Don’t call them skits
On last night’s The Daily Show, guest Al Gore started by telling Jon Stewart how much he liked the opening skit. Stewart quickly corrected him, that it had been a sketch.
Yes. A million times yes.
So why the fuss? Why is the distinction so important that it’s worth correcting a former vice president? Because the difference in connotation is huge, to those who make sketch.
Simply, ‘sketch comedy’ is professional. It’s an art form. Gilda Radner and John Cleese are examples of sketch comedians. A skit, on the other hand, is amateur It’s something you do at summer camp, probably because you were forced to. Ask yourself. How likely are you to use the word ‘little’ before the word ‘skit?’
Writing or acting sketch comedy (well) is exceptionally difficult, and those who dedicate themselves to it will find the word ‘skit’ demeaning. You might as well tell Rembrant that you like his latest doodle.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (And the other half is killing people.)