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

Load Previous

16. 'The State' (1993-1995)

"It was about energy and aggression," State founding member Michael Ian Black told Filter, "We were like a hurricane." The humor of this early Nineties MTV show was just like the ensemble of 11 recent NYU grads: precocious, clever and a touch bratty. They leaned on the sketch staple of recurring characters (Doug, the teenage rebel frustrated by cool parents; Barry and LeVon, freaky lotharios rubbing their asses into "$240 worth of puddin'"), but even turned that into a punky meta exercise: When asked by execs to produce more characters with catchphrases, they invented Louie, the Guy Who Comes In and Says His Catchphrase Over and Over Again. The show's biggest production — "The Sgt. Pepper's of The State's sketch canon," as Michael Showalter told The New York Times — was a baffling three-minute mini-musical titled "Porcupine Racetrack." The jovial, all-for-one feeling of The State carried into later projects, including Reno 911!, Stella and Wet Hot American Summer.

Back to Top