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The 8 Funniest Orson Welles Impressions From Pop Culture

Eric Jonrosh Orson Welles

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There is no figure in the history of American filmmaking that weighs quite as heavy as Orson Welles, no pun intended. The actor, writer and director is most famous for Citizen Kane and his panic-inducing radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, but by the time of his death he was reduced to roles in schlock like Transformers: The Movie. Welles’ oversize personality made him rife for parody, and here are some of our favorite takes on the cinematic icon.

8. Pinky and The Brain

Probably the single greatest Welles impersonator in the world is Maurice LaMarche, a Canadian voice actor who has lent his talents to dozens of shows. His most beloved role came in 1993 when he was tapped to play “The Brain” on Animaniacs. The swollen-headed laboratory mouse could only have one voice, and LaMarche’s grandiose take on Orson Welles’ vocal tics made him iconic.


7. The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour

For all of John Candy’s many comedic talents, he was never well-known for impressions. Watching this clip of Candy doing a terrifyingly perfect Orson Welles on The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour could change all that. All of Candy’s big man zaniness is gone, replaced by the kind of self-congratulatory gravitas that Welles made famous. We’d love to see a whole movie of this.


6. Comedy Bang! Bang!

James Adomian stopped by the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast for their Christmas episode in 2014 to portray Orson Welles as the Spirit of Christmas. He absolutely nails the bilious bloviating that Welles was famous for, and the whole clip is well worth listening to, especially when he starts eating the reindeer.


5. The Critic

It’s Maurice LaMarche again, this time given the opportunity to play Welles directly. Cult animated comedy The Critic loved to get its hands dirty with Hollywood’s best and brightest, and whenever Welles showed up things were hilarious. Whether it’s narrating Jay Sherman’s parents’ video will or a spoof of the classic frozen peas commercial, LaMarche’s Welles was a joy to behold.


4.  Drunk History

On Drunk History, a wide variety of talented actors and comedians come forth to re-enact sloshed versions of important events. The making of Citizen Kane is probably one of the most seminal moments in Hollywood history, and hiring Jack Black to play Welles was an inspired choice. It’s hard for him to rein in his natural tendency to mug, but that tension makes the bit even funnier.


3. Ed Wood

Vincent D’Onofrio plays the legendary director in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, and the scene where the Hollywood legend meets the angora-fetishizing trash film king is remarkably emotionally affecting. We can’t help but think that playing Welles gave D’Onofrio some ideas for his role as the Kingpin on Daredevil. A little trivia: Vincent’s lines were dubbed for the flick by none other than our old friend Maurice LaMarche.


2. The Midnight Show

Another excellent James Adomian rendition of Welles, this one for online video production group The Midnight Show. We’re back to the scene of the disastrous Paul Masson wine commercial, fertile ground for Welles spoofs, but this selection of purported “outtakes” just get more and more bizarre as they go on.


1. The Spoils Before Dying

It’s pretty obvious that Will Ferrell’s character in The Spoils Before Dying, Eric Jonrosh, has more than a little bit of Welles in him. That resemblance becomes all too clear in this commercial for “Bagpipes O’Toole Scotch-flavored vodka,” an obviously fictional product. Ferrell’s drunken slurring is a direct homage to Orson stumbling his way through a legendarily painful commercial for Paul Masson “California champagne.”

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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…