Just because Nick Kroll's new sketch show on Comedy Central is called Kroll Show doesn't mean the series isn't a team effort. "It's called Kroll Show, and obviously I'm in every sketch, but that just becomes the premise that ties everything together," the comedian tells Hollywood.com ahead of the series' Jan. 16 premiere. "Each sketch is me and Jenny Slate, me and John Mulaney, me and Fred Armisen, me and Andy Milonakis, me and whoever, so that in a way it becomes an ensemble. Really it's a showcase, and we're all equals in those sketches."
And that's not even including the three men Kroll collaborated with the most. "What I love about this show is between Johnathan Krisel, who directs it (Portlandia, Tim and Eric), John Levenstein (The Life and Times of Tim, Arrested Development) and Jon Daly, who's an actor and supervising producer, just amongst those three guys alone you have incredible comic minds who have a ton of say in what happens," he says. "I have the privilege of hiring or collaborating with people whose opinions I respect, and [whom] I will defer to."
The new show, which debuts at 10:30 p.m. following the Workaholics premiere, features Kroll and company in skits ranging from a Degrassi-esque Canadian kids show called Wheels Ontario, in which Kroll plays the new, able kid in school whose classmates are all in wheelchairs, to a reality TV spoof called PubLIZity in which he plays a vapid New York City publicist.
Don't worry, you'll see some returning favorites too: El Chupacabra and Bobby Bottleservice, among any others, will have their own segments on the new show too. Although he's got such a wide-ranging group of characters at the ready, Kroll says he can't pick a favorite. "It sounds cheesy but it's kind of whatever character I'm doing at that moment — partly because I don't shoot anything that I'm not already excited about, and then two, the beauty of doing a sketch show is that every three days it's something new," he says. "You're like alright, I've been getting into makeup as a woman for the past two days, my feet are f---ing killing me, and I'm super psyched to not be Liz anymore."
Much like Kroll's network mates in sketch, Key & Peele, Kroll is excited that the genre is making a comeback thanks to the Internet. "I think [Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele have] done an amazing job at paving the way for really smart, really well-executed sketch comedy. And yet what we're doing is going to be very different from what they've done," Kroll reveals. "But I think it's been really great for Comedy Central to see what they've done and for the audience to be excited about sketch again in the way they haven't on that network for a while."
Kroll Show airs Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Comedy Central]
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Sure we’ve seen underdog-themed sports comedies ad nauseam. But when was the last time you saw it with mix-ins of toilet and marijuana humor? Aha! Touché Who's Your Caddy? touché. Our token er tokin’ underdog here is C-Note (Antwan Patton aka Big Boi from Outkast) a multi-platinum Atlanta-based rapper who just wants to get his golf on. But here’s the catch: He wants to do so at an ultra-exclusive ultra-conservative seemingly all-white country club and the club’s president Cummings (Jeffrey Jones) isn’t having any of it. So what’s a golf-lorn hip-hopper to do? Why plunk down millions on the course’s chicest estate and invite his posse (Faizon Love Finesse Mitchell and others) to move in and hassle the prez to grant C-Note club membership. So begins the cat-and-mouse hijinks between C-Note and Cummings each of whom hopes force the other’s hand. And it only ends when—surprise surprise—a do-or-die golf match is agreed upon to settle the score. All of the cast members fit the bill for such crassness—except for oddly enough Patton (Boi?). And when a rapper-turned-actor is too good for a role it’s a solid indication of just how low the bar is. Producers aren’t exactly banging down Patton’s door with Oscar-worthy scripts but his offers must be better than Caddy which he probably viewed as a good first foray into the lucrative family-comedy genre. Oops. Patton is charismatic charming funny in spots—despite appearing to break character once or twice—and as seen in Idlewild and heard in his music highly talented. But Caddy is a misstep in an otherwise promising movie career. Luckily not too many people will venture to theaters to witness the degree to which it is. The brunt of the minimal comedy comes from Notorious B.I.G. doppelganger Love and former SNL-er Mitchell. The few funny scenes with the two in which Love injects his standup humor and Mitchell his stoner aloofness are scenes of (likely improvised) non-sequiturs. Ferris Bueller's Day Off villain Jones is as hateful and hateable as ever only to be topped by MTV star Andy Milonakis who plays Jones’ onscreen son. Milonakis initially plays it so straight that even his fans will squirm in embarrassment; it only gets worse when he rebels against his father and changes teams. Who's Your Caddy? writer-director Don Michael Paul’s only other movie you may have heard of (2002’s Half Past Dead) was a Steven Seagal movie—and his latest pales in comparison. Paul’s interests clearly lie in the lowest of lowbrow but whereas the Scary/Date/Epic Movie clan for example manages a few laughs—and millions of dollars—out of their comedies he can’t ever get Caddy going in any positive direction. At times in fact the movie borders on blatant racism as he tries to exploit black stereotypes and white stereotypes for cheap laughs. When that’s not the case the movie merely rips off bits of countless other better movies—despite the “originality” of fart and weed jokes being in a sports movie. Look closely if you dare and you may detect theft from Happy Gilmore Caddyshack How High Friday or maybe even Malibu's Most Wanted. Worse still than his plot devices is Paul’s implementation of directorial devices such as ever-changing cinematography depending upon the degree of giddiness he’s trying to attain or freeze-frame shots to introduce certain characters.
Pity Mitch (John Francis Daley). It's his first day on the job at Shenanigans--a take on the nationwide-chain Bennigan's. The waiter who trains him Monty (Ryan Reynolds) is the same one he looks down on him. Monty shows Mitch the ropes as well as the cooks' genitalia. Sorry there's no other way to put it. See there's this game that the male employees play whereby...let's just say it's one of many unspeakable "games" they play that'll make you watch the film as you would a horror movie: your hands covering your eyes with just enough space between two fingers to catch a glimpse. And these are just Mitch's first moments on the job. Over the course of his shift he'll meet a twenty-something named Dean (Justin Long) who's trying to go straight--that is do something else with his life; a pushover (Patrick Benedict) whose timidity carries over to the urinal; and a veteran waitress (Alanna Ubach) who barks profane tirades about her patrons but not to them. People knock the MPAA's sense of humor but if they truly didn't have one this gross-out flick would be slapped with an NC-17 rating.
A film set in a restaurant falls squarely on the shoulders of its actors. Thankfully Reynolds and company make good carrying the film and its script of top-that one-liners and well shenanigans. Reynolds while now a bankable star in avenues other than comedy clearly has a knack for this stuff. His comedic timing and delivery are truly first-rate never more so than in Waiting excelling in the sheer vulgarity he has to shell out. Dodgeball's Long as Dean is downright earnest next to his buddy Monty but it's his role to defer to Reynolds' eloquent sarcasm. Of course this doesn't totally preclude him from joining in on the fun. He's just forced to take more barbs than he can dish out. Anna Faris (from the Scary Movie series) flies even more under the radar as Monty's ex the only one that stands in his way of proclaiming his prowess second to none. Also making pitch-perfect appearances as malevolent employees are fringe-sters Luis Guzman Chi McBride Dane Cook and Andy Milonakis with Anchorman's David Koechner as the manager.
Waiting is not the type of movie in which a separate director and writer is required--it's a package deal. That's because--and let's be honest here--a film set almost entirely in one location without a single stunt person or special effect doesn't need more than one voice. To this effect writer/director Rob McKittrick makes his first foray into each arena. Needless to say his directorial debut is almost a non-entity but that's more complementary than detrimental on a project like this. His stinging commentary on the other hand displays a comedic deftness that is worth keeping an eye on in the future especially if Waiting does any business at the box office.