Review: 'I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson'

Jacob Wasserman ’23 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Comedic television had some major high points in 2019, from the critically-acclaimed final seasons of Broad City and Orange is the New Black to the continued reign of cable favorites such as The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. There was, however, one show that maintained a sizable place in my heart for the majority of the year. Its six-episode first season was released quietly on Netflix in late April. It received positive reception from critics and has gained a respectable cult following, but has not gotten much attention from the general public. That show is a sketch comedy program called I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
Formerly a staff writer and recurring cast member for SNL between 2012 and 2014, Robinson created the show along with Zach Kanin and stars in nearly all of its segments, along with a number of other comedians and guest stars. The sketches are not typically connected by a running motif (with exceptions), however all of them revolve around three common themes, those being social ineptitude, lack of self-awareness, and absurdism. One sketch, for example, features three friends attempting to come up with captions for their Instagram posts that undermine the idea that their posts are trying to make viewers jealous. Two of the friends decide on playful, ironically-deprecating descriptions directed at themselves and the others. The third friend is portrayed as naive and cartoonishly-inept as she recites profanity-filled tirades, much to the shock of the others. 

Tim Robinson and Will Forte in ‘I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson’. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
The sketches tackle everything from easily-relatable everyday scenarios to advertisements to pop culture references, always permeating them with comedy that is both joyously-nonsensical, yet also painfully-relatable to some. Although certain characters in the sketches exhibit nonsensical behavior while showing complete disregard for the discomfort or confusion of those around them, there is the sense that the characters are only acting out of anxiety. This is apparent in the show’s very first sketch, in which Robinson portrays a man attempting to pull open a push door while leaving a job interview. Instead of simply being mildly embarrassed and pushing the door open, the man stares intently into his interviewer’s eyes, veins popping out of his forehead, as he continues to forcefully pull the door handle. He manages to break the door off of its hinges through sheer force and bids farewell to the interviewer, who is left speechless. The contrast between the mundane but relatable set-up and Robinson’s character’s furious commitment to keeping his dignity makes the sketch absolutely hilarious.
Robinson himself exudes great charm through his performances in every sketch he is in. Although he does portray the straight man (i.e. a stock character who remains composed throughout a comedic sketch) from time to time, he is at his best playing more eccentric characters. Many of his characters are steadfast and stubborn when it comes to achieving their goals to the point of misreading or otherwise ignoring the bewilderment of those around them. In spite of their self-absorbed tendencies, however, his characters are still likable thanks mostly to Robinson’s screen presence. He delivers his lines without any sense of irony in order to highlight the fact that these characters are absolutely committed to living or acting by their concerns, fears and/or desires. 
Tim Robinson in ‘I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson’. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
Although not every sketch is of equal quality, each of them gets a few chuckles out of the audience at the very least, which is much more than I can say for most modern SNL. Other highlights include a commercial for a law firm starring a disgruntled lawyer who poses a hypothetical involving prankster exterminators and shrinking toilet bowl holes, a guy attempting to hide the fact that he’s choking because he doesn’t want to embarrass himself in front of a celebrity, and a man dressed as a hot dog denying accusations that he drove a hot-dog shaped car through a storefront window. 
I Think You Should Leave would be most enjoyed by fans of sketch comedy or absurdist comedy, although I would be comfortable recommending this show to pretty much anyone, as long as they’re not opposed to silly styles of humor. The fact that Netflix has barely been advertising this show is honestly shocking. Considering that one of their most popular featured shows was The Office, a show that thrived because of its odd characters and awkward humor, it would be a safe bet that many fans of that show would flock to the show. Hopefully, the show will gain more traction once season 2 hits the streaming service later this year.

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