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DID YOU READ

Jeff Garlin on Improv, Little League, and Dealin’ with Idiots

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The world of youth sports can be a stressful, challenging experience, filled with awkward social interactions and unexpected life lessons. And that’s just among the parents.

In his new film, Dealin’ with Idiots, veteran comedian Jeff Garlin explores the strange world of Little League — specifically, the eccentric parents, guardians, and coaches that populate the periphery of such leagues — with some help from a few friends and the real-world characters that inspired the film. The film features an impressive cast of familiar actors (including Fred Willard, Bob Odenkirk, Timothy Olyphant, Gina Gershon, and Kerri Kenney) ad-libbing their way through bizarre interactions with fictional comedian Max Morris (played by Garlin), who has made it his mission to learn what these weird people are like when they’re not anywhere near a baseball field.

IFC spoke with Garlin about the film, which he starred in and directed.

IFC: So, I can probably guess the answer to this, but where did the whole idea for the movie come from?

JEFF GARLIN: Going to my son’s little league games!

IFC: Were the people there really this weird?

GARLIN: They were actually worse, because they weren’t funny and they had no redeeming qualities.

IFC: It seems like a good chunk of the film is improvised. Is that the case?

GARLIN: It’s not a good chunk. The whole thing was improvised.

IFC: Wow. Okay, so as a director, do you find it’s easy to direct a project with everyone improvising and ad-libbing? I mean, you never know what to expect from any take or what direction it will go…

GARLIN: Well, that’s what I like doing. That’s what I enjoy most.

IFC: Was there ever a point when you thought, “Man, I wish I had scripted something here…”?

GARLIN: There’s always going to be scenes you think would’ve been better scripted. That’s always going to happen. That happened on Curb Your Enthusiasm every couple of episodes. So maybe there were one or two things I wish I could’ve scripted.

IFC: I imagine there must have been some surprises during filming with the way certain elements developed. Was there anything that really surprised you as you were making the film?

GARLIN: It all surprised me, because I’m so entertained by everybody in the movie. I was surprised by everything they did and said.

IFC: The cast is fantastic. How did you connect each of the actors with the roles they played?

GARLIN: As I start writing things, I begin thinking about who would be good for what. I got only positive feedback from everybody in terms of wanting to do it, and as time wore on and we got closer to filming they said, “I want to talk to you about my character.” I said, “Just do what you want and we’ll adjust it there.”

IFC: That’s a pretty amazing amount of flexibility with the story. It seems like it would be a daunting task to make a film that’s so loose and unscripted…

GARLIN: Not daunting for me.

IFC: With all of that improvising, you must have accumulated a lot of footage. How much footage did you end up with?

GARLIN: My first cut was almost two hours, but I liked making it shorter [and] making it funnier.

IFC: Did you learn anything about the Little League experience while you were making this?

GARLIN: No, I learned nothing, to be honest with you.

IFC: Huh. Okay, I expected some sort of insightful answer there about what the experience taught you…

GARLIN: Right, I know! You expect I would’ve learned something, but I learned nothing.

IFC: So would you recommend the Little League experience to other parents?

GARLIN: I recommend nothing. I don’t know anything. I wouldn’t recommend it one way or another. They’d have to be motivated on their own with that one.

IFC: So what else do you have going on these days?

GARLIN: I’m still continuing on with my podcast, By The Way. I also have a new show on ABC called The Goldbergs, and I have a documentary I’m producing called Finding Vivian Maier.

IFC: What’s the documentary about?

GARLIN: It’s about an unknown, but now known, street photographer.

IFC: How did you get involved with the film?

GARLIN: I read about it.

IFC: Anything more you can tell us about it? It sounds interesting…

GARLIN: It’s sort of a mystery and a biography because this woman was a nanny and never put her pictures out publicly, and now that they’ve been discovered she’s considered one of the world’s most famous street photographers. But she died before all this happened.

IFC: That sounds fascinating. But before we’re through here, let’s change gears a bit. I feel like Curb Your Enthusiasm, which you produced and had a recurring role in, was this great product of its time and so unique. I’m not sure there’s any show right now that’s really filling that void, either — or even could, for that matter. Are there any shows that remind you of Curb Your Enthusiasmin some ways these days?

GARLIN: I think that you have something like Girls, for example, that’s very real and interesting and different from what’s going on. I also think Veep is similar to Curb Your Enthusiasm, so yeah, I think they’re out there.

IFC: So, after making Dealin’ With Idiots, can we expect to see on that side of the camera more often? Did you enjoy the experience?

GARLIN: I love it. It’s very creative. It’s very exciting. There’s nothing negative about it.

Dealin’ with Idiots is out in limited release now and available digitally via Amazon and iTunes. You can find out more about Jeff’s current and upcoming projects at JeffGarlin.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.

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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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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.

via GIPHY

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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