Is “Kroll Show” the Best Thing on TV Right Now?

Scene from Kroll Show

Liz and Liz from show-within-the-show PubLIZity. (Screen shot from https://youtu.be/ZLMDcJxwkr0)

The answer is: Yes. Yes it is.¹

It’s not only that comedian Nick Kroll demonstrates incredible talent for capturing — in his character Liz, for example — the hysteria surrounding Kim Kardashian and her bangs. It’s not only that Kroll has developed an eponymous TV show poking fun at and exposing the nonsense and smut of reality television show. And it’s not even that Kroll has wisely decided that this 2015 season of the show will be the last; he wants the show to end on a high note and wants to avoid the possibility of the show losing steam (kind of like the U.S. version of The Office, which went on for an interminably long time after losing its comedic value). When all these things come together, Nick Kroll proves that he can be genius at what he does.

If you’ve not seen the show, you should, although it might take a little getting used to. A sketch comedy series that premiered in 2013, Kroll Show develops and follows a number of characters that mimic — often directly — the speech and mannerisms of current and past celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, and (I think) a compilation of most of the members of the Jersey Shore cast. The characters are part of individual sketches that in turn mimic the format and style of several TV shows. For example, Kroll Show’s “Wheels, Ontario” mimics the TV show Degrassi.

What has really endeared me to Kroll Show (beyond what I mentioned above) is how the show interacts with and is a rich example of postmodern art. A cursory Google search informs me that, to date, very little has been written about the show, but I don’t think it will be long before graduate students everywhere are desperately trying to get their dissertation advisors to listen to all the ways that Kroll participates in intertextuality. And these graduate students will be right. Kroll has developed characters specific to one sketch and storyline but who find themselves popping up in other sketches and storylines that are not their own. More than that, Kroll Show is so very metatheatrical; there are characters within characters and TV shows within TV shows. In my favorite instance of this, Kroll plays Bryan La Croix, a Canadian actor playing a Canadian student named Mikey in “Wheels, Ontario,” the show within the show.

But even if you don’t get into the theoretical stuff that is going on with the show, give it a chance beyond the short clips available on YouTube. When seen in whole episodes and as an entire series, Kroll Show is funny, thought-provoking, and thoroughly enjoyable when binge watched.

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¹Full disclosure, I haven’t seen everything that is airing on TV these days, but I think I can still safely say that if not the best thing on TV (because American Ninja Warrior is not currently showing new episodes), Kroll Show certainly comes close to the top.

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Laura Creel (@Little_Utopia) is the managing editor of Little Utopia.LC

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One response to “Is “Kroll Show” the Best Thing on TV Right Now?

  1. Show is great sketch comedy. Kroll does bring some Character to light in satire that entertains folks in ways their reality TV counter parts could only imagine. Yet it’s the reality starts false appeal that allow “The Kroll Show” to create such comic gold. Give credit to man a man willing to perform so many parts be it in drag attire or wife beater tank tops he goes above and beyond for a good laugh.

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