will Ferrell) will bring his masterpiece The Spoils Before Dying to IFC, kicking off an epic three-night event.

The epic tale of sin and lust bubbling beneath the Los Angeles 1950s jazz scene, will transport viewers into the gritty underbelly of the music world through Jonrosh’s words and the skills of stars Michael Kenneth Williams, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Sheen and more.

To help prepare the world for the wonders of his masterwork, Jonrosh opened up to Playboy about love, lust, jazz and The Spoils Before Dying:

PLAYBOY: Where have you been all these years?

JONROSH: In Hollywood mostly. I keep a low profile—not like my younger days when I seemed to make it into the gossip rags every time I got into a car or a young starlet. [Chuckles.] Now I’m confined to a few semi-welcoming watering holes and the guesthouse of an old lover. I get out for a steak or a lobster or a plate of eggs, but for the most part I park myself at my favorite booth in Billingsley’s, drink the house wine and wait for the wine to run out or my heart to stop, whichever comes first.

PLAYBOY: Are you excited about the release of your long lost masterpiece, The Spoils Before Dying?

JONROSH: I am. I really am. It was banned in 73 countries, you know. You have to remember this was the late ’50s and Americans were even more idiotic than they are today. After the war, people feared everything, and that fear level drove people insane. The Communists, the homosexuals, the drug addicts and jazz musicians—America feared them all. Fear led to repression and repression is the enemy of art. Thus the film of my novel The Spoils Before Dying was pulled before it was ever seen. All copies were destroyed and I was brought before Congress to defend the book and the film.

PLAYBOY: How did that go?

JONROSH: I was exiled to Europe for 15 years. It went splendidly.

PLAYBOY: What’s the film about?

JONROSH: A jazz musician is accused of murdering his old girlfriend and he has three days to clear his name. It’s a pretty simple mystery really. The best stories are simple. I fool around a bit with the genre. I was always a bit of a showman. I play with the conventions. It’s not really done anymore but I challenge the viewer. Not like today. Filmmakers today serve up nothing but chocolate Johnnycakes and cotton candy. Old Eric likes to throw a handful of flies into their complacent soup and let them eat that.

PLAYBOY: The Spoils Before Dying covers a wide range of subjects: homosexuality, commercialism vs. art, drugs, sex and racial equality. Do you now see why this movie was banned in 1958?

JONROSH: Did I understand why some people thought it was too dangerous for the American public? Sure. Did I agree with those people? I was blacklisted. I couldn’t direct a cat food commercial… well, that’s not true, I was hired to direct a cat food commercial. I stole the money and shot Hard Ride the Spoils in New Mexico in eight days, a motorcycle picture with lots of action and lots of big-breasted women shot in the style of Ozu. It flopped. The cat food company was furious. [Laughs.]

PLAYBOY: You never really played the Hollywood game.

JONROSH: No sir, I did not. For that reason I was forced to finance most of my films myself. I wrote them. I directed them. Hair and makeup, effects, stunts? All me. Remarkable really. I suspect if I had learned to play the game a little better I wouldn’t be living in a guest house miles from the nearest glass of Beaujolais.

PLAYBOY: In The Spoils of Babylon you used a mannequin as a main character. Will we be seeing more mannequins in The Spoils Before Dying?

JONROSH: I cast the best person for the part. If that person is a lifeless hunk of plastic then so be it. That lifeless hunk of plastic could act circles around most of the talent in this town. But, yes, she does make a brief appearance.

PLAYBOY: What’s next?

JONROSH: I’m to be interviewed by PLAYBOY this afternoon.

PLAYBOY: Um, yes? Are you familiar with PLAYBOY?

JONROSH: Don’t be an idiot. I dated Bunnies in the ’60s. I was a Key Club member. In those days they had clubs, Chicago, New York, Des Moines, Kansas City, all over. I basically lived in the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Playboy Club from ’72 to ’74.

PLAYBOY: Thank you, Mr. Jonrosh.

JONROSH: What? Hey, wait a sec. There’s no wine with this meal?

PLAYBOY: I’m sorry this isn’t a meal.

JONROSH: Come on, guy. Seriously? No wine? Who are you? The junior varsity version of a man? Okay… can I get a ride somewhere?


The Spoils Before Dying premieres on IFC on Wednesday, July 8 at 9p. Watch the trailer below:

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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….

E.coli-class-

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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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