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Sketch Comedy

A comedy show which is predominantly short sketches, often related. Also known as a Sketch Show, it's a descendant of the Variety Show.

They usually have a stable of comic stereotypes, used in a series of sketches, with no continuity. Each show will include a few sketches about each of the iconic characters interspersed with one-off sketches.

Particularly successful sketches may be spun-off into a Sitcom or a movie (such is the case of Saturday Night Live, Kids in the Hall, and SCTV).

The show may include musical numbers or a stand-up act, but only as a minor element. Sometimes, when the various iconic characters are shown interacting, the show may border on being a plotless Sitcom. Conversely, a Negative Continuity Sitcom may be accused of being a Sketch Show.

Compare with Variety Show. See also Anthology Film, which might be this applied to the big screen.

Examples

  • Fridays, an early 1980s sketch show that aired on ABC on Friday nights at 11:30pm (later moved to midnight thanks to ABC giving "Nightline" an extra day). Played out like Saturday Night Live if the sketches had better writers, stronger political humor, a louder studio audience, and based most of its humor on the Stoners Are Funny trope. The show had Michael Richards (yes, the same Michael Richards who played Kramer on Seinfeld...and later got in trouble for using the n-word during his stand-up act at the Laugh Factory), Larry David (the creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm), Rich Hall (an SNL cast member who was on the show during the tenthnote  season and was the inspiration behind Simpsons character Moe Szyslak), and Melanie Chartoff (the voice of Didi Pickles and her mom, Minka, on Rugrats and its Spinoff All Grown Up; on Fridays, she was the hot chick of the cast and the anchor for Friday Night News) as cast members. At one point, the show was considered better than Saturday Night Live (which, at the time, was floundering thanks to Jean Doumanian's ineptitude as show runner). Fridays lasted until 1982 after ABC failed at making Fridays a primetime sketch show instead of a late-night one, as it suffered a time change in 1981 when ABC wanted Nightline to air five days a week instead of four, due to the popularity of primetime soap opera Dallas. If you've seen the movie Man on the Moon, the part where Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) fights with Michael Richards (Norm MacDonald) over a sketch about covert marijuana smokers dining out at a restaurant was based on an actual moment from that show.

Series FranchiseShow GenresSoap Opera
65-Episode CartoonFormatsSoap Wheel
Fantastic ComedyComedy Series2point4 Children

alternative title(s): Sketch Show; Skit Com
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