A TRIBUTE TO KYLE MOONEY
If you are under 25 years old, there is a 99% chance that at some point, you’ve heard someone use strange terms such as “bomb ass dank ass” or “purp skurp” in a slurred, stony inflection. The voice is most commonly used by white males aged 18-20 who have smoked marijuana between 2-5 times in their life. While often executed poorly and with bad timing, this satirical stoner character is the brainchild of one of the greatest comedic minds of our time, Kyle Mooney.
While still not a proper household name, Kyle is one of the most well-known YouTube sketch comics, along with his college buddies Beck Bennett and Nick Rutherford. From 2007-2012, the three USC film grads had a tremendous output of refreshingly original and off-the-wall videos on their channel, Good Neighbor Stuff. While their videos had a very homemade feel to them, it wasn’t hard to tell that these three 20-somethings put a lot of time and effort into each unique video. Beck and Nick were terrific in their own way, but most would agree that Kyle was the star of the show. His ability to slip into different characters without skipping a beat was remarkable.
For years, GNS fans were confounded as to why the three comics/actors/cool dudes hadn’t ran into any commercial success. My answer to this question is as such—their humor isn’t for everyone. While this may seem like oversimplified and high-browed rationalizing, I have shown Good Neighbor to many of my friends, and I was given a dichotomy of reactions. The people I would bless with this comedic gold would either A, laugh hysterically, or B, look at me with sad, disappointed eyes for hyping the channel up so much. For reasons unknown, some people just didn’t get it.
Eventually, the trio hit it big in 2013 when Kyle and Beck were signed to SNL as regulars, followed by Nick signing on as a writer in 2014. Longtime fans rejoiced at the long-awaited rise of their favorite YouTubers and tuned into SNL to see how their heroes would perform on the storied institution that is Saturday Night Live. Speaking on behalf of Büsh and myself, Kyle and Beck were...underwhelming. It was evident from the start that the writers steered clear of any material that would come off as zany, which is essentially what we knew best from Good Neighbor.
While our initial reaction to this was a form of misplaced anger, we started to realize that SNL would not receive the widespread acclaim that it needs if they were to give Kyle more artistic freedom over his characters. A reunion of the three through a different medium is still an open possibility, but it likely wouldn’t come until several years down the road.
Bureaucracy aside, let’s take a look at some of our favorite videos from Kyle and the Good Neighbor troupe and reminisce over the golden years that propelled the three small-timers into the limelight they always deserved.
Chris - Büsh
Chris has permanently put these following phrases in my vocabulary:
You ever see Requiem For A Dream?
Pisses me off aaaahhh!
You like pills, bitch?
Corporate ass bullshit
Kinda scary too..
As you can tell, he's had a very big impact on my life. Chris is a perfectly executed character, with spot on facial expressions, mannerisms, and Jesse Pinkman-esque "bitch" remarks. Kyle's acting skills are put on full display, as he goes from conspiracy theorist metal fan to soft, innocent mama's boy with one phone call.
With four equally hysterical skits, it was hard to pick my favorite, but upon much internal reflection and deliberation, I chose "Chris Unleashed" pictured above. The nunchuck action paired with the "oink oink piggy" (which you can add to the list of phrases in my vocab) gives "Unleashed" a slight edge above the
Sad - Nev
The Pirates Little League jersey. Bask in its glory. Kyle is, if I had to guess, about 5’9”, 150 pounds soaking wet. So proportionately, I can say with some assurance that the jersey is no larger than an adult small. It’s random shit like this that gives Kyle his demotic charm that makes you feel like he was your childhood friend.
The beginning of the video plops us in the middle of a melancholy moment. Kyle appears to be crying as his friend/roommate Dave tries to console him and understand what has upset Kyle. Kyle then reveals that he forgot to record his new favorite show: “MTV The Show," with “all the funny parts.”
Dave confoundedly yet calmly shows Kyle that MTV is actually a network that runs 24 hours a day. In a frustrated response to Dave’s evident stupidity, Kyle goes off the rails trying to tell him that MTV and VH1 are but shows with different parts. Dave is great as the voice of reason, using clear-as-day logic that only a Kyle Mooney character could refute. The video continues in classic Kyle fashion, in which he ad-libs freely and we see his character fully come to life. My favorite line comes at the 2:00 mark: “what do you mean what do I mean?” he demands. As if Dave should have no earthly reason to misinterpret Kyle missing an episode of MTV.
To those who don’t find this video remotely humorous, at least admit to yourself that Kyle’s acting is impeccable. Sure he breaks into laughter once or twice, but his facial expressions are out of this world. Go Pirates.
Sporty - Büsh
Here's my theory on how this video started, in chronological order:
Kyle comes across what could possibly be the greatest jacket of all time.
He thinks to himself, "Wow this is a jacket that someone who has no idea what sports are would buy to prove that they know sports."
Pretty far-fetched theory, but I stand by it. Anyways, like he so often does, Kyle nails the character perfectly.
Whether this is a commentary on what huge sports fans sound like to people who couldn't care less or what a guy sounds like when he tries to fit in is up to interpretation, the skit works either way.
Almost as funny as the original are the extras, in which cameraman Dave plays a bigger role in pointing out Kyle's "sociopathic" lying. The names Dennison, Nichols, and Benjals will never be the same.
Beatles Baseball - Nev
How Good Neighbor came up with the idea for this one is beyond me. This one comes straight out of left field (sorry). Beck plays the timeless dunce TV reporter, failing miserably to assimilate with the subjects he reports on.
Much to my chagrin, I was unable to find out who the John Lennon character was played by, which, to my understanding, is not featured in any other Good Neighbor videos. Kyle takes a comfortable back seat in this one as McCartney, heartily disapproving of Lennon’s relationship with Yoko while remaining steadfast and undeterred in his love for the great American game. Notice the scarf tied around his bat as he whacks balls at a clueless Beck. I’ve never met another English baseball player, so I can say with a true heart that the scarf is customary.
Ball Champions - Büsh
It remains a mystery to this day how Kyle was able to get full media access to a Giants game, but there are some things in life that you don't question and simply enjoy. The highlight of Kyle's interview series, his escapade around AT&T Park takes trolling to a new level.
Kyle went asking the hard-hitting questions that most journalists cower from, including "Ever see them launch the grand slams?" and "Is it for the rest of the season?" In fact, these questions caused MLB vet Aubrey Huff to fold and eventually walk away in anger/fear.
But perhaps the highlight of the video is when Kyle claims "Those are some good guys," after getting sent away by vexed fans. Kyle always seems to see the good in people. That's what makes him great.
Help - Nev
What’s the most drastic measure you’ve ever taken for a free meal? There’s something unnaturally enticing about the prospect of food on the house that blinds us to what may be more reasonable alternatives. I once skipped out on an opportunity to go to a Warriors-Clippers game in order to meet my dad for a meal at my favorite Chinese restaurant an hour away from my house. Steph Curry will always be able to shoot a 3-pointer in front of an easily excitable Oracle Arena, but good Mongolian Beef is hard to come by. Basic economic principles be damned, Ping’s in San Lorenzo laughs in the face of opportunity cost.
I can’t however, say that I’ve faked a multiple illness to the point of seeming incapable of paying for my own meal. This is the most vile, self-serving, narcissistic scheme for grub I’ve ever witnessed. Dave the everyman is once again forced to endure another onslaught of distressed musings from Kyle, who is experiencing some ex-girlfriend/financial/social standing troubles. The video wraps up with Kyle basking in his glorious victory, at which point there really is no sympathizing towards Dave, he really walked himself into that one.