Unaired Sketches, Paul Rudd and Why Patrick Stewart Turned Down a Role : Inside Tim Robinson’s ‘I Think You Should Leave’ Tour

SPOILER ALERT This story contains minor spoilers of Tim Robinson‘s “I Think You Should Leave” live show, including general descriptions of unaired sketches

Published Time: 03.04.2024 - 23:31:38 Modified Time: 03.04.2024 - 23:31:38

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains minor spoilers of Tim Robinson‘s “I Think You Should Leave” live show, including general descriptions of unaired sketches.

“I Think You Should Leave” went live Tuesday, April 2, when creators Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin brought their beloved Netflix sketch comedy series to the stage at New York’s Beacon Theatre.

Nearly 3,000 fans showed up for the mysterious, sold-out show, many of them revealing their allegiance to the comedy cult with Dan Flashes button-downs and Corncob TV tees —if you know, you know — and yelling out lines from “I Think You Should Leave” that have been immortalized in gifs and memes.

It was a scene inside the Upper West Side venue, as the line to buy new merchandise snaked through the foyer of the Beacon and created a traffic jam that delayed the start of the program. Among the merchandise on sale were a white T-shirt referencing the “TC Tuggers” sketch, a black “Eggman Game” tee, a collaboration with Brain Dead, a couple of tour hoodies, a blue long sleeve with a picture of Karl Havoc and a flat-brim hat designed by Cactus Plant Flea Market, an item that quickly sold out.

Brooks Wheelan, who overlapped with Robinson and Kanin during their time on “Saturday Night Live,” opened the show with five minutes of stand-up before a giant screen began playing an extended version of “Has This Ever Happened to You?,” a sketch from the first episode of “I Think You Should Leave,” in which Robinson plays a low-tier attorney advertising to people who have been bizarrely wronged by a pair of exterminators.

Then, to much fanfare, Robinson and Kanin took the stage, which was designed like a living room, and explained the format of the night. They would bring out special guests to watch sketches that were scrapped from the series and determine whether they should have made the cut. Spoiler alert: every sketch was met with a baffled, unanimous: “Why didn’t you put that in?” Oh, and there was also a bird mascot named Tori, who would prance onstage and harass them every half hour.

First up was “I Think You Should Leave” mainstay Sam Richardson, who was welcomed with cheers, led by one guy who cried out “Baby of the year!,” in reference to his beloved game show host role. Richardson took a seat on the couch as they screened “Done Deal,” an unaired sketch that previously debuted at Netflix Is a Joke Fest in 2022. I’ll avoid going into specifics in order not to spoil the jokes, but this one follows Robinson as he walks away from a successful lunch meeting and then ruins everything by screaming at the other guy for stealing his wallet. Of course, Robinson’s wallet is on the table in plain sight, so he plays off his forceful accusation as a joke.

It’s a classic “I Think You Should Leave” sketch reminiscent of “Job Interview,” in which Robinson goes to great lengths to prove a push door actually goes both ways. The audience went wild for “Done Deal,” and Richardson’s verdict was: “It should have been in the program.”

The next guest was Seth Meyers, who jokingly assured Robinson and Kanin that he fought hard for their ideas as head writer of “SNL” before ribbing them about a “Jurassic Park” sketch they pitched, which “would have been great for 1993.” Then they screened the next unaired sketch, which was ironically not the only one of the night that involved dinosaurs. “Dino Talk” is honestly hard to explain, but it involves a strange man attending a lecture while playing mind games with the random people seated next to him, played by Kanin and “The Bear” star Lionel Boyce.

Meyers said of the sketch, “There’s a lot I like,” and pointed out that the reason they probably didn’t include it in the show is because, like “Focus Group,” it includes a guy with an unplaceable accent messing with Kanin. Robinson said they initially offered the main part to Sir Patrick Stewart, but he didn’t understand the concept and passed. “He’s dead to me,” joked Robinson.

