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Being Willfully Obtuse Is Not The Same As Being Funny
May 8, 2012 8:12 PM   Subscribe

In one short clip from the Between Two Ferns TV special Tina Fey torpedoes and turns out the cringe/awkward humor genre by refusing to play along with Zach Galifanakis' shtick [alternate link]
posted by The Whelk (104 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't understand this post. It's not "probably" all scripted, it is, definitely
posted by Patbon at 8:17 PM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


Here's another article that includes the video.

Even if it's scripted, the discussion is interesting at times.
posted by inigo2 at 8:18 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


working link
posted by R. Schlock at 8:18 PM on May 8, 2012


It's not nearly as funny or painful as the Charlize Theron interview.
posted by R. Schlock at 8:19 PM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Working link should probably aim at the actual Between Two Ferns website.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:20 PM on May 8, 2012


I don't even know if I want to watch this because it can't possibly be as good as what I'm imagining
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:23 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh man, she totally owned him! And he's so stupid he went ahead and edited it down, created a lead-in and lead-out, and handed it over to his guy/gal who uploads things to the Internet. God, what a burn on him!
posted by benito.strauss at 8:26 PM on May 8, 2012 [37 favorites]


I suppose the only place Galifianakis could go with this shtick was to finally completely dismantle it on the air. It's both impressive and perplexing, as, this was, like, the first episode, and where do you go now? Any additional meta levels, like having another comic come on to point out that this exchange was pre-scripted (which, to some degree, it almost certainly was) is just going to offer diminishing returns.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:26 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I feel like I was duped into watching that.
posted by crunchland at 8:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The whole special.
posted by waraw at 8:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


People are actually naive or blind enough to think that this wasn't a freakin scripted segment? Jesus. God help us.
posted by spicynuts at 8:28 PM on May 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


This, of course, alludes to you -- it was much better than I'd imagined. Take the risk.
posted by lilac girl at 8:28 PM on May 8, 2012


Inigo2's linked version of the article is visible outside the US, where those which embed the Comedy Central video aren't.

In the end, Zach Galifanakis felt superfluous, though. I'd rather have listened to 2 minutes of Fey making that argument with her own pacing, instead of trying to fit in time for him to talk.
posted by frimble at 8:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, though, I think Bunny Ultramod's analysis is good. I've liked a lot of Between Two Ferns episodes, but I'd guess this was the last one, as I don't know how they can do any more. They're not so artful that they can keep doing the illusion after it's been explained, like Penn & Teller do.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:32 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The higher production values aren't doing it any favors.
posted by Kwine at 8:33 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


wow, the craziest thing is that it's not a bit at all.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:34 PM on May 8, 2012


Between Two Ferns is always amazing.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:36 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So what if it's scripted? Are any Galafianakis fans surprised that he might think about these things in relation to his work? It's brilliant. And incisive in a way that no indignant article could ever be.
posted by cmoj at 8:38 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the same shtick in every one of these videos. Zach plays the straight and the guest gets to knock out the zingers by offering thinly veiled but surprisingly truthful anecdotes. Or they just play along with him like Ferrell and O'Brien. But watch the one with Bruce Willis giving a 3 minute monologue about his life, and laugh it up because it's obviously true.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 8:39 PM on May 8, 2012


So what if it's scripted?

You're misinterpreting the reaction. We're just surprised anyone thinks it's real.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:39 PM on May 8, 2012


This is like when Space Ghost was taking phone calls, and they had to put a tag on the bottom of the screen reading:

Do not call in. This is a cartoon joke show. What are you, stupid?
posted by anazgnos at 8:47 PM on May 8, 2012 [40 favorites]


As a big fan of the previous episodes of Between Two Ferns and Tina Fey and Zach Galifiniakis, it's amazing to me how unfunny this is.
posted by !Jim at 8:50 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


now if someone can take apart the whole tim/eric thing
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:51 PM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


To be fair, I'd totally call if I could talk to Space Ghost. Especially if I could prank call.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:51 PM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


Ah, comedy. I love you, comedy, and your ability to make Metafilter members pointlessly disagree at great length about whether things are funny or not. Because I find that funny, and so you, comedy, are fractal.

