Like many other creators, The Sketchersons have taken their show, SUNDAY NIGHT LIVE, online. Hosted by the Comedy Bar, and streaming on a variety of platforms including Twitch and Facebook Live, SUNDAY NIGHT LIVE airs at 9:00pm on Sunday nights.
Putting together a weekly show with original content is challenging enough at the best of times, but the limitations placed on performance artists right now are particularly tough. Collaborators must isolate from each other and present their bits through synchronized video feeds.
The sketches work best when they acknowledge the format directly. Even more compelling are the sketches that also reference our current pandemic. The News segment, for example, plays quite well, as does an opening bit depicting a Zoom meeting that becomes a social disaster. Unfortunately, the sketches that attempt to ignore the limitations of the livestream format tend to play awkwardly.
If social distancing continues in the long term, artists may need to find ways to refine their working methods and polish their presentations.
Some selected highlights:
The rough and ready costumes are frequently amusing in that self-aware way that works for sketch comedy. I’m looking at you: electrical tape goatee.
A commercial for a gay-themed clothing store with a “staff made up entirely of bottoms” has some cute moments as the selling points riff on gay culture.
A new receptionist’s first day at a dental office is a pretty standard bit, with the basic joke being her telephone voice going all sex line and becoming entirely inappropriate.
There is a very touching moment when one of the performers breaks character, as a nurse, to introduce her mother—an actual nurse. It is a casual and understated moment, but I was surprised at the emotional intensity of my reaction.
I really didn’t enjoy the raunchy supply teacher sketch where a classroom of eight year olds are taught Sex-Ed by a drunk and vulgar man. The basic joke is that he says crass things that freak the children out. It’s not particularly clever, feels rather skeevy, and goes on significantly longer than it should.
The gay baby bit—with the little tyke spewing catty, cheeky nonsense—also didn’t work for me.
A lot of the humour skews a little mean and cringey, which isn’t really my thing. You, though, might be into it. Accepting the limitations of the format, you could find some bits that’ll tickle you.