Brooks Wheelan, Zach Kanin, Tim Robinson, and Sam Richardson at the live I Think You Should Leave show at the Netflix comedy festival.
Photo: Araya Doheny / Getty Images for Netflix
Obviously I Think You Should Leave held a live show at a cemetery. No, they didn’t flop any coffins, and no skeletons came to life either, but buried sketches were exhumed at Hollywood Forever’s Masonic Lodge on May 6 as Tim Robinson and company performed at the Netflix Is a Joke Fest. If the streamer is in need of goodwill (and let’s be clear, it is), then holding an event for a series with such a hyper-vocal, super-logged-on fanbase was a smart move. Earlier that day, Netflix announced that it was renewing the show for a third season, so the mood was celebratory in the 150-seat venue, which quickly filled up with fans, at least one of whom I saw wearing “Brian’s hat.”
When tickets for the show were released back in December, they sold out in something between three and five seconds, depending on which disappointed fan you ask, so everyone in the crowd was either very lucky, very skilled at clicking the second a ticket drops, or very works-at-Netflix. The show opened with a screening of the “Has This Ever Happened to You?” sketch, only it was a beefed-up cut full of even more ways for the Turbo Team to terrorize the poor guy in the video. This time around, they mow his lawn so it looks “like a shaved puss,” throw a disruptive party on his lawn because “beach music is supposed to be loud, ”and keep pretending the guy is dead as they stomp all over his home. It really gives the gag toilet for farts some context.
I had assumed an I Think You Should Leave show in a festival setting meant sketch comedy, but instead, with some hosting help from Brooks Wheelan, Tim and series co-creator Zach Kanin presented and analyzed seven filmed sketches: four that didn’t make the final cut of the show, and three extended director’s cuts, like the Turbo Team opener. But because Robinson and Kanin are the people they are, they couldn’t just play it entirely straight; they turned it into a self-effacing competition. For each sketch, they’d call up a guest judge onstage to rule on whether or not it should have been cut, with Tim looking head-in-his-hands bashful about the ordeal the whole time.
If this show accomplished anything besides making an appreciative audience laugh and Tim blush, it was making the case for Netflix to add a “bonus features” tab to shows like ITYSL, because these extra sketches and scenes, and the commentary that went with them, would feed fans so well in the interim between seasons. And until they listen to me, here’s a rundown of the sketches you may have missed, who judged them, and what their verdicts were.
Tim introduced the first guest judge, Sam Richardson, by saying, “He’s my best friend in the world,” which, awwww. The sketch is a classic Tim setup: After explosively and falsely confusing potential business partners of stealing his wallet (he just left it at the table), he digs himself into a deeper hole by trying to play it off as a joke (riffing, he calls a wallet “a thin box of bank”). Sam’s verdict was “Cut it” but he was only joshing, and Tim revealed the reason why the sketch didn’t make it into the show: because “the only thing that made us laugh was how long I didn’t talk.” It’s true that he doesn’t speak in that sketch for a full minute as the camera holds on his dumbfounded, mortified face… and it’s great TV.
Before playing the next video, Tim described an unaired sketch he wrote for Jon Hamm on SNL about a wedding DJ who’s also the owner of Jurassic Park, learning the dino-breakout is underway as he DJs. This sketch is not that. In “Dino Guy,” Tim is an old-timer who is infuriated that a little boy at a table next to him is saying inaccurate things about dinosaurs as he plays with his toys. Also, this guy’s other thing is he thinks “spunk” means “poop.” Guest judge No. 2, Patti Harrison, reviewed the sketch thusly: “Child actors, they do grow up to die, like, super early.” Tim said he hopes the boy leaves the business “so that doesn’t happen to him,” to which Patti replied, “I saw his casket outside. They gave him a long one – like ten feet long. ”
Somewhere out there, a seven-minute version of “Little Buff Boys” wastes away in an external hard drive, robbed from the world. What a crop of bull! The longer version allows you to really sit in the discomfort of a Little Buff Boys competition unfolding at a corporate conference. We learned why Sam’s hair looks so weird in that sketch: because there’s a full bald-cap reveal underneath that got cut. After the sketch, Sam said the kids in the sketch had no idea what was going on during filming; while the director was telling them, “Now stomp around! Walk around! ” they weren’t sure if this was an actual Little Buff Boy competition or what.