I love fractals.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:53 PM on May 8, 2012 [29 favorites]


watch the one with Bruce Willis

Oh, god, that one is the best.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fractals are pretty unfunny.
posted by ODiV at 9:12 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have you ever like really looked at a fractal?
posted by Flashman at 9:14 PM on May 8, 2012


What, you mean with my eyes? Fuck that shit.
posted by aubilenon at 9:17 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


The difference between this one and the previous ones is that in those, the guests complain about what a terrible talk show host the fake Zach Galifianakis is. In this one, Tina Fey is complaining about what a terrible fake talk show host the real Zach Galifianakis is.

That's a pretty big difference. It breaks the fourth wall in a big way, possibly irreparably. It destroys the premise.

(Granted, the premise is just a toned-down version of Martin Short's "Jiminy Glick" with deliberately shitty production values. Still.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:18 PM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


I watched it and thought the opposite. She's totally playing along and doing her own take by going meta.
posted by Argyle at 9:22 PM on May 8, 2012


In the end, Zach Galifanakis felt superfluous
For me it was in the beginning. I just don't like this guy. He creeps me out.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:26 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Charlize Theron one is great. There's a whole segment in there that only a South African would get, the bit about the pronunciation of her name, which she gets endless shit for in SA.
posted by dvdgee at 9:32 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


She's totally playing along and doing her own take by going meta.

Exactly. This is what intertextuality, the post-irony era, and NBC comedies have given us. We need to go deeper.

Besides, if Tina Fey was really delivering that for realsies to attack and criticize Zach, he wouldn't have been able to so easily shrug it off with "That's pretty good... for a girl." And I have a feeling that even though she may believe in what she was saying, she's intentionally delivering it in an abrasive way as a character, much like how Liz Lemon delivers feminist sermons at inopportune times. All part of the act, folks.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:39 PM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's almost like Zach Galifanakis wants to do new things and is letting the preeminent woman in comedy destroy the thing he's doing now. Or something.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 9:42 PM on May 8, 2012


I hope Zach can still sleep OK on his piles of cash.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:55 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


IT'S A CARTOON JOKE SHOW
posted by anazgnos at 10:03 PM on May 8, 2012


Now I'm trying to figure out if the people in this thread who are pretending that the interview segment was 'real', which is to say that what was said at any point was anything but self-referential improv-inside-a-planned-framework, are doing so in order to make a metacommentary.

The thinking of such a wacky jokester might go like this as I imagine it:

a) Zach (and Scott Aukerman) had a pretty amusing idea in the whole Two Ferns thing, with Zach (who is also now a highly-paid and sought-after movie star) pretending to be interviewing other famous entertainment people but playing the same diffident, passive-aggressive character he used to play in his standup and pre-fame talk show days. Having the (mostly) actors he 'interviews' play it straight by pretending not to be in on the joke (and giving the slightest nod to the artifice by having them always run up a fat joke flag for the audience) adds to the fun. The grand irony of Zach or the guest saying things that are 'true' or at least skirt perilously close to unvarnished truth draws us into the game, which is at least in part to point up the artificiality of celebrity culture, by being even more artificial.

b) The format folds in on itself self-referentially to make fun of celebrity culture and the banality of 'stars' both because Zach himself is a 'star' and because the famous people who go along with the whole gag are willing to let themselves look bad, or at least silly, but only to people who don't understand the fiction and artifice. So Between 2 Ferns isn't just ironically commenting on the culture of fame, it's also commenting on itself: it's meta-commentary, and it's also meta-comedy, in that it's comedy that is to some extent about comedy itself.

c) So, if I pretend in this thread not to get it and believe that what was happening in the Tina Fey clip was her 'refusing to play along', but everyone knows that I understand it to be just another loop in the self-referentiality of the comedy and the subject it's making fun of, then that's even more fun, because with my comments here, I'm performing the same comedic function in this thread as Tina Fey did within the 'interview', which is the same comedic function that Between 2 Ferns itself is fulfilling, and now we're three levels deep at least into the comedy inception.

