The basic premise of Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin’s Netflix comedy show I Think You Should Leave is that each sketch is about—at the risk of being overly reductive—one weird guy who does weird stuff in an otherwise normal universe. A key to making that work is the writing for each sketch, which (at its best) hits on a very specific version of heightened weirdness that drifts between being vaguely familiar and so dramatically unhinged that there’s no way to know how anyone in this world is going to react to it (you give the man in the hot dog suit a suspicious look, for example, but you tell the guy in the complicated Dan Flashes shirt that he’s bothering everyone).
The writing is apparently so important to I Think You Should Leave that, in a recent Los Angeles Times interview with Robinson and Kanin, the pair revealed that they hardly ever let anyone improvise or go off-script… with one notable exception. That exception is Bob Odenkirk, someone who has a lot of experience playing the one weird guy in an otherwise normal universe, and Robinson and Kanin revealed in that LA Times interview that Odenkirk improvised “a bunch at the end” of his “Diner Wink” I Think You Should Leave sketch.
In the sketch, Robinson plays a normal guy in a diner who tells a little lie to his daughter to explain why he can’t take her to get ice cream, at which point he winks at a nearby man who overhears the discussion. The man, Odenkirk’s character, then ropes Robinson into an escalating series of lies about how he owns every classic car and how he has a beautiful wife who is sick. Robinson’s character eventually breaks down and has to back up Odenkirk’s character on his increasingly convoluted lies.
In the LA Times interview, Robinson says that Odenkirk’s improvisations were “all really funny” and they felt like it “elevated the sketch off of what was on the page a lot,” so they (presumably) kept whatever he ad-libbed and didn’t give him a serious talking-to when the cameras were off. (We assume everyone else who ad-libbed got a serious talking-to.)