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25-Jan-2016 09:37

As advertising grew more sophisticated, so did the satires that chased it.

In today’s irony-saturated comedy landscape, it’s difficult to find a sketch show that doesn’t do fake ads in one form or another.

And now, without further ado, a word from our sponsors.

There’s no more sure-fire way to kill something’s intrinsic comedic value than to try to examine what makes it funny. So why, then, have Nerve and devoted an enormous amount of time, manpower, monetary resources, server space and posh catered lunches to the pursuit of ranking the boob tube’s finest sketch comedy offerings?

Parodies of such ads began popping up in the early ’70s on shows like ‘s 1975 debut that ripped the genre wide open.

Madison Avenue’s glib, cheeseball patter became fodder for regulars like Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner, and some of their successors — most notably straight-man kingpin Phil Hartman — built an entire career on it.

After all, the comedy sketch — short, sweet, completely silly or shot through with social commentary — worms its way into the public mind like nothing else, and has easily made the leap to the web when other forms have faltered. Unlike boob jobs, waxing and diet pills, that shit just doesn’t seem natural, and the Annuale sketch shows that even a big-pharma, pink-tinged ad campaign can’t dispel that.

In part, we’re here because magical new technology (*cough You Tubecough*) allows us to do more than just pontificate for paragraphs on end — now we can pontificate for paragraphs on end and provide audiovisual evidence to back up those pontifications.

But we did manage to unearth a surprising number of classics still lurking in the corners of the internet, along with plenty of timeless bits from .This list is an assemblage of our own personal favorites, and we encourage you to take us to task in the feedback section over what we missed.It didn’t take long after the rise of TV commercials in the mid-twentieth century for comedians to take note of just how ridiculous most of those commercials were.Doctors selling cigarettes, housewives defending their laundry detergent as if any other detergent (the menacing "Brand X") were a threat to the American way of life — boob-tube marketing was a bottomless pit of material, and was bound to be soaked up by the sketch-comedy boom that followed shortly thereafter.

In this feature, we’ve assembled fifty of the best.Unfortunately, many of ‘s most infamous are no longer available online, due to NBC’s copyright-enforcing blitz a while back.