Whitest Kids Moore (left) and Cregger in front of a green screen, just waiting for you to put a monster dong in there with 'em.
Since forming a decade ago, sketch comedy group The Whitest Kids U'Know has performed rap songs dressed as Hitler, smoked pot with dinosaurs, and filmed a movie at the Playboy Mansion (Miss March). Now the boys have brought their outlandish brand of humor back to IFC for the fourth season of their subversive, critically acclaimed television show, The Whitest Kids U'Know (Fridays, 10 p.m.). Recently, Complex caught up with Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore at their New York studio, where they're currently filming the show's fifth season, and demanded that they be funny for us. Here's how it went down.
Interview By Yang-Yi Goh
Complex: How's everything been going so far with production on the new season?
Zach Cregger: It's really good. We're actually shooting the fifth season right now. The fourth we ended a while ago, but they pushed the air date to line up with some other shows this summer to help bring attention to the summer funny stuff.
Complex: What should fans expect from Season Four?
ZC: Some of our favorite pieces are in Season Four, for sure. I think things look a lot better. Every season we kind of learn a bit more about how to shoot a TV show. We've kind of been teaching ourselves from scratch, from the beginning. Season One has a very different look than Season Four—I think it's more polished looking—but it also has some of our dumbest shit, which is sometimes some of our funniest shit. I like it—it's weird, it's real trippy, but I think it's gonna be good. I'm happy with it.
Trevor Moore: Yeah, Season Four is the best season of all of them. I actually think Season Four is the strongest first episode of any of our seasons. We were just watching it a couple days ago, because I guess it's almost been a year now since we've watched the show. It's weird because we shot it a year ago, but the good thing is that we don't make that many time-sensitive jokes. We kind of do that on purpose. There's a sketch that we're writing this year that's about the oil spill, where we're like "Oh, should we do that or not?" since this season probably won't come out for another year. But then there was this very sad moment where we were like, "I think the oil spill will still be around in a year." [Laughs.] This joke will probably make just as much sense in a year as it will now.
Complex: What are you guys working on right now for the fifth season?
ZC: We're actually doing things a little differently this time—we're working on this Civil War thing that's going to stretch through all the episodes. I think it's really fucking funny. We're really happy with it, it's gonna be awesome.
TM: It's an idea that we've had since the first year we started the group. We wanted to do this as a movie, but it's a period piece comedy and it's very hard to get those green-lit. So every time we'd talk about this Civil War idea, everyone would just say, "Well, no studio is going to do that." So we were like, "Well, we've loved this idea for so long, let's find a way to incorporate it into a season of the show."
Complex: You guys push a lot of boundaries with your show. Have there ever been any sketches so obscene that you haven't been able to do them?
ZC: There was one that we really, really worked hard on called "McGriff" about a cartoon crime dog—kind of like "McGruff," but he teaches kids how to dodge rapists. And he's basically just scaring the kids, where he's like, "Don't fall asleep, they're gonna rape ya!" and just traumatizing them. We loved that, but that couldn't air. [Laughs.] Usually it's little things. Like in Season Three, we had this skit with these aliens that had dicks coming out of them, and shots got cut where originally that alien was supposed to suck his dick and then it comes in his face. But they were like, "Well, clearly you guys can't show a dick coming in a dude's face." And I get it, I get it, but you know...
TM: Yeah, there's really not a lot that we can't do. Every now and then there'll be something, but it's usually just people being like, "C'mon." We had this other sketch that we shot for Season Three where the majority of the sketch was just a large penis that was in the middle of the frame, for like most of the sketch. But then they put it on the DVD. So even the ones that don't make it on the show end up on the DVD.
Complex: Whitest Kids has an all-male cast, and as a result you all end up playing female roles. Which of you makes the hottest girl?
ZC & TM: Darren. [Both laugh.]
ZC: It's like hands-down, and he plays them like a lot. I think in Season Two, Darren might be a woman more than a man. [Laughs.] Like, he's always a woman. In this season, we're all kind of doing more female roles, and in the fifth season even more so.
