World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Sketch comedy

Article Id: WHEBN0000051610
Reproduction Date:

Title: Sketch comedy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Monty Python's Flying Circus, Philly Improv Theater, Portlandia (TV series), Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Sitcom
Collection: Sketch Comedy, Television Sketch Shows
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Sketch comedy

A sketch comedy comprises a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio and/or visual medium such as radio and television. Often sketches are first improvised by the actors and written down based on the outcome of these improv sessions; however, such improvisation is not necessarily involved in sketch comedy.

An individual comedy sketch is a brief scene or vignette of the type formerly used in vaudeville, and now used widely in comedy and variety shows, talk shows and some children's television series (such as Sesame Street).

Sketch comedians routinely differentiate their product from a "skit", maintaining that a skit is a (single) dramatized joke (or "bit")[1] while a sketch is a comedic exploration of a concept, character or situation.[2]

Contents

  • History 1
    • Films 1.1
    • Festivals 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3

History

Sketch comedy has its origins in vaudeville and music hall, where a large number of brief, but humorous, acts were strung together to form a larger programme.

In the UK, it moved to stage performances by Cambridge Footlights, such as Beyond the Fringe and A Clump of Plinths (which evolved into Cambridge Circus), to radio, with such shows as It's That Man Again and I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, then to television, with such shows as Monty Python's Flying Circus, Not the Nine O'Clock News and A Bit Of Fry and Laurie.

There is also the Los Supergenios de la Mesa Cuadrada created by Mexican comedian Chespirito transmitted in Mexico between 1968 and 1973 that created famous characters like El Chavo del Ocho and El Chapulín Colorado and other character like Los Caquitos, Dr. Chapatín and Los Chifladitos.

Historically, the sketches tended to be unrelated, but more recent groups have introduced overarching themes that connect the sketches within a particular show, with recurring characters that return for more than one appearance. Examples of recurring characters include Mr. Gumby from Monty Python's Flying Circus; Ted and Ralph from The Fast Show; The Family from The Carol Burnett Show; the Head Crusher from The Kids in the Hall; Martin Short's Ed Grimley, a recurring character from both SCTV and Saturday Night Live; and Kevin and Perry from Harry Enfield and Chums. The idea of running characters was taken a stage further with shows like The Red Green Show and The League of Gentlemen, where sketches centered around the various inhabitants of the fictional towns of Possum Lake and Royston Vasey, respectively.

In North America, contemporary sketch comedy is largely an outgrowth of the improvisational comedy scene that flourished during the 1970s, largely growing out of Chicago's The Second City.

Notable contemporary American stage sketch comedy groups include The Second City, the Upright Citizens Brigade and The Groundlings.

Films

Sketch films are rare, since the genre is associated with TV and theatre. The more popular ones were made during the '70s and '80s: The Groove Tube, Kentucky Fried Movie (and its sequel Amazon Women on the Moon) and the Monty Python movies. There have been a few sketch films in recent times, but they've been critical and financial failures: The Underground Comedy Movie (and its sequel InAPPropriate Comedy) and Movie 43.

Festivals

Many of the sketch comedy revues in Britain included seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Since 1999, the growing sketch comedy scene has precipitated the development of sketch comedy festivals in cities all around North America, including festivals in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and Philadelphia.

See also

References

  1. ^ Skit, Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. ^ Sketch, definition 3b, Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.