Friday fluff: Show us your skits

Get ready to spend your whole weekend on YouTube, Shapelings, because Nerve and IFC have put together a list of the 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of All Time, complete with video links. I spent much of yesterday watching these and revising my own mental list of great sketches rather than, say, studying for orals. But that’s okay, because my list is educational! (Even if it’s all about ants.)

Now, I like to think of myself as something of a sketch comedy connoisseur. (Please note: I’m not claiming I am a connoisseur, just that I like to think of myself that way. I’m sure someone out there can best me.) See, I spent part of my teenagerdom as a chubby, queer, nerdy girl who wrote poetry and wore thrift store clothes. Given the concomitant lack of social life (did I mention I lived smack in the middle of North Carolina?), I spent many a lonely hour watching late-night cable and developing a deep and abiding love for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Kids in the Hall, and The State (which, criminally, is not yet on DVD). Anyway, the point is, I am a geek, and while I was delighted at the inclusion of several of my favorite State sketches on the IFC/Nerve list (Porcupine Racetrack, for instance, is complete genius), I feel that KITH is misrepresented, Monty Python picks are ultra predictable, and SNL is heavily overrepresented.

So, here’s your Friday Fluff question, since we’ve had rather a grumpy week here at SP: what’s your favorite comedy sketch or routine? What’s on YOUR top 50 (or top 5) list? Mine would surely include KITH discover the cause of cancer, the French Trappers, Flying Lessons, and (probably my all-time fave) Goodbye Mailbox. It’s a challenge: start your weekend laughing!

75 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Show us your skits

  1. I would include Ben Stiller’s show on Fox (“The Ben Stiller Show”) — I’ll have to track down some of my favorities. I’m also a fan of “The State” and for the longest time I thought I had hallucinated “Kids in the Hall” in the early ’80s when it was on late night tv in the U.S. Thank God for Comedy Central’s reruns of it in the ’90s.
    My favorites Monty Python sketch is probably “Deja Vue” and I’ll see if I can find that.
    Thanks for reminding me of these joyously funny things.

  2. Ok, my all favorite of all time is the llama sketch. There is no rhyme or reason as to why. There are many sketches I can point to as more funny, but for some reason that’s always it. This one is a close second, because I love Dave Foley, and it’s just short and absurd and I love it.

  3. Sorry, I just realized I didn’t describe my second link, which is not nice for the link-averse (because this thread will become unwieldy if everything has to be clicked just to see what it is.) It’s KITH, Dave singing how he can’t play the piano while banging on it, then Kevin, wearing a red cocktail dress, throws himself across the piano.

  4. I am so excited to see Porcupine Racetrack get some love. I totally sing those songs on like… every nice day of the year. Whenever I’m happy, really.
    “It’s a marvelous dayyyy…. at the porcupine racetrack!”

  5. Tanglethis, I go “I know that I’m a sinner / but I really need a winner” in my head all the freaking time!

  6. I’m going to have go go with ‘When Television Comes’ which Red Skelton performed in Zeigfeld Follies. It’s a brilliant piece of physical work, everything is perfectly done and timed…Wow.

  7. Of course, my fucking work filter blocks Nerve so I can’t see who else is on the bloody list…and YouTube is blocked so I can’t offer up links to favorites…HOWEVER.

    Monty Python:

    *Scott of the Sahara: I still piss myself when Michael Palin starts fighting the lion…that’s at first just a giant stuffed lion…and then a guy in a lion costume. And, naturally, a giant electric penguin with blood spurting psssssssh–in slow motion.

    Kids in the Hall:

    I’m oddly fond of the sketch featuring Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch as the kind of trashy couple, and Bruce (as the guy) is intent on getting into a bar fight and, subsequently, getting his ass kicked every single time. I find myself often muttering at various things “What the fuck’r doin’, eh?” in exasperation much like the girl (Mark) does.

    Mr. Show:

    “Jeepers Creepers: Semi-Star” nails everything from bad movie adaptations of musicals to the ’90s slacker crap perfectly. “Cockring Warehouse” will warm my heart eternally because I showed it to a friend of mine last month and it was so cute seeing him giggle. Plus I love that Bob Odenkirk is from Naperville, Illinois. The little nods to Chicago and Naperville in sketches pleases me so much.

