Jake Fogelnest and the Fabulous Stains

What to look for in the greatest punk movie of all time

Writer comedian and podcaster Jake Fogelnest has been involved in the entertainment industry for 21 years hosting a public access television show at the age of 14 that spun off into an MTV program. From there he’s become a fixture in that weird space where alt-comedy meets music with an enormous resumé that definitely includes something you’ve seen and enjoyed. He currently hosts The Fogelnest Files on Scott Aukerman’s fantastic Earwolf podcast network and works for Funny or Die as a writer including a stint on the incredible FoD-produced Billy Eichner series Billy on the Street (the third season of which has yet to air in Canada — I’m dying over here).

However nearly all of these achievements pale in comparison to one small credit he got in the DVD booklet for the 1982 cult classic punk film Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains .

“I’m literally just a fan of the movie” Fogelnest says on the phone from the Funny or Die office in Los Angeles. In fact he was one of its biggest evangelizers when it was still a forgotten cult classic. “My job was just sort of disseminating tapes for people. So hey Courtney Love doesn’t have a copy? Okay let’s get one to Courtney Love. Or Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill wants it….”

When the time came for Rhino to finally release the lost movie on DVD they called Fogelnest for help with scrounging up ephemera for the packaging including original posters and artwork. “I have like a little credit in the DVD booklet and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of is that I have my name in that DVD booklet.”

It may sound slight but it makes sense that Fogelnest would be that excited over such a small mention. Shot in Vancouver the film follows a team of young independent girls (played shockingly by Diane Lane Laura Dern and Marin Kanter) as they get involved with the punk scene and ultimately sell out only to have everything fall apart. It’s the rare rock ’n’ roll movie that nails everything from the tone and politics to the outfits and music of its subjects.

“I think it gets a lot right just by the fact that it has [the Sex Pistols’] Steve Jones and Paul Cook and [the Clash’s] Paul Simonon in it” Fogelnest admits. “You’ve got a pretty real-deal source of punk guys in the movie. And then you also had [legendary punk journalist] Caroline Cook working as a consultant on the movie. So I think the fashion is really right and also the general vibe and attitude is really really right. It’s steeped in authenticity sort of from the get-go. It’s also corrupted by being a Paramount studio movie made by music industry people from Los Angeles.”

Speaking of Paramount Fogelnest posits that the studio likely had a tough time marketing a movie about feminist punk girls who ultimately fail to make it big. “I think it was a flop at first because you know who was looking for this movie?” he wagers. “By the time they finished editing and it came out — it barely came out — in 1982 the Sex Pistols were over MTV hadn’t started and it just was sort of not in the exact zeitgeist. How would Paramount market that film? How would they market it in 1982 and how would they market it today? Who’s it for?”

Thankfully 30-plus years later the film has found a larger audience. In fact Fogelnest estimates there may have already been more screenings of Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains in 2014 than there were in its original theatrical run.

Fogelnest still happily attends screenings of the film when he can so he’s memorized every frame. As such he says to watch for Black Randy’s subtle transformation into Mexican Randy (via a sombrero and a ballad) and to keep an eye on the Jerry Jervey character. “He’s not onscreen very much” he says. “He has no dialogue but he’s one of the most captivating people in the movie.”