Sketch comedy is a unique form of humor that relies heavily on quick, witty writing and talented performers to deliver laughs. It’s been a staple of television for decades, with classic shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” paving the way for newer programs such as “Key & Peele” and “Inside Amy Schumer.” Here are 15 sketch comedy shows that have left their mark on the genre.
1. Saturday Night Live – No list of sketch comedy would be complete without mentioning this iconic show. SNL has been on the air since 1975 and has launched the careers of countless comedians.
2. Monty Python’s Flying Circus – This British series introduced absurdist humor to mainstream audiences in the 1960s and ’70s.
3. The Kids in the Hall – A Canadian group known for their irreverent sketches featuring cross-dressing characters and bizarre scenarios.
4. In Living Color – This groundbreaking show featured an all-star cast including Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and Jennifer Lopez.
5. Chappelle’s Show – Dave Chappelle brought his unique brand of social commentary to this Comedy Central series which still holds up today.
6. Key & Peele – Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele tackled issues like race relations and pop culture in their hilarious sketches.
7. Portlandia – Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein created this offbeat show set in Portland, Oregon which parodies hipster culture.
8. Inside Amy Schumer – Amy Schumer became a household name thanks to her edgy humor showcased on this Comedy Central series.
9. The State – This MTV program featured a young cast who went on to successful careers including David Wain, Michael Ian Black, and Thomas Lennon.
10. SCTV (Second City Television) – Another Canadian production created by Second City improv troupe members that included John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O’Hara.
11. Mr. Show with Bob and David – Bob Odenkirk and David Cross created this HBO series which blended surrealism with political satire.
12. The Carol Burnett Show – This classic variety show featured Carol Burnett performing alongside regulars like Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence.
13. Mad TV – A competitor to SNL in the late ’90s/early 2000s, this Fox program was known for its celebrity impressions and recurring characters.
14. Key & Peele Substitute Teacher Sketch- One of the most iconic sketches from the Key & Peele show is their substitute teacher sketch that has since become a viral sensation on social media platforms.
15. Little Britain – A British comedy sketch series featuring comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams playing multiple characters often portraying exaggerated stereotypes of British culture as well as other nationalities including American tourists abroad.
Sketch comedy shows have come a long way over the years, but they all share one thing in common: a dedication to making us laugh through creative writing and performances. Whether you prefer classic shows or newer programs, there’s no denying that these 15 sketch comedy shows have left their mark on the genre.