Seth Rogan


It’s obvious to us why Rafi (Jason Mantzoukas, above), or in The League’s show lore terms, El Cunado, was excluded from brother-in-law Ruxin’s anniversary party.  While it was still a classic episode, thanks especially to Taco (John Lajoie), and his hilarious Ruxin wedding video montage (“Love is…), we were miffed nontheless. We get that the show is resolved to bring Rafi to viewers in small doses, but largely we find The League’s funniest episodes to include the infamous El-Cunado.  Aside from last season’s Thanksgiving episode, a comedic bounty which guest starred Sarah Silverman as Andre’s slutty sister and Jeff Goldblum as the senior Ruxin, the funniest episodes were ones in which Jason Mantzoukas reprised the Rafi role.  Most notably were the episodes that guested Mantzoukas and Brie Larson (United States of Tara), as Ruxin’s slutty au pair.

Ruxin, who seems to need Rafi whenever he is locked in a dilemma that the expert liar can not navigate alone, calls on Raffi to move into his home temporarily to make his free loading babysitter (Brie Larson, United States of Tara) uncomfortable.  When Ruxin opens the door on Rafi, who is sitting on the bowl, he becomes immediately revulsed.  But Rafi, always over the top, and in over the top style, declares that Ruxin is “watching it happen” right now (“The Au Pair”, S3, E3), before Ruxin has a chance to run out of there.  At moments like these we are left to wonder why show regulars Kevin and Pete have never made us laugh the way Rafi does in one scene.  Ruxin, Andre, Jenny (Katie Aselton) and Taco are consistently funny, but we can’t say we have any problems with their roles being minimized in order to find lines for Rafi, who is approaching “funniest character on TV” status.  This was the case a few weeks back during S4, E5 (“Breastalyzer”), when Andre had at best a nominal role, we assume, in order to make room for Rafi, whom Ruxin calls in because he has a conundrum.  His gorgeous wife Sophia (played by positively sizzling Nadine Velasquez) has signed their young son up for swim classes that meet regularly every Sunday through the end of football season, so Ruxin asks Rafi to take the boy to swimming class and to pretend to be Ruxin while there, so he can keep things cool with his wife.

Rafi steals the show in his very 1st line, as they cut to him on the couch next to Ruxin as Sophia informs Ruxin of his swim class obligation.  The audience doesn’t even know he’s there until Sophia starts walking out of the living room, when he declares that he “could watch her walk out of a room for hours.”

Rafi: “My sister’s body is bonkers.  I hope you you’re hitting that.”

Ruxin: “I have an idea.”

Rafi: “Jerkoff party (undoing his pants). I like where you’re going with this.”

Ruxin explains how he needs him to take the boy to swim class and impersonate him.  He also explains that there’s no smoking and no knives at swim class.

Rafi: “What if there’s an attack?”

Ruxin explains that there will be only mothers and children in the pool.

Raffi: “That’s exactly what I would attack.”

At swim class, Rafi affects the ruse that he is Ruxin, as instructed, strips down to a speedo with alacrity, cannon ball’s the pool (“Rafi Bomb”, below), and then criticizes the instructor for allowing a pool of 5 yr olds flotation devices.

Rafi: “You think they’re gonna get one of these when the Russians attack?”

After that, Rafi begins to hit on the instructor, Gail (Andrea Savage).  Cut to him arriving at Taco’s housewarming party with said instructor.  Rafi seeks out Ruxin and excitedly tells him his date is crazy.

Rafi: “We just had sex in the cab!”

Ruxin: “You just had sex in the back of the cab?”

Rafi: “In the back…of her body.”

Ruxin quickly discovers though, that Rafi’s date is his son’s swim teacher, those circumstances needing to remain secret to Sophia or the great dad myth will be blown.  So Ruxin orders Rafi to get rid of her.  Because Gail is not compliant, Rafi decides to tell her that he is in love with another woman in the room, who happens to be his sister.  His go to move is to French kiss her in front of Gail–an obvious, aggressive and overzealous kiss at that–and then to compliment Sophia on what a good kisser she is, Rafi style.  So he tells her she kisses so well it ‘made his dick hard.’. Sophia seemed intrigued at that, leaving open the awesome possibility of more hilarious incest jokes in The League’s future.

Sophia: “It’s hard, really?”

Rafi: “You wanna check?”

We won’t spoil the grand finale for you, one that left Rafi with the impression that he was going to have sex with Kevin and Taco’s mom.  But it was a grand finale, left to be executed by a rising star.

We enjoyed Jason Mantzoukas very much as a frequent voice on The life and Times of Tim and look forward to seeing him reprise his role as one of Laura’s Dern’s co-workers on Enlightened, which returns to HBO for S2 in the new year.  We also liked Mantzoukas in his recurring guest spot as off the cuff Indiana perfume giant Dennis Feinstein on Parks and Recreation.  And we get the premise of Rafi on The League: good for making a porno in Andre’s apartment with Dirty Randy (Seth Rogan), not so good at family gatherings.  Whether he is needed to creep out the help, stand in for Ruxin, or be Andre’s designated driver, who does not get the principle that designated drivers do not drink, mind you (Rafi, upon being questioned for guzzling a beer, says ‘don’t worry, I’ll crap the booze out.’. They ask him if that works. ‘Sorta.’), we are really hoping they find more uses for this fantastic character on The League.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Taco’s offline Facebook page, called “My Face” (above).

