Past the halfway point in the list of 100 funniest sketches of all time. Today’s batch of ten sketches are all pure gold. Here we go then from 50 – 41
In case you missed it:
50. Brilliant – The Fast Show
The Fast Show was BRILLIANT. Paul Whitehouse might be one of my favourite comic actors and this silly recurring sketch is a brilliant showcase of his abilities. I always loved the way they pieced these particular sketches together with multiple takes and then stitched them into something almost arty. In a strange way, the rapid fire style of The Fast Show was a real precursor to the shortform content we see everywhere on TikTok and Reels now.
49. Mastermind - The Two Ronnies
The Two Ronnies at their clever, crackling best. This sketch is a great example of what I loved the most about them. It starts with really sharp writing. They have crafted it and shaped it on the page, and I love to imagine them seated together going over every line, perfecting it, tightening up the jokes, sharpening the segues. And then when it comes time to perform it, (which they do really well) it all flows so effortlessly because they put the time in to write it so thoughtfully. For me, this sketch is a hall of fame contender for writing.
48. Jazz Club - The Fast Show
Jazz Club on The Fast Show was the same joke every time, but what a joke. It was GREAT. For me personally it resonated even further. My dad was a big fan of jazz and it was consistently the sound that bounced out of the speakers in our house. It is part of my creative influences almost by osmosis. So, this sketch, while making fun of the pretentiousness of jazz fans and certain musicians, I still see deep affection for jazz in there.
47. Argument - Monty Python's Flying Circus
I’d like to have an argument please! Probably my favourite Monty Python sketch. So simple and so well done. Michael Palin at his mild mannered best and Cleese & Chapman are snarkingly perfect. For the longest time Cleese was my favourite Python probably because of his physicality and my deep love for Fawlty Towers, but as I get older I relate more and more to the amiable Palin who has a kind of innocence and confusion about him that feels very real. In lesser hands this sketch could easily gone nowhere, but Palin keeps it anchored in something human and that is why I love it so much.
46. Cake - BrassEye
There are precious few people who deserve the title of genius to be bandied about with their name. But for me, Chris Morris is most certainly in the conversation. BrassEye was Chris Morris at his scathing, sharp best. Building on his cleverly crafted The Day Today, he really pushed his satire of the bombastic television news industry to a new level with this show. I will never forget the first time I saw the Cake segment on the show. It was the first time I can remember seeing a show blur the lines between reality and fiction, and I was amazed at his ability to dupe unsuspecting celebrities and politicians into talking on camera about “a made up drug” and then to cut it together into this preposterous news report – which makes it equal parts jawdropping and hilarious. Sacha Baron Cohen went on to make this type of stuff his trademark, but Chris Morris is one of the master craftsmen who built those foundations with BrassEye. A show that has never been equalled and it had a huge impact on me.
45. Social Class - The Frost Report
This was one that I came across when I was down a deep nerdy sketch comedy rabbit hole on YouTube one night. This is like seeing a supergroup of comedy – John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett – in a sketch written by Marty Feldman (my favourite person in the brilliant Young Frankenstein movie). Visual and verbal comedy at its finest -Sight gags mixed with social satire. I look up to this kind of thing.
44. Soupy Norman - Barry Murphy & Mark Doherty
Soupy Norman by Barry Murphy and Mark Doherty was a thing of genius. They took a Polish soap opera called “First Love” and re-dubbed it with Irish comedians into a coming of age story of a Cork girl moving to Dublin. The choice to make the dialogue a ‘Bad Lip Reading’ style delivery, rather than make any true sense only adds to the silliness and fun of it. Probably the funniest thing to have ever been produced by Irish TV and you can thankfully find all 8 of the episodes on YouTube. It’s definitely one of the things I share the most with others when they ask me about the funniest thing I have seen. True brilliance at work.
43. Borat - Sacha Baron Cohen
Before his global renown, Sacha Baron Cohen had a golden period as the most interesting and edgy comedian around. It was amazing to watch him go out into the world and take real chances with his comedy characters in very real (and sometimes dangerous) situations. His Kazakhstani journalist Borat has worn out his welcome a bit by now, but there was a time when this magnificently awkward, idiotic character was as fresh as anything I had seen. This song is probably my favourite Borat moment. It is him at his best, using comedy to prod society and expose their ignorance, while holding an uncomfortable mirror up to their blinkered beliefs, and still be really really funny.
42. I Said Bitch - Key & Peele
Key & Peele are just excellent at what they do. This sketch is an undeniable little masterpiece. Starting with a super simple idea, they build on it slowly and continue to escalate it to such ridiculous extremes. And it feels properly cinematic in its execution. I think about the time and money it must have cost to put this one sketch together, but they had such belief in the idea and knew it would deliver a bigger impact if they went all in. I love that about it.
41. Heroin Galore - The Fast Show
The Fast Show was consistently hilarious and sometimes their one-off sketches were funnier than their recurring characters simply because they seemed fresh and unusual. For me, they were often at their best when they did these stylish, note-perfect parodies of BBC programming. I learned after seeing it that it was a take on the famous film Whiskey Galore albeit with a very different cargo. The decision to make it in black & white also really stands out and is the kind of attention to detail I love.