Through two seasons of I Think You Should Leave, Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin have seen a number of impressive guests bring their scripts to life with absurd flair. That includes Robinson himself upping the ante on any number of scenes that have him screaming like a lunatic at one point or another. But as it turns out, all that yelling and absurdity is almost entirely coming from the script.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the ITYSL creators shared that they don’t often let their actors go off-script and improvise. Unless they’re one of the men responsible for Mr. Show. Bob Odenkirk, who appeared in a sketch called “Diner Wink” in Season 2, is one of the few characters that’s been allowed to improvise.
The sketch, which you can watch above, is fairly standard I Think You Should Leave fare at this point: a small and convenient lie gets taken way too far by someone who continues to double down on the concept until it skews so far from reality there’s no coming back.
In this case, it’s Odenkirk as a lonely diner patron.
There’s almost no improvisation, so every actor commits to the absurdity and off-kilter dialogue they’re provided. One exception was the sketch comedy legend from “Mr. Show,” which was a major influence on Robinson and Kanin. In his sketch, Odenkirk plays a lonely guy in a diner booth next to a father (Robinson) and his daughter who gets recruited by Robinson to help sell an innocent dad lie about why they can’t get ice cream. Naturally, the weird lonely guy takes the lie too far.
“Bob did improvise a bunch at the end of that sketch,” Robinson says. “It was all really funny, and I feel like it elevated the sketch off of what was on the page a lot.”
So it turns out “I don’t live in a hotel” was probably an improv line, which is pretty great because it’s one that stuck with people the most from the sketch. The rest of the Times piece is certainly worth reading, as Robinson doesn’t give many interviews in the first place. Hearing a bit more about the way he and Kanin write will only make you more excited about Season 3.