Lately I’ve been getting into sketch comedy again. I used to watch it quite often back in elementary school when I had ready access to SNL, Almost Live, The Kids in the Hall, and SCTV, among others.

However, as I grew up, I ran out of reruns of most of them, and the more mainstream shows like SNL began to suck more and more until they finally degenerated into the horrid and useless tripe that they’ve become today. We also had an influx of shows that attempted to be “edgy” by focusing largely on ethnic humor. This was at least done in a mildly entertaining fashion by In Living Color which, while I’m not a huge fan of the show, had the courage to possibly offend people not for the sake of it, but rather because it made a good joke. However, now we have MADtv and Blue Collar TV which have not only similar names, but rely primarily on the use of stereotypes to be funny. Basically, they’re so afraid of offending anyone that they stick to the same tired old jokes about whatever particular minority or sub-culture they’re trying to make fun of. It’s kind of pathetic.

Despite these failures and the cultural muck that needs to be stepped through in order to find any sort of quality programming these days, I’ve managed to find two sketch comedy shows that I like enough to reinvigorate my faith in the genre.

The first is The Whitest Kids U Know. Check out their official site where they have several of their sketches available to view, or they are all over YouTube. Very much like Kids in the Hall, Whitest Kids are slightly less Canadian (being from New York) and really seem to deal with otherwise cliche issues from original angles. “Race War” is one of my favorites, as are the “European History” skits. The knowledge that most of these sketches were originally created for the stage and are still performed live at Pianos on the Lower East Side and Rafifi’s in the East Village on a weekly basis makes them a little more interesting as well.

The other one that I like is a British show called That Mitchell and Webb Look. I just saw it the other week at my parents’ place, since they have BBC America, and I was laughing so remarkably hard. Again, original skits that approach otherwise used-up concepts from a different direction. It seems that this pair has had several previous shows of varying types, including a radio broadcast. The sketch that I saw that really caught my attention was this one, but the whole episode was really quite good.

Feel free to check out these shows and maybe a long-dead love of sketch comedy might be rekindled in your heart.