Steve Taylor-Bryant loves a list! For Comedy Day he has outdone himself in being able to provide two list articles whilst referring to third and fourth, previously published, list articles. Here is Part 1, on American sketches...
Back in January our wonderful Ian Ham listed his favourite Comedy Sketches in one article, and his favourite comedy scenes from film and television in another. To be honest I couldn’t argue with his choices, and anyone who knows me will realise how much I love to argue and to tell people how wrong they are. I just had to find a way to come back at Ian and prove once and for all I know better but damn if he isn’t just the nicest fellow. He said sure, of course he will have missed things, of course he couldn’t have included all he wanted to, he even sent me a glorious looking spreadsheet with all his research, and damn again if the boy hadn’t done a lot of work. It was meticulous, it was organised, it was like reading someone’s university thesis and I was sat here defeated. I couldn’t argue with him, he was just so nice, he had worked harder than we all know I am ever going to, and his choices and his back up choices were all magnificent. Now I was sad.
However, not one to be deterred when ripping someone else a new one is at stake I went back to the reading, determined to find an issue. And I found one! I’m having to really nit-pick mind you, but a fault is a fault and I now know I am righter than he! Oh, who am I kidding, he’s wonderful and I couldn’t rip him anything. His research and his finished pieces though did show me one thing, a country difference that we have. Most of his sketches and scenes were classic British comedy, the humour he had been brought up on so it’s understandable, but in my upbringing and because the military camp we lived on when I was a child was predominantly American, our youthful introductions into comedy differ somewhat. For every Fry & Laurie, and Monty Python piece that springs to Ian’s mind releases a Saturday Night Live sketch in mine. So rather than try and give Ian comeuppance, I am going to share with him my American comedy moments in the hopes he will appreciate the stuff he may have missed in the same way I learnt from his wonderful articles originally. So here in the order they aired are my Top 10 American Funny Bits…
1967 - Airline Passengers from The Dean Martin Show
1976 – Godfather Therapy from Saturday Night Live
How do you narrow down your favourite Saturday Night Live sketches? You can’t is the answer, you can just remember the cast and hosts that left the biggest impression on you. One of the biggest impressions ever left on me was the comedy of John Belushi. I could have picked any Belushi sketch, but I’ve been talking about The Godfather a lot recently so plumped for this one.
1981 - Mister Robinson’s Neighbourhood from Saturday Night Live
1991 – Homey Claus from In Living Color
1995 – Salmon from Exit 57
1996 – Leftover Beatle Memories from The Dana Carvey Show
1998 – The Audition from Mr. Show
I liked Mr. Show, but I honestly cannot tell you why. It’s not obviously funny, but neither is it the surreal or alternative. Just looking through video clips for this list had me laughing so hard coffee was pouring out of my nose but by the time the sketch ended, and I’d recovered my composure (cleaned bogeys off his desk - Ed) I’d forgotten why I laughed so hard. Do you know what? That’s fine by me. Comedy doesn’t have to be a lifelong thing, there’s a lot to say about being in the moment.
2008 – VP Debate Cold Open: Palin/Biden from Saturday Night Live
2018 – George W. Bush Returns Cold Open from Saturday Night Live