“Secret Room” S1 / E3
- B Community Grade
As much as I liked Bobby Bottleservice’s brief appearance on last week’s Kroll Show, I’ve been waiting for a real showcase for the guy, and we got it this week with “Ghost Bouncers.” Bobby B (along with El Chupacabra) was my introduction to Kroll—hearing him in character on podcasts and so on. It’s the most obvious character in the world, a self-important Jersey Shore douchebag who’s miserably misogynistic, constantly tossing unnecessary words into sentences to sound smarter, and a mother-obsessed wuss under it all, but Kroll sells it perfectly. It’s something about those ridiculous turns of phrase.
So Bobby B is the star of a ghost hunting show, and as with PubLizIty and Armond Of The House, the production values to the spoof are just perfect. The random cuts to black and white, the dropping in of subtitles for crucial lines (“her skin bubbled”) and the ridiculous music cues. Sure, anyone can make a spoof of a ghost hunting show that has a scene shot via night vision cam, but who would think to have an elaborate set of jokes about a deaf sound guy called Gian?
Jon Daly (Kroll’s most frequent scene partner on the show) was a little less fun as Bobby B’s sidekick Peter Paparazzo, but it’s tough to play off such a developed character with something so similar. It works better in Rich Dicks because (I think) that’s a new character for Kroll, but Bobby Bottleservice is funny enough to carry a sketch on his own. The plot of Ghost Bouncers was pretty much beside the point, but I liked seeing Alison Becker (reporter Shauna from Parks & Recreation). This show has the best guest stars.
The titular sketch, “Secret Room,” was part of an ad for a Home Depot-type store called Screws with the catchy slogan “SHUT YOUR PIG MOUTH!” This was just a well-crafted sketch with a funny, creepy twist that escalated perfectly. First it’s a boring couple, then they want to build a secret room, then they lock the poor Screws employee in there. Nice that Kroll and co-star Janet Varney (pretty sure that was her, right?) kept their energy at “boring, satisfied couple” throughout. Also, the second appearance of the ethnically ambiguous actor who also mocked said ambiguity in last week’s Chikk Club sketch—this time, featuring him shrugging and saying “I’m from the Pacific Islands!”—was one of the biggest laughs of the night.
The Adventures Of Young Billy Joel didn’t really land for me, even though I liked the concept and the way it was made. Even when the sketches don’t really make me laugh (like Kroll’s Axl Rose/Kid Rock-type timeout rockstar this week), I appreciate how high the production values are, and the attention to detail. Billy Joel jokes fly over my head a little (I could probably name three songs), but I definitely liked his undersea adventure because it was so… freaking weird. It wasn’t exactly funny, but it sure was something you don’t usually see on a Comedy Central sketch show.
That’s the thing about Kroll Show. The jokes can be coming from a fairly obvious place, but there’s often very strange twists to them. He mixes long stuff with short little bits (like the Eurotrash guy doing obvious, but totally on the mark stereotype jokes), and it just feels like there’s more thought put into the episodes. Of course, it’s always going to come down to laughs, and this show had more than last week’s, but I’m glad Kroll is on TV and doing more than just trotting his familiar characters out. And I’m glad I’ll be here covering the show week to week for you guys.
- “That’s a very much adorable old woman.”
- The Screws clerk gets it. “I was molested as a child too. So I knew exactly what they wanted.”
- “We can eat as much as we want, and we never get heavy, because of olive oil.”
- Bobby schools Peter in picking up ladies. “Show a little more very much respect to this beautiful creature right here. But on a related notice are you 9/11?” “No.” “Because I could never forget you.”
- Also loved the Black Eyed Peas spoof with Tim Heidecker, as obvious as it was—just utterly perfect execution.
- I saw Kroll do standup a while ago, and he showed a couple clips from the show and credited Secret Room to Jessi Klein’s sick mind. So, just wanted to repeat that here.
- Next week: “Too Much Tuna” with the oh, hello boys. Can’t wait to see John Mulaney!