This obsession makes “I Suppose You Ought to Depart” the right comedy for our overheated cultural second. The Twenty first-century United States is, infamously, a preschool classroom of public argumentation. Our one true nationwide pastime has develop into litigating the principles, at excessive quantity, in good or impartial or very unhealthy religion. “Norms,” an idea beforehand confined to psychology textbooks, has develop into a front-page concern. Donald Trump’s complete political existence looks like some type of performance-art stunt about rule-breaking. The panics over “cancel tradition” and the “woke mob” — these are signs of a fragmented society questioning if, in a time of flux, it nonetheless meaningfully shares social guidelines. Each time we wander out into the general public sq., we danger ending up screaming, or screamed at, red-faced, in tears.
“I Suppose You Ought to Depart” makes comedy, relentlessly, out of moments when the social guidelines break down. When issues stick, grind and break.
Nearly at all times, sketches begin quietly. The present reproduces, with loving accuracy, our small-talk, our well mannered jokes — the best way teams use humor to defuse social tensions. A lady, holding her pal’s new child, says to her associate, teasingly: “Possibly we might have one other.” To which he responds, with a nervous grin: “Uh, let’s discuss that later.” Males at a poker sport commerce jokes about their wives. (“Belief me, my spouse has nothing to complain about — except you’re speaking about each little factor I’ve ever completed!”)
Numerous “I.T.Y.S.L.” sketches appear to begin with a little bit thought experiment: What would occur if somebody took this throwaway joke actually and significantly? How would it not warp social actuality if these anodyne little pleasantries have been really introduced middle stage — if somebody ignored all the principles we’re purported to intuitively perceive?
That is the premise of one of many present’s finest sketches, a sketch I’ve memorized so deeply I can hardly even see it anymore. A person at a celebration is allowed to carry a child, which cries as quickly because it nestles into his arms. “It’s not an enormous deal,” he says, good-naturedly. “I suppose he simply doesn’t like me.” That’s a traditional, lukewarm, tension-defusing witticism, and everybody smiles politely. However Robinson has invented a man who takes this positively significantly, who turns into obsessive about explaining to everybody, on the prime of his lungs and at nice size, exactly why the infant doesn’t like him — as a result of it is aware of, one way or the other, that he “was once a bit of [expletive].” Steadily, the person hijacks your entire occasion with obsessive explanations of all the numerous methods he was once reprehensible — “slicked-back hair, white bathing go well with, sloppy steaks, white sofa.” And he insists, time and again, that “folks can change.” The reasoning is absurd, and but he’s so certain and protracted and literal that it turns into a type of social contagion. By the top of the occasion, everybody has come over to his facet — together with the infant, who smiles at him.