Archives for category: Sketch comedy

A female LIBRARIAN is behind the facility’s check-out desk. A male PATRON approaches.


PATRON: Excuse me, do you have the new book “Cruising the Interstates,” by Alan Pines?

LIBRARIAN: Let me see. (She checks her computer) Why yes, we have one copy.

PATRON: Great! Where do I find it?

LIBRARIAN: I’m sorry, it’s checked out.

PATRON: For how long?

LIBRARIAN: (Checks computer) The waitlist is two years.

PATRON: Two years?!

LIBRARIAN: (Checks again).  Ha ha!  No, it’s two months.

PATRON: Still, that’s a pretty long wait…

LIBRARIAN: (Checks again) I’m sorry, I was right the first time.  Two years.

PATRON: (Sighs) Are there any other libraries or branches close by that might have it available?

LIBRARIAN: (Checks computer) Absolutely not.

PATRON: None at all?

LIBRARIAN: You’d have a better chance of surviving a nuclear bomb dropped on your head than finding that book to borrow.

PATRON: (Prepares to leave) Geez, who’d have thought finding the new Alan Pines book would be so difficult?

LIBRARIAN: Excuse me, which author did you say?

PATRON: Alan Pines.

LIBRARIAN: I’m sorry, I thought you said Kurt Vonnegut. (Checks computer) We have an Alan Pines book, but it’s “Fluffy Kitty and the Magical Mouse.”

PATRON: But “Cruising the Interstates” is his first and only book.

LIBRARIAN: Sorry, I was looking at the wrong monitor. Yes, we have that book.

PATRON: Great! But…you only have one monitor.

LIBRARIAN: Do you want the book or not?

PATRON: Yes! Where do I find it?

LIBRARIAN: (Checks computer) I’m sorry, the waitlist is two years.

PATRON: This is ridiculous. I didn’t want to spend the money on a new hardback, but I’m just going to go to the bookstore and get it.  Thanks for wasting my time.


(ROCCO, a beefy library security guard, enters immediately.)

ROCCO: Is there a problem, ma’am?

PATRON: No, no problem.

ROCCO: I didn’t ask you.

LIBRARIAN: Rocco, this man is unruly, disrespectful, and probably mentally unstable.  He keeps going on about cruising highways and pine cones.

PATRON: Look, I’m leaving.

(ROCCO dramatically whips out a pistol and points it at PATRON.)

ROCCO: I best be seein’ your backside real soon, son, or it’s gonna get messy.

PATRON: Jesus, you people are nuts! (He hurriedly exits)

ROCCO: Sorry for the trouble, ma’am.

LIBRARIAN: Some people are just animals.

(ROCCO exits.  PATRON #2 enters)

PATRON #2: Do you have “Cruising the Interstates” by Alan Pines?

LIBRARIAN: (Checks computer) Why, it was just returned. (She grabs the book at the desk) Let’s check you out.

I’ve loved sketch comedy ever since I first saw Monty Python and Benny Hill when I was quite young.  I enjoy good comedy in all forms, but I especially like short-burst self-contained scenarios.  Here are my top ten favorite TV shows.  (Note: a few are technically “variety” shows, but feature sketches.)


10. Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim)

Quite bizarre, very original, and not for everyone.  They got a few pretty famous comedic actors to do cameos.

FAVORITE SKETCH: Anything with Dr. Steve Brule (John C. Reilly).


9. Chappelle’s Show (Dave Chappelle)

I think his stand-up’s fantastic, and the show is a little sub-par compared to that, but it’s still very funny.

FAVORITE SKETCH:  I’d be a commie bastard if I didn’t say the Rick James sketch or the Wayne Brady sketch.


8. Portlandia (Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein)

This is one of those shows that I tried to watch when it first came on, and I thought, “I appreciate what they’re trying to do, but it’s just not for me.”  I gave it another chance, and I’m glad I did.

FAVORITE SKETCH: I like the two giggly caffeinated Japanese girls, and the one where Fred and Carrie are trying to make a video of how to set up a tent.


