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A Brief Interview With The Whitest Kids U’Know’s Timmy Williams

A Brief Interview With The Whitest Kids U’Know’s Timmy Williams (photo)

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The fifth and final season of the sketch comedy show The Whitest Kids U’Know is underway at IFC. We are showing new episodes of one of the wackiest, crassest, and funniest show around every Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET. As an added bonus each episode has another chapter of The Civil War on Drugs, the historical drama that the Kids made to document the journey to legalize marijuana during the war between the states.

As we bid farewell to the Whitest Kids, we are taking some time to chat with each member of the troupe and to get their thoughts on comedy, their favorite moments from the five seasons the series ran on IFC, and the Civil War on Drugs. Today we talk to Timmy Williams. You may know him from the many characters he has played on the show who are also named “Timmy.” He’s also the Whitest Kid most likely to get up and dance in his underwear.

What was the very first bit or act you ever did on the air, do you remember?

Oh man, I don’t know. What was in the first episode? I don’t know, I would have to look it up.

I stumped you on the first question?

Yeah, let me think, what was in the first episode? I show up in the Hitler video. I don’t know? The classroom sketch where my mom is dead? Oh, the Lincoln sketch!

Do sketches just come to you or do you hole up in a room and hammer them out?

We hole up and everyone writes and then everyone shares what they wrote. Sometimes people bring ideas in, but generally it’s all five of us together.

In the season premiere you play a phone sex operator named Baked Beans who pours baked beans all over her chest. What was the inspiration for this sketch?

I don’t know. Most of the sketches that involve me in a compromising situation mean that I wasn’t there that day when they wrote. So I showed up and there it was. Like, Timmy dance, too. It was a live thing. Originally Zack wanted to see me dance to silly music. I can’t remember why the underwear thing happened. I think we did Timmy dance write after I took my shirt off for a different sketch and I didn’t have time to put a shirt on and it slowly involved into me dancing in my underwear. Zack is usually involved in getting me undressed.

What are some of the sketches you’re most proud of?

Elegant Tiger King. I’m also proud of Baked Beans and everyone is grossed out by it. Yeah, it’s gross. Also really proud of Submarine Sandwich, because that was the moment we realized that we could write any stupid thing and pay money to make it real.

We always have fun making the show. Even when I was getting hit with the baked beans. It was shot out of a t-shirt gun and it really hurt and I had welts and stuff. But we always have fun and giddiness. We get really excited.

What’s the best and worst reactions you’ve ever gotten from a sketch?

The best are all the good reactions to the Civil War movie. The very best reaction? Lincoln sketch. The worst? Well, Baked Beans is up there. But otherwise, stuff that just didn’t work, some stuff that people are against that makes people think we are being homophobic or racist. But we’re not, we are just showing characters who are and showing how dumb it is.

What are some of your favorite qualities or traits about the other members of WKUK?

Trevor has great ideas. A lot of the sketches come from him and then we throw stuff on to his idea. Zach is a really hard worker and I enjoy being directed by him and I think we all become pretty good actors with him directing. Darren is good at playing the girl. He was the last in the troupe and brought this little kid sense of humor that I like and it wasn’t there before. Sam has this gentle childish quality about him, but he is also a party animal. Sam and I both play ourselves all the time. Sam himself is just funny and awesome.

What is your favorite sketch moment for season five of WKUK?

Ocean 2.0, which is coming up, is a sketch about an oil company trying to turn a spill into a positive thing. Sort of ripped from the headlines, but when we write things that pertain to certain events we try to take any exclusivity out of it, so you can watch it in 10 years. Originally it was pitched as a boardroom meeting, but then Trevor suggested making it as a commercial. Also, the last sketch that is shown, I wrote directed and acted in and is one of the only ones where it’s just one person.

How often do you direct?

Trevor and Jack generally direct; we all write everything. Trevor’s songs are generally just Trevor, but we all write and do it together. There are things here or there that I do though.

Where did the idea for the “Civil War on Drugs” movie come from?
Sam and Trevor had that one a long time ago. Like 2001 or 2002. Before I was in the troupe, so definitely a long time ago. It was just the title and so when we got to season five we just did it up.

What was it like to make a whole movie within a sketch show season? I don’t think it’s something has been done before.

It was hard, it required a lot of hard work for everybody involved because we didn’t have a budget to make a movie along side the TV show. If you watch the movie almost every character is played by one of us. I play at least twelve people. Every member of the crew was an extra, everyone got poison ivy, it was hot, it was hard. But the end product is definitely great

Who are some of you sketch heroes? Have you ever gotten to meet any of them?

A lot of them! Monty Python, especially Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. We were in the IFC documentary on the Pythons for about 3 seconds and we got to go to the premiere and talk with them. We’ve met The Kids in the Hall because our producer Jim Biederman worked with them. Mr. Show was always a big influence. Bob Odenkirk said really nice things about us. We like “The State”. You know, sketch comedy is a close-knit community, but Whitest Kids are kind of their own thing. UCB in NYC is getting huge, and the comedy stars coming out of it and the comedy bar scene are huge. But we’ve always known them but been one step out of that circle.

Is that a good thing or did it make it harder on the Whitest Kids?
There are few people our age who got their own thoughts and stuff onto TV for, like, five years. There are people from that time in NYC five years ago, who have more money, more fame, more success, but we got to do our own thing pretty much exactly how we wanted it. Not many people get to do that, and we did.

What’s next for you?

Slowly getting back into acting. I got an agent and I’m also pitching some comic books. Doing some stand up in Portland.

I hear that your first child is due in June. Do you think sketch comedy has prepared your for fatherhood?

Maybe. A lot of our sketches really show what not what to do. There are a lot of bad dads in season 4. My character in the Civil War On Drugs is a good dad. But, sketch comedy and being in charge of your own show, it prepares you for anything. And one of the most important things in life in general is having a good sense of humor. Working on a lower budget TV show teaches you to problem solve and to think on your feet and work with other people. We started the show right out of college and didn’t know anything yet. We learned a lot.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.