Sketch comedy is a tricky genre in television and it’s been challenging for scrappy, avant-garde sketch series to make a name for themselves in contrast to mainstream comedy institutions like Saturday Night Live. Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin’s I Think You Should Leave has been an antidote to conventional comedy.
The infinitely-memed Netflix series has found a deeply dedicated audience who can’t get enough of the subversive sketch series’ uncomfortable, and sometimes even nightmarish, ideas. Season 3 of I Think You Should Leave has finally arrived and even though the series’ economical approach means that there’s very little room for misfires, some of these new sketches stand out more than others.
10 Paying It Forward
Sometimes the funniest premises come out of remarkably simple ideas and in the case of I Think You Should Leave’s “Paying it Forward” sketch, a simple act of charity is in fact revealed to be an egregious act of selfishness. It initially appears that Tim Robinson’s character actually pledges to do something kind.
However, his pay it forward chain is merely the first act to game this system and fleece another driver for close to seven hundred dollars in fast food. Robinson’s plan quickly falls to pieces, to hilarious effect.
9 Don Bon Darley, King Of The Dirty Songs
A running theme throughout each season of I Think You Should Leave is that there’s a respect for the sometimes-absurd nature of classical comedy from yesteryear. I Think You Should Leave’s Don Bon Darley sketch evokes the lost art of “dirty songs,” but finds additional value in the truly ill-prepared nature of its performer.
The alleged “King of the Dirty Songs” can only remember the introductory lines of his filthy music, which only highlights the blunt and crude content of this “art.” Like some of the best I Think You Should Leave sketches, its central character is left wondering if they’ve wasted their life.
8 See From Randall’s Eyes
Empathy is a powerful thing, but in a series like I Think You Should Leave, its effect can be life-altering. A workplace-based piece of comedy begins in familiar territory when Robinson’s Randall expresses incredulous thoughts regarding the unique lens in which he views the world, where a loud noise is evidence of a volcano and an office highlighter looks like a tiny sex worker.
The sketch works as well as it does because of just how ridiculous Randall’s skewed perspective becomes. However, the sketch’s final touch where a kind co-worker is able to see the world through Randall’s eyes, and perhaps steal his “power” in the process, makes for the perfect cryptic conclusion.
7 Workplace Catharsis
Patti Harrison is I Think You Should Leave’s underrated MVP during its first two seasons and while she unfortunately only has one showpiece in season three, it’s a beautiful piece of work. This sketch that’s driven around workplace catharsis and pent-up hostility features a largely silent performance by Harrison as she defaces a cardboard cutout of a co-worker.
Harrison’s destructive acts are entertaining, but the sketch ends in a hilariously melodramatic place once an apology is made and she heals her emotional wounds. The self-serious version of the birthday song that plays early in the sketch is the icing on the cake.
6 Bad Egg Game
I Think You Should Leave does an excellent job with its depiction of how annoying nuisances can dominate someone’s focus and interrupt what’s really important. “Bad Egg Game” looks at some frustrated co-workers who take legitimate issues over to Robinson’s character.
While these employees pour out their hearts, Robinson gets lost in an arbitrary browser-based egg game that doesn’t seem to properly reflect his progress in its score. The game’s account of Robinson’s record grows increasingly wild and culminates in a surprisingly lewd display. If nothing else, this sketch features the outrageous sentence, “That’s a nude egg I won from a game,” which is truly poetry.
5 Ponytail Problems
Will Forte was a very reliable player during his lengthy tenure on Saturday Night Live, but he’s also a secret weapon when he shows up in a supporting capacity in alternative comedy series like Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Forte goes to heightened, frightening places in I Think You Should Leave and this is no different in season three’s “Ponytail Problems” conundrum.
This sketch is the perfect example of a radical idea that grows progressively weirder through the extra layers that it takes on. When Forte’s character attempts to crawl under a parked car, his ponytail is caught, and he finds himself in an odd exchange with the car’s owner. By the sketch’s end, the ire from Forte’s character has completely shifted targets.
Strange game shows are ripe comedic territory in sketch series and I Think You Should Leave‘s “Metal Motto Search” functions like a spiritual successor to “Dan Vega’s Mega Money Quiz” and its perplexing Chunky. “Metal Motto Search” allows Sam Richardson to go wild and riff on some ridiculous ideas regarding a complicated game show that’s more interested in lore than if it makes sense or is functional.
The sketch gets incredibly deep into the Metaloid Maniac’s backstory. There’s even an ornate animated segment, none of which actually helps the game function in a practical sense.
3 Darmine Doggy Door
“Darmine Doggy Door” masquerades itself as a cutting edge product commercial, but it quickly drops its artifice so that a man can bare his soul to the audience. There is a bizarre collection of circumstances that occur, all of which lead Robinson’s character to believe that a loose pig in a Richard Nixon mask is actually some nightmarish monster.
Robinson’s revelations once he believes that monsters are among the world are processed in a manner that shouldn’t be funny, but is hard to not laugh at. It’s a condensed sketch, which packs a lot into its simple premise.
“Sitcom Taping” is a brilliant I Think You Should Leave sketch that extrapolates upon the idea of a live studio audience. Upon the announcement that the audience’s laughs will be recorded, Robinson’s character takes this opportunity to whisper bad business warnings into the sitcom’s laugh track.
Robinson’s tirade about shifty jewelers and limo services are legitimately funny, but it’s a rare example where his character experiences a win and his opinions get celebrated. The fact that the sketch dramatizes his bad date experiences makes it even stronger.
1 The Driving Crooner
“The Driving Crooner” closes out the first episode of I Think You Should Leave’s third season and it very well might be the best sketch of the lot. Robinson’s character simply wants to spread joy and experience a sense of community, yet his kind gesture becomes a grandiose hurdle and a look into a conflicted man’s complicated life.
The whole “Driving Crooner” setup, not to mention the fatalistic anger that it generates, is hilarious. All the extra details in the sketch, like how Robinson’s character was saved by a fish who bumped him out of the water with its nose, elevate it to even greater comedic heights.
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