We all love Amy Schumer , everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Ok, so I feel a tad guilty for including two comedians in the first edition of Sketchy MVPs. However, as funny as Ike Barinholtz and Josh Meyers are individually, their best work on Mad TV often came when they were paired together.
During the course of two seasons, Barinholtz and Meyers were essentially the Mad TV equivalent to SNL’s Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sans… only Barinholtz and Meyers were way better at staying in character (which isn’t hard given how Fallon and Sans made it a point to make each other break on camera… though that’s also a benefit of appearing on a show that’s taped instead of aired live). The two weren’t afraid to flex their physical comedy muscles in scenes together either, sometimes getting really intimate with each other (see the sketch “A Football Thing” if you want to know what I mean). In general, though, the two brought out the best in each other during what I still consider to be Mad TV’s strongest seasons.
Barinholtz and Meyers first worked together in the famed comedy troupe Boom Chicago in Amsterdam before joining Mad TV’s cast in 2002. Since leaving Mad TV in 2007, Barinholtz became well known as a regular on The Mindy Project and other TV shows, while also nabbing big roles in comedy blockbusters like Sisters and the upcoming Neighbors 2 (he’s also slated to voice a character in The Angry Birds Movie). You’ve also probably seen Meyers (who left Mad TV in 2004) in a handful of your favorite TV shows, including a short stint on That 70’s Show as well as a few appearances on his little brother’s talk show.
But for now, let’s take a look back at three of our favorite sketches Barinholtz and Meyers did together on Mad TV…
“A Football Thing”:
Remember when I said that Barinholtz and Meyers had a tendency of getting really intimate with each other in sketches? Did you watch the above sketch? See what I mean? Playing two avid Buccaneers fans that get a little too excited during the game, Barinholtz and Meyers do a great job laying down the physical gags without sacrificing strong punch lines. It’s a great lampoon on how two macho sports fans might react while experiencing major sexual confusion, not just relying on the physical gag of two guys making out.
While the sketch above proved Barinholtz and Meyers had no qualms about sharing body fluids, “Hitprov” shows that the two had no problem with literally exchanging blows. It essentially answers a question no one ever knew they wanted an answer to: what would improv comedy look like if incorporated with backyard wrestling? The sketch relies heavily on physical gags, but unlike seeing Mary Katherine Gallagher or Matt Foley jumping through sets, you feel as though you’re actually witnessing Barinholtz slugging Meyers (because, well you are), making this a unique comedic performance….as well as making you feel bad for Barinholtz’s balls by the end of the scene [If you enjoyed “Hitprov”, then you should try to find video of them doing the same premise while doing a scene from Romeo & Juliet].