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“Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show”

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By Matt Singer

It is very hard to care about something and then laugh about it. This is why so few movies or TV specials featuring stand-up comedians even attempt to explore the world beyond the stage, the spotlight and the microphone. If you’re lucky, you get an opening sketch, maybe a few shots of the comedian arriving at the venue, and then right into the material. So much of the stand-up’s persona is their casual, conversational tone; we know it’s rehearsed, but we like to pretend it’s not. Showing us that it’s a job — and a hard one at that — can easily shatter that illusion.

And so it is something of a minor triumph (a very minor triumph) that “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show” pulls off the dual feat of giving you an honest this-is-what-it-takes portrait of the tough life of a stand-up alongside the actual material. The film takes us on the road with Vaughn and four of his comedian buddies, and while it showcases plenty of jokes from their acts, the film actually spends more time with the guys in between sets. It lets them discuss their backgrounds, express their frustrations and failures, and even introduces us to their sometimes disapproving parents.

The film, directed by Ari Sandel, doesn’t shy away from the tough side of the business. All the talent and the timing in the world doesn’t guarantee success in stand-up. Luck and some fortunate breaks are crucial, and Vaughn, who largely takes a backseat to the four comics in the film, much as he does onstage during the tour, clearly enjoys the fact that he can play benefactor to some needy up-and-comers. Ironically, the funniest guy in the movie is the least successful — when the documentary was shot back in the summer of 2005, Sebastian Maniscalco, who has the strongest on stage persona and clearest comedic perspective, was still waiting tables to pay his rent, and had to take an extended vacation from his day job just to accept Vaughn’s invitation. Happily, his fortunes have improved a bit since then, but it took offers like Vaughn’s to get him there (after the tour’s final performance, a visibly moved Maniscalco thanks Vaughn while apologizing for “acting like a pussy”).

The other three comedians and their frat house humor are largely interchangeable, a bit of the reason why “VVWWCS” (which, as if the title wasn’t already long enough, has an interminable subtitle: “30 Days & 30 Nights — Hollywood to the Heartland”) consistently gives off a pleasant vibe, but rarely a memorable or hilarious one. There’s not much conflict beyond Maniscalco’s struggles either; even when Hurricane Katrina lumbers onto the scene, it does little more than change the tour’s itinerary and give the group a chance to do some goodhearted charity work. By Vaughn’s own admission, rough as things got, the guys never had a bad night, nor did they ever really fight. Which is great for the audiences who are enjoying the live show in theaters across the heartland, but pose kind of a problem for the audiences watching the audiences on the screen, since so much of the movie we see is based on the comedians’ hassle-free travails on the road. That’s a totally different reason not to look behind the curtain. Forget sentimentality — sometimes, banality can be just as dangerous to a comedian.

[Photo: “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show,” Picturehouse Entertainment, 2008]

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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…


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.


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).


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.


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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