As sacrilegious as it may seem, I must confess: I don’t watch football. So as people all around me scurry about, buying up quarter barrels and pork ribs and fresh rounds of ammo in anticipation of Sunday’s festivities, I just sit back and wonder if this weekend is good for assembling that big-ass bookcase I’ve been neglecting. Or polishing off my collection of Tina Fey wood carvings.
Regardless, I’ve nothing to add to the flurry of Pats-Colts news. And the Sox have been back-burnered by much of the local media, so I’ve got nothing there, either. Instead, how about five of my favorite comedy sketches of all time.
Monty Python’s “Arthur ‘Two-Sheds’ Jackson”
The guys in Python were geniuses to the point that you could almost erase the definition of “genius” in the dictionary and just put their heads in there. And in my opinion, nothing done since has even come close to touching their brilliance. And although their body of work is deep and jam-packed with goodness, this sketch is my absolute favorite. “Get your own arts program, ya fairy.” Really, that says it all.
Monty Python’s “The Cheese Shop”
On paper, it seems wafer-thin: A guy tries to buy cheese at a cheese shop that actually has no cheese. But somehow, Michael Palin and John Cleese turn it into five minutes of preposterous brilliance. The money exchange:
“It’s not much of a cheese shop.”
“Sir, it’s the finest in the district.”
“And what leads you to that conclusion?”
“It’s so clean…”
“Well it’s certainly uncontaminated by cheese.”
The State’s “Taco Mail”
Grotesquely underrated — perhaps because the show launched on MTV — “The State” were pretty much the closest thing America has ever produced to rival Python. Like on the Circus, sketches don’t simply end, they fade into inexplicably bizarre conclusions. Case in point: This sketch. Watch how the mailman simply disappears after making his revelation. Then, of course, there’s “good bye, mailbox.”
The Kids in the Hall’s “Try It Now”
First, the truth: This isn’t my favorite KITH sketch. For my money, the best is the one where Dave Foley, as a grizzled baseball player, visits sick kid Bruce McCulloch in the hospital. The kid asks him to hit a home run for him, and when Foley can’t produce, blowing the big game, he swiftly re-assigns the blame: “It was that f–kin’ kid… putting all that pressure on me.” But since I couldn’t find a copy of this bit anywhere online, I went with another gem: the famous “Try It Now” sketch, about a yuppified couple trying desperately to get their car going. Scott Thompson’s “stealth” attack at 1:59 is brilliance defined.
SNL’s “Star Trek Sketch”
Eats the cowbell sketch for breakfast. Probably the single greatest thing Elliot Gould’s ever been a part of.