Patti Harrison, another recurring favorite on “I Think You Should Leave,” came out next to discuss “Movie Set,” in which Robinson and Richardson play bickering background extras on the set of a horror movie. Robinson’s job is to deliver a burger to Richardson, who makes a bold creative choice to do a “stinky” gesture when handed the food in each take. This, obviously, really upsets Robinson, and the pair begin arguin -

g through their teeth.

Robinson’s rationale for not putting “Movie Set” in the series was that it’s “too hard to understand,” to which Meyers laughed: “You have literally the most challenging sketch show ever made. Your audience will follow you anywhere.”

The next guest was Bruce Buckles, whom Robinson introduced as a random improv student in New York trying to break into the business. He said he is the founder of a new improv company called Buckle Up Comedy, which doesn’t yet have a physical space. As the night went on, Buckles fawned over the onstage talent and backhandedly praised Meyers as one of the “Top 3 Weekend Update hosts.”

His addition seemed appropriately bizarre, dosing the audience with a fair amount of uncomfortable laughter. But it turns out — and I’m sorry to shatter the illusion— that Buckles is just a character played by comedic actor-writer Brendan Jennings. I know this because his performance was so believable that after the show I had to research whether Buckles was real.

The final guests were comic and “I Think You Should Leave” writer Gary Richardson and none other than Paul Rudd, who bear-hugged a star-struck Buckles for nearly two minutes upon walking onstage. When he finally sat down, Buckles said to Rudd: “This is insane. My mom would blow her brains out.”

Of the remaining unaired sketches, there was “Event Space Walkthrough,” in which Robinson must fake a phone call but has no idea how to; “Dino Guy,” which casts Robinson as a paleo-enthusiast who goes to war against a little kid playing with toy dinosaurs; and “Barney’s,” which stars the late Biff Wiff as a disgruntled diner owner who, in order to drum up business, renames menu items to stuff like “Big Bra Water” and “Eyes Roll Back in My Head Blowjob Burger.” (Robinson said that last one didn’t make the cut because “the jokes seemed too obvious.” The audience disagreed.)

Guest after guest praised each sketch, and Robinson and Kanin hilariously failed to come up with a single good reason why they were cut from the show. As laughter roared from the balconies, you could almost sense a slight tinge of regret on the co-creators’ faces.

Still, exhibiting unseen sketches in front of an audience with celebrities providing live commentary — rather than, say, throwing them up on YouTube — is pretty genius. By letting us peek into the “I Think You Should Leave” vault, Robinson and Kanin deepen the show’s lore, building the comedy equivalent of B-sides and rarities. It won’t be long before die-hard fans declare their favorite sketch as the extended cut of “Has This Ever Happened to You?” — or the second unreleased one about dinosaurs. And it’s only a matter of time before bootleg iPhone videos of the sketches trickle onto Reddit and Twitter, and the jokes rot fans’ vocabularies.

Before the night ended, Robinson and Kanin screened an extended version of “He Layeth on High,” starring the late Fred Willard as a funeral organist, plus a clip from an unreleased sketch about a dance competition show that eliminates contestants who check their pockets to make sure their wallets haven’t fallen out. Wrapping up with the help of comedian and musician Whitmer Thomas, Robinson led the Beacon in a karaoke singalong to the fan-favorite power ballad “Friday Night.”

It’s curious that “I Think You Should Leave” has yet to be renewed for a fourth season by Netflix. Given the show’s low budget and treasure trove of unreleased material, Ted Sarandos should be begging Robinson and Kanin for more episodes — and maybe he is! But the day of the live show, it was announced that the comedy duo landed an HBO pilot order for their series “The Chair Company,” about a man who finds himself investigating a far-reaching conspiracy at work, and a couple of years ago they sold another pilot to the network called “Computer School.”

Robinson and Kanin are busy, and they may or may not choose to return to the world of “I Think You Should Leave.” But if the live tour proves anything, it’s that there are legions of fans clamoring for more sketches, and that even the leftovers knock it out of the park.

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