Even if this blog was mainly an excuse to re-watch and talk about my favorite sketches from my eight favorite sketch comedy groups, I do have at least one serious reason that sketch comedy will never die: the internet. While content creators of all stripes are bending over backwards to adapt their videos to the demands of what can "go viral," comedy sketches have had it right all along: they're short, to the point, easy to forward to friends (and embed in blogs), and above all -- funny. And here are eight great examples to back me up.
The State - "Taco Man"
One of my all-time favorite sketch groups, they were also one of the shortest-lived. Their show on MTV ran for just a year and change, from 1993-1995, but its members went on to write and star in movies like Wet Hot American Summer and the currently-in-theaters Role Models as well as other shows like Viva Variety and Reno: 911. But I will always love them for this sketch above all else. "Goodbye, mailbox!"
Kids in the Hall - "Girl Drink Drunk"
This legendary and long-lived Canadian sketch group took their name (according to Wikipedia) from Sid Caesar, who, if a joke didn't go over, or played worse than expected, would attribute it to "the kids in the hall," referring to a group of young writers hanging around the studio. Here's a classic sketch about what happens about what happens when a man becomes addicted to "girl drinks."
Mr. Show - "Supermarket Wars"
David Cross and Bob Odenkirk have gone on to fame in other projects after their much-celebrated HBO show was cancelled in 1998 -- you may know David Cross best as the closeted psychiatrist Tobias Funke from Arrested Development. This sketch is a long one, and a slow burn, but the build is great -- and in this era of Wal-Mart and crushing globalization, it's never been more relevant.
Human Giant - "The Hardest Part of Rollerblading"
Human Giant is an MTV sketch show starring Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer. Ansari you may recognize from a cameo on Flight of the Conchords as racist-against-Australians fruit seller, and next year you'll see him starring in NBC's The Office spinoff with Amy Pohler.
Saturday Night Live - "More Cowbell"
What "the best" SNL sketches are has been the subject of many a blogged top-ten list, and though the matter may never be definitively settled, suffice to say it was a tough choice that was made a lot easier by the fact that there's no good version of Chris Farley's "Down by the River" sketch on YouTube right now.
Monty Python - "Argument Clinic"
Another tough call. I had most if not all of the Monty Python albums as a kid, and had them just about memorized. These guys are obviously legends, and they wrote so many classic sketches that they certainly deserve a post all their own. And as brilliant as the "Argument Clinic" sketch itself is, make sure to watch it all the way through to catch its super-absurd ending in which policemen show up and arrest the actors -- and then one another -- for violating the "Getting-Out-of-Sketches-Without-Using-a-Proper-Punch-Line Act."
Flight of the Conchords - "The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room"
The Conchords -- New Zealanders Bret MacKenzie and Jemaine Clement -- have been shouted-out on this site many times before, but I couldn't leave out one of my favorite bits (dare I call their songs "sketches"?):
The Ben Stiller Show - "The Last Stand of Yakoff Smirnov
Ben Stiller. Talk about "where are they now" -- anyone know what happened to this clown?