In season one of fX’s The League, a distraught Pete (Mark Duplass), who was reigning league champion (The League is a fantasy football league) and holder of the Shiva, the much coveted winner’s trophy, brought the trophy to Kevin’s house and told Kevin, by the curb in front of his house, that he was quitting the league. Pete’s wife Meegan (Leslie Bibb) was hounding him about getting pregnant, badgering him about couples activities, and doing just about everything she could to take his oxygen away. Some guys might know the feeling. Kevin (Steve Rannazzisi), married to Jenny (Kate Aselton), and father of one daughter, knew the feeling. He was beside himself to learn of Pete’s decision and he refused to accept it. Kevin, a litigator by profession, at that point gave a powerful oration.

‘You find something else to give in on. Make some other compromise. Believe me, I know. I’ve done it myself. But you can never, never quit the league.’

So Pete goes home and he’s in bed with Meegan, who wants some sex. They get into it pretty quickly, and in a flash, he’s on top of her, right? And a second later she jams a digit or two up his ass and starts finger raping his rectum during intercourse and she’s got a hold so tight in that ass that he can’t shake loose, despite ample squirms and protests.

The next day, when the league members meet up for a casual drink at their usual spot, Pete announces he was not dropping out of the league any longer. And that he was getting a divorce. How could he do that, his friends asked, startled, shocked, amazed.

He had his reasons. Ruxin, played by Nick Kroll, who also happens to play one of our favorite characters anywhere as Stu on The Life and Times of Tim (which returns to HBO for season 3 next month), explained that for him and his ultra hot wife, Sofia (Nadia Velasquez, My Name is Earl), divorce would never be an option. As he explained it, his wife was super hot and she’d get half of his money and guys would “be pounding her” left and right, while he’d never score such a fine chick again because he looks like a “stereotypical cartoon Jew in a Nazi propaganda video.” To keep this so fine wife happy, and to guarantee somewhat regular sex, he gives Sofia a “perfect lady day” in which he does not text, talks no football, and pays attention to every little thing she says–once every “2.6 months.”

Andre, played by another Best Week Ever alum, Paul Scheer, who also does some of the writing, is a fad crazy plastic surgeon with universal bad taste, and often finds himself the butt of their jokes, in a league where cruelty is the done thing. After having impaled himself on the Shiva in a Vegas nightclub, he became the ironic subject of Taco’s hit duet, “I’m Inside Me”, performed with none other than Ocho Cinco himself, who frankly can act and sing pretty good for a football player. Take a look:

Taco (John Lajoie) is the group oddball/artist/nonconformist and is always ready with an inappropriate song, some herb or shrooms, or a video display. Like when he made both Ruxin’s and Kevin’s lives miserable by playing his own movie that he had filmed of Ruxin’s wedding, at Ruxin’s 5th anniversary party. The video starts with footage of Sofia cavorting around in her lingerie as Taco told her how good her ass looked, then cut to Ruxin complaining about the fact that he was marrying a woman from a different culture and religion, and finally caught Kevin, his own brother, talking Ruxin down from the ledge, and steadying him before his big wedding speech, which Ruxin was in a panic over and convinced he couldn’t do.

The film catches Kevin firmly instructing Ruxin to pull himself together. He tells him all he has to do is say ‘love is a (add noun), love is a (add different noun)’, and then to conclude with ‘love is…(pretend he is too choked up to talk). Rather interesting moment for Jenny, who, like Agent Couyan in The Usual Suspects, has that moment of recognition, putting the pieces together to Kevin’s latest speech, an ode to his wife earlier in the evening, because Ruxin’s anniversary and Jenny’s birthday are on the same day.

“Love is a commitment. Love is a journey. Love is…”

They’ve all had their very funny moments, including Jenny, who is also convinced she will never divorce because as she explains, “I have confidence in my pussy.” And when those players aren’t enough for you, The League has gone to great lengths to bring in big time pinch hitters. In addition to numerous football player cameos, this season alone has seen Seth Rogan (Dirty Randy), Brie Larson (slutty au pair), and tonight will feature Jeff Goldblum and our girl Sarah Silverman, fresh off her appearance last week in Bored To Death, as Ruxin’s father and Andre’s super slut sister, in what we are sure will be a great Thanksgiving episode.

