5 Best TV Sketch Shows

The Second City: Comedian Rhapsody will bring all the laughs and comedic antics to DCPA’s Garner Galleria Theatre from July 17 through August 11. The Second City is a feat of skits and sketches that make audience members snicker. Since 1975, this show has been the number one source of comedy and has fueled the careers of well-known comedians such as Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Keegan-Michael Key, and more.

Like The Second City, numerous sketch shows have delivered, and continue to offer, laughs across TV sets everywhere. Let’s look at the five best TV sketch shows to hit the small screen. 

Saturday Night Live (SNL)

SNL has been a staple of Saturday night laughs and live performances from some of the greatest comediennes and musicians. From its inaugural 1975 cast of Garrett Morris, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, and more to today’s Keenan Thompson, Michael Che, Chloe Troast, Bowen Yang among others, SNL stays fresh with current events, politics, pop culture, and more.

Some notable alums include Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Leslie Jones, Chris Rock, Mike Meyers, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Will Ferrell.

In Living Color

In Living Color was a sketch comedy created by Keenen Ivory Wayans for African-American audiences. Notable cast members included David Alan Grier, Tommy Davidson, T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, and Jaime Foxx.

Also, Carrie Ann Inaba, Jennifer Lopez, and Lisa Thompson were some of the fly girls dancing on set.

Regular bits included:

  • Homie the Clown: A disgruntled clown played by his own rules (“Homie don’t play that!”)
  • Men On…: Two gay men gave their take on film, football, cooking, and more.
  • The Adventures of Handi Man: Featured a superhero who fought villains and saved others with his handicap superpowers
  • And more!

    Tracey Ullman

The Tracey Ullman Show

The Tracey Ullman Show was a sketch show hosted by British comedian Tracey Ullman featuring different skits and song-and-dance routines. In 2016, Ullman launched another sketch comedy show called Tracey Ullman’s Show for HBO.

The original show is also known as the first home of The Simpsons before its Fox debut, including the original cast of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, and Yeardley Smith as Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Maggie.

Some notable guest stars from the original show include Tim Curry, Matthew Perry, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Keanu Reeves, Steven Spielberg, and more.

Mad TV
1995-2009; 2016

Based on the zany magazine, Mad TV aired from the mid-nineties to the late 2000s and featured insane sketches like Stuart, a Deal or No Deal parody, Coach Hines, Steve Jobs’s iRack, and more.

Notable cast members were Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Nicole Parker, Phil LaMarr, Debra Wilson, and Michael McDonald. Guest stars included Halle Berry, Mark Hamill, Drew Barrymore, and others.

A Black Lady Sketch Show

A Black Lady Sketch Show

As the name implies, A Black Lady Sketch Show featured sketches from Black ladies, including Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Skye Townsend, Quinta Brunson of “Abbott Elementary,” and more. Some popular sketches include no make-up, the bad-b support group, and gang orientation.

Guest stars included Phil LaMarr, Issa Rae, Essence Atkins, Tyler James Williams, Angela Bassett, Wayne Brady, Gabrielle Union, Lance Reddick, and more.

Honorable Mentions

While these didn’t make the top five, here are some honorable mentions:

Key & Peele
The Carol Burnett Show
All That
The Amanda Show
The Muppet Show
Chappelle’s Show
So Random!
Inside Amy Schumer
Monty Python’s Flying Circus

The Second City: Comedian Rhapsody
July 17-August 11, 2024 • Garner Galleria Theatre