“Kroll Show” might be the weirdest modern sketch show on television right now. Its placement on Comedy Central doesn’t seem like the right fit; it’s much more scatterbrain and inconsistent than most of Comedy Central’s programming. Yet it’s too well-produced to be on Adult Swim, and it’s too trashy and grounded to be on IFC. The show wants to be a satire of reality TV, but it also wants to be a character sketch comedy with some absurdist and surrealist elements. And although season two of “Kroll Show” is finding more of its voice, the show is still largely hit or miss.
The first sketch of the season two opener “Cake Train” features, well, Zach Galifianakis throwing cakes out of a train toward crazed consumers. Slow-motion shots of cakes hitting people in the face can be somewhat funny, but the sketch goes nowhere quick and has a weak punchline. Ultimately, these types of sketches are “Kroll Show’s” weakest material; they’re never surreal enough to have a shock value, and they’re too weird to play off of Kroll’s characters.
In turn, it’s becoming much more clear that “Kroll Show’s” strengths lie in its rapidly evolving faux reality shows. “Dad Academy,” starring returning character C-Czar (Nick Kroll) who is about to become a father after impregnating Pretty Liz (Jenny Slate) on “Ice Dating,” puts Kroll’s character in a ridiculous premise. C-Czar learning to become a dad (well, not really) from six other dads and subsequently earning tattoos for completing each dad’s training sets up for some potentially hilarious moments, but the sketch isn’t as funny when C-Czar only has straight/serious characters to play off of.
The show seems to be at its best when Kroll’s characters are matched by someone equally ridiculous. The sketch/faux reality show “PubLIZity,” starring returning characters Pretty Liz and Liz (Slate and Kroll), was easily the strongest part of the season opener, as tensions rise when Liz learns Pretty Liz is pregnant. Slate and Kroll have combined the valley girl/upper middle class white girl stereotype with the perfect amount of a surrealist loss of humanity to produce the show’s funniest characters. Pretty Liz reveals herself to be a awful future mother right off the bat, which Liz quickly points out. Yet when Liz allows Pretty Liz’s niece Denise (having Liz and Pretty Liz pronounce “my niece Denise” was perhaps the funniest part of the episode) to be abducted by a creepy photographer (Will Forte), we learn Liz would be just as awful. Eventually the two make up, forgetting about the whole abduction issue.
The “Kroll Show’s” inconsistency in quality is its biggest issue, which is troubling for its structure as a sketch comedy show. While the highs are extremely high, the show desperately needs more focus.