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.
From 1993 to 1995, The State produced some of the most surreal alt sketch comedy seen on TV (the last sort of thing you’d expect to see on MTV in those days). We could go more in depth about the history of this beloved comedy troupe… but you should just read The Union of The State, a new oral history on the group, when it comes out on May 3 instead.
For now, though, let’s talk about Kerri Kenney-Silver. The State’s sole female member, Kenney could play quirky, unpredictable characters as well as her fellow male cast mates, sometimes even better than them. She could also help enhance the absurdity of a skit by simply being the voice of reason. So basically, a part of The State’s charm may be in how well its ensemble worked together, but Kenney without a doubt played an important part in that collective.
Kenney has maintained a large repertoire of TV and voiceover work since her days in The State. However, she’s likely best known for her time as Deputy Trudy Wiegel on Reno 911, the Comedy Central hit series she co-starred on with fellow State alums Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant (Joe Lo Truglio would also join as a cast member in its final season, while other State members were known to make cameos throughout its run). The State has occasionally reunited over the years for one-off live appearances, including a few dates in support of The Union of The State’s release.
So let’s take a look at a few of our favorite moments from Kenney’s time in The State.
The visual gag of seeing male and female hormones interact during the act of love is a funny concept itself. But Kenney’s portrayal of a teenager on a date (who ends up a tad… unfulfilled, and left to finish… the job by… herself) adds a nice tad of realism.
Kenney and Ken Marino deliver performances that are truly worthy of being attached to a heart-breaking drama about the struggles of the working class… and the fact that they can do so while saying lines like “Let’s get milk-faced and hum like rabbits” with a straight face makes this sketch even more incredible.
Kenney and Tom Lennon’s concerned but not overplayed reactions to winning orphaned children in a game show are simply perfect. Kenney further sets the tone of the sketch by subtly proclaiming “I have a very small apartment, I don’t know what I’d do with four foster children.”
…Duh… duh duh de dad duh duh, but duh duh DUH de da duh duh?! DUH! Duh duh duh de da duh duh, de da duh duh, de da…. It’ll make sense if you watch the sketch, we swear.