A New Home for Sketch Comedy
Sketch comedy is a tough racket. I’ve been writing sketches for almost 10 years, and I would often wonder if they had any practical application. Are they doomed to between show filler, or fighting for the same limited openings on SNL, Leno, or one of the hodgepodge of short lived sketch shows out there?
The short film market is unreliable, and Youtube’s partnership programs are still working out the bugs. But there is a place for sketch comedy that most comics overlook. A very profitable place. Commercials. Now-a-days every commercial you see is little more than just a 30 second sketch often only loosely based on the product.
We’ve got everything from the Geico Lizard to Allstate’s “Mayhem” series starring Dean Winters to the completely ridiculous Old Spice commercials by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of “Tim and Eric Awesome Show.” Professional commercials are sketches. You can develop running characters and tell stories. The challenge is that you have to get your idea across in 30 seconds.
Start practicing. Make spec commercials for fake products to get your chops up, like a product for punchy ex-boxers called “Ginko Balboa” endorsed by your worst Stallone impression or “the New Downy Toilet Clogger.” The name speaks for itself.
Frogs, cavemen, talking chickens, and the most interesting man in the world. Funny is the new professional. There is validation for sketch comedy. So boys and girls, dust off your short form and start submitting to insurance companies. And if you’re a struggling comic, the next time someone tells you to get a real job, you can say, “I have one, I’m in advertising.”