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Episodes
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

0:00

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.

What listeners say about The History of Sketch Comedy

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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.

12 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.

10 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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!

7 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.

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

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.

4 people found this helpful

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HILARIOUS 🤣

Funny is a severe understatement to describe this experience. If you know you know 👍🏽

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

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?"

2 people found this helpful

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  • Haypressto
  • 01-30-21

Acquired taste...unfortunately I didn't acquire it

Unimpressed by the trailer, but it does reflect the delivery
There has clearly been some research and thought put into the script of the actual series, but I really think that the delivery (for a UK audience at least) needed subtle understatement rather than the over-excitement of K-M Key

13 people found this helpful

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  • HH
  • 02-04-21

Annoying narrator

Gave up after 10 mins of idiot squawking unfunny narrator. Might be great content, who knows?

6 people found this helpful

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  • Noel Mullen
  • 01-31-21

Wonderful

This is brilliant, listen to the first episode and you’ll be hooked. Thank you Keegan-Michael Key and Audible!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 02-02-21

Nice to listen to someone who loves the subject

I have enjoyed this because it is well researched and Mr Key clearly enjoys his subject matter. If you are on the fence then the author/narrator's enthusiasm will carry it. It's always good to listen to something done with love of the subject matter. This shines through although I agree that its a bit American (with other reviewers). To my mind however this is a plus as with this hyper level of enthusiasm you could sell me piss as vinegar LOL.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Pauline
  • 05-01-22

A history of American sketch comedy

Which is’nt a bad thing, but as a British listener it was hard to see British sketch comedy reduced to one episode, talking about comedy from over 40 years ago and more and missing out Not the Nine O’clock News, Big Train, The Fast Show, Smack the Pony and Green Wing to name a few feels like it’s selling things short on our side of the pond. Great presentation though.

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  • Fran
  • 04-07-22

Fascinating, funny and optimistic

I loved this. I had been a fan of Keegan M Key from Key and Peele, so his loose, conversational style didn't throw me. Rather, I found it compelling. This was meticulously researched and the sketches themselves, immaculately performed, so this approach made it feel less like a lecture and more like a back and forth. I also liked how eclectic and unsnobby it was, in terms of the ground it covered and as a Brit, I loved learning about sketch history from across the pond. Worked for me on every level.

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  • Paul Curran
  • 01-29-22

brilliant

This is a brilliant series. It's not overly funny, but that's not the point. It is a brilliant story about sketch comedy and makes you want to learn more. Keggan's love of sketch comedy is infectious. if you want to learn about the history and the games behind the most iconic sketches, this is the series for you.

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  • Natalie Burgess
  • 06-23-21

Interesting history lesson but few laughs

I love comedy and enjoyed the history parts of this, especially the British episode.
However, whenever Key tried to be funny I felt like the only person laughing at his jokes was him. Maybe it's an American sense of humour that I do not get but he was totally over the top and loud. His recreations of some classic sketches made them unfunny and even made my favourite 'fork handles' sketch sound terrible.

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  • BeDeBe
  • 06-09-21

it begins with E

How do you write about entertainment without entertainment? Here's how. Read on from E then nter ... etc

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  • Ford
  • 05-02-21

Patchy at best

Some elements of this series were great Keegan-Michael Key is clearly passionate about the subject and I learned a lot. However - and this is a big however - this felt like too little butter spread across too much bread. When Key was really getting into the different kinds of sketch comedy it was great, there was flow and passion and humour, but when he was basically describing sketches it took all the humour straight out. I don't need yet another person repeating a Monty Python sketch to me. I kept on listening because the good bits were good, but I didn't finish because the bad bits were just uncomfortable.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-16-21

Love, love, LOVE this book

Mr Key, I truly had a blast laughing along with you. Well told, enthralling story of one of my favourite genres. Thank you for making this book a pleasure to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ray Hecht
  • 09-01-21

Informative, but limitations of the medium

Keegan-Michael Key is excellent, he's smart and educated and knows his stuff. He's also funny.

But the medium of podcasts may not be the best way to share this knowledge. I did learn a lot about theater and classic film etc. And yes, analyzing comedy does tend to take away from the funny so that's not always his fault...

Yet overall, I wish it was a visual documentary. And I also wish they had the rights to all the clips he does impressions for, even if it was only audio, would have been much more entertaining that way is all.

Still, was worth listening for anyone who enjoys sketch and comedy.

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  • Jessica
  • 07-01-21

History made funny

It is easy to watch and laugh at comedy but it isn't always easy to know the mechanics behind why you laugh and what draws you in. This is a great overview of comedy throughout the years and countries. It is a pity it only scraped the surface of sketch comedy outside of America or the influence of women and minorities.

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  • georgia
  • 05-03-21

super fun

great listening easy and fun and great look into the history of sketch comedy yes

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-19-21

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  • kaylim
  • 04-14-21

this is the best

big fan of keegan-michael key. he made this the best experience you could hope for. even if you don't know who he is give it a try and see what im talking about. enjoy the ride!