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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kroll Show: “Sponsored By Stamps”

Illustration for article titled iKroll Show/i: “Sponsored By Stamps”
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I didn’t think Kroll Show could take the joke about Nash Rickey’s band’s reunion show being sponsored by “stamps” any further. We’d already had everything you might think of—obvious product placement within the show, annoying pop-ups, a ridiculously treacly ad where a soldier returns home to his wife. Then, before the third segment, we see the military ad again, but it’s like sponsored content on YouTube—there’s a “skip this ad in 5 seconds” button that the mouse is frantically clicking. This is what is so brilliant about Kroll Show. When it spoofs something, it spoofs everything about it, it does it perfectly, and it’s right up to the minute with it.

Nash Rickey was not one of my favorites on the first year of Kroll Show (there were a couple “halftime entertainer” sketches starring him) but this is a far better fit for him. As a Bret Michaels type, spouting propaganda for stamps as if he really believes it—but still with a crushed-soul quality to his voice—he’s perfect for a lame reunion show. In typical Kroll Show fashion, almost every line of dialogue is intercut with a ridiculous guitar lick and flashback montage, to guarantee maximum ridiculousness.


The cast of the band is great—Brian Huskey is in typical buttoned-up-square mode as the former bassist, and Jason Mantzoukas is a crazy homeless dude as the drummer. Both could have been crazier, but it’s a lot to cram into a short segment, so I forgive the transgression. I have no idea if this sketch will recur this season, but it’s certainly a compliment to say I would be happy to see it again, which is more than I would have said last season for Nash Rickey.

This week we also had the return of one of my favorite season-one characters, Ref Jeff, who first is on a reality show called “Making Friends” that he mistook for a self-help group. Mocking the direct awfulness of almost every reality show (every contestant is identified by their ethnicity) and contrasting it with the friendly puppy-dog host Pete Holmes, I wanted way more of this sketch. Instead, it’s dispensed with in the opening minutes, although we do get a clip of Holmes nailing a Nick Kroll impression (the man does great impressions of his comedian buddies).

The rest of Ref Jeff isn’t as good, even with the inclusion of Jordan Peele, but his conversation segment with Kroll is also adorable. What a good idea including these things was this year! Kroll’s standup material last season was fine, but this is something I actually look forward to seeing.

Finally, we had Wheels, Ontario, with Mikey and Toons visiting American college and unsurprisingly not liking what they find. Adam Pally (ugh, the guests on this show are so good!) was great at a closeted roommate making some grade-A grossed-out faces, and, well, there were a thousand Canada jokes. Wheels, Ontario is hilarious. What more is there to say?


Stray observations:

  • “A couple grade fifteeners playing discus! We must be visiting university in the States, eh?”
  • “We shouldn’t joke about our warlike partners to the south, they’ve been wonderful neighbors to us.”
  • The title of Wheels, Ontario this week: “An Interesting Visit.” God, even Degrassi had better titles.
  • “Canada canceled track after Ben Johnson shamed our country by cheating!”
  • “Maybe I’ll read from your textbook on jazz music. I wonder which chapter’s about Michael Buble.”

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