The 7 Best Sketch Comedy Shows to Stream Right Now
Sketch comedy has always been one of the genre’s trusted forms. But the world’s most famous sketch shows don’t always come in sitcom form, but instead are served up as nuggets. Never before has it been so simple to get your comedy in front of an audience. With YouTube and other streaming platforms, it’s never been easier to watch sketches from any era.
In 1968, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was the envy of the Big Three networks. The quick-fire sketch show took its title from the late ’60s vogue. Common trademark elements included the joke wall and the dancing women painted with one-liners.
For five years, the sketch show brought a subversive kind of comedy to the primetime lineup. Then you had gems like “You bet your sweet bippy!” and “Here come da judge!” Ultimately, the show’s dynamic cast and unpredictable routines paved the way for “Saturday Night Live.”
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
This month marks a half-century since the debut of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The irreverent Monty Python comedy troupe presents a series of skits that are often surreal. The unorthodox program enjoyed immense success and proved to be a watershed for British comedy.
In the first program, sketches included ‘famous deaths’ presented by Mozart. Unparalleled in creative control, the masters of comedy wrote, directed, and performed each sketch. There were four series in total, including iconic sketches such as the “Bicycle Repairman” and “Nudge Nudge.”
The Kids in the Hall
Amazon has confirmed it is bringing back the iconic The Kids in the Hall TV show. All of the original cast will be returning to reprise many fan-favorite characters. This Canadian sketch comedy troupe puts bizarre, unique, and insane twists in their skits. This will be Amazon’s first-ever Canadian original tv show. For sketch comedy fans, this news is the opposite of crushing (your head).
The Ben Stiller Show
Before Zoolander and Night at the Museum was the Ben Stiller Show. The short-but-sweetly-lived Ben Stiller Show makes an uproarious impression. Each episode featured Janeane Garofali, Andy Dick, Bob Odenkirk, and Ben Stiller introducing several comedy sketches.
This comedy show specializes in parodies of movies and television shows and commercials. In only a few episodes, the comedy series resurrected the anarchic spirit of early Saturday Night Live. Almost a year after it debuted, the show won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing.
For almost two decades, Mr. Show has been one of HBO’s most popular sketch shows. Absolutely hysterical, the show still stands as one of the best sketch comedy shows of all time.
Odenkirk and Cross’s work on the show is as complicated as it is straightforwardly crude. It’s their on-the-nose way of saying that a lot has happened in the last 17 years. But funny as it is, the elements don’t fit together the way they used to.
When Portlandia debuted on IFC in 2011, it immediately became a hit. Portlandia is a sketch comedy show that contains two main characters played by Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. The two have performed sketches in restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, parks, and more, mostly in Portland’s central city. Others are played at homes with heating stoves that make for a beautiful setting. This allows them to keep the show from seeming tied to a particular moment.
The early sketches lovingly skewered the city’s progressive optimism. Later, sketches take a self-aware poke at life in Portland. In retrospect, it’s no surprise that this approach worked so well.
Key & Peele
Key & Peele talks a lot about what it means to be a male feminist. This sketch comedy sees Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele in front of a live studio audience with an innovative sketch plot. This duo represents the best of what excellent comedy storytelling should be.
This show is based on or around racism, and nearly every single sketch is hilarious. There are no fudged lines, crimes against drag, wobbling sets, or corpses. The show quickly became famous thanks to several viral skits and ran for five seasons. It has also earned a Peabody Award, and a whole slew of Emmy nods.
Sketch comedy as a subgenre is designed to find humor in the facts of life. This list answers the questions, “What is the best sketch comedy show of all time?”