Episode 3 — January 3, 2022
The Whitest Kids U’ Know
The Whitest Kids U’ Know
Episode 3 — The Whitest Kids U’ Know (2006)
We take a break from music in this episode and look at comedy albums.
I first met Whitest Kid U’ Know Timmy Williams years ago during some training for a rather arcane job.
It doesn’t matter. Really.
We sat next to each other during training, and I forget how, but we started talking about comedy.
Mentioning my favorite stand-up was Bill Hicks; I was surprised to find out he knew who he was. He then said he was part of a sketch comedy group.
Timmy said: “I’m in a comedy troupe.”
I cynically thought to myself: “You and everyone else,” but it came out as “That’s cool. What’s the name of your group?”
He smiled: “The Whitest Kids U’ Know.”
Immediately, whatever cynicism I had evaporated as I smiled, saying: “Oh, that’s good.”
“Yea, we have some videos on YouTube. You should check them out.”
When I got home after that first day of training, I did check the WKUK out. Low and behold, the stuff I watched was not only intelligent and silly but also funny as fuck.
Now, for perspective, this was before the bukake of improv had sprayed itself over the comedic landscape of the mid to late aughts. When the WKUK came on the scene, sketch comedy was still a pretty unique art form… and especially one to see live.
A few months later, the WKUK landed a plum Sunday night gig at Piano’s on the Lower East Side, replacing a comedy show hosted by David Cross and Janeane Garofalo (if my memory serves me correctly.)
That first night I went with my roommate at the time. She was an actress and theater director, so she had a critical eye. The audience was about 1/2 packed and probably primarily friends. Nonetheless, I recall the show being funny and my roommate enjoying it.
I would continue to go for a few weeks and watch the five guys: Sam Brown, Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore, Darren Trumeter, and Timmy Williams, find a solid grove and was able to witness the audience grow each week.
While the WKUK were always the headliners, they would have one or two stand-up comedians open for them. Sometimes they were friends of theirs still trying to work things out, and other times they were more seasoned stand-ups like Aziz Ansari and Reggie Watts.
Timmy and I spent the majority of our time during that job laughing and being dumb. While we continued working together, I would get the skinny on all things WKUK when we’d go out for lunch and talk. But mostly, we just laughed at stuff.
Over the ensuing months, their audience grew exponentially at Pianos to the point of SRO. As the summer rolled around, there would always be a group of people that would go to another bar after their show. Because I was friends with Timmy, I got to know the other WKUK tangentially and found them all nice guys.
If you were paying attention, you could see that the five of them were connected and spoke a language all their own, which you would expect from a sketch group. There was a brotherhood there, and it was visible… if you were paying attention.
Every decade or so, a sketch group pops onto the comedy scene. In the 1970’s it was Monty Python and then Saturday Night Live (the original cast), then The Kids in the Hall, and then The Whitest Kids U’ Know.
Eventually, the WKUK landed a show on the Fuse network in 2006 — they were the first sketch group of the “alternative” comedy scene to land a TV show.
Also, in 2006, they recorded a comedy album. This album went, and remains, largely unnoticed.
The album contains some of their more well-known songs and some new ones, in addition to sketches explicitly written for the album. The record was primarily used as merchandise as they toured that year and then promptly forgot about, which is a shame.
Like the show itself, the album is a bit quirky, and there are some offensive sketches and others less harsh. All of them are funny.
For several reasons, I’ve always felt the WKUK were as close as American sketch has gotten to Monty Python (which, for many, is the bellwether for sketch comedy.) It’s not hyperbole either.
Timmy and I caught up a few weeks ago, and while it’s always nice to catch up with an old friend, it was also nice to learn a little more about the Whitest Kids U’ Know 2006 album and what’s going on with them now.
And Timmy’s love of Rush.