Creating a definitive list of the greatest sketches of all time is incredibly difficult (and incredibly fun) given the remarkable wealth of great sketches to choose from. As a longtime comedy fan, and as someone who writes and performs sketch comedy, this was a true labour of love.
In terms of curation, I have tried to cast a wide net and feature sketches & skits from different countries, different voices, different eras and different points of view. In the end this list is ultimately a collection of the sketches that have made me laugh the loudest over the years. It is in no way exhaustive. It isn’t even necessarily in order. But they are all incredibly funny.
Simply put, these are 100 great sketches that you should watch and they will hopefully make you laugh loudly. With a bit of luck you may even discover some that you’ve never encountered before. And if you have suggestions for other great sketches not included on the list, please let me know in the comments.
Alrighty, without further ado, here are 100 of the funniest sketches of all time, starting with a batch of 10 sketches, and 10 more to follow each day. Enjoy!
100. Are We The Baddies? – Mitchell & Webb
David Mitchell and Robert Webb starred in Peep Show, one of my favourite sitcoms ever, but they also made some of my favourite comedy sketches. Their series “That Mitchell & Webb Look” was consistently one of the funniest shows on tv. This sketch about an angsty existential German soldier is one that never gets old. Rightly so, it’s close to perfect. And if ever there was a modern indicator of the impact of a sketch, it can be found in the memes and GIFs it has spawned.
99. Popcorn - The Muppets
The Muppet Show sits in the pantheon of all time greatest shows for me, and their ability to write funny sketches was really second to none. The Swedish Chef was a character that I personally had a love-hate relationship with due to my Swedish identity, but I have grown to love him, and this sketch is classic Muppets in the way it builds and builds, while always retaining its playful childlike heart. Hurdy gurdy laughs without wordys.
98. Charlie Murphy & Rick James - Chappelle's Show
Chappelle’s Show is arguably one of the most influential sketch comedy shows of all time. Chappelle cooked up multiple brilliant concepts and a long list memorable characters, none more so than his portrayal of Rick James. The brilliantly funny true story by Charlie Murphy is told in such a charming and authentic way. Chappelle then manages to take that source material and elevate it even further with one of my favourite wild over the top performances. Comedy gold bitch!
97. The Hats - Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper was introduced to me by my father and I loved him from day one (I loved Tommy Cooper too, but not the same way). To me there was always something wonderful about the contradictions and contrasts in his stage persona. That loud, big presence with a sweet, soft core. A bumbling, clumsy magician who would suddenly turn around and perform a perfect trick. On the face of it, he was a man who delivered simple old school jokes, but his ‘Hats’ routine was the moment where I embraced his genius as a performer. Not only is the performance funny (and increasingly funnier the more frantic it gets), but I also love the authentic way Cooper laughs at himself as he starts to twist himself up in knots in his increasingly manic delivery. It is such a brilliantly rehearsed piece of lunacy that masquerades as a traditional story, and that is always what Tommy Cooper did best.
96. Invisible Drum Kit - Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson is a comedy icon to so many in my generation. I’m a huge fan of Blackadder and Mr Bean, and I even enjoy watching the Johnny English films with my kids. This standalone gem of as sketch is a perfect example of Rowan Atkinson’s incredible physical comedy skills, as well as being a genuinely original comedy concept. He makes a potentially pedestrian idea at least 50% funnier with his gurning and physicality. Drum roll please!
95. Matt Foley - Saturday Night Live
the thing I loved the most about Chris Farley was that he always gave his all in every sketch. He left nothing behind and his iconic Matt Foley character from Saturday Night Live is the embodiment of that. It has that broad, mad caricature of a sketch character, with Farley’s trademark physical comedy, and there is just a hint of something slightly melancholy to it too. This sketch is worth watching for David Spade’s reactions, who is unable to hold back the giggles as Farley amps it up throughout the sketch.
94. America - A Bit of Fry & Laurie
Hugh Laurie has rightly gone on to become a highly respected actor, but for me he will always be the genius who wrote and performed sketches with Stephen Fry in “A Bit of Fry & Laurie”. Most of the comedy on the show was very clever and really respected the intelligence of their audience. But every now and again they would throw in simple basic gags like this one and I loved them for it. I guess it also helped that Hugh Laurie was a gifted musican too, which only lent itself more to the silliness of the song.
93. The Room Next Door - Michael Spicer
During lockdown I stumbled across a few very funny comedians online. The very best of the bunch was Michael Spicer with his hilarious series “The Room Next Door” where he plays an increasingly frustrated adviser who communicates live via an earpiece with a public figure speaking to camera. Simple but utterly brilliant. Watch them all, there isn’t a bad one in the bunch.
92. Bomb Disposal - The Fast Show
No list of the greatest sketches would be complete without Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson’s series The Fast Show. I know it is often dismissed as a simple catchphrase based show, which was true to a point, but it also managed to condense storytelling and jokes into very sharp, short, punchy sketches. One of my favourite recurring characters was the “Anyone fancy a pint?” guy, which felt intrinsically English, and always delivered a funny moment of surprise in a sketch that felt unclear where it was headed (in a show that relied on familiarity with the setup). I have seen this sketch countless times and I still always laugh at the end.
91. How To Speak Dublin - Foil, Arms & Hog
Foil, Arms & Hog are a brilliant Irish sketch troupe who post fresh sketches regularly on their YouTube channel (I also love their quarantine maths class sketch). I was lucky enough to see them up close when they performed at one of my Brownbread Mixtape shows and their chemistry was terrific even then. There is a lovely simplicity to the concept of this sketch (a language school where you learn to speak like a Dubliner) and it is delivered with such sharpness. It’s also great to see Irish comedy stalwart Paul Tylak make an appearance too. His sketches on Nighthawks on Network 2 back in the day were a massive influence on me.