The prolific and hilarious Keegan-Michael Key—known for his work in “Key & Peele,” “Mad TV,” “Schmigadoon!” and as President Obama’s “anger translator”—shares his passion and enthusiasm for sketch comedy in the aptly titled The History of Sketch Comedy: A Journey Through the Art and Craft of Humor, co-authored with his wife, film producer Elle Key.
The book, based on their Webby Award-winning podcast, is a wonderful soup-to-nuts compendium of everything sketch. The authors trace its origins from ancient Greece to today’s comedians, and take readers around the U.S. and abroad as they consider influential American comedy schools and highlight the British comedians who are “courageous trailblazers who have influenced comedy around the world.”
Key also revisits his Detroit upbringing, detailing his comedy education in college and on various stages. Aspiring comedians will benefit from the book’s educational elements: With copious examples of (and scripts from) favorite sketches and shows, their creators analyze what, exactly, makes them so funny and memorable. Guest essays from stars like Ken Jeong, Carol Burnett, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tracy Morgan add to the fun, as do tangents about beloved colleagues like Jordan Peele and “one of the godfathers of modern sketch,” Bob Odenkirk. The History of Sketch Comedy is a highly informative and entertaining read that’s sure to inspire instant binge-watching and a groundswell of sketch-centric enthusiasm.