Actor, writer, producer, and local sexpot Trevor Moore — who co-founded the sketch group Whitest Kids U’ Know in 1999 — was killed in an accident on August 6 at age 41. The devastating loss was felt by everyone who had known and worked with him, from Reggie Watts to Blair Socci to Dave Foley to Eric André. Moore leaves decades of work that defined the era of sketch comedy in the early aughts and that continued to evolve all the way up until his death.
After years of Moore doing regular shows in New York with a group of his SVA classmates, the show The Whitest Kids U’ Know debuted on Fuse in 2007 (it would move to IFC after season one) and merged the irreverence of Monty Python with the playful darkness of the Kids in the Hall for a generation whose worldview had been shaped by the cultural dominance of shows like South Park and Family Guy. Moore was the de facto face of the group, appearing in most of the sketches and inhabiting some of its most memorable characters. Below is a collection of Moore’s work to get you started if you aren’t familiar, and if you are, consider this a celebration of a guy whose influence on elder millennial comedy nerds cannot be overstated.
“Timmy Poops His Pants”
The WKUK are masters of a poop joke. And this is a sketch that simply wouldn’t work if not for Moore’s ability to fully command a room full of screaming men. No one else could sell the reality of a boss slapping the table during a meeting while demanding the attendees of said meeting “FORGET. ABOUT. THE POOP.”
Alternative history is an inescapable recurring theme in Moore’s work. This sketch, one of WKUK’s most memorable, insists that the real story of Abraham Lincoln’s death involves him interrupting a vampire version of Hamlet to the point that an audience member decides to simply beat him in the butt with a hammer. For a real throwback to the thrilling chaos that once was live sketch comedy, you can watch a fan’s video of a live performance of the sketch in which Moore parkours his way up to the balcony to attack Zach Cregger’s Lincoln. In a 2020 roundtable discussion of the sketch, the guys revealed that Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan was a fan of the show, especially Lincoln’s line “Hey, acting! Acting!”
“Super Size Me with Whiskey”
For the youngs: Super Size Me was a 2004 documentary that examined whether it’s healthy to eat McDonald’s for every meal, every day, for 30 days. This sketch asks whether it’s healthy to drink whiskey for every meal, every day, for 30 days, no matter how much the people around you (and the whiskey company) beg you not to. In March 2021, WKUK got together to talk about the sketch and ended up sharing that the bruise Moore has in it was real.
The scariest thing about this sketch is that it’s over a decade old — meaning the baby in this sketch has grown up to realize that pretty much everything Moore said to him was completely correct.
“I Want to Kill the President”
When WKUK featured this sketch in its first season, Bush was a wartime president, people still watched TV, and Twitter didn’t exist. One might say this is even more risqué than posing with a mock-up of the president’s severed head.
On paper, there is no reason for the first line of this sketch to be funny. “Bob, that was definitely not a deer” is mere exposition, but the secret weapon of most of WKUK’s best sketches was Moore’s existence. He could make you laugh with one facial expression or, in the case of “Hunting Accident,” every single line of dialogue his character has.
This was the very first Whitest Kids U’ Know sketch I ever saw. In fact, it was one of the first YouTube videos I ever watched. It’s an exchange in which Moore plays a character trying to get his friend to join him in starting a race war as though it’s a pickup baseball game, only to end up arguing with his friend over whether his Italian girlfriend can be considered white. If you want to get academic about it, it’s a sketch that examines how violently arbitrary the definition of whiteness is for the purposes of racism and nationalism. It also features Moore making a surprised face that — even in low resolution — is wildly funny.
“Gallon of PCP”
This is real classic, fundamental Trevor Moore stuff — a sketch that’s basically just about Moore’s facial reactions, showcasing just how shockingly good he was at making something funny just by being there.
Another season-one classic, in which Moore plays a pro-gun activist willing to do as many logical leaps as necessary to justify why hunters and gun collectors need military-grade weaponry. It’s because otherwise we might end up with invincible bears, of course.
Any time Moore got the chance to be excited in a sketch, it was funny. Here, he plays a man who is very excited to get a tattoo he has given some thought to for the past 16 years.
“Happier and With Your Mouth Open”
Another great example of Moore’s excellent face work, this sketch heavily relies on his ability to do exactly what the title implies: say his lines happier and with his mouth open.
“Be a Cop”
Believe it or not, in 2008, conversations about aggressive policing were not nearly as mainstream as they are today. But here’s Moore narrating an ad for the police that promises new recruits a false sense of superiority and the chance to fire guns all the time.
