Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, June 17, 2011

A Triple Threat Weekend with The Whitest Kids U Know

Hi,folks-today,my sister Stephanie will be holding the reins here,as she gives her account of an event she attended last week in NYC,where one of her favorite comedy ensembles,The Whitest Kids U Know,did a live performance,panel discussion and a screening of their film,The Civil War on Drugs. So,lucky me,I get to sit back and relax as she shares some of the fun with us:

Last weekend was the weekend of weekends for me. The weekend I'd been looking forward to ever since it was all announced. Since 2007, my favorite show has been The Whitest Kids U' Know.

If you've been reading T's blog for a while you've probably have seen some of their sketches she's peppered in past posts. She even once blogged about our experience at a live TV taping for the show.

On Friday (that's today!), their TV series on IFC will play its foul mouthed swan song at 10:30 pm est. (check local listings)

So as part of this, there was a screening of their film, "Civil War On Drugs" at the 92y Tribeca ( and the next night at Sketchfest NYC as a surprise secret midnight screening). Along with that were Q&A sessions and a moderated panel on Saturday. I will attempt as best as I can to review and report my Triple Threat Weekend as I dubbed it, so bear with this Jr. baby cub blogger:

(photo credit to 92yTribeca)

92y Tribeca Screening + Q&A - Thursday 6/9/11

I've seen them perform here live before in 2008. Memories abound!

Prior to the actual screening, all 5 members came on stage to do quick sketches at request. The first was Slow Jerk, a perennial favorite amongst the fanbase as well as YouTube itself.

For the next sketch they faked out the crowd into thinking they'd do a total improv sketch by having people shout out words. With much selective hearing, Motorcycle Mamas was performed with a slight twist to the end. A rather twisted twist, but I'll leave it at that.

Onto the movie. For their fifth and final season, the film has been chopped into 10 parts and tacked onto the last half of each new episode. So its half sketches, and half movie which in the context of the season almost plays out like a serial or a miniseries.

Mind you, a miniseries with selective censoring. (since IFC now has sponsors, they've been cutting out f bombs left and right, a new policy that's extremely unfavorable especially in online circles) It was nice to see CWOD without interruption and bad words intact. IFC has their censored version up here.

For the uninitiated, Civil War On Drugs is a historical fiction stoner comedy of sorts. The main characters, Trevor and Sam are played by...Trevor (Moore) and Sam (Brown). The two are lifelong friends from opposite backgrounds who are introduced to marijuana by a slave brought over from Jamaica.

This is all right around when the war/secession begins, and in their hazed state, believe that the war is all about the illegalities of the plant. You don't necessarily have to be 420 friendly in order to appreciate the humor in the film, though. It is rife with layers and grand exaggerations that to a fan (especially) would be spotted out quickly as their signature style.

There were some minor technical snafus as right near the end it cut out. Bummer in the summer. But as it was being fixed, the troupe decided to do the q&a a bit earlier than expected, at least until all systems were go again.

The ending we were shown was a rough cut with a time code, which actually made it seem more special. We were seeing most of the meat slapped onto the skeleton. I guess it's kinda like when you come across unreleased demos of a band you like, only they themselves presented it to you in lieu of a tech glitch.

(photo credit to 92yTribeca)

A majority of the Q&A dealt with how the film was made, how they started out, favorite seasons, etc. Someone asked if they've ever tried peyote (since the characters do in the movie). They all said no, and in return asked if anyone in the crowd did. Sure enough, a lucky volunteer was brought up front to recount his experience, to the best of his knowledge.

What I learned from that: Apparently you will inexplicably wake up in New Jersey, but it is "fucking awesome". (Prior to that answer, Trevor asked him "So what would your Yelp review be on this?")

Another query posed to the guys was "Favorite stoner movie?", which was met with much inappropriate responses (Zach:"Schindler's Motherfuckin' List!" Sam:"Sophie's Choice!!" Darren:"The Pianist!"). Comedy options aside, "Dazed and Confused" and "The Big Lebowski" were name checked.

