Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (1979) - News Poster

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The Sketchy History of Sketch Comedy Movies

  • IFC
Monty Python's 1983 film "The Meaning of Life" effortlessly set the gold standard in sketch comedy movies -- which, for clarification, we'll define here as feature-length anthologies of stand-alone comic bits that don't serve to push along any overarching storyline. But while the Pythons' greatest film (gauntlet thrown down!) omitted a plot, their skits were still tied together by the most timeless of through lines: the trials of human life, presented in chapters like "The Miracle of Birth," "Middle Age" and "Death." Furthermore, 1971's "And Now For Something Completely Different," a re-filmed compilation of greatest hits from the first two pioneering seasons of "Monty Python's Flying Circus," is arguably the silver medalist of its kind, and good luck coming up with a third film that actually deserves the bronze.

The cold, hard truth is that sketch comedy movies are nearly impossible to pull off, and most are doomed to fail the test of time.
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DVD: Review: Mr. Mike's Mondo Video

Watching Mr. Mike's Mondo Video today, it's hard to believe NBC ever green-lit it as a late-night special. It's much easier to believe what happened next—Video so thoroughly horrified the NBC suits that they purged it from their schedule. In 1979, the special was reconfigured as a theatrical release from plucky upstart New Line, and it became an instant midnight movie. Video pushes the conceptual weirdness and bracing darkness of Michael O'Donoghue's pioneering early work as the head writer of Saturday Night Live to extremes that border on avant-garde. It was designed for a ...
See full article at The AV Club »

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