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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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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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