As someone who has covered the Brooklyn food world for the last, oh, five or so years, this sketch from Portlandia, the new series from SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein (swooooon), rings a little too true. I’ve never had my waiter say about my chicken “His name was Collin, here are his papers” but my experiences haven’t been too far from that. I totally support local and organic food movements, yet I have to recognize that it can be a little absurd sometimes (see: rabbit-killing courses, urban beekeepers, etc.). This sketch got me thinking about all of the other great comedy sketches centered around food. Here, in no particular order, are five more of my all-time favorites.
Remember the Dana Carvey Show? God knows most people don’t. It lasted for a single season in 1996, yet boasted a writing staff that included Charlie Kaufman, Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. Here, in one of my favorite sketches of all time, Colbert and Carell play waiters who are disgusted by the very mention of food. Enjoy.
As long as we’re on the topic of the ’90s, we might as well talk about The State. Here, Michael Ian Black, who is a very famous celebrity, is upset that he is getting tacos in his mailbox instead of his actual mail. It’s random touches like the “Thats the longest conversation I’ve ever had” line at the end of the sketch that really made this show great. We can only hope the cast will one day reunite for Wet Hot American Summer II.
Tacos! As we have just seen, they are inherently funny. This fake SNL commercial makes fun of a weird trend we’ve seen in the last few years: over-the-top junk food. The KFC Double Down was the ultimate in why-the-fuck-not food marketing, a greasy sin against humanity that got way more press coverage than it should have. I only wish they would have wrapped the whole thing in a Chicago-style deep dish pizza.
Oh Human Giant, I wish you never went off the air. All of the cast members have moved on to better things: Aziz Ansari with Parks and Recreation, Paul Scheer on the surprisingly funny The League, and Rob Huebel guest-appearing on sitcoms left and right. This sketch seems to get its magic from the simple fact that “corn chowder” is a funny thing to say over and over again.
An all-time classic. This sketch about a cheese shop that doesn’t have any cheese proves that nobody does absurd comedy like Monty Python did.