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Posts tagged as sketch comedy

How the Birthday Boys Found Their Footing in Their Second Season

Watching The Birthday Boys feels strangely candid. Their antics and self-described "stupidity" are immersed in a sort of all-inclusive comradery that dates back 10 years, to their time together at Ithaca College. Since moving to LA, the troupe has performed out of UCB LA alongside sketch troupe A Kiss From Daddy, produced numerous shorts for Funny or Die, and performed at the Montreal's Just for Laughs.

In 2013, none other than Bob Odenkirk agreed to collaborate with the troupe (consisting of Mike Hanford, Matt Kowalick, Jefferson Dutton, Tim Kalpakis, Chris VanArtsdalen, Mike Mitchell, and Dave Ferguson), to produce their show for IFC, The Birthday Boys.

After a [...]

Sketch Anatomy: Brian Stack on the Traveling Salesman and His Many Other 'Conan' Characters

Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite television writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.

Every longtime Conan O'Brien fan knows the work of Brian Stack, who joined the Late Night writing staff in 1997 and helped define Conan as the unpredictable oddball of the late night talk show circuit for the last 20 years. Stack has shown up on 30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and elsewhere, but he's best known [...]

Watch a Clip from TruTV's First Ever Sketch Show, 'Friends of the People'

Reality-focused cable network TruTV is expanding into scripted programming, and here's a sketch about Steve Urkel from their first-ever sketch show, Friends of the People. The 10-episode first season debuts later this year and features a cast that includes Kevin Barnett, Jennifer Bartels, Jermaine Fowler, Lil Rel Howery, Keith Lucas, Kenny Lucas, and Josh Rabinowitz, having grown out of Fox's failed 2011 In Living Color reboot.

A Reunion and a New Sketch from 'Late Night with Conan's Writers

Well, the Paley Center has been temporarily closed due to repairs (it's reopened now) so instead of dipping into the archives, today we head over to the gross Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn to Littlefield, home of Scott Rogowsky's weekly live talk show "Running Late." On April 30th, 2014, his show hosted three former writers from Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Andy Blitz, Jon Glaser, and Brian McCann, to reminisce, watch some clips, and perform a new, original sketch for the audience gathered there that evening. Luckily, the cameras were rolling and these videos can be enjoyed by everyone, including the people who didn't walk past the world's most disgusting canal [...]

The Kids in the Hall Are Going on Tour for the First Time in Six Years

Beloved sketch group The Kids in the Hall are set to go on a mini-tour this summer, which will take them to five major American cities. The group recently reunited for a run of live shows at Toronto Sketchfest and Austin's Moontower Comedy Festival, but this will be the first time they've toured since 2008. The tour will consist of the five members of Kids in the Hall performing their show "Rusty and Ready," the same one they did for their Toronto reunion, which includes new sketches in addition to the return of popular characters like Chicken Lady and Buddy Cole.

Check out the tour dates below:

Sketch Anatomy: Phil Augusta Jackson Breaks Down 'Key and Peele's "Alien Imposters"

Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite television writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.

For this week's installment of Sketch Anatomy we spoke with UCB grad and The Chris Gethard Show's resident poet Phil Augusta Jackson, who was recently hired as a writer on Comedy Central's Key and Peele and also joined the writing staff of NBC's upcoming comedy Mission Control. Jackson took us behind the scenes of his very first [...]

What's So Special About 'The Richard Pryor Special'?

There's a famous story about The Richard Pryor Show — as Richard Pryor's star was rising in Hollywood in the 1970s, NBC commissioned the man to make a 10-episode sketch program to be broadcast in prime time. Family-friendly viewing not being Pryor's first priority, he clashed with the censors again and again until finally they let him off with only four episodes. These four episodes are still credited with an enormous influence over the genre of TV sketch comedy — directly cited by future blockbusters such as In Living Color and Chapelle's Show — and launching the careers of several performers, including the late Robin Williams in one of his [...]

Read an Oral History of the Sketch Group Murderfist

"We all went to college at Florida State University together. Well, some of us went to the community college, some lied about going to school at all, and one was our weed dealer."

-Henry Zebrowski in Paste magazines's oral history of the NYC-based sketch group Murderfist.

Amy Schumer, Rory Scovel, and a Giant List of Fake Tyler Perry Movies Star in This New 'Inside Amy Schumer' Sketch

Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer has been on a roll this season, and that continues with this new sketch, which stars Schumer and guest Rory Scovel as a couple trying to figure out which movie to watch before going to bed. It's another strong sketch from Inside Amy Schumer this season, with the highlight being a massive list of fake Tyler Perry movies on the screen for Schumer's On Demand service that's definitely worth freeze framing for stuff like Tyler Perry's Madea and the Temple of Uh Uh and Tyler Perry's Big Momma's Deposition.

'SNL' Will Celebrate 40 Years with a Live Three-Hour Special Next February

Saturday Night Live will be embarking on its 40th season on NBC next year, and according to NYT reporter Bill Carter the occasion will be marked with a live three-hour special next February 15th similar to the 25th anniversary special in 1999. News of the special joins the extended version of the oral history book Live from New York coming out this September as the first two of most likely many tributes to Lorne Michaels's groundbreaking sketch comedy show.

Click through to watch Bill Murray bring back his Nick the Lounge Singer character for the star-studded 25th anniversary show and read the official statement from NBC:

Sketch Anatomy: Going Inside "Shutterbugs" with 'Human Giant's Jason Woliner

Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite television writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.

For this week's installment of Sketch Anatomy we spoke with Jason Woliner, who has written and/or directed for Parks and Recreation, Nathan for You, Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends, and Funny or Die and most recently served as executive producer, director, and writer on Adult Swim's Eagleheart. Early in Woliner's [...]

Inside 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip' with Matt Albie

This fall, the long-running NBS sketch show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is set to enter its 29th season, and no one has been a larger part of the program's success than its head writer and executive producer Matt Albie, who has been a major creative force behind the show since he was first hired in 1997.

I was fortunate to be granted a rare interview with Albie, who contacted me via his Twitter account to set things up during his summer break from S60. Albie and I discussed the show's legacy, Emmy chances, and his tips for young comedy writers.

Here's the Cast for NBC's New Sketch Comedy Pilot

It was reported over a year ago that former Comedy Central VP Lou Wallach was developing a new primetime sketch show for NBC, and the pilot for it was just shot this summer. Like Saturday Night Live, the pilot for the untitled sketch show features a large group of performers culled from all over the country, and The Comic's Comic has a list of its writing staff and cast. The pilot was directed by Bruce Leddy, who directed the bulk of Fox's MADtv, and it's being produced by Mick Napier (Annoyance Theater, Exit 57) and Wallach, who, during his stint at Comedy Central, oversaw the development of Chappelle's Show, The Colbert Report, Crank [...]

Watch Some Rare Clips from Lorne Michaels's Early '70s Canadian Sketch Show

Before creating Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels starred in and co-wrote an obscure early '70s Canadian sketch show called The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour with then-comedy partner Hart Pomerantz, and here are some rare excerpts from it via a recently-unearthed 1986 retrospective special that was uploaded to YouTube. Before Michaels ended up working mostly behind the scenes, he was a sketch comedy performer and, as he recalls, was described as "the tall, good-looking one." Although it only lasted 10 episodes and is rarely talked about today, The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour ended up having an indelible impact upon modern comedy in that it was a precursor to [...]