(Fuse / IFC) If we're going to discuss The Whitest Kids U' Know– the NYC-based sketch comedy troupe whose hit show ran for five seasons on Fuse and the Independent Film Channel – then you should be made aware that the WKUK (Trevor Moore, Sam Brown, Zach Cregger, Darren Trumeter, and Timmy Williams) have already written what is considered one of the best American comedy sketch groups of all time. In a way, this is like a group of howler monkeys accidentally discovering cold fusion; but the WKUK are actually far more intelligent than they make themselves out to be. Their chosen medium of preposterous drivel often hides some of the funniest and most subversive comedy writing this great nation has ever seen.
The sketch in question is an odd vignette about two elementary school kids (Moore and Brown, who founded the troupe) getting on the school bus and talking about how great it is to sit in the back seat. They start by looking at a topless girl who drives by out of nowhere, then they amuse themselves by throwing firecrackers out the window. Then they throw Trevor's lunch out the window. When Trevor realizes he doesn't have a lunch anymore, Sam reassures him, “Don't worry, buddy, you can have some of mine. I'll share … my food is your food.” Trevor replies, “You sound like a communist!” Sam says, “Well, not really communism, more like socialism. If you think about it, socialism's not really that bad.” They proceed to discuss the relative merits of socialism while the bus driver eyes them suspiciously and shouts, “Hey! What're you kids doing back there?” When Trevor muses, “It's like, the principles that every single religion teaches are directly opposed to the principles of capitalism,” the driver screams, “Hey!! I'm gonna turn this bus around! I'll turn it right around!”
You really need to see it to get the full effect, but basically it's an entire idealogical revolution contained in two-and-a-half-minutes of playful silliness. For an even shorter political statement, check out “The Complete Human History of the Last 10,000 Years in Seven Seconds”: “Hey, whatcha got there?” “Just this gold thingy.” “Stab.” “What didja do that for?” “Aw, he was a jackass.”
The WKUK have a sneaky way of inserting the most profound observations about human nature into the most inane possible context. They take on mindless marketing executives (“R.C. Glow”), ill-considered insurgents (“Anarchy”), reactionary imbeciles (“Gun Control”), devious press secretaries (“Moon Bears”), the psychology of politicians (“Clint Webb”), and reality television (“Suicide Show”).
Lest they start to sound like pretentious intellectuals, it should be noted that the WKUK seem equally happy to write sketches about thoroughly meaningless material: robots who love sex, dogs who love boobs, multiple alternate histories of famous assassinations, men who descend into volcanoes to steal diamonds from the Devil, and kids who can't help playing with the Necronomicon while their parents are away.
In a way, this devotion to absurdity is part of their genius. They get you laughing with one bizarre idea after another (could there be anything more wonderfully stupid than the “Hippo in the City” song?) and then hit you with something that kicks your brain into high gear and overturns ideas so basic that you've stopped even thinking about them (every successful American agrees that the U.S. should be a capitalist country, right? Right?). You're left speechless, wondering how on Earth they pulled it off.
The Whitest Kids U' Know TV show may have drawn to a close, but the Whitest Kids are still at it. The troupe have been touring on and off over the past several years, and have written and directed two feature-length films: Miss March (not an official WKUK movie) and The Civil War on Drugs (an official WKUK movie). We can only hope to hear much more from them.
They say that if you can make someone laugh, you can make them think, and The Whitest Kids U' Know is a perfect example of that. Watching it is like watching a group of scatalogically-obsessed schoolchildren spontaneously discover decency and compassion. Once you've seen what they can do, you'll follow them anywhere, because the Whitest Kids are the best kind of revolutionaries – the kind with a sense of humor.
For Fans Of: The Upright Citizens Brigade; The Kids in the Hall; Monty Python's Flying Circus; Mr. Show; Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
Why We Like It: sometimes playful nonsense, sometimes incisive satire, sometimes both, hugely likeable performers, extremely subversive material, true comedy genius