Comedy Review: Whitest Kids U’ Know


From The San Francisco Chronicle

January 22, 2010
By David Weigand

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OK, so the sketch comedy ensemble known as the Whitest Kids U’ Know made their much anticipated appearance at Cobb’s Thursday night as part of this year’s laugh-packed Sketchfest and the first skit they did was about …

Hmm. Well, the subject of that one sure isn’t fit for a family newspaper.

Oh, but the one they did about … with the thing … and then that one guy simulated … and it all …

Never mind – that one is pretty unprintable, too. There was a bit, involving audience volunteers, about two rival monster-truck rally drivers at a party that was only PG-rated: It included bad language and simulated mayhem as the two drivers threw furniture around the stage and mowed down the audience members like traffic cones in an arena. But that doesn’t begin to capture the comedic style of the five young guys who are, indeed, very white and whose material is often very blue.

Comedy itself is a pretty dangerous business: To do it effectively, you have to crawl out on a limb, either by making yourself very vulnerable or taking incredible risks, or both. With sketch comedy, you know at least you’re not alone, but that means the challenge to take risks is heightened because the audience can see that there are other troupe members to catch you if something bombs.

WKUK, as it’s known all over the Internet and among its legion of mostly young fans, takes a lot of risks onstage. There’s also a lot of sex, a lot of foul language, a lot of references to bodily substances. No gender, ethnicity, body part, sexual orientation or, for that matter, sexual practice is safe from ridicule in a WKUK routine. But the most significant risk that WKUK takes is performing sketches without allowing everything to become juvenile. As hard as it may be to believe, WKUK wallows frequently in potty-mouth humor and somehow makes it seem almost sophisticated.

The show opened with two group members playing Paul and Dennis, blind comics, who fall off the stage within five minutes. There’s also a kind of “Dating Game” skit where Darren Trumeter plays contestant “Barbara” quizzing three potential dates with the usual banal game-show questions, only to have the three guys describe their intentions in excessively graphic terms.

Those who’ve seen the group’s show on IFC (whose third season launches next week) welcomed the arrival of Abraham Lincoln on Thursday night in a wacky reimagining of a certain night at Ford’s Theatre. This time, however, the play was not “Our American Cousin” but a WKUK version of “Hamlet,” which somehow included a guest appearance by Othello while our 16th president bellowed obscenities from the back of the North Beach club.

In addition to Trumeter, the lineup includes Sam Brown, Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore and the cherub-faced Timmy Williams.

Between sketches, the audience was treated to clips from WKUK’s new season. The video quality was pretty raw, but, then again, so were the jokes.

SF Sketchfest continues through Feb. 2 at various venues. wwwsfsketchfest.com.

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