The guest judge for this sketch was “level-one improviser Bruce Buckles,” who in his glasses and Hawaiian shirt simped for everyone else onstage and spoke about his experience having done one whole class at Second City. The addition of this character sort of turned the panel itself into loose sketch, as he made Tim and Sam crack up for the rest of the night. Who was this mysterious in-character dorkus? We did some research and pegged him as Tim and Sam’s old sketch buddy, AP Bio actor-writer Brendan Jennings, who has been doing this character for over a decade.
Simple, genius, never been done before, groundbreaking, everything you want from an ITYSL sketch: Tim and Sam are background actors on the set of a horror movie, but Sam messes up the takes by exaggeratedly making a “stinky” gesture (think season one’s choking scene) when Tim places a prop burger in front of him, causing the two to argue through their teeth while miming-acting. It’s an impressive physical bit of comedy with a hilarious beat when, in another take, the slasher stabs an extra next to Sam, and he just leans over, sniffs the body, and makes the stinky face again. Guest judge Kerwin Frost said it reminded him of when he played the Weeknd’s DJ as an extra in Uncut Gems and all the background actors did their own schtick. Apparently the sketch was cut because the “arguing in silly voices through their teeth” thing made it hard to understand what they’re actually saying.
Tim plays a guy who is told to fake a call whenever potential clients ask a question he doesn’t know the answer to… only he simply does not know how to fake a phone call. If there were Emmys for furrowed brows, this sketch would sweep. The judges all honestly said they liked the sketch but thought the ending was weak, except for Bruce Buckles, who pays $ 450 for Zoom sketch classes from a guy named Tedd Turner (with two d‘s) in Arizona. He asked, nonsensically, “How much improv goes into your writing?” Brooks answered that there’s virtually no improv in the filming; it’s all coming from Zach and Tim’s noggins.
This is also the point in the show when Brooks – who started things off by saying this night was about getting to “the bottom of Chunky’s deal” – revealed an exclusive ITYSL secret: Zach Kanin was the guy in the Chunky suit. This reveal made the already shy Kanin get even shyer, but he didn’t go backstage and bust up Brooks’s laptop or anything.
The highlight of the night was the final sketch, a thrice-as-long version of Fred Willard’s funeral-organist bit from season one. The thing has a whole back half that got cut, starting with Fred warning the funeral attendees of “75 distinct places where plates will be thrown,” the shards giving one mourner a bloody lip. Then he throws a black sheet over his head and the organ so he can tune it while the deceased’s daughter gives a eulogy, thinking it’ll block the sound, even though he thinks it’s a waste that there’s “a perfectly picked-clean skeleton” in the casket and the pastor doesn’t want him to play any “rattling-bone sounds.” Willard is so funny in this sketch and had the audience howling, and the whole silly funeral concept felt extra poignant after his death in 2020. The guest judges ruled favorably on all of the sketches, but Netflix really ought to release this one.
Wrapping up the event, Tim, Zach, and Sam didn’t have any new information about season three, but Tim told fans that they “really mean a lot to us – that’s honest.” Kerwin asked if this was the portion where they take questions from the crowd, Brooks said “No, it’s over,” and it was an abrupt ending in ITYSL sketch fashion. Unless they tour this thing as some sort of promotional road show, they really ought to get these deleted sketches and scenes uploaded between now and season three. At the very least, it made us want to see Bruce Buckles in a sketch. It was the second most fun you could have on a Friday night, after riding a shotgun in your car driving through the city like explorers going 65, of course.