by Ross Bonaime
“I’m giving you the spectrum,” Nick Kroll stated early on in his set after a joke didn’t land particularly well. “That way when you hear a hit, you go ‘that’s a hit.’”Kroll’s sold out set Sunday night at the 6th & I Synagogue had plenty of hits, but also had scattered misses throughout.
There seemed to be three different types of jokes at Kroll’s show:
Kroll seemed to be working his way through some jokes, some of which played well, others bombed. For example, Kroll planned on doing a few minutes on football, but after an opening joke received a mild reaction at best, he backed off the idea. The biggest problem with the new material was that Kroll didn’t seem to have as much confidence in it. There were some highlights though, as Kroll discussed the oddity of the European man who put out a personals ad stating he wanted to “slather and eat” someone, and the man actually had a response. Kroll’s riff on the two men eating the ad-answerers penis was gross but hilarious.
Half way through the set came my second type:
Kroll is one of the many comedians lately that Comedy Central has given a show to. In January, the network will premiere Kroll Show, which looks along the lines of Key & Peele. From the few minutes that Kroll showed, the show has the potential to be just as great. The few sketches he showed featured other great comedians like Chelsea Peretti and Tim Heidecker. The sketches were the perfect length, never overstaying their welcome. Bobby Bottleservice, one of Kroll’s favorite characters, made an appearance with Peretti, and a Home Depot parody for a place called “Screws” featured a couple working on making a panic room, then trapping the home improvement helper in it for their own amusement. Kroll’s brand of humor is very strong here and seems very akin to his Comedy Central special, Thank You Very Cool.
But several segments from that special appeared in:
For the fans of Kroll who have seen his special or heard his many podcast appearances, some of the material on Sunday was a bit old. That’s not to say it wasn’t as hilarious, just might have been disappointing to someone expecting nothing but new material. Two of Kroll’s best bits came in this section. First was a story about his first stand up experience as a freshman at Georgetown, which involves a failed attempt to piss his pants in front of a crowd. His second closed out his special, where he talks about the three separate times he’s shit his pants in his life. It’s a great anecdote that still plays, even after it’s appearance of Thank You Very Cool.
This may all sound like I’m saying I was disappointed by Kroll, but on the contrary, Kroll was consistently great throughout. There was hardly a minute without a big laugh. Stand up comedians have a hard time, as audience want to hear material they know, yet also hear new material as well. Kroll delivered in both aspects, bringing the old and the new, and did a pretty good job at both.