But I suspect that I may be overthinking it a bit, and overestimating the commitment some of our fellow Mefites have to what would be a very subtle gag.

Anyway, I reckon the series is pretty deadpan hilarious even if you just enjoy Zach doing his Doctor Steve Brule schtick and don't pay any attention to the rest.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:12 PM on May 8, 2012 [22 favorites]


Dear America,

Please don't try and introduce irony into your 'comedy'. We totally already own that shit.

Love,
The United Kingdom
posted by metaxa at 10:13 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


how many levels of meta will it take to insulate me from crippling (economic?) depression
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:25 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think you made a slight transcription error there. I'm pretty sure that was supposed to be:

We totally already own that shit, love.

- The United Kingdom

posted by ODiV at 10:26 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not even a 'Usian' thrown in there? Come on man, I've written better trolls by tripping and falling on the keyboard.
posted by Kwine at 10:29 PM on May 8, 2012


I don't see how it's even remotely funny if you truly think it is unscripted.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:30 PM on May 8, 2012


Dear United Kingdom (actually, just England),

Please stop strutting about loudly proclaiming the superiority of your culture. Though doing this was an important part of your history, it has very much gone out of style.

Love,
Vast geographic realms of Earth
posted by Winnemac at 10:32 PM on May 8, 2012 [22 favorites]


Kwine: "The higher production values aren't doing it any favors."

Yeah. It was a bit disconcerting to see that this was filmed by camerapeople who clearly knew what they were doing. It threw off the entire aesthetic that contributed to making the original episodes funny. Instead, this felt like SNL on a bad night.
posted by schmod at 10:33 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apocryphon has it right. The sexist "for a girl" bit that he slips in at the last minute shows that he's aware of even the most scathing criticism of his shtick and doesn't care. Besides, why else would a fully edited segment leak if he didn't want people to see it exposing him for the hack they may accuse him of being. He has more depth than people realize, it seems.
posted by hellslinger at 10:44 PM on May 8, 2012


I sometimes find myself wishing The United Kingdom would take back Ricky Gervais, so maybe some sort of comedy cap-and-trade arrangement could be reached.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:45 PM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


Remember jokes?

Good times.
posted by incessant at 10:48 PM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah, yeah, but what does this say about black people? You people are being racists without realizing it, without realizing it, you don't get it. By liking it, you are basically destroying their livelihoods. You should all be ashamed. If not for people like me, you would never know that this is a fraud, a fraud that is destroying what America could be. An America of equality, a nation with real community. You make me sick, I'm quitting the internet, I give up. This is impossible.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:55 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


LOUD NOISES!
posted by chambers at 11:10 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember jokes?

Good times.


I'm sorry, America just doesn't want jokes in her comedies anymore.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:45 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Working link should probably aim at the actual Between Two Ferns website.

After a few minutes of vaguely promising introductory material, I got 4 full commercials before I bailed. The last one was something about skydiving dudes using their smartphones to capture the moment with Laurie Anderson's O Superman as a soundtrack. I guess Laurie gave the ok to that one . . . ? Ew, yuck, either way.

At any rate, rather depressed now and haven't seen even a quarter of the actual thing. I'm going to bed.
posted by treepour at 12:21 AM on May 9, 2012


Dear United Kingdom (actually, just England),

Please stop strutting about loudly proclaiming the superiority of your culture. Though doing this was an important part of your history, it has very much gone out of style.

