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 weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Usually when Bob Odenkirk’s name is attached to something (especially comedy related), it’s often fantastic (whether it’s Mr. Show or Better Caul Saul). And The Birthday Boys’ IFC series, which Odenkirk executive produced an even appeared in numerous sketches on, was absolutely worthy of his association.
Airing for two seasons between 2013 and 2014, The Birthday Boys delivered truly off-beat sketch comedy that was equally as raunchy as it was smart (well, warped but with an odd twist of intelligence). The group may have consisted of seven members, each who brought something unique to the show, but something about Tim Kalpakis’ presence seemed to stand out. As zany as Kalpakis’ characters could get, he constantly sold it with a straight face, making you almost believe that he was just your average joe… who just so happened to appear insane by everyone around him.
Outside of The Birthday Boys, Kalpakis has been a writer for another IFC program, Comedy Bang! Bang!. He’s even popped up on the Scott Aukerman show a few times as various characters. Thankfully, though, being cancelled from IFC hasn’t stopped The Birthday Boys (who were already performing live together prior to appearing on TV) from occasionally stepping onstage together.
Anyways, enjoy a few of our favorite moments from Kalpakis on The Birthday Boys’ underappreciated time on IFC below.
We’ve all got those nice (aka, very expensive) clothes that we’re obsessively afraid of getting dirty, right? Well Kalpakis’ attempts at trying to keep said clothes untouched (at the expense of having fun) in the first of three recurring parts is dead on and hysterical, as is watching him let loose in hand-me down clothes … and then hunting down humans with fellow fashion designers for sport. As an added bonus, we get to watch a certain SNL legend portray a snotty fashion designer rolling around in leaves and dirt…so that’s something.
Kalpakis perfectly sells the fact that he loves books through an elaborate musical bit… that actually lacks music accompaniment. Seriously, such a simple premise that I’m surprised other shows haven’t done yet (at least to my knowledge). Then again, half of what makes this work is Kalpakis himself and his commitment to singing his heart out.
“Keepin’ The Beat”
Part of what makes this so funny is how corny Kalpakis comes off as he’s gloats about his love for “keepin’ the beat”. The other part is how it pretty much nails drummers’ desire to steal the spotlight from the rest of the band. Alright, maybe their attempts aren’t as hoaky as Kalpakis’ easily excitable drummer, but who in your favorite bands do you think actually insists on including 20 minute drum solo in the set? [Hint: not the bassist]
“Goldhoff and Steinstein”
Warning: you may find it hard to stop talking and singing like Kalpakis and Mike Mitchell’s old timey song writer characters (who can’t seem to write lyrics that would be appropriate for a sexy teenage singer) for a while. Especially after watching these two reappear in the same episode during a good old fashion sex party (sorry, the term is Bacchanal, I believe). Anyway, you’ve been warned.