by Randall Cleveland, SketchFest Artistic Director
When people think of “Sketch Comedy Movies”, they’d usually jump right to the (usually mediocre) sketches that get turned into feature-length films like A Night at the Roxbury, The Ladies Man, or Superstar. It’s really pretty rare that someone sets out to make a feature made up of a series of shorter sketches, and a lot of the ones that do exist don’t age well – often they’re fueled by pop culture references and parodies.
But if you’re looking to scratch your sketch comedy itch, here are some great full-length sketch comedy movies that stand the test of time and are sure to make you laugh.
- Monty Python’s And Now For Something Completely Different – This collection of the “Greatest Hits” of the groundbreaking sketch comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus is one killer joke after another. It really condenses everything that made Monty Python work into one bizarre, madcap package.
- Mel Brooks’s History of the World Part 1 – This is one of Mel Brooks’s funniest and smartest movies. It’s a series of comedic vignettes surrounding Mel getting in trouble at various times and places throughout history. Learn why it’s good to be the king during the French Revolution, or see the second-most famous representation of the Spanish Inquisition in sketch comedy history.
- Kids in the Hall’s Brain Candy – The beloved Canadian sketch comedy group The Kids in the Hall’s only foray into feature length filmmaking still holds up as a funny, weird, somewhat experimental 90s comedy.
- Wet Hot American Summer – Calling this one “sketch” might be a bit of a stretch, but I think it qualifies. You’ll see a lot of recognizable faces (younger than you remember them!) from Stella, The State, UCB, and SNL in this send-up of summer camp movies.
- Coffee and Cigarettes – This is comedy Jim Jarmusch-style. The depressing arthouse filmmaker made this series of vignettes where semi-fictional versions of the celebrities playing them sit in a café and smoke and talk about life with each other. The humor is dry as hell, but it has some funny moments.
Some of the biggest acts in sketch comedy will congregate in Seattle this September for the one and only SketchFest. The world’s first sketch comedy festival (for real!)*, SketchFest 2017 kicks off September 10 with five nights of local showcases to get everyone fired up, a Comedy Film Challenge, topping off with two nights of the best sketch comedy acts from around the world September 22-23.
Established in 1999, this world-class festival will feature local favorites such as Evidence of a Snuggle, Jason & Spike, Day Job and newcomers Maple Daddies. Hilarious out-of-towners such as Totally Real Friends, Good Game, Becca Schall, and internationally renowned musical comedy cabaret show Success 5000 will round out the uproarious lineup.