  8. Jane, I love that KITH sketch. It’s one of those ones that should stop being funny at some point, since it’s just the same actions over and over again, but instead it just gets more hilarious.

    Sorry about the Nerve-work-filter situation, y’all!

  9. Mine are mainly Chris Morris related (what a surprise)

    1- The Day to Day – the one where they create their own war, or possibly good aids/bad aids
    2- Eddie Izzard – the star wars canteen
    3- Dead Ringers – Christmas with dr who.
    4- Black Books -Dave syndrome
    5- The whole of Brass Eye but potentially the ‘are you saying my son’s unattractive’ in the paeodgeddon episode. Also I feel the whole “Now that is scientific fact – there’s no real evidence for it – but it is scientific fact” can be applied just as easily to the way the media views obesity.

    (I’d also recommend the Green Wing and Spaced as essential comedy viewing but can’t really think of a single sketch from either of them)

  10. 5- The whole of Brass Eye but potentially the ‘are you saying my son’s unattractive’ in the paeodgeddon episode. Also I feel the whole “Now that is scientific fact – there’s no real evidence for it – but it is scientific fact” can be applied just as easily to the way the media views obesity.

    I saw that last month for the first time ever–the same guy that was giggling over the Cockring Warehouse showed me the paeodgeddon episode and I just about died. Which would have been slightly inconvenient as I was about 8000 miles from home.

  11. i was thrilled to see much state representation on the list – oh how i miss that show.

    my number one favorite state sketch (which i haven’t been able to find on youtube, if anyone has a link, Please pass it on) is where a teacher comes to timmy’s house to talk to timmy’s parents about the tales he’s been spreading at school – there’s a dragon living in their attic, sister is a colombian drug and gun runner, dad is a nazi, etc. family calmly and rationally denies all allegations. then teacher reports timmy says the aliens are coming to invade – and sister starts shooting up the ceiling shouting ‘viva colombia’ and dad rips off his clothes to display a nazi uniform and screams ‘harness the dragon!!’

    ohmigoodness that is good stuff. i really enjoyed watching the $240 of pudding sketch they have on the list also.

  12. Monty Python’s Dead Parrot routine would probably rank as #1 for me.

    “This parrot is no more! This is an ex-parrot!”

    “No sir, he’s fine. He’s just sleeping is all.”

  13. OMG yes, Ben Stiller… the “do it” guy and the hose ad should both make the list, don’t you think, SM?

    You’ve listed most of my all-time favorites, duh, but here are a few more:
    KITH, Feelyat!
    Mr. Show, Watch Us Have Sex
    Mr. Show, The Joke: The Musical
    Monty Python, Mattress Shop (but really Flying Lessons is the best)
    Fry and Laurie, Dancersizing
    Fry and Laurie, Blind and Deaf (starts around 3 minutes)

    State videos are like impossible to look up on YouTube, but I want to namecheck Merbert Moover, the science fiction show (“is there poison in it?” “Some”), Tenement, Copy Shop, the boner song, Raised in a Barn, and Alberto (I think?) the foreign exchange student. I was so glad that Monkey Torture and Mind Match made it!

  14. My number one favorite comedy sketch of all time is Monty Python’s Upper Class Twit of the Year Awards. That one never fails to leave me rolling about on the floor helpless with mirth. Also, the fish slapping dance brings me joy that cannot be described.

    Some of my other favorites from other sources (because I don’t want you guys to think I never watch any comedy other than Monty Python because really I do, honest) include:

    The Carol Burnett Show’s Gone With the Wind parody. I will never not howl at the sight of Carol Burnett coming out in that green velvet gown with the curtain rod still running through it at the shoulders and telling Rat: I saw it in the window and I just couldn’t resist.

    Kids in the Hall get two. I have a great fetish for the cops and robbers chase that includes things like eating their restaurant meals within sight of each other, stopping for gas, etc. Too hilarious for words. The other that is deathless for me is Dave Foley on trail explaining why a forty-five minute airline delay turned into the largest, most horrifying cannabalism case in Canadian history.

    SCTV did a hilarious sketch of Jerry Lewis in an Ingmar Bergman film called Scenes From an Idiot’s Marriage. I bow to this one.

