Eastern Mode with Nigel Ng joined the Comedy Central sketch show’s lineup on YouTube in February, with a TV release slated for later this year, adding to one of the channel’s biggest genres. Since its beginnings as The Comedy Channel in the late 1980s, the comedy sketch series has been a staple and several shows have helped put the station on the map.
Classics like Chappelle showto modern tubes like Key and Peele, it seems there has always been great sketch-based programming on the channel. Even though the network has produced many sketch shows, some have achieved much higher scores on IMDb.
ten Kroll Show (2013-2015) – 6.8
Comedian Nick Kroll is known for his ability to disappear into strange characters, and his excitement Kroll Show allowed him to show his talents. Featuring Nick Kroll’s quirky sense of humor, the abbreviated sketch series was filled with a myriad of offbeat characters and had a supporting cast of comic book legends.
One of the show’s highlights was Kroll’s brilliant work with fellow comedian John Mulaney. Together, the comic duo created the “Oh, Hello” characters and even appeared in other series as elderly alter-egos. What made the show so funny was its brilliant mix of improvisation and incredibly strong songwriting that work together seamlessly.
9 The Ben Show with Ben Hoffman (2013) – 7.0
While many of Comedy Central’s best shows are slick and well-produced, Ben’s show thrived on its own DIY energy. In the wake of comedian Ben Hoffman, the show has gone from sketch to sketch as it tries to solve everyday problems familiar to most viewers.
The show’s uniqueness comes from its lo-fi comedy style and the fact that many non-actors were used in sketches. What resulted was a weird brew of hilarious comedy mixed with a healthy amount of squirm-inducing grimaces. Designed to be a mini-series, the show only lasted a short time but left a big impression on many viewers.
8 Variety Viva (1997-1999) – 7.3
Even in the early days of the channel, Comedy Central was on the cutting edge of humor and featured some seriously weird programming. Viva Variety was a mix of skit and parody, and made fun of European-style variety shows. Performed as a show made by Europeans that is aimed at an American audience, everything is a bit off about the show.
Bouncing from segment to segment with its own frenetic energy, the show featured Comedy Central personalities like Michael Ian Black and Thomas Lennon before they were famous. In addition to the weird sketches, the show also featured a good number of musical guests and looked a lot like the variety shows they parodied.
7 The Hollow Men (2005) – 7.5
While Comedy Central has had its fair share of long-running hits, some big comedies have only lasted a short time on the network. hollow men was a show that brought the antics of the Australian comedy troupe of the same name to the masses.
In a style similar to Children in the room and Monthy Python’s flying circus, the series was strong on its silliness. Each sketch usually turned into an absurd misunderstanding and much of the humor came from the weirdness of the characters. Although this did not last long, the troupe enjoyed continued success on television in their native Australia.
6 Alternatino with Arturo Castro (2019–present) – 7.7
Comedy has always been a space where all voices can add their personal experiences to the mix, and Alternative presents the unique vision of the life of comic Arturo Castro. Through sketches, Castro gives the viewer a glimpse into his life as a Latino millennial in the 21st century.
Similar to other sketch shows like Portlandia, Alternative shows the flexibility of its lead performer while poking fun at very specific segments of society. The show really shines because it presents viewers with something they’ve never seen before, not a sketch comedy, but the unique version of Arturo Castro.
5 Important Things with Demetri Martin (2009-2010) – 7.8
Demetri Martin’s trademark of hilarious absurd comedy was at the forefront in the 2000s, and his stand-up career naturally led to his own TV show. Important things featured a mix of stand-up tracks from Martin mixed with sketches that further showed off his quirky style.
Martin never quite fits into the weird world he inhabits, and his deadpan delivery was enough to make the audience laugh. Although the show was relatively short, it featured a solid cast of TV comedy icons, including Sarah Silverman and H. John Benjamin.
4 Exit 57 (1995-1996) – 7.9
Before they were household names, comic book legends Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris paid their dues in several sketch comedy programs. Exit 57 featured sketches loosely based on a fictionalized version of the Quad Cities and showed the cast’s love of absurdity in humor.
Coming from the stage world, the actors show a sharp wit and the series has a somewhat theatrical presentation. Although he would become most famous for his turn on The Colbert report, Stephen Colbert frequently showed his range from sketch to sketch. What set Exit 57 apart from other sketch shows of his time, he was not afraid to take his humor to dark and steamy places to make people laugh.
3 Upright Citizens Brigade (1998-2000) – 8.0
Most sketch shows have a relatively simple premise to work with, but Upright Citizens Brigade weaved a complicated narrative into their episodes. The cast members all play special agents tasked with monitoring and sometimes causing chaos throughout the universe. The people they watch are the sketches of the show, and eventually it all comes together in brain-melting hilarity.
The UCB troupe is today best known for its extremely successful productions Saturday Night Live cast members, including Amy Poehler. However, the show itself was state-of-the-art and offered something never seen before in the format. Not only did the series feature sketches, but the actors also went out into the real world and created real mayhem in the hidden camera segments.
2 Key & Peele (2012-2015) – 8.3
Comics Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michale Key burst onto the scene with their own sketch show and presented hilarious comedy from a unique point of view. Intercut live audience segments with offbeat sketches, Key and Peele offered a short comedy that touched on topics both big and small.
Many of the series’ funniest sketches took a simple idea to its extreme and often made fun of common occurrences in everyday life. The chemistry between Key and Peele is perhaps the strongest aspect of the show, and they play off each other brilliantly. Now a director, series co-star Jordan Peele pivoted his acting career into the terrifying world of horror and found great success in that medium.
1 Chappelle Show (2003-2006) – 8.8
The controversial word doesn’t even begin to cover the resounding success Chappelle show, and it’s still one of the network’s most controversial series. Featuring sketches from the comedic mind of Dave Chappelle, the series wasn’t afraid to tackle burning issues like race and class in society.
Although he’s fallen out of favor of late, Chappelle’s raunchy humor was a breath of fresh air in the early 2000s. His ability to inhabit characters and give them a little touch of his own personality by made a unique figure in sketch work. While Chappelle was no on-screen chameleon, he knew exactly which buttons to push to elicit the biggest belly laughs from his audience.
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