7. That Mitchell and Webb Look (David Mitchell and Robert Webb)

Just discovered this recently because I started watching (and laughing a lot at) the Britcom “Peep Show,” which also stars Mitchell and Webb.  They’re two talented comedic actors and have some very amusing recurring characters.

FAVORITE SKETCH:  All of the episodes of The Secret Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar.


6. The Benny Hill Show (Benny Hill)

Great early British comedy.  He was a genius at clever wordplay and double entendres…and obviously had an affinity for buxom women.

FAVORITE SKETCH: Really, any of the speeded-up filmed segments with no dialogue.  Continuously patting the little old bald man’s head?  Comedy gold.


5. The Carol Burnett Show (Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Tom Conway, and Lyle Waggoner)

This was one my dad’s and my favorite shows in the 70s.  It was very popular, and for good reason.  You knew you were going to laugh any night it was on.

FAVORITE SKETCH: I love Carol, and I always looked forward to sketches with Korman and Conway, but there’s a sketch with guest John Byner, who is playing Euell Gibbons, a natural-diet enthusiast.  Euell is talking about how you should eat natural things, and he wanders over to a picnic table with a box of cereal on it (he also hawked Grape Nuts).  He grabs a chunk of the picnic table, rips off a big piece, and starts eating it.

I was a ten-year-old, crying and gasping for breath, trying not to pee his pants.


4. The Kids in the Hall (Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, and Scott Thompson)

Just pretty brilliant all around, with a very talented young cast.  I’m glad Lorne Michaels took an interest and produced the show.

FAVORITE SKETCH:  The song “These Are the Daves I Know,” and the inept couple trying to escape very slow zombies.


3. SCTV (John Candy, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, Dave Thomas, and Martin Short)

This is one of those 80’s shows that I always watched and always laughed at.  I love the premise (a cut-rate TV station working through politics and programming issues) and it has a great cast.

FAVORITE SKETCH:  Anything with Johnny LaRue (John Candy).  Also really like Five Neat Guys.


2. Monty Python’s Flying Circus (John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam)

Is it too dramatic to say this show changed my young life?  PBS would show reruns at 10:00 on Sundays, and I always got to stay up to watch it.  I was so obsessed as a kid that I’d jot notes on my palm so I could remember what funny stuff to discuss with my friends at school the next day.  Monty Python and Steve Martin taught me it was okay to be completely silly.

FAVORITE SKETCH:  I think it’s called “Tennis, Anyone?”  A posh garden party quickly turns into an hilarious gorefest.


1. Mr. Show with Bob and David (Bob Odenkirk and David Cross)

This mainly ousts Monty Python because it has some sentimental value.  Oh, and it’s devastatingly funny.  It ran from 1995 to 1998, and I was going through a rough period at the time.  A friend’s roommate had the show taped, and I was invited over to watch.  Talk about a drastic mood-changer.  I laughed and laughed, and still do.  I’ve owned all the DVDs for years, and I rarely buy TV-show DVDs.

FAVORITE SKETCH:  “Titannica.”  A metal band goes to a hospital to visit a young fan who’s attempted suicide after listening to one of their songs.  I’ve watched this at least 50 times and I still laugh every time.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:  Saturday Night Live and In Living Color.

A young MAN and older WOMAN are sitting in chairs representing two seats on an airplane.  The MAN is dressed very casually and the WOMAN is dressed up, looking affluent and uptight.

CAPTAIN (offstage): Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  This is your captain speaking.  Flight 122, Chicago to Boston, will be taking off shortly.

The MAN reaches into his bag and pulls out a magazine titled “Big Titty Spunk Lovers.”  It’s obviously an adult mag.  He peruses it.

MAN: Ooh.  Ooh yeah.  Dig that tattoo.

He flips the pages.  The WOMAN is annoyed but trying not to pay attention.

MAN: Come on, those can’t be real.

He flips the pages.  She is getting more annoyed.

MAN: Whoa.  Look at the size of that guy.  That’s a deformity you WANT to have.

WOMAN: Must you read that magazine?

MAN: Oh, I’m not reading it.

