Opinions & Editorials

RIP to the Whitest kid we knew

By Aidan Callahan, Back Page Editor

A few weeks ago, a comedian by the name of Trevor Moore passed away. You may not know his name, but you’ve probably seen his work. His sketch comedy troupe, The Whitest Kids U’ Know, released countless viral sketches over the past 15 years.

Perhaps you’ve seen him as John Wilkes Booth, pissed off to the point of murder when President  Abraham Lincoln won’t shut up during a production of Hamlet. You may have seen him utterly confused as his friend presents him with a gallon of PCP. Or, you might have seen him in arguably his most famous sketch, as an ad executive pitching the poorly-named grape soda mascot, “The Grapist.”

Even if you’ve never seen his work, you’ve felt its impact. The Whitest Kids U’ Know set the tone for the type of comedy that defines 2010s internet culture. It had that raw energy that you usually only find in a YouTube video, with people screaming the most ridiculous and profane stuff you’ve ever heard. But just because the humor was offensive doesn’t mean it wasn’t clever; all the members were geniuses when it came to both writing and performing comedy, especially Trevor Moore.

But now he’s gone, and it’s difficult to know how to feel. It feels wrong to say that I’m ‘affected’ by a celebrity’s death. This is a man with a wife and child, and I think I’m affected? How self-centered can I be?

I’ll never know what this loss means to his family. I’ve never lost a husband or a father, so how could I? The best I can do to reckon with this loss is try to understand what it means to the world. 

This is a devastating blow to the world of comedy. Moore and the rest of the Whitest Kids were in the midst of a comeback, making appearances on Comedy Central and even penning a script for an animated feature. We’ll never know how Moore would have spent the rest of his life, but I bet he would have brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.

So what can we do about this? This question has been stuck in my brain the past few weeks. He’s gone, and so what now? What can we even do about it? What can we do about anything? If you keep following this line of questioning, you’ll eventually spiral down into a dark place. But I’ve managed to pull myself out of this pit with one simple thought: We can carry on his legacy.

I’ve never been a spiritual guy, but I believe that if someone inspires you, and you act on that inspiration, then they live on through your actions. It feels cheesy to say, and it’s the exact type of schlock that Trevor would hate, but it’s the only way I can reckon with this loss. 

He always forged his own path. He was the driving force behind Whitest Kids, and he made it exactly how he wanted it to be. He took the style of shows like Monty Python and Kids in the Hall and made it his own. In doing so, he inspired countless comedians to follow in his footsteps — not by copying his style, but by making their own style. Simply, he inspired comedians to say, by saying, “To hell with what’s been done before. I want to create something that’s uniquely me.”

So that’s how he will live on: as an inspiration. I will continue to write comedy, and I will blaze my own path, just like Trevor did. I want all of you reading this, no matter what your art or profession is, to do the same. When someone is inspired by your individuality, Trevor Moore will live on through that person, and everyone that person inspires. If we all keep inspiring one another and keep being unabashedly ourselves like Trevor Moore did, then maybe we all can live forever.

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