The film was shot in a matter of 3 weeks in the summer of 2010 in upstate New York. Most of the crew were extras, who were also in the audience. I have to say, not just as a diehard fan, that within the short period of time they really made it look spectacular. The group said that no studio would take this on because they didn't feel that period comedies would be viable. Welp, their loss.

Sketchfest NYC Live Show & Secret Screening - Friday 6/10/11

The next night, we went to the UCB Theater for their live set at Sketchfest. For my friends/travel companions this was their first show. For me, counting last night, it would be the 6th. I go hard in the paint whenever they come to the city. A majority of the sketches were from Season 1, with a little bit of each season thrown in as well. It also marked the first time they've performed the infamous "Grapist" sketch live, which was partially incorporated with the TV version:

"Line Leader", one of Lady T's personal faves, is also a staple in their live performances. It gets pretty messy but the message rings loud and clear. One of many examples:

It just so happened that later on, there was a "Secret Screening" scheduled for midnight, and we found out the day before that it was "Civil War On Drugs" (had a feelin'!). So we got to see it again, this time the way it was meant to be seen. Still as good as every time. With any movie you pick up more and more things you didn't see before, and this was no exception.

Last year the movie was still being made and hinted at what it would be about. Behind the scenes pictures popped up on the members' respective Facebook accounts. I gotta admit though, the moment I heard the title I initially groaned a bit. Alas, book, cover, judge, all that. I've really warmed up to it since then. Characters are hilarious, lots of quotable lines.

Sketchfest NYC Panel - Saturday 6/11/11

The finale of our Triple Threat Weekend was topped off with a moderated Q&A panel hosted by a member of the Onion AV Club. Topics stressed were their beginnings as a college club in the School of Visual Arts. It was initially comprised of more than 5 people and was eventually whittled down to what you see now, as they branched out and became their own thing.

Also the subject of success/fame was brought up. At times it often got extremely awkward for Darren Trumeter, as he is best known for (besides playing a majority of the female roles throughout the series) another infamous YouTube hit, "Slow Jerk". Kids on the subway would spot him and emulate the aforementioned gesture in the sketch seen here:

Zach Cregger, well known for playing Abraham Lincoln throughout the series as well as the movie itself (spoiler whoops), takes pride in the show having cult status, as he himself was always drawn to the more esoteric aspects of pop culture. Paraphrasing, he stated that he'd rather be 10 people's first favorite thing than 100 people's tenth favorite.

Near the end, the floor was open to the audience. Someone who is also trying their hand in sketch comedy asked for advice, which they gave in abundance. Mainly perseverance and trial & error. As a fledgling freelance comic book artist, I can attest to this as transcendent solid advice.

All in all, it was a great experience and well worth every penny I spent throughout. This makes a grand total of 7 shows/appearances I've seen. Growing up I'd always been exposed to sketch comedy and it was kind of like a tradition in our household.

My family would watch Kids In The Hall, The State, SNL, and Mr. Show together. But I was still a kid then and I never really got the chance to actually interact one on one in real life with anyone from those shows.

The Whitest Kids U Know is and was the shot in the arm that sketch comedy needed in the new millennium. And I'm not just blowing smoke up anyone's ass about this. The YouTube view counts don't lie. And despite the crude nature of the series, none of the members are anything like the awful characters they portray.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. Night and day. Really sweet guys, always friendly and accommodating to fans (myself included). With that and the combo of social networking, they're possibly the first sketch troupe to actually interact online with fans as the show airs in real time, aka live chats.

It's been a tradition of theirs even before they had a proper chat room venue. Their dedication to their fan base as well as their craft is exceptional in my eyes.

They will still be performing and writing as the WKUK, as well as venturing into separate projects. As one door shuts, another opens. Either way, the show will be missed greatly but will live on in many forms. Thanks for the ride, dudes. Catch ya on the flip side:

Thank you,Stephanie,for giving me and my readers a special look at this wonderful Whitest Kids event,including your photos and marvelous insight.

My sister happens to be an excellent graphic artist,whose work can be seen on a weekly basis in the online action packed graphic novel,Perfect Agent,written by Greg Carter. Granted, I may be slightly biased but you can see for yourself the quality of her artistry and I hope that such talent will be appreciated in my lifetime(shameless plug and sister love).

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