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  • Summary

  • 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's The History of Sketch Comedy 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.

    ©2020 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC
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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.

    Show more Show less
    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.
    Show more Show less
    37 mins

Publisher's Summary

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's The History of Sketch Comedy 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.

©2020 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC

What listeners say about The History of Sketch Comedy

Average Customer Ratings
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Outstanding!

For a comedy nerd, this is just what I was hoping it would be.

2 people found this helpful

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i belly laughed and got smarterer

Excellent pacing, with fun asides and anecdotes It was informative, and well structured. Oh, and hella funny.

1 person found this helpful

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  • edd
  • 2021-06-06

love his enthusiasm

his personal story interwoven with history of sketch. lots of references that I checked out on youtube

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A little uninspiring, but an informative listen.

Keegan does a great job of trying to spice up the history of sketch comedy, even though the subject matter in my opinion is a little dry. I enjoyed the listen and would recommend it to anyone interested in comedy, or history.

1 person found this helpful

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Perfection

Absolutely amazing, don't miss out on this incredibly funny and educational podcast. ...who is on first base

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Funny and Informative

I have a new respect and appreciation for sketch comedy. Keegan-Michael Key is very knowledgeable. His delivery of overall storytelling and comedy is wonderful. I very much enjoyed this audio book.

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Very enjoyable. Put many smiles on my face.

Keegan-Michael Key does a fantastic job of presenting a lot of information in a way that makes you oblivious to the fact that you are learning something. I have a list of sketches and bits to check out in my spare time, and also now have the context to understand a lot of other comedy. We learn and remember and it makes things funnier. I really enjoyed this, I think you will too.

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A new favorite project to come from Audible

This and Neil Gaiman's release of the Sandman audio are my favorite things to come out of Audible so far and this one is free! I've been looking for something like this for years- a good and simple breakdown chronicling the grand history of skit comedy with the ever excited Keegan Michael Key.

As a kid (growing up in farm country in the late 80s early 90s) I'd also listen and memorize Abbot & Costello for fun but never dreamed it could lead to things like jobs. If Mr and Mrs Key are reading this:

a) Love your work
b) Thoughts on releasing a PG version of this for kids and teens)? I know a lot of my students who this would inspire to write more.

Cheers!
- Curtis

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Excellent!

This captured my attention from the very beginning and I learned so much! I loved it!!

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laughed out loud, learned a lot

I absolutely loved this series! Keegan-Michael key performs each episode, and has you laughing throughout. I highly recommend! I have been sharing it with my friends all week!

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  • Owen's Mom
  • 2021-02-01

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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  • bkelley
  • 2021-02-02

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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  • Carolyn
  • 2021-01-20

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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  • Valerie
  • 2021-01-30

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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  • Derek Smith
  • 2021-02-10

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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  • Alan Ponce
  • 2021-02-11

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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  • Mme
  • 2021-02-07

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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  • R T
  • 2021-02-06

HILARIOUS 🤣

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

4 people found this helpful

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  • Katt whalker
  • 2021-02-09

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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  • Daniel P. Fradl
  • 2021-02-05

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