Sketch Comedy

"And now for something completely different."

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 with stronger writing, more pointed sociopolitical satire, a louder studio audience, and longer sketchesnote . The show had Michael Richards note , Larry David note , Rich Hall note , and Melanie Chartoff note  as cast members. Despite being considered the Cracked to Saturday Night Live's MAD magazine, at one point, Fridays was considered better than Saturday Night Live (which, in the early 1980s, 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. The sequence in the movie, Man on the Moon where Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) fights with Michael Richards (Norm MacDonald) over a sketch about covert marijuana smokers dining out at a restaurant (which turns out to be a trick cooked up by executives as a prank and to test the limits of live TV, as Fridays always did) was based on an actual moment from that show.

Alternative Title(s):

Sketch Show, Skit Com