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DID YOU READ

Les Claypool guest blog: Primus frontman on the glory of the Three Stooges

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With IFC airing our annual Three Stooges marathon beginning Saturday at 6/5c, we are fortunate enough to have the legendary singer/bassist of Primus, Les Claypool, to help us usher in the wacky trio. So without further ado, take it away Les…

So, I’ve been asked by the fine yet potentially confused folks down at IFC to write random pieces of ramblings for their online site. Why they would want the opinion of a reckless and somewhat lopsided finger wiggling bass wrangler such as myself is speculative. I did an interview recently with an inquisitive reporter from said entity and though technology did it’s best to turn my profound words into gibberish, (our Skype connection from Santiago Chile made my voice sound like one of the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica—era 1978) the interview deciphered into a fine pile of Claypoolesque one-liners that reflect my unique if not warbled perspective of classic film. It must have impressed somebody because they have offered me huge piles of cash to sit in my favorite chair and type glorious nonsense onto my fairly outdated Macbook. Well, they offered me piles of something. So, here we go.

What the hell am I supposed to write about? Yes, I’m an opinionated bastard that is substantially barnacled by years in the brackish waters of the entertainment industry. Thus far in my life I’ve made what is known in the music world as a “shitload” of records and have toured the world several times making wretched racket for the masses. I’ve penned a novel. And, above all, I wrote, directed, acted in and have been thoroughly sodomized by the process of making, a film.

“So, where to start?” I say to myself as I scratch my whiskered chin. I flip on IFC this fine Saturday morning and “glory behold”, The Three Stooges! IFC is undoubtedly the greatest channel on the planet at this moment in time. Moe just ate a pancake that he inadvertently covered with glue instead of syrup and now Larry is pouring boiling water over his face to free his stuck lips. This stuff is obviously not based on reality because reality TV has never been this clever. Curly Howard could quite possibly be one of the greatest prophets of our time. “Drop the vernacular!” the judge says. Curly responds, looking down at the hat he is clutching in his hand, “It’s a doy-bee!” (the Curly-esque pronunciation of “Derby”). Genius.

This all may not mean much to most, especially my wife who looks at the screen like someone who his looking into the bottom of a half-full kitchen trash compactor noting not so much the quality of the content as much as the condensed quantity and randomness of it all (less the aroma of course). To me, the Stooges help jog portions of my memory. Like a CPU scanning a fragmented hard drive, I remember my Step Dad’s favorite quotes (he has always been a true Stooges aficionado). I myself have been known to inflict these gems upon my children since they were tykes. Living in the country it is not uncommon to see deer grazing about the hills and fields on a daily basis. “Look Daddy, a deer!” and with those sightings, myself being the chipper Ol’ Daddo that I am, I ask, “Does the deer have a little doe?”, knowing full well that my kids after years of prior inquiries, will respond, “Yeah, two bucks!”. Actually, they usually screw it up not having the precise, well-honed timing and comic genius of Moe, Larry, Curly and sometimes Shemp. Joe wasn’t horrible but Curly-Joe? Fuck that guy.

I actually had someone once debate me that Shemp was better than Curly. Moron. I write “someone” as if there is any possibility that it could have been anything but a male. Women take to the Stooges like a salmon takes to sand paper. I always thought that if I ever met a woman that liked the Stooges I’d lick her in all the right places and marry her up immediately. Unfortunately the woman I chose, or chose me depending on who you talk to, is not a Stooges fan. Though she does hold the rare card of being one of the few females that actually listened to and enjoyed RUSH in high school, the glory of the “three later-day-wise-men” elude her. Funny thing, RUSH and The Three Stooges = no chicks. Is it a coincidence that RUSH used to start their shows with the opening theme song from those old Stooges shorts? Ah, the profoundness of it all.

For me film represents slices of time. Not just in the sense that a contemporary piece reflects the fashion, technology and viewpoint of the day but also the notion of what you as an individual may have been doing and where you were in life when you first experienced or discovered that bit of entertainment. When I watch the Stooges a huge warm rush of my past comes over me. I see my Stepfather, Buckhorn beer can in hand, cackling away at and finishing the sentences of Curly. I see myself sitting at the dining room table (strategically placed for full view of the TV) as I plodded through my homework while keeping one eye on the boys and their search for the “Rooten’ Tooten’ Diamond”. I see my high school buddy Brian Kehoe spinning around the dirty, beer bottle littered floor pretending to be Curly to impress the girls. Ironically it actually worked for him. Glory days indeed.

I read the Stooge’s biography years ago and it is a bittersweet tale. They had their balls suspended over the campfire by the critics. I read how Curly, feeling unattractive to women because of his self inflicted baldness, used to try to booze and gorge his woes away to the point of extreme ill health. For decades they were deceived by their film company into believing they were worth less than they were, subsequently being screwed out of unknown sums of big cash, doubtfully receiving much in the way of residuals as their faces appeared in syndication for decades. But, like most of what we see, being an audience not privy to the private drama, The Three Stooges is a magical, campy, slapstick slab of ridiculousness that has for generations helped us to escape what can sometimes be the doldrums of daily life, even if it is just afternoon homework.

The days of the shorts before the film in our local cinema is long gone, replaced by endless previews, but entities like IFC have the foresight to show these wondrous jewels so that we, those who remember the glory, can call our children into the room and away from their computers, video games and iPads to demand that they view, much to their overt dismay, black and white footage of a comedy team that sewed the seeds of influence for many a respected contemporary comic (if not at least the guys from Jackass). I once heard some ungodly statistic of the number of children who were injured in the heyday of the Three Stooges by replicating of some of their violent comedic antics. I’ll tell you what, I’d much rather have my kids poke a random eye or be bonked on the head by an ironing board or hot poker than have the wretched social scaring of resembling, imitating or being influenced in anyway by the antics of the likes of Snooki or the Situation.

But then again, I’m just a bass player.

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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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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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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…