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‘I Think You Should Leave’ Could Save American Sketch Comedy

It’s perhaps unfair to compare I Think You Should Leave to Saturday Night Live. Yes, they’re both sketch comedy series, and the creator of one used to work for the other. But in reality, they’re very different shows with very different objectives.

One is intended for a mass audience, while one is decidedly not. One insists on being topical, while the other doesn’t bother.

But at the same time that SNL is having a notably subpar year, one plagued by terrible political sketches premised on the notion that an A-lister playing a member of the Trump Administration is inherently hilarious, Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave is the freshest, funniest, sketch comedy series to emerge in years.

The series doesn’t aim for social and political commentary in the vein of Chappelle’s ShowKey & Peele, or Inside Amy Schumer, but in terms of pure humor, it’s the equal of all three.

The show was created by Tim Robinson, a former Saturday Night Live featured player who was demoted off the cast to the writing staff. The show’s six episodes, most of them around 20 minutes long, feature frequently absurd sketches, a lot of them centered on the theme of awkward social situations. The series doesn’t aim for social and political commentary in the vein of Chappelle’s Show, Key & Peele, or Inside Amy Schumer, but in terms of pure humor, it’s the equal of all three.

The actors don’t really form a traditional cast, as Robinson himself appears in the sketches along with obscure sketch performers, as well as a few ringers like Andy Samberg, Will Forte, Steven Yeun, Fred Willard, Tim Heidecker, Fred Willard and Vanessa Bayer.

As for the sketches? It’s like they made an entire comedy show in which everything is SNL’s 10-to-1 block.

There’s a beauty pageant for babies. There’s a terrific bit, starring Bayer, about self-deprecating Instagram captions. There’s an instant-classic bit featuring a car focus group, in which obscure Cuban actor Ruben Rabasa spouts catchphrase after catchphrase.

I don’t know that the I Think You Should Leave fan base is huge, but it is passionate, and it’s pretty well-represented in the media. There’s a soundboard, rankings of the best sketches, and tweet after tweet from people stating that the show has made them laugh like nothing they can remember. Also on Twitter? Dozens of people who have changed their user names to “Bart Harley Jarvis.”

…much the same way Netflix has changed standup comedy by giving comics huge paydays for specials, perhaps that might happen for more sketch performers…

There’s no word yet on a second season for I Think You Should Leave, but it feels inevitable. And it seems that much the same way Netflix has changed standup comedy by giving comics huge paydays for specials, perhaps that might happen for more sketch performers – perhaps from more ex-SNL writers with a long list of wonderfully weird-ass ideas.


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