"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.
- Aaagh! It's the Mr. Hell Show!
- The Adam And Joe Show
- All That! was a teenage sketch comedy show on Nickelodeon, and had a movie based on the "Good Burger" sketch (featuring Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson). One of the cast members (Kenan Thompson) would later be a cast member for Saturday Night Live (becoming the first Nickelodeon veteran to be an SNL cast member, and the first one to be born after SNL's premiere year, 1975).
- Almost Live!
- The Amanda Show, All That!'s Spinoff. Featured Taran Killam, who, like Kenan Thompson, was a Nickelodeon child star who is now a cast member on Saturday Night Live and was born after SNL premiered in 1975. Unlike Thompson, however, Killam was born in 1982 and appeared on SNL's rival sketch show, MA Dtv note before moving on to SNL.
- The Andy Milonakis Show
- The Armando Iannucci Shows
- The Armstrong and Miller Show
- At Last The 1948 Show
- The Aunty Jack Show
- Becoming YouTube features egregious amounts of this in its Mockumentary segments.
- The Benny Hill Show
- The Ben Stiller Show
- The Big Gay Sketch Show: A sketch show on Logo that can best be described as Saturday Night Live + MA Dtv + a lot of jokes about the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning sexuality lifestyle (some of which are, according to critics, a little more well-written and not as reliant on stereotypes than what other sketch shows have done). Erica Ash and Kate McKinnon stand out as the only two cast members from this show who have moved on to others; Erica Ash was on the final season note of "MA Dtv" while Kate McKinnon is now a cast member on SNL.
- Big Train
- A Bit of Fry and Laurie
- Blue Collar TV: Made by the same producers who created MA Dtv
- The Burkiss Way
- BYU Divine Comedy
- Caméra café
- The Catherine Tate Show
- Chappelle's Show: One of Comedy Central's most popular sketch shows
- The Chaser's War on Everything
- Cheech And Chong's Still Smokin and Get Out of My Room are non-television versions of this trope.
- ''Come Fly With Me
- Didis Comedy Show German sketch show series starring comedian Dieter Hallervorden.
- Donny & Marie: A late 1970s comedy/music variety show on ABC headlined by the Osmond family
- Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza
- The Electric Company (the 1970s version featuring a young Morgan Freemannote , Bill Cosbynote , and Skip Hinnantnote )
- Exit 57
- Fast And Loose
- Fast Forward
- The Fast Show
- Fist Of Fun
- The Frantics
- 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.
- French and Saunders
- Gabba Gabba
- Harry and Paul
- Harry Enfield and Chums
- Hee Haw: A long-running sketch show filled with American Southern/country humor. On the Simpsons episode where Homer becomes the manager to a struggling country singer who tries to seduce him, there was a parody of this show called Yahoo!
- Hello Cheeky
- Horrible Histories
- Human Giant
- Hype, a WB sketch comedy show featuring sketches that made fun of celebrities and pop culture. Lasted one season. Included then-future MA Dtv cast members Frank Caliendo and Daniele Gaither — and featured writing by former SNL writer and cast member Terry Sweeney note
- Important Things with Demetri Martin
- Incredible Crew: Cartoon Network's first and only attempt at a live-action sketch show (also the last live-action original show they aired, before deciding to make more original animated shows). Features Jeremy Shada (the voice of Finn the Human on Adventure Time as a cast member.
- In Living Color! — FOX's urban (read: black) answer to Saturday Night Live. Featured Jim Carrey (who originally was supposed to be a Saturday Night Live cast member), Jamie Foxx note , Jennifer Lopez note , and Damon Wayans note .
- John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme
- Key And Peele: Comedy Central's latest sketch show, featuring MA Dtv's Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. This show, along with the Cartoon Network show MAD, can be considered a Spiritual Successor of MA Dtv (which, despite its cancellation on FOX, was slated to be revived and put on cable television).
- The Kids in the Hall — a Canadian sketch show produced by Lorne Michaels. Mark McKinney was a cast member for both this show and SNL.
- The League of Gentlemen is somewhere between this and a Sitcom.
- Loriot had a hugely successful sketch show in Germany during the late 70s, and is now widely considered one of the giants of German comedy. The humor revolves mostly around people getting in slightly embarassing situations, which quickly become worse as they attempt to maintain appearances in the hope that nobody will notice, mirroring and satirizing the Zeitgeist of the decade.
- La Caravana (The Caravan) from Mexico.
- Los Rayos Gama (The Gamma Rays) Puerto Rican comedy TV show dedicated to social satire.
- Little Britain
- MA Dtv — Saturday Night Live's rival sketch show from 1995-2009. Is considered the longest-running sketch show on FOX and the longest-running dueling show to SNL. Has a Spiritual Successor in the form of the Cartoon Network sketch show MAD and Comedy Central's Key & Peele and two cast members who have jumped ship from MA Dtv to be on SNL (Jeff Richards — who lasted on SNL from 2001 to mid-2004 — and Taran Killam — who joined the SNL cast in 2010 and is still on the show). It should be noted that the premise of a sketch comedy show based on MAD Magazine (be it animated like the Cartoon Network version or live-action like the FOX version) is not exactly a new idea: in the early 1970s, a pilot was made for an animated sketch show based on MAD Magazine, using all the artwork for their movie and TV show parodies (the pilot had parodies of The Godfather and Columbo), along with their satirical pieces, like "The Parent Awards." The pilot has never aired on TV (as executives thought it wouldn't appeal to anyone) and now exists as a rare treasure that's somewhere out on the Internet.
