For the last couple of days, I’ve found myself grappling with the death of Trevor Moore, a comedian and co-founder of the Whitest Kids U’ Know, a sketch-comedy troupe that had a show on IFC in the late oughts. It’s a strange feeling, one that differs from other celebrity deaths. I don’t think I’ve felt one this profoundly since Robin Williams’s passing, and even that was different; Williams was a capital-S star, while Trevor and the rest of the WKUK lived in a liminal space in between stardom and indie successes.
There was a quality to their work that made it feel like they were some friends of friends you knew who had made it big, and something about their camaraderie drew you in. To watch their show was to feel like you’d been invited to hang out with some of the funniest guys you knew, the kind of guys who didn’t let success change their relationship with their friends nor mock you at your own lame attempts to be as funny as them.
The skits themselves avoid easy classification. They eschewed topicality and rarely aimed for satire, instead honing in on the absurd. While other actors were used, most of the characters, children and women included, were played by a member of the troupe. Part of the fun of an episode of the show was that each sketch would be totally different from the next–save for the last season, where the back-half of each episode was taken up by a multi-part film called The Civil War on Drugs.
In recent years, I had fallen away from their work; I discovered them in my freshman year of university and quickly became a fan, but their show ended soon after that and I foolishly assumed that they were done. I feel now like I missed out on a lot. Trevor and the others did a lot of solo work following the end of the show. I didn’t listen to any of it, which I now regret. They began a Twitch stream in order to help fundraise for their next film, Mars (you can donate here), and had recently finished a stream when Trevor passed.
The last time I felt this way was when I discovered the Tragically Hip following their farewell tour (an embarrassing admission for a Canadian), but before Gord Downie’s passing. But that, too, was different. There was a nation behind the band. The WKUK were the kind of group whose existence was passed around between friends in dorm rooms and basements, forging bonds not dissimilar from those that brought the troupe together in the beginning.
The work is still there, of course. In the coming days, I’ll be listening to Trevor’s solo work in an attempt to make up for lost time. For anybody who might want to get started, I’ve listed ten of my favourite sketches below. The episodes are all on YouTube on the official WKUK channel.
My sincere hope is that the skits below demonstrate Trevor’s enthusiasm and passion for comedy. His comedic persona is an endearing blend of guileless and acerbic, and I cannot think of anyone else like him.
May he rest in peace.
Below are some of my favourite sketches that prominently feature Trevor. It should go without saying that the show is for adults, so don’t watch it at work or at church or something. There’s no real order to these, and I’m not going to write anything further. Apologies in advance for the varying levels of video quality — 2008 was a rough time for all of us.
1 ) Lincoln
2) Cat Hunting
3) Dinosaur Rap
6) Gallon of PCP
7) Slow Jerk
9) Illegal to Say
10) Opposite Day
And, as a bonus, Kitty History, which has been stuck in my head since the moment I listened to it.