‘I Think You Should Leave’ Live From New York: Tim Robinson Reveals Sketches Too Weird for TV's Weirdest Sketch Show

Courtesy of Netflix

One major takeaway from Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin's first ever I Think You Should Leave live show: These guys love dinosaurs. They might not know shit about dinosaurs, but they love writing sketches in which dinosaurs are tangentially involved, even if none of those sketches make the final cut of what they are working on.

The live version of the beloved Netflix show, the first stop on a short tour, was a glimpse inside the unhinged minds of Robinson and Kanin, as they brought out a host of special guests to watch unaired sketches and judge whether or not they should have made the final cut. (Everyone agreed that all of them were great and probably should have gone in, and they weren't just being nice because, honestly, they were uproariously funny.)

I Think You Should Leave has always felt like a perfect little secret among its dedicated fans, the people who feel seen by Robinson's deeply absurdist style, in which any character can flip on a dime and lose their composure (or slop up a steak.) But the Beacon Theatre show—which came on the heels of both the announcement that Robinson and Kanin are taking their next project to HBO and the New York Mets rolling out a Driving Crooner Cam at Citi Field—proved that ITYSL has become something like a phenomenon.

The house was sold out; Robinson obsessives lined up for $50 t-shirts featuring the eggman from the Eggman Game sketch. (The shirt is safe for work: No bush on this egg.) The crowd included comedy celebs like Bob Odenkirk and Jorma Taccone, as well as a guy dressed up in a suit jacket and tie that looked suspiciously like a hot dog—a reference, of course, to the "we're all trying to find the guy who did this" bit.

The stand-up and former Saturday Night Live cast member Brooks Wheelan served as an emcee of sorts, while Whitmer Thomas was on musical duties, even though he mostly just sat off to the side until a singalong finale. Other special appearances you could have probably predicted but were nevertheless delightful, like Robinson's best friend and close collaborator Sam Richardson (who was met with exuberant applause) and frequent I Think You Should Leave performers Patti Harrison and Gary Richardson. Seth Meyers explained how much he defended Robinson and Kanin's ideas during their stint on SNL, prompting Wheelan to describe a rejected pitch involving a wedding DJ who was also the owner of Jurassic Park.

Which brings me to the dinosaurs. In one sketch, a strange man (who could have been a cousin of Ruben Rabasa's iconic "no good car ideas" dude) attends a dinosaur lecture at a college, but can't stop bragging about how he's got an ice cream sundae in his coffee thermos, which is eventually revealed to be untrue. According to Robinson, they sent the sketch to Patrick Stewart in hopes that he'd play the ice cream sundae guy; Sir Patrick didn't "get it."

In another, Robinson plays a man with long white hair who starts harassing a child who claims he can outrun a T-Rex. (Meyers pointed out that in the first you never really hear the paleontologist lecture beyond explaining that a triceratops has three horns. So, yeah, they are not dinosaur experts.) Eventually Robinson noted: "All the dinosaur ones do get cut, don't they?"

Non-dino sketches included “Movie Set,” with Robinson and Richardson as horror-movie extras who get into a fight when Richardson keeps pretending the burger that Robinson gives him in a party scene stinks. Robinson and Kanin eventually left it out because they didn't think the viewer would be able to understand what they were saying. (They added subtitles for the purposes of the night.) Another sketch featuring Biff Wiff—a.k.a. ITYSL's Santa Claus-turned-action star—as a diner owner who decides along with his wife to give menu items new names like "Alien Egg Buttplug Burger" and "Big Bra Water" was ultimately cut for being “too obvious.” Robinson and Kanin were almost sheepish when asked to explain any of the ideas behind their work, and you get the sense that this stuff just sort of flows out of them.

The live element of the show was at its funniest when the manic energy of the series leaked onto the stage. This was thanks to the appearance of a flirtatious "mascot" named "Toury," a person in a red-breasted robin suit who Robinson introduced as a "teen boy" who "hit his grandma." But Toury couldn't hold a candle to AP Bio writer and longtime Robinson cohort Brendan Jennings, in character as aspiring improv comic “Bruce Buckles,” who played the role of starstruck newbie uncomfortably well, keeping the audience on edge (and holding the night's final special guest, Paul Rudd, in an overly long embrace.)

That's the beauty of I Think You Should Leave, which this evening encapsulated perfectly. At one moment, Robinson and Kanin can seem like quiet, mild-mannered guys. In the next, they can unleash pure, unfettered chaos—sort of like little kids playing with dinosaur toys.

At one point, Meyers marvelled: "Your audience will follow you anywhere." And he was right.

Originally Appeared on GQ