- Man Stroke Woman
- The Mary Whitehouse Experience
- The Micallef Program
- Mind of Mencia: The successor to Chappelle's Show. Achieved some controversy after Mencia was accused by several comics of stealing jokes in his stand-up act.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus - spawned two sketch movies: And Now For Something Completely Different (a collection of favorite sketches from the series) and Monty Python's Meaning Of Life. Is considered one of the most popular sketch shows listed here.
- Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a cross between a sketch movie and a concert film.
- Mosquito: Of the more surreal variety.
- Mr. Show: based on the independent comedy scene of The Nineties, headed by David Cross and Bob Odenkirk.
- Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy
- Not Only... But Also
- Not Necessarily The News
- Not the Nine O'Clock News
- Olde English Comedy
- The Onion Movie
- The Other Ones: All their material and shows, outside of some brief audience interaction, are based on sketch comedy.
- The Peter Serafinowicz Show
- Portlandia: Features Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live
- Puppet Power: Best described as KaBlam! with puppets.
- The Red Green Show
- Robot Chicken, a stop-motion animated sketch show.
- Royal Canadian Air Farce
- Roundhouse: Before All That, Nickelodeon had this sketch show on their SNICK line-up.
- Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In — a chaotic late-1960s sketch show that, very much like SNL, aired on NBC and was considered edgy and shocking in its day (unlike SNL, however, Laugh-In didn't last as long). Lorne Michaels wrote for Laugh-In before he created Saturday Night Live. It had a one-episode Spinoff on ABC called Turn-On that was so bad, it got cancelled as quickly as it premiered on some affilates (other affiliates either didn't air the show at all or aired the entire thing before deciding to can it). A second episode of Turn-On was produced but never broadcast (though some museums dedicated to TV history have shown it, often as part of exhibits dedicated to TV shows that were either really bad/bizarre, very short-lived, or practically unknown to modern audiences). Here's a clip of the sketches that would have aired had the show continued.
- Rutland Weekend Television
- Saturday Night Live — longest-running sketch show on NBC and American television in general (is now in its 40th season); has survived everything from national crises to fluctuating pop culture trends to rival sketch shows seeking to take its place (with varying levels of success) to Seasonal Rot in the form of cast and crew turnover, threats of cancellation, criticism over not hiring more minority cast members and treating their minority cast members unfairly, and fickle audiences who embrace the show one minute, then trash it the next. Is considered the place for young sketch and improv comedians and comedy writers to gain fame.
- The Savage Eye
- School Of Comedy
- SCTV: A Canadian sketch show that was like Saturday Night Live in that it had cast members from the Second City improv company and aired on NBC. However, SCTV made fun of television shows (and their many cliches and tropes) and wasn't into making fun of current events, politics, social issues, race, sex, or drugs, like SNL and Fridays did. Robin Duke, Tony Rosato, and Martin Short are the only cast members from SCTV to be hired as cast members for Saturday Night Livenote .
- Seth Mac Farlanes Cavalcade Of Cartoon Comedy: A one-episode special that aired on FOX.
- Short Ribbs, a 1989 sketch show broadcast only in Los Angeles, featured Billy Barty, Patty Maloney and three other male dwarfs. Notable also because two of the show's writers filed separate lawsuits against Barty in small claims court for unpaid wages. Barty lost both lawsuits.
- SMBC Theater, a sketch comedy series on YouTube by the makers of SMBC.
- So Random!: A retool of Sonny With A Chance after Demi Lovato left the show for rehab.
- Sorry I've Got No Head
- The Sifl and Olly Show: A bizarre sketch show on MTV consisting of sock puppets and very low production values.
- The Sketch Show, both the British original and the American remake that aired on FOX (and got canceled).
- Smack The Pony
- The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer
- Spitting Image
- The Stan Freberg Show on radio in 1957 was an earlier example.
- The State: An MTV sketch show/hidden camera prank show. Plays out like an early, more outrageous, yet less gross version of Jackass.
- The Steam Video Company
- Studio 3 is a children's example that airs between shows on the ABC3 channel in Australia.
- Studio C, a TV series on BYU tv featuring current and alumni members of BYU Divine Comedy.
- Switch! — German show spoofing various other TV programs.
- Thank God Youre Here
- That Mitchell and Webb Look
- Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! - Sketch comedy's worst nightmare.
- Trip Tank - A Comedy Central animated sketch show.
- The Two Ronnies
- Uncle Grandpa is a cross between this and an animated sitcom.
- Wacko — a short-lived Saturday daytime (noon EST) show on CBS in 1977, with hosts Bo Kaprall and Julie McWhirter.
- Was Guckst Du — could be roughly described as Chappelle's Show in Germany, only with Turkish and Central/East Asian minorities.
- The Warp Zone. A YouTube channel based around video game sketches.
- Wayne and Shuster
- The Wedge
- Welcome Freshmen: A Nickelodeon sketch show featuring jokes about high school and being a teenager. Became a Sitcom in its later years, which wasn't received well by its fans.
- The Whitest Kids U Know — an independent comedy sketch show that aired on IFC and Fuse from 2007 to 2011. Plays out like Monty Python meets Mr. Show.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway?, an Improv sketch show.
- Die Wochenshow, a News Parody, was in Germany of the 1990s and early 2000s, the prime example for Sketch Comedy.
- The Wrong Door
- You Cant Do That On Television, a Canadian kids' sketch show which Nickelodeon's American channel imported. It was heavily inspired by Laugh-In.
- You're Skitting Me
- Your Show of Shows: The televised sketch show that paved the way for such shows as Laugh-In, Monty Python and SNL, among others.