Family Dinner, Winnipeg’s favourite six-person sketch comedy troupe, will make their TOsketchfest debut this year, and to celebrate we have asked them this important question: Who are your favourite families from sketch comedy history?
Jaydin, Spencer, Riley and Jonathan have provided this list with unforgettable characters from Portlandia, Tim and Eric, Saturday Night Live, and Kids in the Hall.
Peter and Nance
My favourite family from sketch comedy history is the infuriatingly supportive couple Peter and Nance from Portlandia. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are best known for absurd characterizations of regular, every-day people, and these two are the perfect embodiment of how ridiculous domestic married life can get when no one is there to be the voice of reason. No one in all of sketch comedy is as indecisive as Peter, even being so timid as to not drive at a green light to take his wife to the emergency room after she’s broken an ankle. Even then, it takes a lot to push this happy couple to their boiling points. But if they stay up all night knitting stuffies for their B&B only to realize they’ve forgotten to make breakfast, the patience is lost, and the frustration that only a married couple could know bubbles to the surface.
The Terrance Family
If there is one thing my family loves more than relentlessly repressing me, it’s ham. Upon watching The Kids in the Hall’s many sketches about ham and the classic family dynamic, I realized how many connections I could make between their sketches and my own family. Although “Salty Ham” has parents as crotchety as Gordon (McCulloch) and as determined as Fran (Thompson), their season two sketch, “Fine Ham Abounds” may be my favourite swine influenced sketch of theirs. It carries only the most important television tropes: again, a crotchety dad (McKinney), a mother who’s just trying to please everyone (Foley), and of course, a rebellious, angsty teenage son named Bobby (McCulloch). It is the perfect family sketch, with an unforgettable music montage in the middle (naturally). The Terrance Family can be described similarly to Jean Terrance’s ham steak: it’s flavourful, it’s juicy, it’s EFFIN’ GOOD, DAD.
Jan and Wayne Skylar
My favourite sketch comedy family is easily Jan and Wayne Skyler from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are well known for how absurd and uncomfortable their sketches can be. The idea of a married news team is already funny to me so when I saw Tim and Eric play Jan and Wayne Skylar for the first time, it absolutely floored me. Nothing is funnier to me than uncomfortable situations and it doesn’t get more uncomfortable than Jan sharing personal information on the news while Wayne tries to get her to stop. Dr. Steve Brule played by John C. Riley is also a reoccurring character in most Jan and Wayne Skylar sketches. Watching him interact with Jan is so cringe inducing it makes you want to scream at your TV. Jan and Wayne are just so perfectly difficult to watch.
The Kissing Family
My favourite family in sketch comedy history? Easy. The Kissing Family from Saturday Night Live. Why? Because it reminds me of my own family. We’re loving, affectionate and not afraid to slip the tongue. There’s nothing that comforts me more during a rousing make out sesh than the sudden overwhelming realization that this guy is French-ing just like Grandma.
– Jaydin Pommer
Family Dinner will perform March 14 and at 15 Comedy Bar as part of #TOsketchfest19.