- Plural of skit
Sketch comedy consists of a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches," commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comedic actors, either on stage or through an audio or/and visual medium such as broadcasting. Often sketches are first improvised by the actors and written down based on the outcome of these improv sessions, however improvisation is not necessarily involved in all sketch comedy.
An individual sketch or vignette is a brief scene or skit formerly used in vaudeville and used today on variety shows, comedy programs, adult entertainment, talk shows, or certain children's television programs (such as Sesame Street). Such a sketch can include footage of a "man on the street" on evening comedy television interview programs like the "Tonight Show."
HistorySketch comedy has its origins in vaudeville and music hall, where a large number of brief but humorous acts were strung together to form a larger program. In England, it moved to stage performances by Cambridge Footlights, such as Beyond the Fringe and A Clump of Plinths (which evolved into Cambridge Circus), to radio with such shows as It's That Man Again and I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again and then to television with such shows as Monty Python's Flying Circus and Not the Nine O'clock News.
Historically the sketches tended to be unrelated, but more recent groups have introduced overarching themes that connect the sketches within a particular show, and recurring characters that return for more than one appearance. Examples of recurring characters include "Ted & Ralph" from The Fast Show; the "Head Crusher" from The Kids in the Hall; Martin Short's "Ed Grimley", a recurring character from both SCTV and Saturday Night Live; "Miss Swan" from Mad TV; and "Kevin & Perry" from Harry Enfield and Chums. The idea of running characters was taken a stage further in The League of Gentlemen where sketches all centre around the various inhabitants of the fictional town of Royston Vasey.
In North America, contemporary sketch comedy is largely an outgrowth of the improvisational comedy scene that flourished during the 1970s, largely growing out of Chicago's Second City. British ensembles, in contrast, have more usually been built on writing talent - with writers often working in pairs.
Notable contemporary stage sketch comedy groups include The Second City, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and The Groundlings.
Notable television sketch comedy shows include Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces, French & Saunders, Saturday Night Live, Not the Nine O'Clock News, Alas Smith and Jones, All That, The Amanda Show, SCTV, the Upright Citizens Brigade, The Red Skelton Show, Your Show of Shows, The Kids in the Hall, CODCO, Mad TV, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, In Living Color, Mr. Show, The D-Generation, Goodness Gracious Me, Chappelle's Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Whitest Kids U'Know, Little Britain, The Sketch Show, Fridays, The Micallef Programme, Almost Live!, The Catherine Tate Show, Mitchell and Webb, Air Farce Live, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and The State.
The latest wave of sketch comedy is being distributed online, from amateurs to organized groups. Millions currently watch sketch comedy on such notable video sites as YouTube, Super Deluxe, ScrewAttack, and iFilm.
Many of the sketch comedy revues in Britain included seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Since 1999, the growing sketch comedy scene has precipitated the development of sketch comedy festivals in cities all around North America, including festivals in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Vancouver and Portland, Oregon.
AmateursBesides such more professional, properly theatrical performers, there is also a tradition of amateur fun. There are many purposes: to entertain crowds or troops when no professional entertainment is available, sometimes with a mild hope of fund-raising.
skits in Czech: Skeč
skits in Danish: Sketch
skits in German: Sketch
skits in Spanish: Sketch
skits in Esperanto: Skeĉo
skits in French: Scène comique
skits in Italian: Sketch
skits in Dutch: Sketch
skits in Japanese: スケッチ・コメディー
skits in Norwegian: Sketsj
skits in Polish: Skecz
skits in Portuguese: Sketch
skits in Finnish: Sketsi
skits in Swedish: Sketch
skits in Tatar: Sketch
skits in Russian: реприза (эстрада)
skits in Hebrew: מערכון