A Brief Interview With The Whitest Kids U’Know’s Sam Brown

A Brief Interview With The Whitest Kids U’Know’s Sam Brown (photo)

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The fifth and final season of everyone’s favorite 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 Sam Brown. Sam met Trevor and Zach at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. The trio started The Whitest Kids U’ Know during Sam’s first semester at college.

How did you start in comedy?

Really it was when I met Trevor at the Upright Citizens Brigade. I was just watching a show and I got brought up to do one of the interviews that they base their improv on and he saw me and was like hey you’re funny and we both go to SVA. That was when I really started in comedy. Before that it was just cable access …

…Wait, cable access?

I used to skateboard a lot. It was kind of pre-“Jackass” DIY stuff. We grew out of the DIY sketch comedy stuff that they got Jackass from. I had to do something while everyone else was skateboarding, so I could like belong to this world. I started to record some of it and I realized that if I take these free classes at the cable access station, you get access to all the equipment. The show was called “TV Galactica” and we made a bunch of content but we never put it out there.

Would you put it on YouTube if you were putting it out now?

Yeah, but back then it wasn’t as accepted. Part of it was that no one did that in my town. So we would make a shitty “Wayne’s World” type show, but no one saw it, because we wouldn’t put it out there. It was just a way to keep yourself occupied in a boring town.

But eventually you became a YouTube sensation.

We became a comedy troupe before YouTube. There were no YouTube sensations. It was before Funny or Die. Now there is a place for small sketch groups, but back then there was nothing. Like bands, there was always a place but now they can really get big on their own. YouTube and the web are a revolution in recording for bands who are writing their own music.

So could you have been the comedy Justin Bieber of the YouTube world?

Justin Bieber is the Justin Bieber of the YouTube world. We just saw it as a place to put all the videos we had made. It was a place people where could see all the videos we had made. It wasn’t like we needed a million hits it was like we could tell our relatives that they could see them there. Before YouTube, we were hosting them on all our website and it was pay per view basically so we wouldn’t put many things up and it was expensive. So YouTube was great because we could put up everything.

Do you actually encourage your relatives to watch the show?

Yeah, some of the guys come from pretty religious family and they are worried about their relatives seeing the sketches. But my family came to a live show and we did this Hot Air Balloon Poop Rope sketch and my grandmother said that was her favorite sketch.

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

I really liked John Cleese and the Jaws one where it’s just a really simple joke. But my favorite ones to do are the war ones. Because I’m a big fan of war movies and it’s a dream to be in a Vietnam film, so the best thing about a sketch show is that whatever you want to do or be, you can just write it and then for five minutes you can live it. Like the Helicopter Door sketch. Or really any sketch where you get to dress up in army green and march around the woods.

What’s your writing process like?

It’s mostly the five of us getting together and brainstorming. Sometimes we’ll have two ideas and sometimes we’ll have fifteen ideas and nothing is good. It’s a process of just spitting out what you can get out and seeing what works or what gets everyone piling on ideas. When you look at our sketches they are flip floppy and you start out one way and take a big zig zag to take another direction, that comes from the writing process. It’s five people collaborating and trying to make each sketch as funny possible. It’s an open form.

If you had one product from the show, what would it be?

The Jizzle. Did you see the clean up on that?

What is your favorite sketch from season five of WKUK?

Oceans 2. 0 is my favorite sketch, but I’m really excited about how the Civil War On Drugs came out so I would have to say that.

Where did the idea for the “Civil War on Drugs” movie come from?

We had that idea a long time ago, like even before we were a five-person troupe. We just had the name and then we worked backwards from the name. We had this idea where these buddies were going through the Civil War trying to legalize pot and trying to get to Lincoln. We had a script deal with Paramount and they said it’s funny, but no one will ever do it, period. It’s a war pot comedy. It’s too big, too weird. Actually, I can’t remember if it was Paramount who did that or our management, but we were lead to believe that it wouldn’t work. With the TV show we were joking that in the second season we should just made a “Dawson’s Creek”-type show. We would just make a very serious teen drama and then we would go back to sketch the next season. So we were always up for something really different. So when it came to the fifth season, we thought it would be fun and a way to be fresh and to write something really different. We really needed something different and the first things we thought of was the Civil War.

And you’re happy with the result?

Very happy. Not to geek out, but all I ever wanted to do since I was a kid was make a movie. I’ve just been in love with this sort of storytelling since I was so young. I went to film school, I’ve made shorts, but this was so much better. I hope this is how we’re remembered. I was so psyched that IFC was cool enough to get behind this. It’s nothing short of a dream come true.

Based on my interviews with Timmy and Trevor the production of the movie sounded crazy.

Yeah, to do this we had unheard of days. The production was such a crazy cram. It was a fun idea. We all really wanted to do it and all the crew and the art department and the camera and wardrobe were all into it. I think people got really excited about what we were doing. We made it something that they wanted to work on. A longer schedule and, well, a budget would have been a welcome change, but hats off to the crew for helping get this together. They believed in it almost as much as we did. I think they really wanted it and they worked so hard. It wasn’t just another job for them.

If you had to be one of your characters for the rest of your life, who would it be?

I kind of am a character. The Sam that I play on the show is like a heightened dumber version of me. The Sam in the film is also a version of me.

Trevor said that whenever he is laughing on camera it’s because you are dressed up as a woman. Why is that so funny?

Because I am so ugly! I make the worst woman. Not just the least convincing woman, but the woman that is out there is just a mess.

What’s next for you?

Trevor and I have been writing together I’ve been doing stand up. Hopefully I’m going to be working on projects with the four other guys who make up the WKUK and doing different stuff from what we did as a troupe. I wrote a pilot with a friend, which is a little bit more serious. I don’t know what is next.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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