It’s hard to believe that Kroll Show debuted in 2013 and is already off the air. Time really does fly. When we saw the first few episodes of Kroll Show we knew that we were seeing something unique. The bits were different than what any other sketch show was doing and we loved it. Along with Wheels, Ontario, our absolutely favorite sketches were the ones with the Too Much Tuna guys. So, when we first found out that Nick Kroll and John Mulaney were bringing Gil Faizon and George St-Geegland to the stage we were very excited. We missed the initial New York run, but we weren’t going to miss them when they brought Oh, Hello to Just for Laughs in Montreal.
While we were confident that the show would be fun, we weren’t completely sure what Oh, Hello would be–it obviously wasn’t going to just be a 90 minute Too Much Tuna bit, but the rest was a real mystery. What the show turned out to be was a pretty wonderful and varied experience.
Oh, Hello is a subversive, clever, heartfelt, goofy take on Broadway. George and Gil take us on a journey that is a fictionalized version of their fictionalized lives. Without giving too much away, we watch George and Gil put on a play-within-a-play as they do what they can to keep their lives on track while struggling to maintain their artistic integrity. While that sounds like it could be the theme of a dour Broadway show this one is anything but that. The play never gets too serious as the two characters are almost constantly doing something absurd.
The acting, while clearly intended to be way over the top, is actually really good. We quickly forgot that we were watching Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Instead, we bought that we were watching a couple of weirdos from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. While we have never seen anyone behave quite like George or Gil nor would we want to in real life, the characters were loveable. On Kroll Show, we only got little snippets of George and Gil. Here, Mulaney and Kroll really dive into the lives of them and by the end of the 90 minutes, it feels like we know all that we need to about them, but yet we still just scratched the surface.
A lot of Oh, Hello is scripted, but there are parts of the play that are perfectly primed to be ad libbed every night. During the show, the two actors broke a couple of times and while that normally wouldn’t work in a play it actually made Oh, Hello a little more fun. It felt like we were seeing something unique to the performance we were attending and it made us feel like we could go to see the show multiple times.
The apex of the night was the celebrity appearance. We knew that every show featured a scene where a famous audience member came on stage to be pranked. During our performance, the Too Much Tuna guest was none other than Judd Apatow. On top of the excitement of seeing one of our favourite directors, we also were in stitches watching George and Gil poke fun at Judd (or “Judge”, as they called him) before his giant tuna fish sandwich was delivered. Kroll and Mulaney were in control of the bit from the get go and they were clearly having fun with Judd. The potential for future guests is another reason why we could understand if people would want to attend multiple showings of Oh, Hello.
If you were into Kroll Show or even if you are just a fan of Broadway or plays in general, Oh, Hello is probably going to be for you. It is a smart, witty, yet completely absurd take on theatre that we’re sure you’ll enjoy. If you can’t catch Oh, Hello in Montreal, you can still see it when it goes to Broadway! We expect you to read that in a boisterous George St-Geegland voice. If you don’t know what we mean, then you’ve really got to go and find out for yourself.