I think I’m officially getting bored with Kroll Show’s most frequent characters. It seems that Armond and his clan are in every single episode of this thing, and yet those are the sketches where I zone out the most. I understand the big, season-long meta-joke: Every single episode, Armond has spun off into something new, first as a guest on “PubLizIty,” then on his own show, then a show about his dating life, now one about his obnoxious son Roman (Andy Milonakis), which morphs into the antics of ridiculous drunken teen C-Czar (Nick Kroll again).
But the Bravo/TLC-style beats of the spoofs are getting repetitive and low on jokes. Armond is not a particularly compelling character, since the main gag with him is that he’s extremely drawly and emotionless. Roman was at least consistently awful to everybody, but this week on “Roman’s Empire,” he actually becomes the nervous scold around his friend C-Czar who’s worried about smoking inside and wrecking the house. The whole thing has very much outlived its usefulness, and I pray that “C-Czar’s Palace” is the final entry in this faux-reality universe. It’s perhaps unfair to compare this show to Saturday Night Live—because it has a much smaller writing staff and is aiming for something different—but that show mocked the whole spinoff-upon-spinoff trend in reality TV within a couple of minutes.
This was easily the worst episode of Kroll Show thus far, but it was largely rescued by another “Oh, Hello” appearance that put Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland out into the real world and saw them alienating everyone, especially some young African-Americans they play a game of three-on-three basketball with. As I noted before, these guys are pretty much automatic laugh riots for me. I don’t know what it is about Kroll and John Mulaney in those costumes with those scowls on their faces, but even the weird little cries and grunts they make get me in hysterics.
In the first part of the sketch, the guys play basketball with a bunch of comedians (I recognized JB Smoove and Hannibal Burress) and Mulaney is a particular highlight, starting a huddle with “first off, OJ did it, alright?” Quickly their Lew Alcindor impressions fail them and they’re going after each other, with George breaking Gil’s arm.
The next part was perhaps even funnier, as they deal with a befuddled doctor and George realizes they’re in what you could call a “non-sexual gay domestic partnership” where George is abusive. These characters allow Kroll and Mulaney to improvise on the most sensitive topics—especially how creepily racist these old men are—while keeping things light and nonsensical. I don’t know if I’d get sick of George and Gil if they were on the show every week, but I doubt it, and that’s a theory I’d be willing to test.
There’s not too much else going on in this episode. Fred Armisen makes a surprising guest appearance as the origami-loving son of macho boxing trainer Papi, but the concept of the sketch is a little muddled—there’s something about Papi’s love of dogs that never really connects, and the whole thing ends abruptly just as it’s starting to figure out the dynamics. Armisen is funny, but completely unmemorable.
The titular “Dine & Dash” was executed well, but doesn’t escalate to very interesting places as it recurred through the episode. The most notable thing is that Gil Faizon’s stepson Elon (Joe Mande) is the chef who makes the tortilla soup at the Sportsman’s Lodge (which is where Armond is staying). I like how the show knits all that together, but still, you gotta have some good jokes too! Things like “Dine & dash” or the post-grad video game are well-made but sport pretty dull premises.
- I like Kroll’s monologue about getting pantsed at a party (I’ve seen him do it onstage) but the animation wasn’t necessary. He paints a good picture with his words!
- Armond is okay with Roman having sex with his new wife. “At least Roman was getting some much-needed exercise.”
- George knows how to ball: Follow his advice, and you’ll be all “360 spins and slam-dunk pointers.”
- C-Czar has his own catchphrase. “Let there be cake, cause that’s what Caesar said!”
- George and Gil share their medical maladies. “When I drink too many cappucinis, my penis becomes useless.” “And I have bagel-induced cholesterol.” Also, Gil has a little tabby named Judd Hirsch.