I think it’s fair to say at this point that Kroll Show is maybe a little underrated. It’s been chugging along this season, producing some of the cleverest sketch-show content out there, but it doesn’t seem to have the cachet of a Key & Peele. That could be because the first season of the show was very heavy on spoofing crappy reality TV, leaning the most on PubLizity, Bobby Bottleservice, Armond, etc. The second season has really expanded its scope, though, enough so that when you see this episode, featuring Bobby B in his “Gigolo House,” it feels like a breath of fresh air.
This might be the best episode the show has aired so far. Or maybe I’m just impressed with its consistency six weeks in, or maybe it’s just my enduring love of the Oh, Hello Boys. Last year, whenever they showed up, I was happy. This year, I don’t have the same sensation of tapping my feet impatiently for a sketch I like to come around. There’s almost no duds anymore, and characters that stretched my patience last year (Armond, C-Czar), have been reworked very nicely this year.
C-Czar makes his first appearance since the premiere here, as Dad Academy moves into stage two with a mom-dad to teach him important lessons about not abandoning his child. This means more time with the gurgling baby CEO who sets up every clip (the more of him, the better) and more borderline-psychotic mental conditioning that’s probably doing more harm than good for Lil’ C. I like any joke that gives insight into C-Czar’s complete disconnection from reality. “Is that Anderson Cooper!?” he cries about a fake baby made with twigs and straw. “Why would you think this is Anderson Cooper?” “Cause he’s white and he’s got flaxen hair!”
The spine of the episode is set in the Gigolo House, run by an imperious Jason Mantzoukas (when is that guy getting his own TV show/movie deal/channel?) where Bobby meets a handsome gigolo called “Hammer” who really just wants to be an architect. This is one in a number of weird little side-plots that the show manages to cram into the sketch. This is one of the best things about Kroll Show. The level of detail is just ridiculous. The callback bringing in Farley (Chelsea Peretti), who appeared via webcast in one of the first season’s episodes, is particularly welcome.
Farley at first thinks she is getting paid to have sex with Bobby, who is perhaps the worst communicator in the history of the English language. Eventually this leads to an audition to enter the Gigolo House itself, before Hammer returns, having forgotten that architecture requires a college degree and schooling. It’s silly, silly stuff, but everyone’s having such good fun (Jon Daly’s Peter Paparazzo got a lot funnier once he stopped being a Bobby B clone) that it’s hard for it not to feel infectious.
Finally, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. As Kroll correctly asks the Irish Catholic Mulaney in one of the bumpers, “Why is it you act like a Jew from the ‘70s?” No character has ever been more perfectly yet incongruously matched with its performer than the lovely Mulaney and mean old George St. Geegland, who has gone to the Y to heckle a former student who he accuses of ripping off his imaginary novel “Rifkin’s Dilemma.” Or, as he puts it, “We’re going to cap off our day at the Y with one of my classic incidents where I make a woman cry!”
Maybe Gil and George don’t work for everyone as they do for me. But I can’t help but laugh as they toss popcorn at ladies in the pool or drink white wine out of plastic bags. George will say a horrifying line like “I once pretended that I owned a Miata so that you would get close enough so I could rub up against you. And I want you to know I still use that memory,” and I can’t help but want more of the sick, sick bastard. Maybe I read too much Philip Roth as a teenager.
- The Oh Hello boys haven’t paid Y dues since 1984. “Will you accept a thousand dollar bill with Alf on it?”
- “One of the best movies I ever went to sleep during was Sideways.”
- The two eat yogurt pretzels together. “I’m glad we stole them from that big jar.”
- Two rules in the gigolo house: work hard, play hard. “And no intercourse in the house.” “Bro, that’s three rules!” “Work hard and play hard is one rule.”
- “I know where your bedroom is. Because it smells like clown makeup and spaghetti.”