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Welles Done

The 8 Funniest Orson Welles Impressions From Pop Culture

Eric Jonrosh Orson Welles

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There is no figure in the history of American filmmaking that weighs quite as heavy as Orson Welles, no pun intended. The actor, writer and director is most famous for Citizen Kane and his panic-inducing radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, but by the time of his death he was reduced to roles in schlock like Transformers: The Movie. Welles’ oversize personality made him rife for parody, and here are some of our favorite takes on the cinematic icon.

8. Pinky and The Brain

Probably the single greatest Welles impersonator in the world is Maurice LaMarche, a Canadian voice actor who has lent his talents to dozens of shows. His most beloved role came in 1993 when he was tapped to play “The Brain” on Animaniacs. The swollen-headed laboratory mouse could only have one voice, and LaMarche’s grandiose take on Orson Welles’ vocal tics made him iconic.


7. The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour

For all of John Candy’s many comedic talents, he was never well-known for impressions. Watching this clip of Candy doing a terrifyingly perfect Orson Welles on The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour could change all that. All of Candy’s big man zaniness is gone, replaced by the kind of self-congratulatory gravitas that Welles made famous. We’d love to see a whole movie of this.


6. Comedy Bang! Bang!

James Adomian stopped by the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast for their Christmas episode in 2014 to portray Orson Welles as the Spirit of Christmas. He absolutely nails the bilious bloviating that Welles was famous for, and the whole clip is well worth listening to, especially when he starts eating the reindeer.


5. The Critic

It’s Maurice LaMarche again, this time given the opportunity to play Welles directly. Cult animated comedy The Critic loved to get its hands dirty with Hollywood’s best and brightest, and whenever Welles showed up things were hilarious. Whether it’s narrating Jay Sherman’s parents’ video will or a spoof of the classic frozen peas commercial, LaMarche’s Welles was a joy to behold.


4.  Drunk History

On Drunk History, a wide variety of talented actors and comedians come forth to re-enact sloshed versions of important events. The making of Citizen Kane is probably one of the most seminal moments in Hollywood history, and hiring Jack Black to play Welles was an inspired choice. It’s hard for him to rein in his natural tendency to mug, but that tension makes the bit even funnier.


3. Ed Wood

Vincent D’Onofrio plays the legendary director in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, and the scene where the Hollywood legend meets the angora-fetishizing trash film king is remarkably emotionally affecting. We can’t help but think that playing Welles gave D’Onofrio some ideas for his role as the Kingpin on Daredevil. A little trivia: Vincent’s lines were dubbed for the flick by none other than our old friend Maurice LaMarche.


2. The Midnight Show

Another excellent James Adomian rendition of Welles, this one for online video production group The Midnight Show. We’re back to the scene of the disastrous Paul Masson wine commercial, fertile ground for Welles spoofs, but this selection of purported “outtakes” just get more and more bizarre as they go on.


1. The Spoils Before Dying

It’s pretty obvious that Will Ferrell’s character in The Spoils Before Dying, Eric Jonrosh, has more than a little bit of Welles in him. That resemblance becomes all too clear in this commercial for “Bagpipes O’Toole Scotch-flavored vodka,” an obviously fictional product. Ferrell’s drunken slurring is a direct homage to Orson stumbling his way through a legendarily painful commercial for Paul Masson “California champagne.”

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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