Love,
Vast geographic realms of Earth


An american, on an american website, in a discussion about an american show clip featuring two american comedians making a scripted gag about american comedy complaining about English cultural imperialism.

Who says americans don't do irony?
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:29 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who says americans don't do irony?
Brazilians.
posted by kavasa at 12:35 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


"That's pretty good... for a girl."

I always liked the bit in "Sign O' the Times" where Prince said that to Sheila E.
posted by Decani at 12:37 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey America,

If you are going to do geoip content restriction you really shouldn't make an American flag your background for the piss off message.

Unless the idea is that you want people to hate your flag. In which case carry on.
posted by srboisvert at 12:52 AM on May 9, 2012


[I added inigo2's link as an alternate. (works here; let me know if it doesn't work for anyone)]
posted by taz at 12:59 AM on May 9, 2012


... the preeminent woman in comedy ...

Isn't that the kind of thing Fey is talking about, though? Nobody ever says 'the preeminent man in comedy' because it's taken for granted that male comedy is where it's at and female comedy is this separate thing that is a lesser art, a mere reflection. It's condescending.
posted by Ritchie at 2:09 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unless I misunderstood that completely and it was meant as 'the best person in comedy, also a female', in which case sorry: I'm tired.
posted by Ritchie at 2:11 AM on May 9, 2012


Tina Fey gets going at the 16:33 mark for anyone else who wants to tear on right through to the 16:33 mark.

Weird collection of sponsors: Axe Body spray, 5-hour energy something ("for when I'm going to the gym") and--obviously--LLBean, the world's foremost manufacturers of square clothing.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:24 AM on May 9, 2012


Tina Fey torpedoes and turns out the cringe/awkward humor genre by refusing to play along with Zach Galifanakis' shtick

No. That did not happen. Nothing even remotely close to that happened.

LIST OF THINGS ABSENT FROM VIDEO BUT PRESENT IN TAGS

awkward
embarrassment
cringe
comdey

posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:38 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


This thread hurt my brain; like stavros, I can't understand what the hell is going on here.

B2F is hilariously funny, and has been since it started- I was 'meh' on Galifianikis even after "The Hangover", until I saw B2F and was laughing my ass off. The "joke" is obvious- the 'awkward/hostile interviewer' is a standard comedy bit going back decades, but that doesn't mean it can't still be funny in the right hands. Everyone is in on it, and that includes Tina Fey- she isn't even the first to address the meta elements or break the fourth wall, since in some ways Bradley Cooper (when he questioned Zach as Zach, and why he was 'being mean' when they'd acted together in a movie), as well as Steve Carell to a lesser extent did that in their segments.

There is nothing remarkable about the Fey clip, as it's like all the other B2F clips: amusing in the same way, but tailored for some element of the 'guest'. Natalie Portman's disgust, Bruce Willis' intimidating hostility, Theron's overheated sexuality, Michael Cera's man-child insecurities, the Conan/Andy relationship joke, etc.... and presumably, Tina Fey as the shrill beanplater. That's half the gag: how different people are set up in each clip to play into or or counter to their real/perceived personas, so that each B2F segment is not exactly a copy, but more a freeform variation that fits the person being "interviewed".

I mean, The Whelk is not obtuse- so I don't get why he posted this thread with such a misleading description: Fey torpedoes nothing here, she and Galifianikis presumably sat down and crafted this scenario and script together, maybe gave it an improv runthrough or two, then shot it for the camera. It is more meta in that she's ripping on his joke, rather than ripping on him (again, Steve Carell being the example there where he came out hostile), and maybe this is how Galifianikis wanted to go out with the first and last episodes of this "show", but the idea that Tina Fey is unveiling some truth that Galifianikis didn't help her co-wrote is absurd.

When did Metafilter become populated by such humorless literalists?
posted by hincandenza at 2:41 AM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


OMG guys, Branson was SO MEAN to Zach when he kept ignoring him and reading his book like that. Unbelievable. I'm going to go to OWS to stick it to the man, unless it is off because it is raining.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:10 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


She seemed really, I dunno, shrill.