TM: Yeah, it's definitely Darren. I think it's because of his collarbones. I actually overheard somebody on set talking about that today, they were saying it's because of his collarbones. And I was like, "Oh, maybe that's why it is... "
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Complex: The show is getting more and more successful. How long do you think it'll be before one of you pulls a Dave Chappelle and just goes into exile?
ZC: [Laughs.] Well, Timmy actually moved to Portland and is now basically trying to be a farmer. Like, it's happening right now, he's only in New York to shoot this next season. He moved out there three or four months ago. He's married and he's like raising chickens and sheep.
TM: I hope none of us goes crazy, but I guess we fight that every day. [Laughs.] But yeah, Timmy did move out to become a goat farmer, so I guess that's like going crazy.
Complex: So is Timmy leaving the group permanently?
ZC: No, he's not leaving the group. He's just not trying to do more show biz career stuff—the Whitest Kids is the extent of what he wants to do.
Complex: A lot of times in the press, people compare Whitest Kids to The Kids in the Hall. How big of an influence were they on you guys?
ZC: Oh, huge. They were huge, huge influences on every American sketch comedy group that came out in the past 20 years. They were the best.
Complex: Who else would be up there for you guys?
TM: Monty Python was definitely the main one for us. When I was a kid, Python was the show that was like sort of dirty for kids, but your parents would still let you watch because it seemed smart. It was smart, but it also didn't seem like it was bad to let kids watch it. My parents wouldn't let me watch Smurfs or anything like that, because there was like witchcraft in it—I came from a very conservative house. But I watched Python and I was obsessed with it. That, and I really like the old Far Side cartoons. I think The Far Side is one of those things where you first start to realize that people make a living from writing jokes and stuff. Kids love comics because you can see them every day—every morning there's a new one there. I think that was a big influence. And Weird Al. Weird Al was a big influence on everyone our age.
ZC: And we all grew up on The Simpsons—it has a very specific timing that we sometimes subconsciously emulate. We're huge fans of Mr. Show, and I was always a big Calvin and Hobbes fan. That was the first thing that, as a kid, I was like, "That's really funny."
Complex: So last year, you guys put out Miss March...
ZC: [Sighs.] Yeah. [Laughs.]
Complex: [Laughs.] That's an interesting response. Any other film projects on the way to speak of?
TM: It was a lot of work to do the movie and the show at the same time. We did those right on top of each other. We literally left the day we finished shooting Season Two, and then went to L.A. to start shooting the movie. So we were doing post-production on Season Two while we were doing the movie, and then as soon as we finished that, we were back to do Season Three. It was a whole lot of work, so we were kind of like ughh. That's sort of what led to the idea of doing this Civil War thing throughout Season Five, because the runner that we're doing—when it's all put together—will be a feature-length thing, it'll be like over 90 minutes.
Complex: What about music-wise? Is there another album on the way?
TM: We want to. Honestly, the schedule of doing the show—the show takes about nine months to do from start to finish. We write for about three months, we shoot for roughly two and a half months, and then we'll be in editing for three months. Then we have three months to ourselves, where everyone kind of doesn't want to hang out with each other. It's like, "Do you want to do the album?" and we're like "Ehhh, let's just do it later." And then we gear up again. We want to do an album and a book eventually. We've kind of talked about it, but our schedule's just been so swamped. We haven't done an album in like four or five years, and we've got lots of stuff we could put on it, we just have to actually get into the studio and do it.
ZC: Yeah, we really don't get together that much anymore, because some of the dudes live in L.A.; Timmy lives in Portland; some of us live in New York. So we're really only together when it's time to write for the show, and when that time comes, we don't have enough time. I think the show would be better if we all lived together and brainstormed like once or twice a week throughout the year, but unfortunately that just isn't possible.
Complex: Anything else you guys would like to add?
TM: Um... I hope people watch the show?