by Brandy D. Anderson
Although the year isn’t over, 2017 seems to be almost universally bemoaned as being a particularly rotten year. When you’re inundated with depressing political squabbles and terrible news, one of the best escapes you can get is through comedy. Comedy skit shows, in particular, offer a low-stakes, relaxing brand of escapism, and the three best skit shows around all have YouTube channels! Two hail from Canada, while one is from the US (although there’s still a Canadian connection). Without further ado, here are the top three tv comedy skit channels on YouTube:
Although it’s been airing since 1993, if you’re outside of Canada, you may not be familiar with this unique gem of a show. Although it does have a lot of non-political comedic skits, it is heavily imbued with political satire – and it’s really quite rare in the way that it offers interview-oriented satirical coverage of Canadian politicians, including the occasional (mostly) straight political interview. The show is also granted unprecedented access to speak with so many top politicians.
Politics aside, let me say that the parodies here are some of the best. My favourite is probably the take-off of ‘Trivago’: Shaun Majumbder takes on the role of the slick, silver fox in the real advert, only this skeezy version is an unkempt man with a terrible cowlick and dishevelled clothing. More examples of their skits include: “It’s Like That Nightmare Where…”, “Angry Yoga – Men and Facebook” (“Angry Yoga” is a hilarious recurring skit), “Cialis Ad Parody”, “Canada Almost Reads”, “Newfoundland Tourism Parody”, “Trudeau’s Spice Cabinet”, “Sexy Produce”, “Toast on the Art World”, and one of my favourites, “Lumbersexuals”.
In their political skits and other segments, they primarily cover Canadian politicians, there are a lot of short interviews with MPs from across Canada, and some with Prime Minister Trudeau himself. However, sometimes, they’ll poke fun at American politics, too. They had real coverage of former President Obama and Trudeau’s black tie dinner. An example of political parody is seen in “Hillary Clinton’s Canadian Town Hall” where “Hillary Rod-damn Clinton” begins by saying that Democrats always do well in the north, so she thought she’d come “way north” to Canada because, she continues, “I’m here to ask you to make me the first female president of the United States! Let me follow in the footsteps of your first female Prime Minister, Jean Chretien (who was a man, in case you didn’t know), Vote Hillary!” The interviewer awkwardly tells her, “Um, except we can’t vote for you in Canada … Canada’s not a state”…to which “Hillary” says, “Oh, good, well, at least you can’t vote for Bernie.” There are a lot of other parody political skits, too,. You pretty much have a never ending list to choose from with This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
4.7 million subscribers
This show has been a staple on American television for more than three decades since it first debuted in 1975. The continuing success of Saturday Night Live is proof that the combination of an ever-changing celebrity yukking it up alongside a dynamic ensemble is a magical formula that can withstand the test of time. Since the long show is comprised of a million small skits, each episode is easily chopped up into many short videos perfect for YouTube.
One of the things Saturday Night Live is most famous for is its long line of mega-stars who got their start on the show. Steve Martin, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Molly Shannon, Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, David Spade, Chris Farley, Chevy Chase, Will Ferrell, Dennis Miller, Jimmy Fallon, and Tina Fey (I could go on and on) are only a few of the famous alumni. The SNL YouTube page has an impressive library of skits, spanning across every era of the show, so whether you’re a fan of vintage SNL, the 1990s’ golden years, or the new stuff, you’ll find a lot of skits to choose from.
On the channel, you can choose from a collection of play lists or you can scroll through the plethora of individual videos on the upload page. The play lists include: “SNL Vintage”, “An SNL Thanksgiving” (there are 50 Thanksgiving clips here!), “Are You Ready for Taylor Swift?” (she’s performed twelve times on SNL so far), “Get Ready! Larry David Hosts w/Musical Guest Miley” (an interesting combination), and yet another play list focuses entirely on Ryan Gosling. If you’re looking for older skits, you will find them scattered throughout the “Videos” section. You can also always use the channel search box to locate particular guest stars or cast members.
2.2 million subscribers (Nerdist)
The Kids in the Hall videos are now officially hosted on The Nerdist channel. The other really neat thing is that most of the videos feature the skit plus a little interview with various members of Kids in the Hall (Nerdist host Chris Hardwicke is the interviewer). If you’re unfamiliar with Kids in the Hall, first, where have you been, and second, they’re a very funny Canadian comedy troupe from the 1980s who were produced for tv by Saturday Night Live‘s Lorne Michaels (also Canadian).
One skit, “Chicken Lady”, features Dave Foley and Mark McKinney. Foley’s character answers a dating ad, then meets the Chicken Lady – “You’re from — Toronto — are you?” The skit is followed by an interview with Foley and Kevin McDonald. You can watch “Cops: Running Naked”, then watch McKinney and Bruce McCulloch talk with Hardwicke afterwards. One of my favourite Kids in the Hall skits is “Things to Do” with Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley, and this one is also followed with an interview.
More skits in the play list include: “Daves I Know”, “Menstruation” (“I’m the guy with a good attitude towards menstruation”), “Crushing Your Head” (Parts 1 and 2), “Ballet”, “Womyn”, “Secret Pleasure”, “Cause of Cancer”, “Body Conscious”, “Jesus, the Bad Carpenter”, “Freedom of Speech”, and “Gavin: Leaking”. A few more skits followed by interviews include: “Love and Sausages”, “Luck”, “Mad with Power”, “Good Grampa”, “Cabbage Head”, “Nobody Likes Us”, “My Routine”, and a lot more! “Can I Keep Him?” is one of the funniest, most clever skits: it begins with a kid coming home, his mom says they can’t take in any more “strays” – the son (Bruce McCulloch) begs, and the mom (Scott Thompson) relents only to find that the stray is “a businessman”. “Remember the short order cook you brought home? He kept me up all night making toast.”