4 Reasons Sketch Comedy is Making A Killer Comeback
The rediscovery of Kids in the Hall -- both from their new Amazon series and Comedy Punks, a documentary about their decades-long comic odyssey -- has led some to trumpet a comeback wave for sketch comedy. And we’re here for it! Here are four reasons why sketch is enjoying a laugh resurgence.
Classic sketch shows are having a renaissance.
The Kids in the Hall are having a moment -- the New York Times credits the new show for not simply revisiting their greatest hits but for “how much it tries to evolve the Kids’ comedy and take it in new directions.” Years of seasoning have transformed the aging comics into “gentlemanly comic assassins.”
Even uncool Saturday Night Live seems to be going stronger than ever. NBC is never going to cancel the show, argues late-night TV expert Bill Carter, because “it still gets tremendous buzz. And people still watch it live.” With the 50th anniversary season just around the corner, expect to hear more about SNL, not less.
Sketch has a new home on social.
Why is social media such a hilarious hotbed for emerging sketch comics? “You’re able to make a video about something that happened this morning on the news,” says TikTok comic Laura Romoso. "And people are like, ‘I saw that, I relate, it’s funny, I’ll send it to my friends.’”
And in the case of sketch groups like Please Don’t Destroy, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube have helped navigate their nerd-comedy onto bigger platforms. Fans like SNL’s Heidi Gardner started sharing their videos, which indirectly led to a regular gig on Saturday Night Live. (OK, their dads were SNL alums, so maybe that helped too.)
Sketch has never been edgier.
Streaming services have allowed sketch shows like Tim Robinson’s I Think You Should Leave to push boundaries well past what was possible on the networks and basic cable.
Take Instagram, a sketch about three friends playfully teasing one another on social media. What’s more fun that seeing impish Vanessa Bayer spew a profanity-laden ode to brunch. Her two best pals? “If they died tomorrow, no one would shed a tear.”
One word: Netflix.
Sketch comedy shows that have aired on Netflix in the past two or three years? In addition to I Think You Should Leave, there’s Documentary Now!, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun, The Iliza Schlesinger Sketch Show, Middleditch and Schwartz, Astronomy Club, The Who Was? Show, and the NSFW animated madness of Love, Death, and Robots.
So that’s more sketch comedy shows than … any combination of network sketch comedy shows ever?
Netflix isn’t the only streamer showing us sketch, but they may be the biggest reason behind the renaissance. We’re buying stock, subscriber numbers be damned.
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