Saturday, January 12, 2013

Where To See Kroll's Best

I’m very late to it, but rapidly catching up on the FX series “The League,” which features a few UCB-spawned performers, including Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and Nick Kroll, in its well calibrated ensemble cast. And for Kroll, who's debuting his showcase "Kroll Show" this coming week on Comedy Central, it's still probably his best work.

The show began on the marketing hook of being about the travails of players in a fantasy football league, complete with guest appearances by Terry Bradshaw, Chad Ochocinco and other football players and broadcasters. But after its first season, it morphed into being more about the characters’ misadventures, and started to show its pedigree as being created by former “Seinfeld” writer/producer Jeff Schaffer with his wife Jackie Marcus Schaffer. The stories in this half-hour comedy now often reach successfully for catchphrases, just like “Seinfeld” did, and end with utter catastrophic failures of one of the characters’ schemes and plans. 

As it’s evolved, “The League” has definitely reached the upper echelon of TV comedy, with its network-mates, “Louie” and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” as well as “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Bored To Death” and “Parks & Recreation,” other shows with the same sensibility and pedigree.