    Dave Chappelle has several sketches I love dearly, but I think I have to give it up for his night of terror at the hands of Wayne Brady.

    Lenny Henry does a parody video of Prince that nearly choked me with laughter. Also, if you get a chance to see his Michael Jackson Thriller parody, be prepared to laugh your ass off.

    Speaking of parody videos, French and Saunders do a gloriously off-kilter ABBA one that rocks my socks off. They also do a killer Lord of the Rings parody.

    Dead Ringers gets did an awesome bit where Obi-Wan Kenobi was discussing the merits of various ‘craft’ with confused salespeople at a car dealership. Somehow it wound up with Obi-Wan and Darth Vader dueling with baguettes in the middle of the dealership. I didn’t hear the next three minutes of the show because I was laughing so hard.

    There are dozens more I could talk about, but these are some of the ones I love best. I think a dozen is enough for one post.

  15. Twistie – do you remember Carol Burnett’s Sunset Boulevard skits, where she’d play Norma Desmond (and actually had Gloria Swanson on the show to join her once!) Those were classic! Cracks me up just thinking about it.

    I so need to have the Carol Burnett show on DVD.

  16. MsRuth and Car have beaten me to it, but my first thought was “Star Wars Canteen – done in legos”. Here is the link, if you haven’t seen it. Anything by Eddie Izzard cracks my shit up.

    This oneis definitely NSFW, but hilarious. “Clitter!” is exactly what you think it is. “And store-bought Bedazzlers are awkward and hard to use” makes me snort every time.

  17. If I’m not mistaken, the Carol Burnett “Gone with the Wind” made the IFC list, if you want to watch the video (I haven’t yet). And Dead Parrot was indeed #1!

  18. Monty Python’s Gumby Brain Surgeon is my fave sketch of all times. I love the Gumby sketches, but that one is the one that really makes me laugh, no matter how often I see it.

  19. Off the top of my head, I think one of the most hilarious sketches of all time is Manson from The Ben Stiller Show:

  20. Love to the Wayne Brady on Chapelle sketch, and for KITH, I love “These are the Daves I know”. (( I see SjC got that one! Huzzah!))

    I’m really into brit-coms, but for some reason less into the sketch comedy shows of late. Not that Little Britain doesn’t have its moments – it absolutely does – and so does Man/Woman. But both also sometimes get up my nose.

    Still, Man/Woman’s got two that crack me up: one in which a female partner wears more and more outlandish clothing and asks her partner why he can’t just say she looks nice, and one where the male partner keeps losing their kid. Best shot ever: he comes home from the park with a duck in the child carrier, having lost the child. I choose to pretend these are taking on stereotypes, rather than re-inforcing them.

    And on Shapely Prose I HAVE to mention Little Britain’s Fat Fighters, which features Real! Fat! People! and their absolutely crazed weight loss instructor. Little Britain’s not universally fat friendly – there are a few segments particularly unfriendly to female fatties – but the fat fighters sketches lead me to think that the portlier of the two has seen the horror of Weight Watchers and has lived to make fun of it. I believe one sketch suggests we eat dust.

  21. OMG sumac I LOVE that one! I’m going to watch it right now (because people on a board I read are insisting that Sarah Rue and Carrie Underwood lost weight “for their health,” so I’m about to blow my top otherwise).

  22. Oh, they have some great ones there. I forgot about the monkey torture! How I love Tom Lennon. But…no Python fish-slapping dance? Nothing from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, the bedrock of silly/genius English comedy? (One-legged Tarzan? Frog and Peach? In the words of GOB Bluth, COME ON!)

    I also must take exception to their chicken-lady selection; I thought the very first Chicken Lady always stood head and shoulders above the rest — fantastic dialogue, CL not too over the top, but mostly Dave Foley’s reaction shots were maybe the best I’ve ever seen.

    Joining in the love for Wayne Brady on Chapelle and “The Daves I Know.”

  23. Y’all are making my day. This is awesome.

    Word on all the Ben Stiller Show, too — I’m so happy that came out on DVD a few years back.

    In the words of GOB Bluth, COME ON!

    *gigglefit*

  24. Of the ones on that site (I haven’t looked all the way through though)
    I love the SNL Word Association-riotous
    The Dead Parrot is fucking hilarious
    More Cowbell is the SNL sketch that I most frequently quote… because I am that lame.

