100 Funniest Sketches of All Time (10 – 1)

10. More Cowbell – Saturday Night Live

More Cowbell! One of the best Saturday Night Live sketches of all time, and in the hall of fame for best sketches ever. I love Walken being his mad genius best version of Walken here . Will Ferrell is a bundle of funny bones and is gutbustingly funny. And Jimmy Fallon barely keeping it together is fantastic. Some sketches put their pants on one leg at a time, but this one makes a gold record. 

9. The Joke: The Musical - Mr. Show

What do you get if you turn a dirty joke into a musical. Pure genius is what you get from Mr. Show. A perfect example of the inventiveness and madness of their wonderful comedy minds. This one always makes me laugh. 

8. Horse Racing Commentary - The Day Today

There is something so perfect about Steve Coogan’s commentary in this sketch, but it is the writing that delivers so perfectly. The names of the horses still make me roar with laughter no matter how many times I hear them. Christ’s Chin!!

7. Apocalypse - Key & Peele

The apocalypse can’t get any worse can it? It can. This sketch has a brilliant cinematic feel, terrific atmosphere, and a silly, surprising twist that takes the sketch to another level. Easily my favourite Key & Peele sketch out of the many works of genius they have given us. 

6. Full Like A Kastrull - Veckans Nyheter

Henrik Schyffert is a comedy hero of mine. Growing up half-Swedish I sought out comedy from Sweden, and Schyffert was consistently involved in the stuff that made me laugh. His prank phone call show “Hassan” was inspired and this mish-mash hybrid of English and Swedish felt like it was made just for me. Perhaps difficult for a non-Swede to enjoy fully but still worth watching for his incredible linguistic trickery. Ultimately, I love his version of biting social commentary with bonkers delivery. Fun fact: Schyffert’s band Whale had a number one song with Hobo Humpin Slumpin Babe and it was all over MTV back in the day. 

5. History Today - Newman & Baddiel

At the time this was surely the most quoted sketch in Engand and Ireland amongst students. It still holds up as one of the all time greats for me. Such a nice simple idea done really well. Two eminent history professors descend into schoolboy levels of stupid slagging. That’s you that is.

4. RAF Pilots - Armstrong & Miller

Two RAF World War II pilots babble like angsty slang-ridden teenagers. It became a recurring sketch on the show and every one of them has little gems to marvel at. But this one is my favourite, innit though?

3. James Brown Hot Tub Party - Saturday Night Live

Eddie Murphy was indisputably the funniest person on television during his stretch on Saturday Night Live. Not only do I love the ridiculous premise for this sketch, but I love how Eddie Murphy commits so fully to the bit and does a brilliant impression of James Brown. Should I get in the hot tub? YEAH

2. No Direction, Period - The Post Show

The Post Show was an online based sketch comedy team from New York and this sketch spoofing Bob Dylan’s musical output has long been a standard bearer for parody-style sketches for me. Who knew that this mock Bob Dylan documentary was something we never knew we needed. I would genuinely love to hear Bob Dylan sing some of these pop songs. I guess, thanks to this sketch, we already have.

1. Prince - Big Train

What’s the point in trying to explain one of the most brilliant surreal sketches ever written. Just watch it and be thankful you’re not a jockey. So absurd, so good. 

The sketch countdown is done!

100 Funniest Sketches of All Time (20 – 11)

20. GloboChem – Mr. Show

Mr. Show is probably my favourite sketch show of all time. Not only do I love Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman!) and David Cross as performers, but their consistently clever writing on this show never failed to bowl me over. What really made the writing stand out when I saw Mr. Show first (and it is still impressive) is the way they were able to weave their sketches so seamlessly and inventively together, from live onstage segments segueing into filmed sequences, tumbling through set changes and other cool crafty set ups that took the viewer on a continuous journey from beginning to end. And like all great comedic artists, as well as doing their primary job of being insanely funny, they really had something to say. 