...but seriously - as the whole shtick is, "I will act like an ass and provoke my guest (a movie star who wants people to like them so people will then go see their movies) into acting like an ass, and then I will ask them why they were being an ass." (This was girls in 6th grade for me, so there's a certain familiarity there.) Then, some guests get all, "I'm going to 'out-smart' Galifanakis!" which is funny and for me part of the appeal. OK. In Fey's performance, she never seems to be react to his shtick, she comes on with her own agenda and, frankly, overpowers him and his thing. I liked that, I don't really care what she was talking about - though she was perfectly right.
Also I agree, as noted above, the setting/ camera work is a fucking disaster. As cable access it was great, like this it's just not. Unless he had dressed himself up to look like Babara Walters - then maybe we'd be back on the right track.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:26 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think we are ALL between two ferns.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:47 AM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


...but seriously - as the whole shtick is, "I will act like an ass and provoke my guest (a movie star who wants people to like them so people will then go see their movies) into acting like an ass, and then I will ask them why they were being an ass." (This was girls in 6th grade for me, so there's a certain familiarity there.) Then, some guests get all, "I'm going to 'out-smart' Galifanakis!" which is funny and for me part of the appeal. OK. In Fey's performance, she never seems to be react to his shtick, she comes on with her own agenda and, frankly, overpowers him and his thing. I liked that,

I, er. I. I can't tell if you're joking or not.

None of those things were going on. Honest. In this clip or any of the other B2F episodes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:11 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is everybody here doing some crazy metacommentary in-character about this or if not I just don't know anything anymore.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:17 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


We're just surprised anyone thinks it's real.

We're just surprised that you think there's anyone who thinks this is real. It's a bit like watching the Undertaker stuff a 6'5" man in gold tights and facepaint into a coffin, and having the person next to you stand up and declare that they can't believe anyone doesn't believe it's scripted.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:38 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joking?

Well I don't know but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to be on this young man's talk show.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:45 AM on May 9, 2012


Shut up about the culture and go back to the only things your really good at -- 80's synth music and beer. binge drinking and knife fights.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:49 AM on May 9, 2012


I'm actually kind of giggling a little bit because of whoever pulled the "irony is UK only" nationalist trump card. I assume it must have been an attempt at irony itself because it has been decades since Britain was the undisputed "ironic" nation.

This whole conversation is kind of wonderfully absurd really. Between Two Ferns was a wonderful source of laughs when I was in high school. HIGH SCHOOL. The absurdity of some of the reasoning here over what's basically a silly little celebrity spoof deserves some kind of Chuck Klosterman medal.

B2F should always be mentioned with its spiritual double, the Michael Showalter Showalter, which is basically the same premise with slightly more hostility. Here's Michael Cera (one of my favorite Cera things ever), Andy Samberg, and, the crown jewel, Zach Galifianakis himself.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:58 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've only seen the Bruce Willis episode, and I refuse to admit there are any more.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:16 AM on May 9, 2012


HIGH SCHOOL YOU SAY? HOW SPLENDID!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:18 AM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Didn't Martin Short already bring the fake interviewer thing to its logical conclusion with Jimminy Glick?

Also, the fake 1980s cable access chyron bit would have been better if he actually used the right font, and not a fake one. Same thing with the "microphones are not working right" and "breakfast cart wheel squeaking" bit.

And scripted, not scripted? Probably both. It's not like Tina Fey didn't know the premise. But actual scripted dialogue? Probably not.

