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The History of Sketch Comedy  By  cover art

The History of Sketch Comedy

By: Elle Key,Keegan-Michael Key
Narrated by: Keegan-Michael Key
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Episodes
  • Episode 0: History of Sketch Audio Trailer
    Jan 4 2021

    From the beginning of time, there have been many monumental questions that have perplexed the human race such as: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? And... Who’s on first? 

    In The History of Sketch Comedy, Emmy and Peabody-winning actor, writer and producer Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele, The Prom, Jingle Jangle) embarks listeners on an epic, insightful and utterly entertaining voyage through the annals of sketch comedy. Key takes us from the early flatulence jokes of Ancient Greece and the acting troupes of Europe in the 1500s, to the rise of The Second City in Chicago and his own comedy origins on the ball fields near Detroit’s 8 Mile. Equal parts masterclass, personal odyssey and virtuoso performance; Key dissects the landmark characters, concepts and performers that pushed the boundaries and forged new ground in the comedy pantheon, and along the way reveals his own experiences of discovering and being influenced by them. 

    Over the course of ten half-hour chapters, one of the most beloved voices of our time treats listeners to a private, millennia-spanning interpretation of sketch comedy history, from its humble past to its immodest present.

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    1 min
  • Episode One: The Earth Cooled, and Then the Dinosaurs Came
    Jan 28 2021
    Keegan covers the pre-history of sketch comedy, and dives into some of the seeds of comedy, drama and theater; which were planted by Sumerians and the Ancient Greeks. He also takes us on a personal history and explores his own career in comedy; including growing up in Detroit, and watching Saturday Night Live with his father.
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    33 mins
  • Episode Two: I’m Gonna Get Medieval On Ya
    Jan 28 2021
    We jump forward to medieval times, and the royal jesters’ politically sensitive role in court politics. Keegan moves on to describe the traveling troupes of Commedia del’Arte and their performers who forged comedy character tropes we know and love in sketch today. Keegan also shares his experiences as a performer at a Renaissance faire in Michigan… and yes he still has the full wardrobe.
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    37 mins

Write what you know.

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About the Creator, Writer, and Director

Elle Key is a film, television, and commercial director, writer, and producer. She was born in the Bronx and spent her early years working off-Broadway with theater companies such as Malaparte, Naked Angels, and Atlantic. She went from working in theater to film, producing eight independent features (including Nanette Burstein’s Sundance award-winning doc American Teen, and August with Josh Hartnett, Naomi Harris, and David Bowie). She has written and directed on numerous projects including those for the NFL, the Pro-Bowl, the Peabody Awards, and the Gotham Awards. She is an executive producer on Brain Games for Disney/Nat Geo, as well as an executive producer (along with James Corden) for Game On!, the Keegan-Michael Key hosted show for CBS. She is the co-president and founder of Bigger Picture Media Group. She is also a member of the Creative Coalition, Women in Film, and is on the Leadership Council of RFK Human Rights.

About the Performer and Co-Writer

Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning writer, actor, and producer Keegan-Michael Key is one of Hollywood’s most in-demand forces. With his extraordinarily diverse skill set and wide-ranging talent in both comedy and drama, Key redefines what it means to be a chameleon and multi-hyphenate in the worlds of film, television, and theater. From his award-winning show Key & Peele, to 2019’s feature animations The Lion King and Toy Story 4, and to his current turn as Meryl Streep’s love interest in The Prom, Keegan is unstoppable.

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What listeners say about The History of Sketch Comedy

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious and educational

I listened to this with my son who loves comedy. This was such a well done series. There is history and real lessons in comedy. Keegan -Michael is so talented. My son wanted to listen to it again after we finished. Might have a comedian on my hands. We also now have a “must see” list of comedy sketches, shows and movies to watch. Highly recommend but not for younger kids as there is a lot of swearing and some adult content.

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13 people found this helpful

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Outstanding!

As entertaining as it is educational...Keegan’s love for comedy comes through every historical note and impression that he gives. I had to stand up multiple times and exclaim, “you can’t do that!!” As I laughed as hard as I’ve ever laughed. This was a delightful listen and I cannot recommend it enough.

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11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So one 1 minute episode?

Where are the episodes Keegan? I know I will love them which is why the 5 stars all around but the info has nothing about release dates. I liked your show Friends from College, I'm ten years older but it still really resonated with my experiences. My best friends are still my friends from college.

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9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A course in sketch comedy

Keegan-Michael Key is an excellent guide for learning about this comedy genre. He is so naturally funny and can pull off every impersonation and comedy sketch with seemingly little effort. This is a brilliant idea, fun and educational!

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8 people found this helpful

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Joyful

Keegan-Michael Key is a joy to listen to as he takes us on a journey through the history of sketch comedy. He uses his incredible talents and intellect to paint a vivid picture, and I laughed out loud several times in each of the ten episodes. Highly recommend, especially for anyone who is a fan of sketch, improv, or comedy at large.

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5 people found this helpful

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Great background on sketch

it's a fun listen for a broad overview on sketch and an in depth look at Keegan's career and influences that brought him to where he is in show business.
His passion is what kept me coming back

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4 people found this helpful

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How did we end up in this place

Being curious about the roots of contemporary comedy, I have been wading through a lot of old content like comedic films and radio plays readily available online. It was a treat to hear Keegan-Michael Key’s take on this history and listen to his favorite selections that he re-enacts. So funny. I love his genuine enthusiasm for good comedy and adore his playful nature.

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4 people found this helpful

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Funny

Better than expected! A good history lesson and entertainment all wrapped up in one audio presentation!

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4 people found this helpful

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yes key

I love it, I'm looking to start. a YouTube channel and I love being silly

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3 people found this helpful

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Hilarious, insightful (and informative)

One of the best things I've listened to on Audible. The concept, writing, and delivery were just brilliant. Turns out there's some 'science' behind sketch comedy. But who cares, it's really really funny. As in "why is that crazy man laughing while walking his dog around the block?"

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2 people found this helpful