The Class sketch is a comedy sketch first broadcast in an episode of David Frost's satirical comedy programme The Frost Report on 7 April 1966. It has been described as a "genuinely timeless sketch, ingeniously satirising the British class system" and in 2005 was voted number 40 in Channel Four's "Britain's 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches". It was written by Marty Feldman and John Law, and features John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.
Cleese, tall and patrician in appearance and demeanour, represents the upper class; Barker, of average height, the middle class, and Corbett, short in stature, the working class. Each in turn describes their social advantages and disadvantages as against their neighbours, an effect emphasised by the actors' relative heights as they look downwards or upwards to each other:
Barker: "I look up to him [Cleese] because he is upper class, but I look down on him [Corbett] because he is lower class".
Corbett: "I know my place".
It is this situation that gives Corbett the pay-off line; as the others describe their advantages in the form of "I get ... (e.g. a sense of superiority)", his character finally looks up at the others and says "I get a pain in the back of my neck".
Reception and influence
The British Film Institute commented, "Its twinning of height and social position, combined with a minimal script, created a classic TV moment." The sketch's influence has persisted to the present day, having been referred to in 21st-century discussions of politics, sociology and even football.
- Class sketch at the Internet Movie Database
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