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Comedy  |  Reviews

Kroll Show: "Cake Train"

January 14, 2014  |  2:00pm
<i>Kroll Show</i>: "Cake Train"

The first episode of the second season of Kroll Show, which premieres on Comedy Central tonight at 10:30/9:30 central, opens with a sketch called “Cake Train.” Yes, it involves Chelsea Peretti and others. Oh sorry, that wasn’t your question? Yes, it also involves a cake being thrown from a train.

It was a funny idea, but it didn’t make me laugh. Who am I to judge though? Who needs to laugh ALL the time? Sometimes comedy is just there to show you that anything’s possible—even Zach Galifianakis throwing full-sized cakes at people from a moving locomotive.

I think Nick Kroll might be funniest when not playing a character in a sketch, so I really appreciated his musings on the evolution of his feelings toward Brussels sprouts. He sarcastically explains that “bacon was Biden to Obama’s Brussels sprout… [in an idiotic voice] ‘Umm I don’t know where Brussels sprouts are from, so I’d just feel safer if bacon was there.’” I can’t decide if it’s more impressive for him to have spent a lot of preparatory time considering his relationship to the Brussels sprout for this 40-second segment—or if I’d be more amazed to learn the whole thing was improvised on the spot. I guess sometimes the best comedies also contain decent irrelevant mysteries.

The next sketch was Kroll’s character C-Czar, a cross between Flavor Flav and the kid who failed out of your Earth Science class because he couldn’t pass the lab safety quiz because he couldn’t find the room in which the lab safety quiz was being held. Again, it did not make me laugh a lot, like you’d expect from a C-Czar-type starring in a MTV Teen Mom-style spoof called “Dad Academy.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t like watching it.

In fact, I didn’t laugh out loud a lot during this entire episode. What I did do, consistently, was experience that “internal recognition of humor” thing where the joke or concept is funny, but also displays a keen sharpness that lacerates the reality it mocks. It’s kind of too intimidating to really laugh at, but you know it’s funny. On the other hand, it’s hard not to enjoy the way C-Czar refers to everyone he meets by his own name. That, I laughed at.

The same goes for the next sketch “PubLIZity.” My second favorite sketch from last season, this is where Kroll and Jenny Slate play two publicists named “Liz.” Both of them are pitch perfect in this segment, and by that I mean they’re way better than most of the movie Pitch Perfect. It would be cool to be certain publicists watching this sketch because then I’d know how a baby feels recognizing itself in the mirror for the first time. A parting kudos to Will Forte for playing a disturbingly-good paparazzi pedophile.

John Mulaney joins Kroll for “Gil and George,” where they’re old weirdos who baffle strangers by anticlimactically “pranking” them with overfilled tuna sandwiches. Mulaney made me spit a drink out with a line about “memento disease.” Looking forward to the rest of the season.

Best line: “I hope a big bucket of nails runs into your face at 100 miles per hour.”

Runner up: “It’s like a portrait, based off my face.”

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