    There’sa local (PDX) sketch comedy troupe the 3rd floor that has a brilliant charcter “sassy snake” and any sketch with him in it will make me pee my pants. 3rd floor has some sketches on YouTube but no Sassy Snake ones, which is a freaking crying shame.

  25. Regarding Chappelle–I know people are always on about the “True Hollywood Stories with Charlie Murphy” about Rick James, but the Prince one is gold. “Game. Blouses.”

    Kids in the Hall: I also have much love for Jerry Sizzler and his sister, Jerry Sizzler.

  26. Jane, I was trying to find the original Sizzler Sisters sketch on YouTube, but I struck out. Total love for the Jerrys Sizzler.

  27. Dead Ringers’ Doctor Who sketches are hilarious. My favorites are Jon Culshaw, impersonating Tom Baker, visits the Cybermen family and Christmas Day at Doctor Who’s. They also did an Obi Wan Kenobi skit visiting a car dealership and fighting Darth Vader with breadsticks. They’re up on YouTube, just search “Dead Ringers.”

    I also love French & Saunders’ pisstake on Britney Spears & Madonna’s “Me Against the Music.” and Madonna and Missy Elliot’s Gap ad. I love Dawn French, she doesn’t let her fat get in the way of rolling all over the place and being hysterically funny.

  28. KITH: French fur traders, hands down. The Sizzler Sisters were also awesome (“The late, the great, ROY ORBISON!”). And the recurring M. Piedlourde and “30 Helens Agree” bits. I really need to get these on DVD.

    “But…no Python fish-slapping dance?”

    Yes, I also really love the fish-slapping dance. And the philosopher’s football match. And the cows performing Shakespeare- subtitled in German, sub-subtitled in English.

    I’ve only seen a few French and Saunders bits. Good stuff. I know the topic is skits so this is a bit OT, but did anyone else like “Absolutely Fabulous”? That show used to have me laughing so hard I’d be in tears.

  29. I don’t really know what a “skit” is, being a foreigner and all, but it sounds naughty.
    But if we’re linking funny videos, have you seen the Youtube Casting Directors? Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3!
    It starts out a little boring, but by the middle of part 2 I was crying for mercy.

  30. I am an Eddie Izzard fan. Anything he says in his routine can get me going- sometimes innocuous things with the right eyebrow position are all it takes.

  31. I love one sketch from John Cleese’s How To Irritate People, “Airplane Pilots.

    Has been my favourite for years. But when I was a very small child my brother and I both loved this silly sketch from The Muppet Show. We quoted it all them time and it never got old.

  32. Pretty much anything involving Mrs Doyle from Father Ted makes me laugh, but this is probably my favourite:-

    Though this one comes a close second:-

    I’m also extremely partial to vintage Harry Enfield, particularly the MR Cholmondley-Warner sketches. Somebody linked to “Women Know Your Limits” a while back; here’s another of my faves in the series :-

    In truth there are loads. I cherish Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Black Books, The Fast Show, (too many beloved characters to mention though Rowley Birkin is probably my favourite), The League of Gentlemen,(“hoist by my own pet toads!”), and yes, in all its flagrantly un-PC glory, Little Britain, especially the cake-sneaking harridan Marjorie Dawes.

    And this will date me horribly but, as a child, I grew up listening to Round The Horne on the radio – and the sketches involving Kenneth Williams’ folk singer, Rambling Sid Rumpo, still make me laugh.

  33. Four Yorkshiremen! Before Python did it, I think it was one of Cleese’s routines from an old British TV series, but OMG — “Luxury! WE ate ground glass for breakfast and lived in a rolled-up newspaper!”

    One of my favorites is one I’m sure almost nobody else remembers, an SNL sketch from the Billy Crystal year with Crystal, Christopher Guest and Martin Short (I’m pretty sure it was) playing Snap, Crackle, and Pop having a reunion in a Holiday Inn cocktail lounge. Crystal (IIRC) to the totally unappreciative audience of about 3 people: “You should have seen us before we met Pop here, our third was a black guy named Thud! Snap, Crackle, THUD! How would you have liked to hear THAT in your breakfast bowl every morning?”

