TV Review | The Whitest Kids U’ Know 3.1, 3.2

Sketch comedy in the late 2000s tends to follow an absurdist, high-concept model more often than not.  The vast majority of shows from this era will doubtless age ten years from now, as the absurdist model becomes overused and new groups rebel against it.  Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was considered edgy in 1968, while Turn-On was once the height of bad taste.  People also used to think Jerry Lester was funny.  Tastes change, and so do the comedy stylings.

I prefer the style of The Whitest Kids U’ Know (Super Channel: April 8, 11PM ET) to that of its closest modern competitors.  I appreciate the efforts put forth by Human Giant and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, yet WKUK is the show I actually laugh at.  The Whitest Kids U’ Know is crude at first glance, but there’s some intelligence behind its lowbrow façade.

The WWII sketch that starts off the first thirty-minute episode of season three is a case in point.  Four people enter Hitler’s bunker and come across Charlie Chaplin.  The Whitest Kids U’ Know players go for the predictable climax (Charlie Chaplin kills everyone) and then smack the viewer upside the head with a grossly inappropriate ending.  The Whitest Kids U’ Know has that duality with many of its sketches – predictable one point, surprising the next.

The second thirty-minute episode of WKUK‘s third season is stronger overall due to some inspired sketches.  J.J. Martin, the punkest man on the planet, can make terrible folk songs punk as fuck, while J.P. Barger and Son Trading Post sells water balloons in the American Old West.  The first thirty-minute episode has a lovely musical number about God’s connection to obsessive compulsion, so it’s not far off in quality.

Not every sketch on The Whitest Kids U’ Know works.  For instance, the Lord of the Rings sketch in episode two hinges on its greatest plot hole, Gandalf not utilizing a giant eagle to fly Frodo and his friends to Sauron’s volcano.  It’s an obvious complaint which The Whitest Kids U’ Know don’t put a fresh spin on.  The sketch is saved by an out-of-place rape reference, but more rape references kill the sketch again.

A 3:2 good sketch:bad sketch ratio is maintained overall.  It’s not the best ratio for sketch comedy, but The Whitest Kids U’ Know are also throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.  IFC airs the third season in fifteen-minute blocks, which may be the best format for The Whitest Kids U’ Know – if you hate this show, more than fifteen minutes is akin to torture.  There is very little middle ground between fans and haters of this show, so Trevor Moore and co. have to be doing something right.

WKUK isn’t as polished or as good as Mr. Show and Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but the show can be genuinely funny at times.  WKUK will air on relatively obscure stations like IFC and Super Channel for years to come, and they’re probably the best places for the show anyway.  Assy McGee has proven there are far worse things on television than Trevor Moore’s brand of lowbrow humour.

C. Archer
Le Social