100 Funniest Sketches Of All Time (90 – 81)

Continuing my countdown of 100 of the greatest sketches of all time in no particular order. Every one of these makes me laugh. Let me know what you think in the comments.

In case you missed it: 100 Funniest Sketches of All Time:  #100 – #91  

90. Long Range Golfer – Marty Feldman

Marty Feldman was a favourite of my late father’s and here he proves that golf can be intentionally funny in an old fashioned harmless way (Feldman that is, not my dead father).

89. Complicated Drumming Technique - Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen has sketch comedy in his bones. He’s a veteran of both Saturday Night Live and Portlandia and this standalone sketch is another oddball gem that I love. Like so many great pieces of comedy, you can tell that he has great love and affection for the thing he is taking the piss out of. Which makes sense when you know that he used to be the drummer for the punk/hardcore band Trenchmouth.

88. Deep Thoughts - Jack Handey

You have to love Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey. They are short, simple, hilarious little sketch haikus. There is also a mischievous mean streak to so many of them that tickles me every time.

87. Saying Goodbye - Smack The Pony

Smack the Pony completely breezed by me when it came out. But like a good comedy nerd I discovered them when YouTube came into my life and this sketch is my favourite of theirs. It’s so quirky and uncomfortable, and I love the sharp turn at the end. 

86. Gallon of PCP - Whitest Kids U Know

The Whitest Kids U Know was an American sketch troupe that was recommended to me on several occasions but I was never able to track them down. It wasn’t until years later I saw them and I immediately liked the simple, familiar warmth of the cast playing off each other. This sketch always stood out to me because it somehow manages to to amplify a mundane awkward everyday situation in a preposterous way. The late Trevor  Moore is at his amiable best too. 

85. Black Jeopardy - Saturday Night Live

Sometimes SNL gets it really right. In this sketch Tom Hanks plays against type as a Trump-loving contestant on the recurring Black Jeopardy sketch. It just works. It’s funny and it has something to say, without actually saying it fully out loud. 

84. Martin Brennan & Alan Partridge - Steve Coogan

Steve Coogan has produced some of my favourite comedy creations of all time. I adore The Trip series and Alan Partridge is a hall of fame comedy character. This clip, while not strictly a sketch (it appeared on a recent Alan Partiridge tv series) works so well as a standalone segment. Coogan has long since perfected his Alan Partridge character over the years, but his note perfect portrayal of Irish farmer Martin Brennan is a thing of utter genius. The layers and build in this sketch are a thing to marvel at, and I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard at something in recent times. World class.

83. Ass Pennies - Upright Citizens Brigade

I remember going to the UCB Theater in Manhattan when I lived in New York to see the Upright Citizen’s Brigade perform improv. Imagine my delight when they got a sketch comedy show on Comedy Central. The UCB gang are definitely at their best when they are improvising, so not all of their written sketches were to my taste. That said, this sketch is so absurd and juvenile that it is probably my favourite. Perhaps more impressively, it appears to be done in a single take, which speaks to their skill as comedy performers. 

82. The Music Box - Laurel & Hardy

Laurel & Hardy are comedy heroes of mine. This short film “The Music Box” features one of their most memorable scenarios – delivering a piano up a set of steps. Its a very simple premise that delivers the trademark physical humour and classic banter between these two absolute comedy legends. I dont know how many times I have seen this but I always have time to watch it again. 

81. The Racial Draft - Chappelle's Show

Dave Chappelle is without a doubt the best stand up comedian I have ever seen. So I loved Chappelle’s show and watched it religiously when it aired on Comedy Central. There really wasn’t anyone else on tv with the same keen eye for social commentary. The Racial Draft sketch is a perfect example of that. Edgy, original and very funny. Look out for appearances by hip-hop legend yasiin bey (Mos Def) and a young Bill Burr (with hair!).

The sketch countdown continues…

 

Dead Eyes podcast – Lively, entertaining storytelling

I wanted to share another great piece of storytelling I recently encountered. For the past couple of weeks I have been blazing through the podcast series Dead Eyes. The podcast is hosted by comedian and actor Connor Ratliff, who tries to solve “a very stupid mystery” that has haunted him for two decades: why Tom Hanks fired him from a small role in the 2001 HBO mini-series, Band Of Brothers. 

Such a simple, narrow subject gives way to an amazing series of deep & interesting conversations with brilliant artists, creatives and performers (Jon Hamm, D’Arcy Carden, Elijah Wood, Damon Lindelof and many more) about the pitfalls of working in the entertainment industry, and the nature of rejection and ambition. While the central tale of his rejection from Band of Brothers forms the spine of the series, it branches out in unexpected and interesting ways that  And the whole tale is told in such a gentle, unassuming, entertaining way, that you can’t help but be swept along. 

You’ll have to listen to the series yourself to find out if he ever manages to solve the central mystery (or indeed if he gets to talk about it with Tom Hanks himself). Spoiler alert: The journey is as good as the final destination. Highly recommended listening!