“The Raddest Kid Ever”
Moore was great at acting opposite kids. Even the “raddest kid ever,” who’s just a kid who has accidentally gotten hold of a gun.
One of Moore’s most memorable performances is in “Sniper Business,” in which he plays a corporate titan engaging in acts of very real war with a competitor who hired a sniper to take him out. Loading a rocket launcher while on a call isn’t something they teach in any kind of performing-arts school; it’s just something Moore was hilariously good at. It’s business, plain and simple.
Moore had a talent for being excited to the point of being unsettling. Here, as Terry Milo, he’s offering to help a zoo keep the animals in line by beating them up, showing a wide-eyed enthusiasm that makes us believe he could actually do it.
Here’s Moore as an ad man pitching his version of a Kool-Aid Man–esque character who “grapes” kids in the mouth and has no idea why anyone would have a problem with that.
Moore played the president’s press secretary on WKUK with some regularity, and here he is getting a chance to break our hearts when he finds out a new color they were excited to reveal already exists.
As Moore asks somewhat rhetorically at the end of “Sex Robot,” “What did we learn here today?” The answer seems as obvious as it is obtuse: sex robot. For those who need more context: WKUK did a roundtable discussion of the sketch in 2020, in which the members revealed that the sex-robot costume went on to live a very full life — even doing the polar-bear plunge on the front page of the New York Times years later — thanks to the show’s enthusiastic intern Clayton, who was inside the robot costume for most of this sketch.
I don’t have a super-thought-out opinion on “ButterBar.” It’s just … I think about “ButterBar” a lot.
“The Civil War on Drugs”
In the fifth season of the show, WKUK made a bold shift from run-of-the-mill sketches to a multipart film called The Civil War on Drugs (now available in full on Amazon). It’s a reimagining of the Civil War through the lens of marijuana legalization, a theme the group never shied away from. In this scene, Moore appears as a man interrupting a flag brainstorm with a very detailed sexual fantasy made all the more hilarious by his intensely weird whispering.
“Drunk Texts to Myself”
As the son of 1980s Christian-rock singers, Moore was practically born for musical comedy. He released his first musical album, called Drunk Texts to Myself, in 2013 on Comedy Central Records. The title track features a collaboration with Reggie Watts, and the above performance was included in his 2015 special Trevor Moore: High in Church.
It’s really hard to pick and choose songs from Moore’s catalogue to spotlight, but “Kitty History” from High in Church must be included because of the kitties. It’s exactly what you think it is: modern American history told with kittens that escalates into 9/11 trutherism. Basically, if you thought Bo Burnham singing, “The FBI killed Martin Luther King,” was a lot, this will be pure devastation.
“Time for Guillotines”
Moore’s comedy was subversive in ways lots of people strive for but few achieve. And by that, I mean that this song, also from High in Church — which imagines all Americans uniting to start a violent class war — was released a month before Bernie Sanders would announce his first candidacy for president and begin turning every millennial into a socialist revolutionary.
“I’m Not Good at This Adult S**t”
In 2018, Moore released The Story of Our Times on Comedy Central, and along with it came this highly relatable arrested-development anthem that includes the phrase “Wang Trade Center,” if you can believe it.
Trevor Moore’s Quarantine Show
Trevor Moore’s Quarantine Show debuted on the revamped WKUK YouTube channel in May 2020, and it’s a short but sweet example of just how great he was at adapting to different mediums and also global pandemics. It featured interviews with his dog, Pork-Chop, along with special guests that included fellow WKUK members, the Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson, and MADtv’s Mo Collins.
The Trevor Moore Show
Right up until the hours before his death, Moore was making comedy. Through livestreams on Twitch and a Comedy Central digital show, he and the other members of WKUK continued to entertain fans through quarantine, when everyone agreed comedy was the thing we needed most (after masks and vaccines and economic-stimulus payments and eviction moratoriums and ventilators and connections with friends and family and stuff). The Trevor Moore Show was, in some ways, a full-circle move for Moore, who had hosted a show of the same name on Virginia public access when he was a teenager.
“Our hope is that friends, fellow artists, and fans that loved him will not focus on his death,” wrote WKUK members Zach Cregger and Sam Brown in a statement on their website, “but will remember the countless moments of laughter he gave them.” Moore was, and remains, the center of his own comedic universe full of friends. For fans, the magic of his work will continue to be his ability to make us feel as if we were his friends, too, and that we’re always welcome to come hang out.