Automatic Improv loves performing live improvised comedy. You knew that. I mean, we do it every Friday night at 8pm.
We also love sketch comedy. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel to see just how much we love it!
We take our inspiration from a lot of different sketch comedy outfits. Here is a list of our favorite Television Sketch Shows. The only criteria used for this list is that all of the shows are no longer on the air. That means we’ve excluded current sketch shows like Portlandia, or Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. You will also not find on this list, the mother of all sketch shows, Saturday Night Live.
Here they are!
10. Snuff Box (2006)
Part sketch show and part dark comedy, this British import has a uniquely bizarre approach to making us laugh. It stars Matt Berry and Rich Fuller; two men who first worked together on the cult fav BBC series, The Mighty Boosh.
9. The Whitest Kids U’ Know (2007-2011)
The Whitest Kids U’ Know started out as a sketch group consisting of students at New York’s School of Visual Arts. In 2006, they won the “Best Sketch Group” award at the Aspen Comedy Festival. They sold the show to the Fuse network. After the first season, it was decided the group’s brand of extreme, often offensive comedy would be a better fit on IFC.
8. Human Giant (2007-2008)
This 3-man sketch show ran for two seasons on MTV. The group was offered a third season, but was unable to commit due to Aziz Ansari’s obligations with NBC’s Parks and Recreation, which enters its fifth season this fall. You can catch Paul Scheer on the FX series, The League and Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV::. Rob Huebel is best known for his film roles and Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital.
7. The State (1993-1995)
The State was originally founded as “The New Group” at NYU in the late ‘80s. Following a three year run on MTV, The State was offered a contract from ABC to produce a sketch show that would compete with SNL on Saturday nights. While that particular deal never came to fruition, members of The State have gone on to make hilarious movies (Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten) and TV Shows (Reno 911!, Stella, Childrens Hospital).
6. The Kids In The Hall (1988-1995)
When SNL producer Lorne Michaels saw this Canadian improv group performing together in 1987, he brought them to New York for a meeting. Michaels produced their sketch show which originally ran on CBC Television in Canada, and on HBO in the United States. The SNL ties don’t stop there. Several members of the show have also worked on Saturday Night Live as either performers or writers.
Disagree with our list so far? Defend your favorite sketch shows in the comments!
Check back next week for Part 2 to learn the top 5!
– John Mangan