19. Dangerous Drugs - Ali G

Ali G is a thing of genius. Put a guy playing the biggest idiot in a room with real people, and see how it plays out. This police drugs segment has always been my favourite, not least because of the brilliant quips (Sacha Baron Cohen uttering “Thank you”towards the end is pure gold), but also the patience of this policeman is a thing to behold. For a while, there really was nothing as odd and funny as Ali G on television, and this is still one of his peak moments, as it doesnt trade in being mean like some of his later skits. In other words, “is there any negative effects?”

18. Die Hard 12 - The Ben Stiller Show

The Ben Stiller Show famously had one of the most amazing writers room ever on a sketch show and it shows in the quality of this fantastic Die Hard parody. I love Stiller’s impression of Bruce Willis/John McClane (his facial expressions alone are brilliantly observed), and the preposterous escalating stakes of the sketch in the supermarket are done so well that it almost feels plausible as a sequel. Yabba dabba doo yabba dabba deebee dabba! 

17. World Cup Countdown - Alan Partridge/The Day Today

Alan Partridge is such a classic comedy creation and this sports round-up for the football World Cup was a perfect way to showcase his special brand of idiocy. I love the energetic banality (and clear lack of understanding) in his football commentary, and in a strange way doesn’t feel too out of sync with real commentary language – “EAT MY GOAL! The goalie has football pie all over his face”

16. Samuel L. Jackson Beer - Chappelle's Show

A few dodgy jokes aside, this parody of a Samuel Adams beer commercial was such a great concept. The aggressive over-the-top Samuel L. Jackson energy is such a brilliant contrast to an anaemic standard ad for a mass produced beer. 

15. Staring Final - Big Train

Big Train had some really great sketches and this animated one always tickled me. Expert commentators for a ridiculous event like the World Championship Stare-Out Contest is one of those ideas I wish I had thought of myself. I particularly love the onscreen statistics that flash up and the StareCam is a touch of brilliance. 

14. Mighty Mouse - Andy Kaufman (SNL)

Andy Kaufman is a comedy hero. Unafraid of alienating his audience with his uniquely odd sense of humour is a thing I am really drawn to, probably because I would never truly attempt it myself. This is a lovely slice of madness from Kaufman on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live. He could have done anything with this showcase moment, and he chose to do this. Love it. Here he comes to save the day!

13. Numberwang - Mitchell & Webb

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJDu5D_IXbc

Numberwang is easily my favourite gameshow. Rules that make no sense, overly enthusiastic presenter, and magical details like “rotate the board” Mitchell & Webb are easily in the top three of my favourite comedy sketch shows. Of course, that’s Numberwang!

12. The 4 Yorkshiremen - Monty Python

A true classic and one of my all time favourites. Originally written for “At Last the 1948 Show” and later popularised by Monty Python, it is so simple but so funny. In my day they didnt write sketches like this. 

11. Farming - Mitchell & Webb

This Mitchel & Webb sketch still makes me laugh out loud every time. There’s something so intangibly funny in David Mitchell’s performance that makes it even funnier than it has any right to be. “It’s actually made of chicken!”

The sketch countdown continues tomorrow…

100 Funniest Sketches Of All Time (40 – 31)

The funniest sketches of all time continues. Today’s selection is a mix of mad music, surreal monologues and unexpected twists. Here are sketches 40 through 31

In case you missed it: 

40. Business Time – Flight of the Conchords

The Flight of the Conchords are just so good. They never fail to make me laugh. I remember watching the show on HBO and loving their sense of humour. It was also one of those rare times where I was impressed by the musical comedy numbers. So often they can fall flat or be a bit one note (forgive the musical pun) but with them where was musical craft and real thought in the comic writing of the lyrics. This song is probably their most well known (the live version is even better I reckon) and for good reason, it is a fantastic mix of madness, melody and comic timing. The chorus will now be stuck in your head for days. You’re welcome. 

39. Mr. Robot - Eugene Mirman

Years ago at a comedy gig in New York this bedraggled comedian called Eugene Mirman got up onstage and took off on the most odd flights of fancy in his routine. Half the audience was bemused. I was laughing my head off. His offbeat sense of humour really connected with me. To say it was surreal would do it a disservice. It was just quirky and unlike other stand up I had ever seen. He made choices that were fresh and unusual to my ears. I immediately picked up his album and I never looked back. It’s fair to say I am a huge fan. This kooky sketch is a great example of his unique brand of comedy. It is pure fire. But it begs the question “Is fire an emotion?”

