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A Brief Interview With Comedy Death Ray’s Scott Aukerman

A Brief Interview With Comedy Death Ray’s Scott Aukerman (photo)

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Photo: Seth Olenick

Tonight on IFC we are starting off the new year with a bang of new programming: The Larry Sanders Show, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and The Ben Stiller Show all premiere on IFC this week. To accompany our exciting new shows we asked Scott Aukerman from LA’s famed Comedy Death Ray to host a series of interviews with the stars, producers, and writers behind these great comedies. The interviews will be shown during our new comedy blocks that start tonight when Larry Sanders Show hits the air at 11 p.m. ET. Aukerman graciously allowed us to turn the tables on the notorious interviewer and answered a few of our most nosy questions about Comedy Death Ray, a show he may or may not be working on with Patton Oswalt, and why he wants to kill Robert Redford.

IFC Now: I wanted to start this interview off with an easy question. So Scott, how much money do you make?

Scott Aukerman: When I ask people that question, I press them to give a real answer, but most people either give a real answer that sounds like they’re faking or a fake answer. So I’m going to say $600,000 and you can figure out which type of answer that is.

IFC Now: What is the etymology of your catch phrase “What’s up, hot dog?”

Scott Aukerman: I was a guest on my friend Jimmy Pardo’s “Never Not Funny” podcast and they tape right above a 7-11. I was in there right before the taping and overheard a bizarre very uncomfortable conversation that included the phrase “What’s up, hot dog?” I immediately went upstairs and told the entire story and then made it become my catchphrase. But! It’s been retired now. I may have a contest to create a new catchphrase.

IFC Now: How do you describe your show Comedy Death Ray to people who haven’t made it to L.A. recently or ever?

Scott Aukerman: There are no words. None! First the problem is the English language. We would need something more ancient. Cuneiforms perhaps might suffice. But seriously, have you ever seen stand up comedy? It’s one of those.

IFC Now: Who’s your favorite Comedy Death Ray character?

Scott Aukerman: Dismissive Jimmy Stewart.

IFC Now: You are the host of a podcast of the same name, Comedy Death Ray Radio. Who have been some of your favorite guests?

Scott Aukerman: It’s available on iTunes. As opposed to the regulars who are on the show a lot, both Jon Hamm and Weird Al [Yankovic], as famous as those two people are, they are very willing to do anything.

IFC Now: I understand you are also working on a show with Patton Oswalt?

Scott Aukerman: Yes, it exists. We are writing it right now and Fox will decide if they will make it in about a month. It’s funny. It would fall in the category of comedy or maybe drama.

IFC Now: IFC asked you to host a series of interviews with comedians that will air during our new comedy bloc. What can we look forward to in those interviews?

Scott Aukerman: They started out with me getting together with everyone involved in the shows. I originally thought it would be informational, but IFC encouraged me to have fun with the interviews. So I did. For example, I asked Paul F Tompkins three real questions and they never got answered. Ever. There are a bunch of great guests including Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, Janeane Garofalo, [Bob] Odenkirk. Later in the season the interviews and interstitials get even more fun. Other things to look for: In between weeks two and three I will lose 25 pounds.

IFC Now: Wow. What kind of diet was that?

Scott Aukerman: Can’t talk about it.

IFC Now: Let’s just say the ZZ Top diet then. What was your favorite interview?

Scott Aukerman: All the interviews turned out really well. I think it’s because I’m — what do you call it — not a non-com. I worked on one of the shows. I was involved, I know the people. It was an easy interview. People really let down their guard. But, to answer the question: Paul F. Tompkins

IFC Now: Is he right there holding a gun to your head?

Scott Aukerman: Yes.

IFC Now: Paul F. Tompkins it is then. Moving on. Today on Twitter (@IFCdotCom), in relation to the film “The Clearing,” we were asking people a very tough question: Fuck/Marry/Kill Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe, Helen Mirren.

Scott Aukerman: Hmm…FMK all of them in reverse order?

IFC Now: Is that legal in California? Also, no. The rules clearly state no.

Scott Aukerman: Well first, you should never use that language in a professional interview it just gives people an excuse not to read your work. Second, Fuck Mirren since she technically has a vagina. Marry= Defoe because he seems like a stoner and seems like a cool laidback dude. Kill Robert Redford but stage it so it looks like he killed himself via autoerotic asphyxiation.

IFC Now: Bold. A follow up question: F/M/K Todd Margaret, Larry Sanders, or Ben Stiller as Tom Cruise?

Scott Aukerman: Well Ben Stiller has been a movie star for a long time and he really takes care of himself and is the most physically appealing. So fuck him. Marry Larry Sanders. Kill Todd Margaret, because David [Cross] insulted me once.

IFC Now: Do you have a favorite sketch from Mr. Show?

Scott Aukerman: As a fan, the banana episode was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. They took something that was a throw away at the beginning of the episode and then brought it back at the end. It was just amazing. Also, the live sketches they did while they were trying to get the show made — at the Upfront Theater — were amazing. They made me want to write for them.

IFC Now: And you did write for them, right?

Scott Aukerman: Yes, I worked on Mr. Show for the fourth season and the ill-fated movie.

IFC Now: Of Mr. Show, Larry Sanders, Ben Stiller Show, and Action! Which would you rather watch for all eternity?

Scott Aukerman: Action! Definitely. The title implies excitement. Would you rather watch Airport 77 or Airplane! You would watch “Airplane!” because of the exclamation.

IFC Now: So …Comedy Death Ray! then?

Scott Aukerman: Maybe!

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…