We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this column, Sketchy MVPs, we shine a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Last week, Thomas Lennon made his first (though hopefully not last) appearance as Leo Getz on the TV re-imagining of Lethal Weapon. It’s the type of performance that reminds everyone why Lennon is such a reliable, go-to source for humor; whether it’s onscreen playing characters like everyone’s favorite Reno lieutenant who wears way to short shorts, or from behind the scenes as a producer or writer with his partner-in-crime Robert Ben Garant.
Way before that, though, Lennon was a team player in The State. Responsible for some of the most surreal alt sketch comedy to ever be seen on TV, The State aired on MTV from 1993 and 1995. And at the center of the 11 member cast (whom continue to collaborate in various forms and for different projects) was Lennon, who had a gift for delivering the most over-the-top, ridiculous punch lines with the straightest of faces.
As mentioned, Lennon has done very well for himself both on and behind the screen in various films and TV shows (most-notably for Reno 911, but most recently playing Felix Unger in the TV reboot of The Odd Couple). However, take a look back at a few of our favorite moments from Lennon’s time in The State below.
“The Barry Lutz Show”
Only Lennon could make watching a zoologist talk about “monkey torture” hysterical. If you want to read more about how this sketch came to be, read a feature The AV Club did with Lennon and his co-stars (Michael Ian Black and Michael Patrick Jann) a few years back.
We previously covered this sketch when highlighting Kerri Kenney-Silver’s work on The State, but her and Lennon’s delivery makes this one of the show’s best premises. After all, we’d probably act the same way if we were competing in a game show where the prizes were orphaned children.
“Barry and Levon – $240 Worth of Pudding”
Where would one even find $240 worth of pudding? Well as Barry (portrayed by Lennon) would say, “ssshhhh, don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”
This is an example of how weird The State could get sometimes. So weird, that it doesn’t even help to explain what this sketch is about … but Lennon’s face and voice will haunt you… so you’ve been warned.
“Old Fashioned Guy”
What’s the scariest thing about the ridiculous comments made by Lennon in these recurring 15 second bit? You could probably find a few nut jobs out there who agree with the Old Fashioned Guy’s statements.