After years and years of hearing what a lost treasure MTV’s The State was, I was finally granted access through it’s recent addition to Netflix’s Instant Stream feature. It more than lived up to its reputation, especially when compared to it’s lazy older brother, Saturday Night Live. Sketches on The State rarely outstay their welcome, you’re in and out before you know it. Even a weak concept is a low risk venture, because you know the shows rapid fire pace will soon move onto a new topic (often with a clever segue).
The one sketch that stood out for me the most was Ken Marino’s “Louie: The Guy Who Comes Out and Says His Catchphrase Over and Over Again”. Just as SNL was knee deep in characters like “It’s Pat” and “The Richmeister”, this sketch brings to light the lame and lazy formulas those SNL sketches often employ. A situation is set, be it a party, the beach, or what have you. An opportunity for entry presents itself, as in an unseen guest who is late to said party. Enter: familiar character. Cue applause. Character says line. Audience knows line, so audience laughs. If the character was withholding a treat, the audience would probably sit or roll over on command. As you can see, “Louie’s” catchphrase, “I’m going to dip my balls in it,” makes no attempt to be even remotely clever. That anti comedy aspect of it is what works for me, while the audience lapping up the seventh incantation of “Schwetty Balls” makes me want to put my face in my hands for a long time.