IFC has already been a quietly great network. They recently produced The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (in a nice twist of events, it ended at David Cross’ behest, not IFC’s), a show that probably couldn’t exist on any other American network. They picked up The Whitest Kids U’ Know after Fuse put limitations on the show’s content and the guys needed a new home with less censorship. They took a chance on the uneven but funny Onion News Network and even resurrected the oddball Greg the Bunny for a bit. And we can’t forget that IFC swooped in to support what is perhaps the best hip-hopera with infinite chapters: R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet. Plus, IFC often airs a handful of favorites like Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks.
All of these programs are strange little cult hits so it’s no surprise that IFC has yet to really break into the mainstream. It’s a shame because it means shows like Comedy Bang! Bang! mostly go unnoticed. Comedy Bang! Bang! is a podcast-turned-television series that mixes deadpan absurdist humor with a parade of impressive guest stars and music by Reggie Watts—host Scott Aukerman’s philosophy should be taught to all late night hosts: if you’re lucky enough to get a television show, make sure to pack it beginning to end with jokes. I’ll even say it has more laughs a minute than Portlandia, which is IFC’s biggest hit, but gets less than half the attention. Fortunately, IFC was smart enough to pick up Comedy Bang! Bang! for a second season (the first is currently streaming on Netflix, please watch it) whereas BUNK, the somewhat amusing game show that completed the hour-long comedy block, was canceled.
But it’s the shows like Comedy Bang! Bang! and the strangely adorable Out There, an animated comedy about awkward adolescent weirdos, that are paving the way for what IFC should be as a network: a home to eccentric, offbeat comedies where weirdness is the norm. Based on the shows IFC is currently developing, it seems they’re doing it right and are throwing their hat in the ring to compete for Best Network On Television or, at least, Best Network Catering To Internet Comedy Nerds. (I mean, they do have one of the few network-run tumblrs that’s actually fun to follow instead of being reminiscent of your grandmother trying to use a computer.)
A few examples of what to expect:
- Cult Following, a pilot co-written by and co-starring Matt Besser (one of the founders of UCB, so expect some amazing guest stars).
- Two Idiots, created by the always funny Megan Mullally.
- Timms Industrial Piping, a stop-motion soap opera (can we just think about that for a second? A STOP MOTION SOAP OPERA) with voices by everyone from Nick Kroll to Giancarlo Esposito.
- Garfunkel & Oates who are often considered the female version of Flight of the Conchords but who are so, so funny in their own right.
- Stupid Life, based on the memoir by Chris Gethard who, as you all know, currently hosts one of the funniest and definitely most anarchic shows on television.
The full development slate can be found at The Hollywood Reporter.
IFC is the cool kid at the party.