Each year the Austin Sketch Fest producer team sits downs and thinks back on all the things they regret from the past year, then to make themselves feel better, they think back on their favorite sketches from the past year.
These are those sketches.
THE PRESIDENT'S TOUR
This is such a bittersweet selection, mainly because Anthony Atamanuik was scheduled and booked to headline ASF 2017 until he sold the concept of The President Show to Comedy Central, with a production schedule that bumped up against last years festival dates. Luckily we got his Bernie-in-crime, James Adomian to fill in, but the fact that this video clip mix of sketch, man on the street interactions and straight up character-based improv even exists, is a nice condolence to not getting the live show.
This piece is from the pilot episode and was shot live on the streets of NYC before anyone had really seen this impression beyond comedy nerds in the know. At first, it goes after the 2016-era Trump targets: gaudy opulence, a rumored irrational fear of stairs and an unhealthy fast-food diet at first... Just watching him talk nasty to his Wendy's take out at 3:45 is a just pure brilliance.
But then, as Trump is having a carb crash on a Brownstone stoop, a moment that every improviser dreads: a traffic noise driving by that can't be ignored. Usually, that's a siren, but in this case, a truck horn. The look of inspiration in Atamanuik's face says it all...and he runs with it. Hard. In a moment that at once taps our empathy for Trump's joy-filled inner child and also validates our worst fears about being led for the next 4 years by an id- fueled child.
I've watched this scene over and over and never get sick of it. Which, I think, is the benchmark for sketch of the year.
RYAN GOES HOLLYWOOD
This video is so dumb, and man do I like simple dumb stuff. When you're doing man-on-the-street selfie-style, there's a lot of freedom to just be as dumb and funny as you want. Ryan's catchphrases are infectious and part of our household lexicon now. "They say it's a 100 feet tall and full of gouda!"
This video was SO DUMB, that Funny or Die picked it up right away for a full season of the web series, Ryan Does Places AKA Overly Excited Tourist. I expect to see much more from Ryan O'Flanagan soon.
It was my favorite sketch of the year and maybe the best sketch of my whole life.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: SEASON 9
The more I think about it, the more I'm sure Larry David is a genius. Each episode has a brilliant way of leaving no meat on the bone. Every small random thing that happens, I just wait for it to come back in the end to where it pays an important part in the final scenes that make it another perfect episode. This season has the Fatwa story arc which has been beautiful unraveling, and shows LD for all his good sides. It's just perfect. Please watch it for you, for me, for all of us.
WELCOME TO HELL
SNL happened to be able to make something so awful into a poppy song where they mention experiences that majority of women can relate to. Throughout the song they have super catchy lines like "oh this ain't a girl group, we just travel in packs for safety" but they're all things and examples that other women have said and can relate to. My only thing is that I wish they included Leslie Jones earlier, like in the beginning too, as I think the line about WOC still could have been included and brought up the way it was.
WORLD'S MOST EVIL INVENTION
The set up is just the right left to get you intrigued but ready for the punch line.
The character that Kyle and Sasheer play are just outlandish enough that the contrast of The Rocks’ run of the mill scientist is funny in and of itself.
The shriek of the audience when the reveal of the sketch happens is a reaction for the ages. I remember saying “Holy Shit” out loud while watching this live and being so overjoyed that they went there.
This guy gets it…..Did I win the contest?
F*ck, Marry, Kill
I'm really loving Baroness Von Sketch Show. They're very funny, concise writers. Their sketches can be biting but I don't feel despair after watching their sketches after watching something like "Welcome to Hell". There's a Cathy the cartoon vibe to some of their sketches but they always come at it from a fresh side angle.
F*ck, Marry, Kill is a short, punchy sketch and I love a short punchy sketch. It takes you by surprise and then gets the f*ck out.
This is so delightfully dark. It follows a very simple pattern and hits harder and harder every time until Franco's absolutely wonderful delivery of "little pig boy comes from the dirt". He has a hard time holding it together in this and its because this material is so deliciously funny. Weirder than SNL often ventures, it was nonetheless one of the leanest and most efficiently written pieces I have seen in a while, with the subtle goofiness of the commentators serving as a misdirection before the real game dives in and twists the knife.
The 2018 Austin Sketch Fest will take place from May 21st - May 27th. Submissions are now open! Submit Here!