I’ve just started watching Kroll Show (named for its star and creator, comedian Nick Kroll) recently but it’s already risen to the top of my list in terms of TV- so much so that I’ll be taking this Fame Day to recommend it to you.
Now in concept alone, Kroll Show isn’t anything new. Each episode is comprised of skits (interspersed lightly with commentary from Kroll and his comic co-stars) riffing on television, with reality TV taking the brunt of the riffs. You’ve probably seen this done before in less successful enterprises or recognize it as roughly 50-85% of all Seth McFarlane jokes.
Nevertheless, Kroll Show stands out not only as being a simply more popular incarnation of these shows, but being so good as to get even someone as misanthropic as myself to head out and vouch for it.
Let me break it down for you.
Now all these skits are more or less based off of reality television, and while they’re perfect send-ups (to the point where I think if you were just flipping through channels you wouldn’t be able to see the difference) they avoid being heavy-handed. Really, the closest it ever came to being preachy was for a couple seconds in one of the Visiting Europe Video sketches where Kroll references Europe’s really, really bad issues with racism.
For the most part it’s just plain good send-ups of bad TV. Pointing out stuff that’s dumb or shallow or vapid without ever delving into the issues behind it too deeply. Yeah, that’s going to sound a little hypocritical coming from a blog dedicated to doing pretty much just that, but I think it makes for something really and truly refreshing. You don’t need a doctoral dissertation on the voyeuristic elements of everything TLC does to laugh at how crazy it can get.
Now it’s by no means spotless, but the show’s still pretty clean, all things considered. And when you do consider that it could be a lot raunchier if it so chose, you really just have to respect the general sense of self-discipline and restraint that they’re using over there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some prude, but it’s always cool to see a show that’s not riding solely on cheap shots to sustain itself.
It actually reminds me of SNL skits back in the 70s, or at least, the style in which they were done. There are some skits which just don’t land, but they’re typically over fast enough that you really don’t mind. Characters do reappear, but do so sporadically enough that you’re never sated when they’re good (in the best possible way) and never really irritated when they aren’t.
In fact, it actually bears a lot of similarities to SNL as Evan and I both argued it should be, with the jokes topical yet not overused and serving as a brief showcase for relatively unknown comedians to do their thing, rather than being built around already established celebrities.
And really that’s all there is to it. It’s just a plain, good show. Good not just in the execution of the jokes but in the criticism (as lighthearted as it is) of the open sewer that is most TV and the people who just eat it up. Yeah, that’s probably not the best indication of where our entertainment stands in general when a show’s hailed just for being good, but let’s take what we can get. Even if the concept itself isn’t new, I think we’re seeing it at least executed well for the first time ever.
Go give it a shot.
Airs Tuesdays at 10:30 PM EST on Comedy Central