what is "genre sketch"


In Zadie Smith's article on the comedy show "Key and Peele", she wrote (while describing a scene):

[This is from a discussion of terms Key and Peele have invented to refer to different types of jokes.]

“Map over”: to take the beats of a genre piece and “map” a joke over them, as in the Poitier sketch.

< Key and Peele start making up terms.>


The last was Peele’s, and Key looked at him despondently: “But they’ll probably have Ebola all figured about by 2015.” < --- > “Cut to: urban wasteland,” Peele said, and Key picked up the joke: “Resident Evil: Whole of the Western World.” Even their off-the-cuff commentary on their genre sketches is framed as genre sketch.”

Sketch seems to be a kind of comedy. I'm not sure what "genre sketch" is. Does this "genre" have the meaning as the "genre" in the phrase of "genre fiction"?

Thank you.

< Edited to comply with 4-sentence limit on quotation (Rule 4). Cagey, moderator >
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  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't quite follow the author's logic, but she may be alluding to something akin to what is called "genre painting." (See link.)

    "Genre painting, also called petit genre, depicts aspects of everyday life by portraying ordinary people engaged in common activities."


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I'm not sure what "genre sketch" is. Does this "genre" have the meaning as the "genre" in the phrase of "genre fiction"?
    I think it does in a general way, in that it means something with a predictable formula or setting.

    So a type of "genre fiction" is science fiction or detective fiction.

    A comedy sketch is a fairly short comedy scene. A comedy show might have several sketches that make up the entire show.

    I'm guessing a genre sketch would be something frequently seen in comedy shows - like maybe a sketch about driving or waiting in a line (queue). It's not a brilliant new idea for a sketch but it might have some new jokes in it.


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    The "genre" that the last comment (“Resident Evil: Whole of the Western World.”) may be referring to is likely something along the lines of the genre of video game comedy or video-game-mapped-to-reality joke.

    "Genre sketch" likely describes a comedy sketch that follows one of several broad patterns of sketches, much as genres for stories describe stories that fit in one of several loose categories of fiction (by theme).
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