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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

Examples of Sketch Comedy include:


  • Fridays, an early 1980s sketch show that aired on ABC on Friday nights at 11:30pm. Played out like Saturday Night Live if the sketches were crazier, had better production value, and were inspired by drugs (two recurring characters -- Mark Blankfield's Wired Pharmacist and Darrow Igus's Nat E. Dredd The Rasta Gourmet -- were drug addicts: the wired pharmacist was obviously getting high on his own supplies and Nat E. Dredd smoked and cooked with ganja). 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), and Melanie Chartoff (the voice of Didi Pickles and her mom, Minka, on Rugrats and its Spin-Off, All Grown Up; on Fridays, she was the hot chick and the anchor for Friday Night News) as cast members. 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).

Notes

  1. becoming the youngest cast member on that show at only 19 years old
  2. before being remade and channel-hopping to Cartoon Network
  3. (no relation to Julia Sweeney; Terry was a writer for Jean Doumanian's abysmal 1980-1981 season, was cast member during SNL's 11th season in 1985 [which almost got the show canceled due to falling ratings and audiences getting sick of the show], and is the first -- and, so far, only -- SNL cast member who was openly gay [and had a gay lover who also worked with him as his comedy writing partner, Lanier Laney])
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