The answer to the question “What’s the difference between a sitcom, a comedy, and a sketch show” lies in the specific content of the show. Traditionally, sitcoms have been focused on evoking laughter in an audience. As such, they have become less focused on humor and more concerned with provoking thought. The most common sitcoms in the world involve characters interacting with each other and relating to each other’s lives.
While sketch comedy and situational comedy are two different forms of comedy, they all share the same basic structure. While situational comedies tend to feature characters that remain the same from episode to episode, stand-up comedy and sketch comedy use fresh characters and often perform in front of an audience. Sitcoms have evolved over the years to become more diverse genres, but most still center on the office or family and have the same cast of opposing individuals.
While the style of sitcoms has changed over the years, they have generally remained rooted in a family, workplace, or institution. British sitcoms, on the other hand, are typically produced in series of six episodes. Most episodes are around 30 minutes long and are shot on studio sets in a multiple-camera setup. A subset of British sitcoms, however, steers away from the conventional themes and storylines of situational comedies and instead opts for unusual subjects and narrative methods.
In addition to the structural differences between sitcoms and sketch shows, there are some important differences that are worth keeping in mind when writing a sitcom script. Single-camera sitcoms have a more traditional structure than multi-camera sitcoms. The format of single-camera sitcoms is comparable to the one used for feature films. A multi-camera sitcom, on the other hand, is more like a live theater production. The actors walked from set to set in one take. In both cases, the script is 52 to 58 pages long.