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.
Stephen Colbert has been having a hell of a week, absolutely killing it with The Late Show’s coverage of the Republican National Convention (hell, we’ve even seen the return of his beloved character… “Stephen Colbert”). So to celebrate, we thought it would be fun to reminisce about a time way before The Colbert Report, well before The Daily Show, and even before The Dana Carvey Show. That’s right, we’re talking about Exit 57…
What is Exit 57, you ask? Well, it was a sketch comedy show that aired 12 episodes between 1995 and 1996 on Comedy Central. The show was comprised of Colbert and his fellow Second City cohorts Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Jodi Lennon, and Mitch Rouse (with additional writing from David Sedaris), with sketches taking place in the fictionalized suburbs of Quad Cities. The show was packed with offbeat and downright bizarre humor that often relied more on the physicality of performances than any particular punch line. At the very least, it gave us a glimpse of Colbert’s underrated acting chops.
Exit 57 essentially also gave way towards Colbert, Sedaris, Dinello and Rouse creating the Comedy Central cult favorite Strangers With Candy. After Exit 57, Colbert went on to perform on The Dana Carvey Show, and then on to The Daily Show… and the rest, as they say, is history.
But take a look at a few of our favorite moments from Colbert’s time on Exit 57.
“Down In The Basement”
In case Dinello’s multiple appearances on The Late Show isn’t enough proof that he and Colbert have great chemistry together, watch as Colbert plays a father getting a little too comfortable with his daughter’s boyfriend.
Honestly, just the sight of Colbert and Sedaris as lovers giving marriage advice makes this great, but hearing Colbert describe their “afternoon delight” is the icing on the cake… because, you know, God is love…
What probably makes this otherwise odd sketch so good is that if they took out the word “salmon,” it probably could’ve played well as a legit drama… but alas, this sketch makes it clear what each character’s main concern is… also, whoa, who is Colbert trying to channel with that voice?
“Troy & Laughton”
We’ve all dealt with a slacker co-worker… or a co-worker who’s so uptight and stubborn about the rules. This sketch captures both stereotypes perfectly, and also gives us the gift of Colbert asking with alarm, “Are you loaded on the Pot? Is that why you wear shades, cause you’re loaded on the hashish?”
As this sketch teaches us, it’s ok to hurl insults at others in front of a baby as long as you’re whispering.