While Saturday Night Live, with its skewering political satire, has returned to late-night prominence, another sketch comedy, north of the border, is equally worthy of praise: Baroness von Sketch Show. Launched last year on CBC, the female-driven sketch comedy appropriately won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Variety or Sketch Comedy on International Women’s Day.
Led by Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, and Jennifer Whalen, many of the sketches last barely a minute or so, underscoring this quartet’s comedic sensibility of knowing when to end — or extend — a sketch. And for the sketches that last several minutes, the comedy always pays off in the end.
Consider the sketch, “Drink,” in which a lustful woman in a dimly lit bar boldly satisfies her voracious appetite — but not for men, or even a drink. And as you can see in the YouTube clip below, the joke successfully takes “voracious appetite” to the logical-yet-inevitable extreme:
Consider a few more examples:
- Clean Pole: A hypochondriac struggles to performs a sexy pole dance.
- Cat People: Frustrated cat owners seek help from a vet — for their own issues.
- Siri: Technology interrupts a romantic first date.
My favorite, which I’m unable to locate online, featured all four cast members gathering at an outdoor cafe for an informal get-together that quickly evolves into a “story-telling intervention” because one of them keeps burying key information regarding the details of her sexual exploits.
Baroness von Sketch is reminiscent of another female-driven sketch show, Smack the Pony, which aired in Britain from 1999 to 2003, and made the rounds on some PBS stations as well. Those episodes are available to stream online from their website.
To paraphrase a quote from “This is Spinal Tap,” in comedy writing there’s a fine line between stupid and clever, but the Baroness von Sketch crew always land on the clever, and, decidedly funny.
View their clips online at http://www.cbc.ca/baroness/. Or if geofencing blocks your connection, you also can find Baroness von Sketch clips on YouTube.
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