ISBN: 9781797216836

Publication date: 09 Nov 2023

Author: Key, Keegan-Michael

Authors Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key build on the popularity of their 2022 Webby Award–winning podcast and delve deeper into the world of sketch, helped along with new essays created expressly for the book by comedy greats.

The History of Sketch Comedy will appeal to all kinds of comedy fans as well as fans of Keegan-Michael Key, whether they know him from his Emmy- and Peabody-winning work on Key & Peele; his roles in Fargo, The Prom, Schmigadoon!, The Bubble, and the upcoming Wonka; voiceover work in The Lion King; or as President Barack Obama's anger translator, Luther.

With epic personal tangents and hilarious asides, their story takes you on an illuminating look at all facets of comedy from the stock characters of commedia del arte in the 16th century, to the rise of vaudeville and burlesque, the golden age of television comedy, the influence of the most well-known comedy schools, and the ascension of comedy films and TV specials - all the way through to a look at the future of sketch on social media platforms. Along the way, we hear tales of Key's childhood, his comedy influences, and the vicissitudes of his career path. As the New York Times said in its review of their podcast, "this comedy nerd history is filtered through memoir, with Key relating stories of his budding fandom, training and rise from improv comic to television sketch artist."

Part masterclass, part memoir, and hilariously embellished with priceless commentary, The History of Sketch Comedy illuminates the essential building blocks of sketch comedy while interweaving Key's experiences of personal discovery and the influence of his comedy heroes. The text is complemented by original art by Elle Key and exclusive essays compiled from conversations with some of their famous comedy friends and performers who have influenced the development of comedy, such as Jordan Peele, Mel Brooks, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mike Myers, Chris Rock, John Oliver, Tracy Morgan, Carol Burnett, Jim Carrey, and many more.