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Peak TV Sparks New Breed of Sketch Comedy Series

Tracey Ullman’s Show” bows Oct. 28 on HBO after airing on the BBC earlier this year. In the half-hour series, the sketch-comedy queen casts her sharp eye on the times, with archetypal characters such as a feminist politician who bares her soul, and then some, to get a bill passed. “Ullman” comes at a time when Peak TV has yielded several highly unusual sketch shows.

Here’s a sampling:

Courtesy of Comedy Central

Documentary Now!/IFC

“Saturday Night Live” alums Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers mount elaborate parodies of documentary films, complete with high-minded intros from Helen Mirren.

Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix Presents: The Characters/Netflix

Eight emerging comedians are given a blank slate and asked to create the 30-minute sketch show of their dreams.

Courtesy of Comedy Central

Drunk History/Comedy Central

The Gary Sanchez Prods. gang has stretched what could have been a one-off gag into four seasons (and counting), with comics and actors re-enacting history as told by drunk people.

Courtesy of Logo

Gay Skit Happens/Logo

The MTV Networks cabler puts an LGBTQ prism on pop culture and lifestyle material, with a troupe answering such burning questions as: What do gay guys do when football is on?

Courtesy of Adult Swim

Brad Neely’s Harg Nallin’ Sclopio Peepio/Adult Swim

This 15-minute animated spin on a sketch show has the voices of Affion Crockett, Darrell Hammond, Ilana Glazer, and Gabourey Sidibe.

Courtesy of Adult Swim

Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace/Adult Swim

Bizarre as “Harg Nallin’” can be, it’s tame compared to the live-action apocalyptic weirdness of this 15-minute series from the sketch team of Sam Hyde, Charles Carroll, and Nick Rochefort.

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