Tim Robinson Gives ‘I Think You Should Leave’ Season 2 an Even More Absurd Dose of Manic Laughs

I Think You Should Leave” lets Tim Robinson bask in being funny for its own sake. Satire and politics are hard enough to do, but just being genuinely funny is an even harder art form. This second season of Robinson’s Netflix show has a bit of it all. The format remains of the sort other comedies should take notes on. Each episode is a brisk 15-18 minutes, composed of several skits. Some slash at pop culture with vicious glee, others practice that all-so American style of pure farce. Robinson gets how a dumb hat can be just as funny as a riff on Reality TV. 

Watching “I Think You Should Leave” can feel like the equivalent of channel surfing, or scrolling through YouTube and finding several, sometimes mad, distractions. There’s a frenetic energy that never stops in each episode. Much of it has to do with Robinson’s manic tone throughout every sketch. In one skit he’s the guy at an office meeting who starts choking on a hot dog, in another he’s in a hilarious takedown of “Jackass”-TV culture, playing an actor put in an old man suit to start trouble at a mall. But the suit is so hot he admits he can’t continue, and starts getting introspective. Some pieces have both a sense of farce and satirical commentary. There’s a sketch where Robinson plays a dad trying to convince his kid that ice cream places close on cold days. It’s an obvious lie, and Robinson gets back-up from another customer sitting in the next booth, played by Bob Odenkirk, who expands the lie into claiming he owns many fancy cars and owns a home. Is this a commentary on Americans’ form of self-delusion to feign wealth?

Some great sketches are very upfront about who they’re roasting. The season’s second episode opens with a skit called “The Capital Room,” about a made-up competitive show where participants are judged by a panel of wealthy go-getters. Well, they’re not exactly self-made. One judge boasts he turned his family laundry business into an enterprise, while another judge admits she’s only rich because she sued the city, after getting stuck in a giant Charlie Brown balloon. Maybe Robinson is also aiming at the Ivy League in a silly but hilarious bit where a college professor eats his admiring acolyte’s burger. Our diet of dumb action movies becomes the target of a trailer for an ultra-violent thriller, starring a machine gun-crazy Santa Clause. It’s all just brief enough to work like funny comedy doses. Robinson knows how to use crude, sometimes obnoxious behavior to comment on itself.   In one episode he plays a loudmouth boasting during an office meeting about spending all his money on expensive shirts, forgoing any food. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but so is blind consumerism.

“I Think You Should Leave” is the kind of comedy series that should come with a commentary track, just to get insights into how some of the scripts came to be. What inspired the skit where if you attend a party and the host’s baby cries in your arms, it must mean you were once “a total piece of shit”?  One wonders the same about a courtroom scene that revolves entirely around someone’s printed texts and an absurdly hilarious hat Robinson wears in the jury. Insightful or bordering on stupid, “I Think You Should Leave” can tickle the funny bone in many ways. Robinson makes each level or style work, because he has a keen understanding that to be a good comedian, you need to have the attitude of not giving a damn.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” season two begins streaming July 6 on Netflix.