After she flexed her comedic muscles on SNL, I would absolutely watch a ‘Curb’-style show about her life.
We may have seen a preview of Kim Kardashian West’s next career move during her recent hosting appearance on Saturday Night Live. The way Kardashian West ripped into her public image and personal life during the show reminded me of Larry David’s great meta-comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Hear me out.
In the opening monologue, Kardashian West makes a dartboard of her life, taking aim at topics both public and private. She poked fun about her divorce from Kanye West, her sisters’ plastic surgeons basing their body transformations off of her, and even says her infamous sextape was the only movie premiere she could think of that would explain why she was asked to host SNL. That was just the first half of the nearly four-minute monologue and before she truly dug into her family.
The true potential for a Kardashian West-led comedy series comes into view when she narrows her aim on sensitive topics she seldom discusses with bulls-eye precision. She not only thanked her father Robert Kardashian for introducing her to her first Black person, O.J. Simpson, she joked she only remembers him as the first one because he “leaves a mark or several, or none at all.” For a woman who has been accused of appropriating Black culture, this is the sort of borderline offensive cultural dissection you’d expect from prime Chris Rock. She followed that jocular bombshell by joking about her mom not naming any of her kids Karen because she knew the name would become synonymous with racist soccer moms, but not being prescient enough to know her husband Bruce Jenner would become Caitlyn. Kardashian West’s jokes land because her life is deeply intertwined with some of pop culture’s biggest moments, allowing her to poke fun at sensitive topics vis a vis her own experience — and giving viewers an authentic look at that world in the process.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians was as much a reality TV franchise as it was arguably the most effective public relations machine of the last 20 years. Tabloids caught her sister Khloe’s partner Tristan Thompson cheating? Turn on the cameras and transform it into a well-produced display of anguish and family unity. But that’s not what West’s SNL monologue was. She didn’t present a rosy, dressed-up version of her life to control a narrative. She joined in on the crude and invasive jokes the world has been thinking and saying about her family for years. She proved the next chapter in her TV life should be more Larry David than it is KUWTK.
Larry David and Kim Kardashian West are both famous people in the entertainment industry, and that is probably the extent of their similarities. The Seinfeld creator is often considered one of the greatest comedic writers of all time, and the majority of his material stems from his own neuroses. But part of what makes HBO’s Curb so unavoidably hilarious is something Kardashian West does in her monologue — expertly dunking on the culturally ubiquitous and obscenely wealthy. A sizable portion of Curb’s award-winning appeal is watching which celebrity enters David’s orbit because of his past success, and how he indiscriminately humanizes them by placing them in cartoonish versions of conflicts the average person engages in, like splitting the bill and carpooling.
Kardashian West could address allegations of appropriating Black culture by having her best friend, actress LaLa Anthony, hold a faux intervention about the potential racism in her overuse of bronzer and braids. She could bring viewers into a casual day at her friend Ellen Degeneres’s house following Degeneres’s workplace harassment allegations, which would prompt Kardashian West to comically overanalyze the way Degeneres treats everyone from her maid to the waiter who got her drink order wrong. The series could capture Kanye wallowing in first-world problems, figuring out ways to upstage his arch-rival Drake renting out Dodgers Stadium for a date while Kim innocuously remarks on how sweet of a gesture it is. Scenes like this are not only comedic gold — they probably already happened. Through it all, Kardashian West would be as she was in her SNL monologue: deadpan, jokingly oblivious — a sharp tongue that takes aim at her celebrity circle, concealed in a pretty face no one can look away from.
The 40-year old celebrity has spent nearly half her life in front of cameras. After her SNL monologue, I think she’s ready to stop making reality TV and start making fun of the reality of her TV-style life. And we’d all watch.