The 8 Best Internet Sketch Troupes Whose Initials Aren't TAM
Since moving the Muskets! franchise to Hollywood, I've discovered the truth in that old adage: it's not what you know, it's who you know. For example, I know Javier who runs the avocado booth at the weekly farmer's market, and now I literally take baths in guacamole. It's only a matter of time before I leverage that relationship into a film deal (I mean aside from that guy from the fetish website who came and filmed me in a bathtub of guacamole for four hours). But that's how it works out here; you've got to schmooze. So I decided, what better way to make friends of the other sketch troupes out there than to arbitrarily rank them from worst to best, in an article whose title implies that even the best aren’t nearly as good as my own troupe? So enjoy losing the next several hours of your life (and possibly weeks, if you bookmark this page).
The Troupe: According to his “Bio” section, “Scott Gairdner is a Los Angeles-based sketch comedy group comprised of Scott Gairdner and Scott Gairdner.” I was first drawn in by his spot-on Michael McDonald impersonation, but quickly grew to love his sharp, caustic wit, ravenous devouring and regurgitation of pop culture, and judicious use of fake facial hair. Seriously, the kid looks like he’s fourteen. The Sketches: In many ways, Scott is a comedian’s comedian. And by that I don’t mean to imply he has sexual relations with other comedians—although this could certainly be the case—but rather that his funny tends to come from incredible premises and textbook joke deployment. His are the kind of sketches that sound funny just in the video description:
The Troupe: Derrick is comprised of NYU grads who honed their skills at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which is a description you could apply to a startling number of Internet sketch troupes. Skills honed, they proceeded to unleash their hardy, classicist brand of sketch onto the public. The Derricks remain faithful to their UCB roots, and more than any other troupe spawned by the school, their sketches and style stay true to that sensibility. Plus they’ve got Donald Glover, arguably one of the best physical comedians on the web.
The Troupe: Waverly Films is more a collective of filmmakers than a troupe, and they’ve worked on projects as diverse as music videos for
The Troupe: A trio of performer/writers and a filmmaker, the blokes at Good Neighbor somehow manage to inject homebrew friendliness into everything they do. Their site features colored pencil work reminiscent of your 8th grade notebook doodles, they call you “friends” at all times, and even their edgier sketches—like the one where a couple of WWII soldiers and a nazi get in a tickle fight on the battlefield—feel like putting on a warm fuzzy sweater of laughs. The Sketches: If you grew up in the 80’s, Good Neighbor’s penchant for nostalgic humor and synth-driven soundtracks will make you feel right at home. And if you didn’t, they’ve got
The Troupe: BriTANick, the young pretty boys who have slowly but steadily encroached upon Muskets! territory with their fast-paced sketches and smug, bastardly faces, are…sorry, this sentence kind of got away from me. I meant to say that we’re proud to share the
The Troupe: POYKPAC’s home site is an abrasive, blocky grid of neon dayglo, and that goes a long way towards acquainting you with their energy. The cast of five Brooklyn-ites produce hip, happy, daring, and often manic sketches that are, above all else, smart. Or maybe funny, then smart. Of everyone on this list, they seem the most like an actual "troupe," which is to say an abusive, dysfunctional family that you imagine all live together in a gin-soaked circus tent. They also seem to be the most dedicated to producing what they want, how they want. The results are
2. Fatal Farm
The Troupe: Fatal Farm strike me as the two weird kids who used to get together every day after school and tool around in one of their basements on something no one was allowed to see. Then they grew up, discovered the Internet, and put those things on public display. Turns out their habit of lavishing massive amounts of time and effort on a two-minute Internet clip makes for some awesome, if mind-fucking results.
1. Olde English
The Troupe: Olde English are five guys from Brooklyn boasting probably the widest range of work on this list. One thing that stands out about them is their constant willingness to do tedious, time-consuming work for the sake of a joke. They’ve got
If you watched all the videos linked in this list so far, you will have successfully wasted roughly six and a half hours of work time (don’t bother checking; I did the math). But what of the next hour and a half, you ask? And what of tomorrow? And are you sure that you don’t want to use this opportunity to suck up to any more people in the industry? Damn straight. Here are the troupes that would have made the list if only their bribes had been slightly more substantial.
When not cementing his standing in the sketch comedy community, Michael serves as head writer and does other stuff for Those Aren't Muskets!