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.