Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kroll Show: “Gigolo H-O-R-S-E”

Comedy Central
Comedy Central

When it was announced last month that the third season of Kroll Show would be its last, I reached Bobby Bottleservice levels of emotional. On the one hand, in this case, the call comes from creator/star/writer/executive producer Nick Kroll and not the network. And it’s refreshing to see a creative team make their own decision as to when it’s time to end things. Kroll believes season three will tie up strings for all of the characters, and he wants to see the show go out on a high note instead of dragging on and on as so many series tend to do.

But the thing about Kroll Show is that it truly could go on forever. Or, at least, for a very, very long time. The world Kroll and his writing team have created is so detailed, so wonderfully complex, that I often find myself wishing I could spend even more time in it than each 21-ish-minute-long episode allows. As the most serialized sketch show on television, there’s nothing else quite like it. Kroll Show not only utilizes recurring sketches and characters—it allows those characters to grow, places them in as many varying scenarios as possible, even connects them together so that no sketch seems all that isolated from the others.

All these strengths are in full force for the season three premiere, which spends most of its time in the Gigolo House for the new spinoff reality series Gigolo Horse, in which the gigolos compete for survival. The challenges—overseen by host Marc XYZ (Paul Scheer) and guest judge Farley (Chelsea Peretti)—include sexy fruit eating, lying to their aunts about what they do for a living, complimenting Farley, the three-legged fuck, and a literal game of horse. Gigolo House has never really been my favorite of the fictional series on Kroll Show (although, I rarely tire of seeing Jason Mantzoukas in a crop top), but Gigolo Horse is a perfect example of the writers taking its existing characters to a whole new level. The addition of Scheer as the perfectly on-point goober host as well as special guest C.T. of MTV’s The Challenge (!!!) playing himself elevate the sketch. And as usual, Peretti’s Farley steals the show—even just her entrance is perfect.

And then we return to what is one of my favorite fake series, not only on Kroll Show but across all television: Wheels Ontario. Previously on Wheels Ontario: Tunes gunshot Mikey. Now, Mikey has returned as a drugs addict with a blue streak, painted nails, choker, and earrings, prompting his friends and family to stage a Suggestion, Canada’s version of an Intervention. As a parody of Degrassi, Wheels Ontario has the most specific humor of any Kroll Show sketch and therefore the one that runs the highest risk of feeling repetitive, but it has yet to hit that point. Plenty of other sketch shows—and even sitcoms, like How I Met Your Mother—have made fun of Canada, but the Kroll Show writers outdo the rest by ramping up the parody to the max and giving precise, wacky detail to everything from the way the characters speak (“I think Mikey is a drugs addict”) to the sets to the characters’ names (Coach Teacher is still one of the most brilliant character names on the series).

But for as great as all the continuations and returning favorites are, the best sketch in the premiere is actually a new addition: Dead Girl Town, a parody of anti-hero-driven crime shows. Kroll plays Detective Logan, a souped-up Rust Cohle or Raylan Givens or insert-any-name-of-a-white-male-lead-on-a-crime-show-here. He’s glib, snarky, unfazed in the face of murder (his two daughters and wife were murdered, and his sister was murdered…by lung cancer), cool to the point where he just walks straight through the caution tape at a crime scene as if it isn’t there. But even funnier is the fake show’s intelligent takedown of TV’s oversaturation of crime series on which most of the roles for women are as dead bodies. If I were forced at Tunes’ gunpoint to choose a flaw of this premiere, it would probably be that we don’t spend quite enough time in Dead Girl Town. But hopefully we’ll get more as we dive back into Kroll’s wild world.

Stray observations:

  • Welcome to weekly reviews of the final season of Kroll Show! I’m sure we’re going to have an ameeeezing time.
  • “Getting gunshot can really change a person, inside and oot.”
  • “Ughh slash mmm.” - Farley, and everyone, on CT
  • “Woah, mum, you’re like a rapper! Like Drake!”
  • Kathryn Hahn’s mom’s mournful farts.
  • We also briefly check in—ahem, cheque in—with Bryan La Cróix, the Canadian heartthrob who plays Mikey on Wheels Ontario.
  • I could watch Mantzoukas and Kroll play basketball horribly for way longer than we get to.
  • I could also watch Kroll and Kathryn Hahn smoke a joint for…forever, probably.
  • Gabe Liedman talking about his bully is definitely the standout real-life clip in this premiere. “He actually is dead now.”