TV, Interrupted: Why Loiter Squad Deserves A Revival

(Welcome to TV, Interrupted, a series where the /Film team remembers, eulogizes, and makes a case for the revival of TV shows we loved that were canceled far too soon.)

A decade ago, members of the rap collective Odd Future started a little sketch series on Adult Swim that was described at the time as a mixture of "Jackass" and "Chappelle's Show." That series, "Loiter Squad," ran for three seasons, each with 10 15-minute episodes per season, save the first, which had 11 for some reason. "Loiter Squad" was both a product of its time and ahead of its time, mixing the Dadaist weirdness of fellow Adult Swim shows like "The Eric Andre Show" and "Tim & Eric: Awesome Show" with the slapstick, madcap humor of "Jackass." 

Over the course of three seasons, the Odd Future guys made fun of anyone and everyone, bringing raw, raunchy humor that felt as fresh as it was funny. "Loiter Squad" wore its influences proudly on its sleeve but managed to be something completely original. Many of the skits are intended to shock, and because of that, some of them haven't aged particularly well. Odd Future members Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt are known for pushing the boundaries of good taste in their lyrics, so it's really no surprise that some of their comedy is intended to offend. For fans of transgressive, no-holds-barred comedy that aims for absurdity over being mean, "Loiter Squad" is perfection. Unfortunately, because the episodes are only 11 minutes without commercials, there isn't all that much "Loiter Squad" to love. Someone could easily binge the entire series in an afternoon and they're almost guaranteed to be left wanting more. 

"Loiter Squad" ended after three seasons because the careers of its stars took off, but now seems like the perfect time to bring back this bonkers, avant garde skit series. Founding member Devon "Jasper Dolphin" Wilson has officially joined the "Jackass" crew for "Jackass Forever," and Tyler, Taco, and Lionel all show up for the "Electric Dance" stunt, so why not give them one last big shot to make us all laugh? "Loiter Squad: the Movie?" Yes, please.

Why Loiter Squad was great

Offbeat comedy has changed quite a bit in the past few decades, influenced by the rise of the internet, meme culture, and the influence of Dadaist, absurd comedy shows like "The Tom Green Show," which embraced being aggressively bizarre as a form of humor. Enter the Loiter Squad: Tyler, the Creator, Jasper Dolphin, Taco Bennett, Earl Sweatshirt, and Lionel Boyce. They're five young Black men who skateboard, rap, produce music, and create ridiculous comedy sketches. The series was produced by Dickhouse productions, the same team behind "Jackass," for its first two seasons, while the third season was produced by "Jackass" director Jeff Tremaine's production company, Gorilla Flicks, and Tyler the Creator's production company, Camp Flog Gnaw, and the "Jackass" familial vibe is there, too. "Loiter Squad" is occasionally problematic and often vulgar, but it also has the same warm, weirdo-embracing heart as the rest of the Dickhouse franchises.

Each of the main cast members brings a different style of comedy to the table, and each shares enough of themselves that by the end of the third season, it's hard not to feel a bit attached. We get to meet Jasper's dad, Dark Shark, an ex-convict with a big personality who eventually stars in some of the skits. We get to see the guys process their fame, the hypocrisy of the record industry, and the dangers of living in America while Black, all within the context of 60-90 second skits meant to make a bong smoke-filled dorm room erupt into laughter. The skits range in style from spoofs like "Catchphrase Jones" or "The Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion" to bits like Tyler dressing as a period and a wet dream to give PSAs on puberty. There are also stunts and concert footage (all of the Odd Future guys are also musically talented), further bridging the gap between reality TV and scripted comedy. 

In addition to the main cast, who are all brilliant in their own ways, "Loiter Squad" features an incredible number of celebrity guests. Seth Rogen appears as a "six-year-old girl" in a tutu who attacks Jasper and Earl. Blake Anderson of "Workaholics" fame shows up a few times, with a running joke that he'll do anything to impress the guys, even if it kills him (repeatedly). Several of the "Jackass" guys show up, and there are rap stars and other celebrities galore, including Channing Tatum, Snoop Dogg, Ja Rule, Tony Hawk, Master P, Mac Miller, George Clinton, Xzibit, Boots Riley, Lil Wayne, Nelly, and Kel Mitchell. The guests all get to go a little wilder than they do on any other shows, and it's fun to see them goof off with the Loiter Squad guys. 

Why Loiter Squad was canceled

Usually on TV, Interrupted, cancelation comes because of studio decisions or budget considerations, but in the case of "Loiter Squad," the decision to not continue came from the stars themselves. As the popularity of Odd Future grew, they started getting too busy touring to do much else. They started moving in different directions with their music creatively and decided to tackle solo projects, breaking up Odd Future in 2015 with Tyler confirming the end of "Loiter Squad" at the same time. He told a local newspaper in 2015:

"Everyone's still cool, it's just that we're focusing on our own things. They're still my [friends], but everyone's just focusing on themselves like they've always done from day one. We just happen to be from the same clique, and you know, I just wanted to clarify that. Some people took it as me saying that everybody hates each other or some [expletive]. Which makes sense, you know. As fans, your brain goes weird places when you don't get the answer you want. [...] ["Loiter Squad"] is no more, but that [expletive] was sick! It opened the doors up for other things that my boys want to do. That was a great thing, but we're off that."

The crew all have seemed to remain friends, as they (mostly) reunited for "Jackass Forever" and had a blast electrocuting one another like old times, but they've moved on in their careers for the most part, focusing more on their musical efforts. 

Unfinished Business

"Loiter Squad" never had any overarching narrative, and most of its recurring characters had self-contained arcs or were funny because they never changed, so there wasn't any lack of closure there. Instead, there is simply a "Loiter Squad"-shaped hole in entertainment, where some of the industry's most provocative young stars can let loose. Time has only sharpened the guys' skills, and it would be great to see their takes on pop culture in 2022. Many of the spoofs from 2012 are even more relevant now. The world has gotten as surreal and painful as living in a "Loiter Squad" skit, so why not bring the boys back to help us laugh at the absurdity of it all? Tyler and Lionel have the Adult Swim cartoon series "The Jellies," but it's just not the same as seeing the whole crew taking on the world, burning it down, and making s'mores. 

Will Loiter Squad ever return?

Never say never, but it's not looking likely that we'll ever see a true "Loiter Squad" resurrection. Earl Sweatshirt is focusing on his music and being a father, Tyler, the Creator and Jasper are currently on a world tour, and bringing back a decade-old TV show just probably isn't going to fit into their busy schedules. Then again, with "Jackass Forever" reviving interest in the guys' comedy work and the full series streaming on HBO Max, there's a chance that renewed interest will get the gang back together. Just imagine the antics of the "Loiter Squad" crew on the big screen for an anniversary movie, with new skits, new music, and lots of new laughs. You wouldn't be able to keep me away from that theater!

Until then, at least I have 31 gloriously weird and irreverent episodes of "Loiter Squad" to watch, and I can always watch their sequence in "Jackass Forever" on repeat. Golf Wang forever!!