38. Language - A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Many moons ago, a friend of mine loaned me a VHS tape (yes, I’m that old) of several episodes of “A Bit of Fry & Laurie” and it was like discovering a comedy goldmine. The sketches were smart and clever, with a very particular sensibility that spoke to me. This was a type of sketch comedy I hadn’t really seen before. They trusted their audience’s intelligence and they were happy to tackle highbrow topics. And just as readily they could throw in simple silly one liners. It was my kind of show and I still love it. I had to return the VHS tape long ago but I have since found many of my favourite sketches online, including this one. 

37. Taxi Driver Confessions - Chris Rock Show

One of the most fun experiences I had while living in New York was attending a taping of The Chris Rock Show. It was on HBO and usually featured an interview, some sketches and a musical act. On the night I was there he interviewed Cedric The Entertainer and the musical act was Nas (who was so high he had to start his song again). Grandmaster Flash was perched up in a booth above the audience and was spinning amazing tunes in the downtime between recording set-ups. The sketches that night were a bit hit and miss, but the piece that stood out was his funny take on a popular HBO undercover camera show at the time called Taxicab Confessions. Chris Rock went out in a New York yellow cab and actually picked up real passengers, and they recorded the conversations and broadcast them on his show. Nothing is funnier than real interactions with New Yorkers. And hats off to Chris Rock for his on-the-spot thinking and conversational skills. Watch and try not to laugh. 

36. The Sopranos - Mad TV

Mad TV wasn’t ever really on my radar but I had heard it mentioned so many times on podcasts  in the intervening years, I knew I had to find some of the best sketches and watch them. This one, which must have come out at the height of The Sopranos fervour, just made me roar with laughter. The idea of putting a show like that on the heavily censored, sterile world of American network television was a comedy gift waiting to happen. There’s lots to love about the near-perfect performances in this sketch, but the real star of the sketch is the video editor. He deserves a big pile of gabagool.

35. People Buying a House - Mitchell & Webb

If you’ve ever watched daytime TV in Britain you will definitely have seen this show parodied so expertly by Mitchell & Webb. Much like the previous sketch, the jumpcuts are the unsung hero here. A simple sketch but like so many of theirs, they absolutely nail it. Just like Jeff’s shelves.

34. Four Candles - The Two Ronnies

The Two Ronnies are masters of playing with words and this sketch might just be their finest example of that. Lets light a candle for their contribution to comedy history. In fact, lets light four candles. 

33. Boyfriend - Snuff Box

Matt Berry is almost always the same in everything he does, but that’s absolutely fine with me, because Matt Berry being Matt Berry is always hilarious. Before seeing this set of sketches I knew him from The IT Crowd and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and have since loved him in Toast and What We Do In The Shadows. There is something magnetic about him. When I first discovered this recurring sketch from Snuff Box I dont think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life. The premise is so simple (ridiculous and predictable even) but it is 100% hysterical thanks to Matt Berry’s delivery. I don’t know how many times I have seen these, and despite knowing the punchline a mile away, it always gets me. If you dont like it, then F*#k You!

32. Fish Slapping Dance - Monty Python

This little underrated gem from Monty Python is as good as anything they made. Short and sweet. Unlike the fish.  

31. Del Boy - Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle

Stewart Lee is an absolute hero of mine. I was a huge fan of Fist of Fun back in the day, and even more so his series Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. This sketch is that series crowning achievement. After a lengthy rant about the British public’s choice of their favourite funny moment (Del Boy from Only Fools & Horses falling through the bar), the show cuts to this ludicrous sketch about Del Day, which manages to elevate the whole thing to a level of high comedy art. I love his commitment to the madness of the central idea of celebrating the day people first witnessed Del falling through the bar, and I imagine he spent the bulk of his series budget on just this sketch alone. Money well spent. It is a thing of genius. 

The sketch countdown continues…