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The men who would be Terry Gilliam.

The men who would be Terry Gilliam. (photo)

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If you haven’t heard, today kicks off “Sketchtember” on, and inspired by Nick Schager’s look at the best and worst films derived from sketch comedy, I was reminded of Kelly Makin. Who is Kelly Makin, you ask? Well, besides giving “The Hurt Locker”‘s Jeremy Renner one of his first breaks, Makin enjoys the status of being the de facto sixth member of The Kids in the Hall as the director of 30 episodes of their original series and their eventual 1996 feature “Brain Candy.” And naturally when the Kids recently announced that they will return to Canadian TV for an eight-part murder mystery series called “Death Comes to Town,” Makin was asked to once again call the shots behind the scenes.

Yet Makin never had to slip on a dress in front of the camera as those crazy Kids are so fond of, and has joined a fraternity of directors responsible for the visual style of a comedy troupe, though such directors are largely unheralded for their work. The obvious exception to this rule is Terry Gilliam, who transitioned from creating the animated interstitials between “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” sketches into serving as a full-fledged Python member and eventual auteur extraordinaire.

Working in sketch comedy seems to breed a particular type of filmmaker like Gilliam — if Gilliam could ever be considered a type — one that embraces the absurd and won’t let the need for a three-act structure ruin their good time. The other two filmmakers who leap to mind are “The State”‘s Michael Patrick Jann and The Lonely Island‘s Akiva Schaffer (known for his “Saturday Night Live” digital shorts), both of whom brought their manic sensibilities to their first films, “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and “Hot Rod,” respectively, that they had cultivated from their time on television. It’s a type of film school that’s bound to produce many more graduates as more sketch videos flood the Internet, though whether any will ever scale to the same loony heights as Gilliam is a question; whether they’ll get the credit they deserve is another.

[Photo: Terry Gilliam and Jean Rochefort, “Lost in La Mancha,” IFC Films, 2003]

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

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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