MUSEUM OF TELEVISION & RADIO SEMINAR SERIES, THE: WRITING FOR TELEVISION: SKETCH COMEDY WRITERS: DECADES OF LAUGHTER {LONG VERSION}

Summary

One in this series of seminars conducted by The Museum of Television & Radio. For fifty years, writers and comedians have used the sketch format in such comedy series as "Your Show of Shows," "Saturday Night Live," and "In Living Color," providing types of humor ranging from thoughtful satire to inspired lunacy. In this seminar, co-sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, West, sketch comedy writers from different generations of television discuss their craft. Museum television curator Ron Simon offers opening remarks and introduces co-moderator Hal Kanter. Then Simon and Kanter proceed to introduce the following panel members, who talk briefly about their respective careers: Mel Tolkin, Gene Perret, Anne Beatts, Bruce Vilanch, and Bob Odenkirk.

To showcase their work, clips from the following programs are screened: "Your Show of Shows," "The Carol Burnett Show," "Saturday Night Live," "The 64th Annual Academy Awards," "The 65th Annual Academy Awards," and "Mr. Show With Bob and David." Panel members then discuss the following topics, among others: changes in sketch comedy writing over the years; the decline in quality of classic sketch comedy series such as "Saturday Night Live"; the major difference between group writing and individual writing; and the absence of any "real" sketch comedy programs in contemporary prime time. The panel then fields questions from the audience, leading to discussion about the following topics, among others: the way writers distance themselves from the material once an actor is performing it before an audience; the whereabouts of the original forces behind sketch comedy; the method for determining which jokes are funny and which ones will not work; the possible future of the art of sketch comedy; their feelings about talented comedians using cue cards during a sketch; and network decisions about controversial or "dangerous" sketch comedy.

Details

  • NETWORK:
  • DATE: November 21, 1996 Thursday 7:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:57:50
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:46561
  • GENRE: Seminars
  • SUBJECT HEADING: She Made It Collection (Anne Beatts)
  • SERIES RUN:
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Anne Beatts … Panelist
    • Hal Kanter … Moderator
    • Bob Odenkirk … Panelist
    • Gene Perret … Panelist
    • Mel Tolkin … Panelist
    • Bruce Vilanch … Panelist