40 Greatest Sketch-Comedy TV Shows of All Time

From Caesar to Schumer, 65 years of the Land Shark, the Chicken Lady and a bunch of Muppets

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12. 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie' (1989-1995)

With the help of classmate Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie met in college and sparked a friendship that would develop into one of the early-Nineties' best sketch shows. "It was like falling in love, but falling in love at a comic level," Fry recently told interviewer Gay Byrne of their first meeting. "We started writing a sketch the moment I walked in." Their partnership, which lasted four seasons on the BBC and carried on into an adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories, was a study in dynamism: Playing fathers and sons, psychiatrists and patients, friends and rivals, each player could crackle with manic energy and explode or remain the buttoned up, flummoxed straight man. Their often broad performances, flecked with bold bits of physicality, were offset by sharp writing and a delight for words and wordplay. To wit, one of their "vox pop" interstitials: "And then my bereavement counselor died. I didn't know who to turn to."

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