    One I watched recently again during Easter, an SCTV bit with Rick Moranis playing a TV rabbi explaining to Jewish viewers how to avenge anti-Semitic insults, with Dave Thomas as a random guy pulled from backstage to read said insults woodenly off a card before Moranis rebutted them with zingers like, “Hey, hoodlum, why don’t you go put a tree in your living room?” or “Hey hoodlum, why don’t you go paint stripes and things on eggs?” LOVE.

    Many of the ones you guys already named I think are great too. I’ll have to see if others occur to me as I continue to wake up, I’m sitting here going, “Damn, there were so many great ones, why am I not thinking of them?”

  34. …ooh, and the closing titles from Spinal Tap wherein David Saint Hubbins reveals that St Hubbins was the Patron Saint of Quality Footwear.

  35. Oh man! I can’t believe I forgot to put the Frog and Peach! That’s such a standing joke between me and my brother that he once put a snooty French restaurant in one of his RPGs called Le Grenuille a la Peche!

    Also Bill Cosby used to do some great routines back in the day. One of my favorites was about ‘my brother Russell, with whom I slept’ being taunted that his bed was full of invisible turtle heads. When Russell starts jumping on his bed to squish the turtle heads, the mother half-wakes the father and orders him: Igor! Go kill the children!

    Are there any other Flanders and Swann fans here? Their story of the history of Greensleeves never fails to make me laugh even on the worst days.

    Oh, and how about the Comic Relief sketch Dr. Who and the Curse of Fatal Death? Did anyone else here see that one? How I adore Jonathan Pryce as The Master with his firm Dalek bumps.

    Rose, I had forgotten the Sunset Boulevard routines, but now I’m giggling at the memory of her eye rolling. Thanks for reminding me of a great comic classic!

    Any time Reno 911 goes to the Renaissance Faire cracks me up hugely.

  36. Ooh, Twistie, Flanders and Swann! Greensleeves is fabulous, and I literally cannot see the word “gnu” without singing “I’m a g-nu…a-g-nother gnu! I wish I could g-nash my teeth at you.” in my head.

    And I love that your brother placed Le Grenouille a la Peche in his RPG! Ohhh Peter Cook, how we miss you… When I went to see There Will Be Blood, I spent the first 15 minutes being terribly distracted by the Beyond the Fringe coal-miner sketch running through my head. Not consistent with the mood of the scene, to say the least.

    …Okay, looking this over — I am really easily distracted, huh. Um, as evidenced by the fact that I am here when I am supposed to be working.

  37. It’s predictable, and I so do not give a shit, but I still absolutely die every time I see the Monty Python Parrot Sketch. “Pining for the fjords!” Seriously, I nearly peed myself the first time I saw it.

    I love just about everything KITH did, but I’ll admit a big soft spot for the Chicken Lady and “Squishing Your Head.” I still do the “squishing your head” thing. Mainly to my cat, who just looks confused at me.

  38. (sings)

    I’m a g-nu, I’m a g-nu
    The g-nicest work of g-nature in the zoo!

    Ah, how I adore the g-nu…and the sloth, and the hippopotomus, and the warthog, and oh, just about everything else those two ever did.

    Hey, has anyone else here seen Michael Nesmith’s Elephant Parts? Name That Drug alone is worth the price of the DVD, but you get a lot of other great comedy routines, too.

    Also I have a deep and abiding love of Kentucky Fried Movie because the ads they parody are the ones I hated as a child. Plus you get the trailers for those great films that never were: Catholic High School Girls in Trouble, That’s Armageddon, and Cleopatra Schwartz, not to mention the classic mini-feature Fistful of Yen.

    I’ve never been able to look at a toy robot without giggling again.

    Yes, I do love comedy. Why do you ask?

  39. Is that the song with “I’m a g-nu, how do you do, you really ought to k-now w-ho’s w-ho”? I know parts of that song but never knew where it was from or why I knew it.

  40. There’s no *tape* of them, I don’t think, but the 30 Helens agree thing lead to a very funny Vancouver-local sketch-com troupe who show up in SketchFest in Seattle once in awhile.

  41. Called “30 Helens”.

    Okay, I’m cut off from commenting. I’ve lost my ability to type coherently.