Frankly, Galifianakis is better than this.
posted by gjc at 5:18 AM on May 9, 2012


(Rory, that UK thing was actually a misplaced comment, since deleted. Now, onward with the rest of the wonderful absurdness!)
posted by taz at 5:19 AM on May 9, 2012


This thread is fascinating. It's like watching an improv troupe where two of the players don't know they're part of an improve troupe.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:22 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dear England and the United States,

Get your grubby paws off our irony - it clearly belongs to us Antipodeans (Cue Australians and Kiwis high-fiving).
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 5:24 AM on May 9, 2012



Shut up about the culture and go back to the only things your really good at

...like spelling.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:31 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Grammar*
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:59 AM on May 9, 2012


These beans taste ... over-thought.



Also any country that claims "irony" as its own is clutching at straws.
posted by awfurby at 6:05 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear England and the United States,

Get your grubby paws off our irony - it clearly belongs to us Antipodeans (Cue Australians and Kiwis high-fiving).


By irony, you mean legendarily bad soap operas? Or was that a clever example of irony itself? Trap sprung?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:31 AM on May 9, 2012


Oh boy! The internet! That's where I'm a critic!
posted by R. Schlock at 6:44 AM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Whoa. Wonder if it's a curse or a blessing to have people read this much meaning with so much fervor into one's creative outputs? (I'm guessing it's an ugly combination of both, a la The Monkey's Paw...)

Also not sure what any of this has to do with OWS, but apparently, literally any emotionally-charged issue, no matter how tenuously related to the topic at hand, is fair game when we do cultural criticism.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:46 AM on May 9, 2012


Whoa. Wonder if it's a curse or a blessing to have people read this much meaning with so much fervor into one's creative outputs?

Blessing. Attention is a limited commodity.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:54 AM on May 9, 2012


Mr. WonderChicken, your parody of the tiresome point-by-point explanation of what's going on in the thread is so dead-on hilarious it almost makes me wish we could have a whole site that's just a sort of MetaMetaFilter where people talk entirely about the posts on MetaFilter instead of what the posts are about.

Although I'm sure it would get tiresome very quickly.
posted by straight at 7:34 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since people keep asking, I'm not completely sure it was scripted. Two talented comedians like that might have been improving.

Obviously it was a bit though.

What I can't believe is that some people up-thread can't believe that some people think it was real. Nobody thinks it was real. Stop being so shocked.
posted by Bonzai at 7:47 AM on May 9, 2012


When Marc Maron interviewed Scott Aukerman for WTF, they sort of skirted around how B2F was put together without actually laying anything out in specifics...but basically saying that Scott would generally be credited with something like "producer" because a "written by..." credit would give away the joke. In the case of this episode, he was "Director" as well, though I'm guessing he did actually literally direct it.

Anybody else psyched for the Comedy Bang Bang TV series?
posted by anazgnos at 9:21 AM on May 9, 2012


Tina Fey is an extremely gifted improviser, and a very nice person in that "real" life thing out there, so I'm going to go with "they came in with a premise and a basic structure, but let the interaction between them define the dialog that occurred." That is, outlined but not strictly scripted, kind of like the Christopher Guest movies (Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman, et al.)
posted by davejay at 9:54 AM on May 9, 2012


As early as the late 14th century or indeed as late as the early 14th century, the earliest forms of jape were divisible into the two categories into which I now intend to divide them. The earliest manifestation of the basic simple precipitation jest incurred, as will be seen from the demonstration, a disproportionate amount of internal risibility on the part of the operator.

Secondary precipitation occurs when both protagonists and dupe are located indoors. It is true, however, that this has involved the development of a special piece of machinery [chair]. But it is still no more than a simple variation of primary precipitation. . .

The opening up of the African continent revealed a vast new source of wealth [banana] for humorous exploitation. We are to see demonstrated how this was adapted to the basic precipitation jape. . .

We now come on to a consideration of the more sophisticated transitive mode of japing, in which, as we'll observe, the operator or inceptor remains totally unaware of the humorous implications of his action. First we are to see the simple [plank] sideswipe or "whop."

"Hey Vance!"

WHOP!!

