I’ve been a little disappointed in Kroll Show these last few weeks, and when the first major sketch of the night featured the return of Liz (Jenny Slate) and C-Czar in an ice dating show, I tensed up again, thinking I was so bored of these characters that this would be another lackluster night. Not so. “Ice Dating” was the best episode of the show thus far, with every single sketch working, a touching guest appearance by Adam Brody, and just a stronger balance of gross, envelope-pushing material and really solid jokes.
Maybe I’m just biased because the Oh, Hello boys were back again. I really missed them for the first half of the season (they appeared only once) and I’m glad they’re all over this thing now. I like that they’re not just a two-headed joke machine either. Gil and George’s personalities are pretty distinct—Gil is the more co-dependent, the inveterate hoarder, who’s keeping up with every mention of Alan Alda in the newspaper (“It’s called ‘Alda news that’s fit to print,’” George says). Gil’s a big baby, and George is nastier and more sex-hungry (it’s just a joy to watch John Mulaney be a jerk).
In the first part of the sketch George and Gil are helped by a clutter-clearer, who learns that they brush their teeth with duck sauce and that Gil has an impressive collection of snowglobes (the 9/11 one is his favorite). Later on, they throw a party featuring the return of Jeffrey Gurian (“I did my thesis on the history of the turtleneck sweater, and the first one was made of word”) but quickly go downtown to see Gil’s son (Brody) play music and disappoint him once again. Brody’s appearance is an utter surprise (although, and this is a deep cut, his character reminded me of his one-scene cameo in the long-ago canceled The Loop) and a delightful one to cap a delightful series of sketches.
“Ice Dating,” the other big recurring sketch of the night, is a little less interesting but saved by the presence of Jenny Slate (who strikes me as a love/hate comic, but I’m firmly in the love column) and a less over-the-top approach to the visuals. C-Czar’s last appearance wasn’t inherently unfunny but the insane flashy editing of his spoof show, while accurate, got to be a little much. Without that and with the generally depressing, unfunny Armond and Roman gone, he was a lot easier to take. “Ice Dating” didn’t have much plot to it and it didn’t do much with Dave Holmes’ cameo as the host (named Day Foams) but Slate and Kroll cooked up a bunch of silly little moments just by vamping on their characters’ dialogue quirks.
The Rich Dicks sketch I’ve seen before—I believe it’s one of the sketches Comedy Central promoted in advance of the première, and it’s easily the best Rich Dicks so far, very short and sweet and filled with ridiculous lines (“It’s like a 2000-whatever year we’re in, and like, totally enjoy it, you’re awesome,” Kroll says when gifting a totaled car to a lady). It can be tougher to find good veins of humor when your characters are so over-the-top: the Rich Dicks are infinitely rich and infinitely evil, so what problems can they really confront? Better to have them never really understand that they’re causing a problem at all. To them, they just parked their car on “some lady’s” lawn and gave it to her.
The return of El Chupacabra once again sees a guest appearance largely wasted (Rob Huebel as a suicidal rock star) but I liked the reveal of everyone’s favorite Spanish-language DJ and the consistency with which he did not care about the rock star’s plight or impending death. Sure, some of his characters (like the disembodied baby voice) have advice to offer, but Chupa always makes it clear: doesn’t matter to him what happens.
Even though this episode has the same number of sketches as the others, the balance seems a little better—the longest stuff was Oh, Hello, which is easily the most successful, and nothing else outstayed its welcome, which was a real problem in other weeks. Next week is the finale, so I hope the show goes out on a high note (although the second season has already, happily, been secured).
- Liz says C-Czar is scary outside but sweet on the inside. “Like a croissant!”
- George knows how to talk to a lady. “Do you do gross Polaroids?”
- “I didn’t like that car anyway, it had too many buttons.”
- Forgot to mention Locked In and the return of the needy ref, which I really enjoyed (good way to bring him back in a different sketch format).
- George introduces Gil to the “hottest singles from my Kashi addiction group.”
- George’s dashiki and Gil’s Keith Haring shirt are wonderful examples of downtown-wear.
- “You know what Lou Reed once said?” “Get out of my bedroom, you guys are masturbating in here and this is my home.”