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The Barstool Variety Hour: Best Of Season 1

Here’s a look back at some of our favorite jokes and sketches from season 1. This isn’t meant to be a massive pat on the back for us (eh, maybe a little), but more to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’ll be the first to admit that not every sketch was a winner. When you work on every aspect of a project like this–conceiving, writing, acting, and producing–you lose the ability to separate yourself from it, to see it as a member of the audience. By the end, that made it impossible for me to know whether something was funny or not. This led to some sketches that just weren’t funny. But if you watch this compilation, I hope you’ll agree that we had some great moments too.

Almost every sketch show ever has been a mixed bag of good and bad sketches. Even Key and Peele, which was universally lauded, had a lot of mediocre sketches. Of course, the one exception is Chappelle’s Show, where every single thing they made was brilliant. It’s an astonishing achievement that I appreciate even more now having tried, in a much smaller way, to take on a sketch show. I have no idea how the hell Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan were so consistent, so prolific, and so perfect in the television they created. Sure, it helps to have an enormous and experienced writing team (Bill Burr was a writer, FYI), a sizable production budget, talented actors/comedians, set designers, makeup artists, etc. But as I understand it, those two guys would sit down each week and say, “how about a black white supremacist?” And then they’d write it, and it would be the best thing of all time.

This was the closest I’ve come to writing for a true television show. I’ll tell you, it’s fucking hard. We had written and shot enough sketches for 4 episodes before we aired the premiere. We then continued to write and shoot, but by episode 7, we’d caught up and were creating and shooting from scratch for the last 2 episodes. It’s pretty daunting at that point, and the fact that the South Park guys do it every week now boggles my mind. If nothing else, it’s stressful as hell. Plus, the quality suffers, which is why we stopped after episode 8.

We’re already writing for season 2, which we plan to roll out in September or October. I wish that we could continue to release episodes every week, year round, but it’s just not possible. I learned a lot from season 1 and, unlike true TV shows, we have the luxury of learning from our mistakes and improving upon them (TV shows that don’t start strong get cancelled… immediately).

Thanks to everyone who submitted scripts to me. I promise you I look at them. Some of them were good, some of them weren’t. I would love to shoot a reader-submitted sketch though in season 2, so keep sending the ideas! Please write in script format though–you can use CeltX, it’s free.

Huge thanks to director John Kelly, writers/cast Tommy O’Regan, Ian Hunt, Matt Leary, Rone, Fran, and Dave. And thanks to you all–you guys were very supportive and honest and your feedback helps a lot. See you in season 2!

PS- if you’re wondering, my favorite sketch we made was “Crisis Actor Auditions.”