  42. i am ridiculously obsessed with the KITH “Girl Drink Drunk Sketch” as well as the one (don’t know the title but it’s way appropriate for this blog) where David Foley is playing a bemullted hillbilly who is attempting to give up eating chocolate completely. He keeps throwing it away and then taking it out the garbage… his measures get increasingly drastic until he ends up covering his giant chocolate bar in rat poison and driving it out to the woods and burying it (and of course he comes back for it because we all know that diets/deprivation don’t work!) i find it to be such a great dieting satire because it really draws out the stupidity of denying yourself things you enjoy because you’re trying to fit into some backassward cultural ideal.

    also ’cause i’m canadian–aka hard-wired to love any and all canadian television– i love the SCTV sketch/video where Rick Morranis is a cheesy Barry Manilow type crooner. the video features him in some idyllic garden and th song is called something ridiculous like “dee doo be doo be doo da da da da”

  43. Miss Prism, I wondered where those songs came from! I know them from John Lithgow’s children’s cd Singing in the Bathtub (if you have children or like Lithgow, you MUST have that cd).

  44. Twistie, my husband and his cousins have a long history with Kentucky Fried Movie. A few years ago, one of said cousins was staying overnight at our place. When the husband spotted him (cousin) brushing his teeth with an electric toothbrush, my husband’s immediate response was “That is a toothbrush of extraordinary…magnitude.” We had to clean up toothpaste spit splatters from the wall. Good times. :D

  45. I was unable to link to it, but Andy Dick as the relaxation video guy from the Ben Stiller Show gets me laughing every single time. I wasn’t able to track it down, but there’s a sketch from the Ben Stiller Show with Janeane Garafalo where she plays a waitress at a wacky themed restaurant with strangely tasty meat…

  46. Would have to be Eddie Izzard, either the Cake or Death one or his bit on Pavlovs Cats, which has me rolling around in glee every time!

  47. Oh, and then this one! You’d think I could get all my thoughts together at once, wouldn’t you? No, they come bit by bit over days and days.

    I never saw it on-air, but I found it a year or so ago on youtube. It’s the Muppets, a trio of the Swedish Chef, Animal, and Beaker singing Danny Boy. I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to breathe the entire time I watched it, and no matter how many times I see it I still do.

  48. OTM, I was in the Triangle, actually. My mom and stepdad still live there. NC is a gorgeous state near its borders, but I found it a little… bland in the middle.

    Y’all are making me seriously consider buying the KITH box set from Amazon.

  49. First, not going to look at the

    The standup routines of any of the following:
    1) Rita Rudner
    2) Whoopi Goldberg
    3) Chris Rock
    4) Robin Williams
    5) Denis Leary (especially that one that he does mimicking his kids. You cry, you’re laughing so hard)

    You ask for sketch comedy? I give you “Whose Line is It Anyway”. Family friendly enough for the ABC family channel; filthy enough to loosen the bluest of navy blue suits.

    Ab Fab. There is no other.

    And of course no Top Five All Time Favorites List — no matter how long — would be complete without the film version of “High Fidelity”, with Jack Black, Sara Gilbert, Todd Louiso, and John and Joan Cusack.

  50. As Monty Python goes, the Lumberjack Song is priceless, and I used to know all the words. And the Knights Who Say Nii and the killer rabbit are my favorites from Holy Grail.

    I third (or whatever) the love for the Wayne Brady sketch on Chapelle’s Show; also, the Lil’ John sketches for sheer annoying cultural influence. What?!

    It’s a bit cliched, but Lazy Sunday still cracks my shit up.

  51. I love the Carol Burnett “Mama’s Family” sketches &, aside from sketch comedy, of course “I Love Lucy” was the best comedy show ever, I believe, & I also love the Britcom, “Keeping Up Appearances.”

  52. Woo for KitH! I just can’t stop thinking about Tony!

    Also, just in case anyone is interested, do you guys know that KitH is touring right now? Google it for the dates. :)

  53. Here is an objective means for assessing the greatest sketches:
    How many children born a generation or two after the sketch was written (and maybe never heard/saw the original) bother to learn it by heart?
    Based on my daughter’s generation (in Australia) this list might include:
    * Monty Python: “The Parrot Sketch”
    * Danny Kaye: “The Flagon with the Dragon” (Court Jester)
    * Abbott and Costello: “Who’s on first”

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