WOMAN: It’s disgusting.  Please put it away.

MAN: You don’t have to look.  Gaze out the window.

WOMAN: There’s just a runway out there.

MAN: Speaking of landing strips, check this chick out.

WOMAN: Put it away!

MAN: All right, all right.

He puts it away, sits for a moment, then pulls out a magazine titled “Jizz Guzzling Whores.”  He peruses it.

MAN: Ooh.  Ooh yeah.  Dig that I Dream of Jeannie get-up.

WOMAN:  Will you put that away?

MAN: This one, too?


MAN: This one’s even better than the other one.

WOMAN: Put it away now or I will call the flight attendant.

MAN: All right, all right.

He puts it away, sits for a moment, then pulls out a magazine titled “Ram My Tender Ass.” It’s obviously an all-male mag.  He peruses it.

MAN:  Ooh.  Ooh yeah.  That can’t be legal.

WOMAN: Attendant!  Attendant!

A male attendant approaches.

ATTENDANT: Is there a problem, ma’am?

WOMAN: This man is reading pornography and it’s offensive.

MAN: I’m not reading it.

ATTENDANT: Let me take a look. (He peruses) Ooooh.  Oooooh, yes.  That can’t be legal.

MAN: I know, right?

WOMAN: Will you please make him put it away?

ATTENDANT: Lady, I got a skinhead reading “Mein Kampf” over there, a suspicious-looking bearded gentleman in a turban reading “Purchasing Plutonium for Dummies” over there, and a sad middle-aged woman reading “Oprah” magazine over there.  I don’t think this is the problem.

As he leaves, he gives the MAN a business card.

ATTENDANT (winks):  Call me.

The WOMAN huffs and slumps in her seat, defeated.

CAPTAIN: Good afternoon again, ladies and gentlemen.  Please fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff.

They put on their belts and the MAN pulls out a magazine titled “Barnyard Nut Bustin’.”  It’s obviously a bestiality mag.  He peruses it.

MAN: You like horses?  Check this out.



I found the first half of this a few months ago; I’d written it several years ago and forgotten about it.  I wrote the second half recently.


A hotel check-in desk.  A woman approaches.

CLERK:  May I help you?

DAWN:  I’d like a room, please.

CLERK:  Say, aren’t you Dawn Wells?  Mary Ann?  The actress? Well, you’re the actress, you were Mary Ann in the show.  Ginger was the actress in the show. Ha ha ha ha!

DAWN:  Yes.  It’s me.

CLERK:  Wow.  You look great.

DAWN:  Thanks.

CLERK:  I mean, how old are you anyway?  You look very good for your age.

DAWN (uncomfortable):  Listen, I just want a room.

CLERK:  Sure, sure. Single or double?

DAWN:  Single.

CLERK:  Interesting.  So – is the lovely Mary Ann meeting up with anyone later?

DAWN:  I don’t think that’s any of your business.

CLERK:  Right, right.  I’ll put you in 125. You can see the outdoor pool from your window.  Hope it doesn’t remind you too much of that island.  Ha ha ha!  Did you bring a bikini?  I mean a swimsuit?

DAWN (impatient): How much do I owe you?

CLERK:  Come on.  If Angelina Jolie walked through that door, I’d charge her double.  For Dawn Wells, it’s on me.

DAWN:  That’s very nice of you, but I think I’d rather –

CLERK (comes from behind the desk and takes her hand):  All I ask is one thing.  Let me come to your room.  Mary Ann has been one of my TV dream girls since I was seven.  You’re right up there with Bailey from WKRP in Cincinnati. I had a poster of you on my bedroom wall as a kid. Okay, not really, but I wanted one. I want to hold you. I want to visualize you in cut-offs and a halter top. I want to caress your shoulders and whistle the show’s theme song. I want you to shove a coconut cream pie in my face as I scream “I see a ship!”  What do you say?

DAWN (thinks): I’ve got a Gilligan costume in my bag.  You up for it?

CLERK:  Anything for Mary Ann Summers.

DAWN:  Great.  Give me ten minutes.  I left my whip in the car.