I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson | Netflix comedy review by Steve Bennett
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I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

Netflix comedy review by Steve Bennett

Netflix is a juggernaut of stand-up, but – as in the live sphere – sketch comedy has very much taken a back seat. 

Until this week, the streaming giant’s only significant contribution to the genre  was Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’s w/Bob & David in 2013. To that is now added this series of six 18-minute shows from former Saturday Night Live star Tim Robinson.

And what a weird ride he’s served up. It’s clear he’s used every degree of latitude that the streaming service has given him to indulge his bizarre creativity. The result is often more WTF than LOL, but of such stuff cults are made.

A favoured technique is to push an idea way beyond the point anyone else would. That’s evident from the advert early in this first episode, when an intense lawyer hawks his wares with an increasingly specific scenario that might require his services.

And in the cornerstone skit – hugely extended – the social niceties of pretending to like a gift are stretched to breaking point by his increasingly manic alter-ego ferociously gnawing away at the white lies of politeness.

That also highlights another common attribute of Robinson’s sketches: agonising, stressful tension. Even in the very first scene, when a job interviewee refuses to acknowledge his mistake in pulling a push door, there’s a long close up of a hinge that seems more like a directorial flourish from a psychological thriller than a silly skit.

Even something as apparently benign and sweet as a Baby Of The Year contest comes to serve as a wildly inappropriate backdrop for Robinson’s twisted, dark humour. Though for all its absurdity, this scene offer some satirical comment on how society is becoming more ferociously divided among tribal heroes and villains, thanks to social media. 

For all the building of stress in his scenes, Robinson isn’t particularly bothered by resolving it, and many scenes just finish with an unsatisfying cut to a 1960s-style interstitial graphic. Endings aren’t really his thing. And also, for all his outrageous creativity, there’s an obsession with poop, which he will have devotees forever calling ‘mud pies’ that seems cheap.

The show is boldly inventive and a clear expression of his distinctive sense of humour, which stands in contrast to the compromises a mainstream show would demand, and more in lime with the offbeat sensibilities of something like Adult Swim.

That means the and stubbornly idiosyncratic I Think You Should Leave has a strong flavour, likely to drive as many people to be baffled by it as to love it. 

• Watch I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson here.

Review date: 25 Apr 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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