"We always felt kind of outsider-y," Moore notes. "But we kind of like being the underdog a little bit. When you're the underdog, you have a lot more freedom to do what you want."
The group's popularity has grown through word-of-mouth buzz from their live shows and viral videos. The live shows and video work, though, remain fairly distinct. A lot of the live material relies on audience participation and interaction, while the videos use visual elements that can't always be reproduced onstage, like a skit about astronauts trying to drink soda that relies on camera perspectives.
photo: Cary Conover
Outsiders no more: troupe members Sam Brown and Timmy Williams at Pianos
The Whitest Kids' executive producer, Jim Biedermanwho's produced Kids in the Hall, Howard Stern, Tom Green, and Andy Dickclaims they're the freshest thing he's come across in 15 years. "What's brilliant about this material," he explains, "is that they create this logic in every sketch, and it's so solid that you go with it wherever they're going. ... It's just a pleasure to work on something that has so many levels going on." Though their more shocking material tends to get greater attention and go viral more quickly, their moments of slapstick can be just as hilarious, like when an inept John Wilkes Booth quotes Latin and throws a phone book at Lincoln's head.
The Whitest Kids have established their name, but with so many other comedy nights around New York now competing for attentionsometimes with names like "The Fuck Monkeys Unite" and "Gay Christ Figures in Cinema"it's getting harder for newer acts to stand out. Sketchfest's Zalben thinks there'll soon come that inevitable moment where corporations co-opt all of it and turn it to shit, but he still feels like we're in some halcyon days of sketch comedy, where pretty much anything is possible. Meanwhile, the Whitest Kids are maintaining their relentless work ethic, taking their gig seriously, but not too seriouslythey're just trying to be funny.
That, and freak out adults. "We want to be that dirty little show," Cregger smirks, "that you hide from your parents."