[. . .]
posted by Herodios at 9:59 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bonzai: Two talented comedians like that might have been improving.
I would hope as talented comedians, they were always improving- it's important in that business to constantly hone your craft and sharpen your wit!

But seriously, at least some people in this thread genuinely thought Fey was giving Galifianikis the 'what-for'; they'll deny it now under the guise of the meta-meta-meta irony. But that's what B2F is- the layout of the premise, maybe a few key gags to set up, and then the two people improv according to their characters. And I'll never be convinced some of you aren't red-faced behind your keyboards this morning and not for that reason, you pervs.
straight: it almost makes me wish we could have a whole site that's just a sort of MetaMetaFilter where people talk entirely about the posts on MetaFilter instead of what the posts are about.
I uh, think this is already an existing 'feature'.

MetaMetaMetaMetaFilter: A whole site where people talk entirely about the posts on MetaMetaMetaFilter instead of what the posts are about.
posted by hincandenza at 10:02 AM on May 9, 2012


I used to never understand why people got SO upset when they came across a product placement, or something cool turned out to be an advertisement.

I sorta get the annoyance now.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2012


Whoops, I just noticed the "MetaTalk" link up in the corner there and boy is my face red behind my keyboard now!
posted by straight at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Within the guise of giving him the 'what for' I think she was giving 'him' the 'what for'. The same way one of my kids will 'playfully' punch the other, and somehow, I dunno it was an accident, honest, genuinely hurt the other. No no, she was just 'acting,' honest.

But yes, acting, scripted, etc.

(though I imagine she really didn't like Galifanakis. I mean, after the shoot was over I imagine her politely giving him the brush off "Yeah, whatever movie actor guy, I'm a big time TV producer/actor/writer.") (OK, not really.)


posted by From Bklyn at 10:19 AM on May 9, 2012


I've never heard of show/bit/shtick until now, but I have to say that the Charlize Theron thing was pretty damn funny.
posted by jquinby at 11:23 AM on May 9, 2012


By irony, you mean legendarily bad soap operas? Or was that a clever example of irony itself? Trap sprung?

If what you are suggesting is that Neighbours is somehow worse than EastEnders/Hollyoaks/Coronation St./etc. and/or Y&R/B&B/All My Children/General Hospital/etc., well... No.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:33 AM on May 9, 2012


Oh fer fucks sake. I was trying to verbalize improv and came up with improving instead of improvising.

I'm a stupid.
posted by Bonzai at 1:02 PM on May 9, 2012


Fey gave Galifinakis the what for the same way Han gave Greedo the what for, except we all know Harrison Ford didn't actually shoot the guy in the alien suit. They used a little known technique called "acting".

Glad we're all on the same page and we all realize it was a shtick about how women are commonly mistreated. Even women who have done fantastic things and made it to the top tier in their profession. It's not like we're arguing about how Zach's very first comment about Tina sleeping her way to the top wasn't directly addressing the very core of what she was giving him the what for about, right?
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:23 PM on May 9, 2012


Don't you people follow twitter? This was definitely real.
posted by barrett caulk at 2:22 PM on May 9, 2012


Twitter, you say? Please to be enlightened. What was on Twitter that sheds light on the "reality" of the situation?
posted by exlotuseater at 4:48 PM on May 9, 2012


I used to follow Twitter. I liked their earlier stuff.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 7:58 PM on May 9, 2012


The Steve Carell one is still my favourite.
posted by hot soup girl at 8:18 PM on May 9, 2012


england, america... can we just agree it's for places with fucked up class dynamics
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:12 PM on May 9, 2012


MAKE THE WHELK TELL US THE ANSWER
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:42 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


please tag this with:

* zachgalifianakis
* tinafey
* funnyordie

and correct the spelling of Galifianakis in the post?

/copyeditor

...


you just know it's gonna get posted again.

posted by mrgrimm at 9:01 AM on May 11, 2012


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