When life as we know it comes to a standstill, people find innovative ways to tackle the situation. One popular way is consuming more art and entertainment. Sometimes entertainment also disguises information and commentary on topical issues within itself. This is where variety shows come into the picture. They are a mixed bag containing everything from a musical performance to a sketch comedy, and some social commentary as well. Here are some of the best variety shows out there.
Saturday Night Live (SNL)
SNL, created by Lorne Michaels, is a sketch comedy series that has been running on NBC since 1975. Besides the main cast, the show keeps introducing new members every season who perform various comedic sketch routines on popular political figures. Every episode is hosted by a celebrity guest who then also performs with the cast in a routine. Many cast members have gone to achieve success, including the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and Bill Murray among others. Clippings of the show are available on YouTube.
This popular South Korean variety show made its TV debut quite late (2010), but has since amassed quite the fan following. Originally pitched as an action variety show, Running Man later switched its format to a more friendly and familiar variety concept which is mainly based on games.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
For his incredible work on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, its host John Oliver has won eight Emmys. And once you start watching the show, you will understand why. Oliver’s witty and entertaining fashion of disseminating news is addictive. You can stream the episodes on Hotstar.
In Living Color
While this show no longer airs, the influence it has had on pop culture is immense. The show aired for a period of four years (1990-94), and was created and written by Keenen Ivory Wayans. In its initial days, it was seen as an answer to SNL, whose cast was mainly white. It featured then-relatively lesser-known figures such as Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey and Jennifer Lopez among others. Some of its popular clips are available on YouTube.
Whose Line is it Anyway?
Hosted by Drew Carey, this American show was adapted from a British show of the same name. It first aired in 1998 and aired for a decade. This was a comedy-improvisational show that required its members to create songs, lines and characters and their backstories on the spot. The show used to air on FX in India. It later started airing on Comedy Central.