I love sketch shows. Like, proper love them. I’d draw them nude on a big ship. I’d return from death to reach round and rub mud into their hands. I’d carry them through a factory in my smashing white suit.
There are a million reasons.
- They’re hard to make.
- They’re often cheap, so are lean and hungry.
- They’re hindered not by plot or character development, but by imagination.
- They introduce then discard hundreds of vibrant little worlds.
- They develop writers, performers and production staff before they go onto “narrative comedy”, strutting about as cocky as carwash boys.
- They can be animated, they can have puppets, they can have archive footage, photographs or still drawings. Anything.
- They can be surreal, satirical, silent, shocking, poignant, intelligent, repetitive, violent, warm, vile and dumber than a stupid brick all within the same half hour.
- And on, and on.
But there’s one belter of a reason why sketch shows are better than you and me.
They absolutely have to be funny.
That’s it. Yes, yes, they can offend my girlfriend’s dad or rip celebrity a new one. They can even give idiot politicians a handful of words to say in the correct order to sound vaguely human. But if they don’t raise a giggle, they fail. They can’t get away with “worthy” five-minute-deserts of no-laughs, scenes so shit-scared of not getting a laugh they avoid trying. A humourless sketch show cannot pull the “it was a comedy-drama” excuse so beloved of failed sitcoms.
If you don’t get laughs with your sketch show then it dies. Horribly. No excuses.
Because see sketch shows and me? We’ll always have Paris.