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Cartoon Network Cancels ‘Incredible Crew,’ Another Blow to TV Sketch Comedy

Promising troupes have runs cut short

There is a sketch comedy crisis in television, but it has little to do with “Saturday Night Live.”

Amid all the handwringing over the cast exodus at “SNL” is the minor detail of how much, even with the ensemble at so-called full strength, the jokes land like water dripping from a faucet.

Meanwhile, there have been two unheralded sketch shows in the past two years that consistently generated laughs — not demo-specific laughs, not laughs that use crudity as a crutch rather than as actual comedy — but stuff that would make me smile as much as my kids.

Unfortunately, both shows have been canceled.

Today, Variety confirmed that Cartoon Network would not be renewing “Incredible Crew” for a second season. This comes a year after Disney Channel parted ways with “So Random,” the descendant of Demi Lovato starrer “Sonny with a Chance.”

Most of you probably paid them no attention, even if you had heard of them. But either show, in a given episode, packed more humor into 30 minutes than “SNL” stumbles through in 90.

So Random” was a pinnacle experience in making lemonade from lemons. Faced with the void at the center of the cast after Lovato had to leave the show, “Sonny” was reconfigured from a more traditional sitcom into one that was focused on sketch, and the results were often brilliant. But after a season, Disney Channel was done with it.

Incredible Crew,” created by Nick Cannon for Cartoon Network and airing early this year, also shone with its smarts and originality during its one and only season. And like “Random,” it was a show you would actually seek out to watch with your kids and vice versa. In fact, it was a show that would have been rewarding to watch without them.

The show’s weren’t perfect, but they easily showed as much inspiration as “SNL” without all the pretense. A cool sidelight was feeling like you were in on the ground floor of some future sketch stars, but unfortunately, the industry doesn’t see it that way. The two shows became dispensable, and somehow, we’re once again left with “SNL” as the bellwether of sketch comedy on American television, along with the usual Monday-morning defense of “C’mon, there were a couple of funny bits …”

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