One we would expect to also feature Ruxin’s heinous brother-in-law Raffi (Jason Mantzoukas, Enlightened, The Life and Times of Tim), who is always good for big laughs, making the out there Taco look tame. If you like good clean old plain dirty sexist humor, then Raffi’s your guy.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/enlightened-struggling-new-hbo-series-should-be-given-chance/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/tim-chris-lilley-return-to-hbo-this-december/

And The League’s your show, until next month at least, when Chris Lilley and Tim return. Bang!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Evan Almighty.  Date Night.  Dinner for Schmucks.  We’ve got no problem saying this: The Office, a superior outift with exceptional writers made Michael Scott, not the reverse.  The tired Seth Rogan/Paul Rudd movie factory may have given us 1 good Carrell film–The 40 Year Old Virgin–but little to nothing else with Carrell worth watching.  Most of the reaction we’ve heard with regard to Carrell leaving The Office has been pessimistic pertaining to the future of the show.  We, on the other hand, have no doubts that The Office can function without Michael Scott.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/the-office-goodbye-toby-hello-holly/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/the-office-andy-to-shine-tonight-in-special-episode-see-video/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/the-office-season-finale-better-than-expected/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/office-finale-to-lack-excitement-hear-music/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/steve-carell-done-as-michael-scott-after-next-year/

We think Steve Carrell is crazy to leave The Office, which will undoubtedly be the absolute best product he has ever worked on.  We think it’s a poor decision to abandon his $300,000 per episode salary.  And we are extremely confident that the show, which has perhaps needed a shot of enthusiasm for a few seasons (not for lack of trying with the guest addition of Timothy Olyphant and Amy Ryan’s role reprisal of Holly Flax), can be an excellent and dynamic program and can return to the top of network sitcom television.  The Office can even reach new heights if they follow through on their plans to replace Michael Scott’s character with someone from outside the show.  While we love Jim, Dwight, and Andy, none do anything for us in the lead role.

The late summer talk about The Office producers contacting Flight of the Conchords alum Rhys Darby (top) and Eastbound and Down star Danny McBride (bottom), and to a lesser extent, recent rumors about Arrested Development star Will Arnett (middle) have our full attention.  McBride has seemed to generate the most excitement and buzz so far.  Frankly, he is absolutely hilarious as crass, washed up pitcher Kenny Powers, and has one of the funniest hairstyles of all time.  From what we’re reading though, at least out of HBO, is that McBride is unlikely to get the gig.  Producer Paul Lieberstein (Toby) recently denied that McBride was in the running, but it was confirmed that McBride would be doing a guest spot this season.  HBO has been less coy than Lieberstein, saying that McBride is signed up long term to do Kenny Powers, is paid very well, and went so far as to suggest that McBride would have no interest in joining the cast of The Office.

The cable network issued no similar statements with regard to Darby, leading us to believe that something is cooking.  We would emphatically endorse the hire.  Darby, as Brett and Jemaine’s band mannager on Flight of the Conchords was exponentially quirky in a way very reminiscent to the Michael Scott character, only with a New Zealand accent and the added awkwardness of a tourist with less than zero street smarts.  Darby, like Carrell, has even demonstrated his proficiency with the occasional musical number.  Darby’s low profile in America and immense respect in comedic circles would be a win win for a program in need of new talent and a network looking to make a reasonable deal with an actor.

The wildly popular and recognizable McBride would not come cheaply and without obstacles, or at least, that’s what HBO wants us to think.  And we have questions about how well McBride will do without the luxury of of his hysterical foul mouth rants and drug humor, which is not about to play on NBC.  He’d be unwise to leave the role of a lifetime on Eastbound and Down for the huge pressure associated with filling Michael Scott’s shoes.

Recently several Arrested Development actors have been mentioned for the job, including the legendary Jeffrey Tambor, Tony Hale, and most notably, Will Arnett, who Ricky Gervais has been publicly pining for.  We love Tambor.  “Hey Now” Hank Kingsley?  Classic.  George Bluth Sr?  JT played that role to a tee.  And we look forward to his frequent cameos as himself on Entourage, the long term client of Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven, another Larry Sanders Show alum).  Tambor isn’t really new blood to us though.  Hale is not a heavy enough hitter, and Arnett, though we love him across the board and loved his GOB character to death, we have way more enthusiasm for Rhys Darby, who we feel is the perfect fit.

Though we will not be surprised if Arnett gets the nod, having done a guest shot on his wife Amy Poehler’s very funny NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, and having played a corporate foil to Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy for 3 years on NBC’s 30 Rock.  Can Arnett jump to a 3rd Thursday night NBC sitcom?  No doubt he could.  But how about Ricky Gervais shuts the fuck up so that BJ Novak (Ryan), Lieberstein, and Mindy Kaling (Kelly), all Office producers, can go with their gut and bring in Darby?

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/parks-and-recreation-season-finale-the-april-ann-and-andy-love-triangle-see-video/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/community-jeff-and-britta-do-the-deed-finally/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/walking-dead-zombie-nation-or-zombie-community/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/30-rock-live-episode-tonight/

Can you tell that we are really hoping for an Office dick meeting?  Wait…that sounds bad.  Just a Murray Hewitt/Flight of the Conchords reference!

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/hbo-takes-flight/

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)