Here’s the thing. Nick Kroll is a talented, original comedian. That’s why he’s enjoyed widespread success onstage, with voiceover animation and on television. The only problem I have with his stand up special is that some yahoo or publicist wrote on the back of the DVD: “Nick Kroll blows the doors off of conventional stand-up.” Why? Because he plays various characters? Anyone who has ever seen his drunk uncle throw on a dress and sing a couple of show tunes knows very well how “playing a character” can lose its humor (and charm) pretty fast. Ever been to college? We’ve all been to a party where someone grabs the nearest lampshade and does a little dance with it. Hilarious, yes, if you’re so drunk and high that you’re about to go into cardiac arrest. Not drunk and high? Not funny.
What is my point?
Nick Kroll is a hilarious, smart stand-up comedian. Nick Kroll’s characters are a bit blah. YES, he pulls them off. But most of them lack the wit and marvelous sense of humor that Kroll possesses when he’s just being himself. For example, Bobby Bottleservice is a pithy take on the Ed Hardy douchebags we’ve all run into at bars, clubs and comparable places. Bobby just kind of struts around acting douche-y and trying to (surprise) administer the occasional grope to a lady. Similar deal with El Chupacabra (mostly incoherent—is that funny?) and Gil Faizon (flamboyant and nasaly, but otherwise not terribly memorable other than the fact he shows off drinking tuna martinis).
Each time the stand-up special would go off to explore the inner workings of one of these other characters, I would just kind of sigh and wait for them to return to Kroll’s traditional stand-up. And Kroll’s jokes are hilarious AND detailed—he does a bit on drunk packing that is so specific and accurate, it’s brilliant. His imitation of a cat is eerily funny (not to mention graceful). He morphs his imitation of a cat into something that he loosely refers to as someone fending off anal sex in a half-hearted manner. He’s clever and fearless and his hatred of cats might even make the fiercest cat lover look at fluffy with new eyes. His bit on “explaining Michael Jackson” is SO funny and a scathing indictment of society and our relationship to the pop star.
Kroll just needs to spend more time being himself.
Editors Note: While I agree with Lane about his need to be in character less… one of my old favorite characters of his shows up regularly on Comedy Deathray (now renamed Comedy Bang Bang… expect a story on that later). Its "El Chupacabra"! Here's Chupa (Nick) in a special bonus track on the DVD:
CRAVE RATING 7 out of 10
Check out more info on Nick via his website care of http://www.nickkroll.com/
Or buy the album from the internets via this well placed LINK!