Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

The Ten Best Saturday Night Live Skits

Its been a while, I know, but I finally have another list complied. This has been a tough one to put together, since the show spans some 30 odd years. As a result, a lot of favourites have been left off the list. This is definitely one of those lists which could easily be expanded.

10. Celebrity Jeopardy
Host: Norm Macdonald, Oct. 23, 1999

Video here

With Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond as his nemesis Sean Connery, Celebrity Jeopardy gave us many great moments of poking fun at our favourite celebs. This segment in particular, which also had Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds (sorry, I mean Turd Ferguson), was exceptionally hilarious. Within the skit itself are so many great moment, from the ridiculously simple categories, to Connery’s insults, to the way he is able to manipulate the final Jeopardy screen. Comedic gold.

9. Samurai Delicatessen
Host: Buck Henry, Jan. 17, 1976

Video here

There was nothing necessarily groundbreaking about John Belushi’s samurai character, it was just really funny. It was reminiscent of more classic comedy, like Abbot and Costello or the Marx Brothers. It was just taking a silly concept, like a samurai running a sandwich shop, and playing it out to hilarious perfection.

8. Land Shark
Host: Candice Bergen, Nov. 8, 1975

Video here

One of SNL’s first reoccurring skits, Land Shark was first titled Jaws 2 and had the clever land shark (Chevy Chase) hunting women by visiting their homes under various guises. So stupid, so simple, so funny.

7. Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker
Host: Christina Applegate, May 8, 1993

Video here

He lived in a fan down by the river, and he was one of Chris Farley’s most memorable characters. This skit personifies Farley’s unique brand of humour in one bundle, combining self-deprecation with physical comedy. Great stuff. David Spade can’t even keep his composure watching his comedy partner go off.

6. Men’s Synchronized Swimming
Host: Billy Crystal, Oct. 6, 1984

Video here

The best skit from the 80’s era of SNL comes from Martin Short and Harry Shearer as men trying to get Men’s Synchronized Swimming into the Olympics. Even though one of them doesn’t swim. This has that classic Christopher Guest humour which would permeate his later films.

5. Dick in a Box
Host: Justin Timberlake, Dec. 16, 2006

Video here (viewer discretion advised)

SNL really tested where the line was with this digital short, with hilarious results. Such a great build up to such an unexpected punchline. This started off the “Lonely Island” videos which have been a staple for SNL over the past 5 or so years. This clip really does show that SNL still has the balls to do something really out there.

On a secondary note, this sketch proved to actually be the turning point in Justin Timberlake’s career, oddly enough. He proved that he was willing to make fun of himself and break his boyband image to the sake of comedy and acting. As a result, he’s started to become a serious player in the Hollywood scene. Because of Dick in a Box. Weird.

4. Wayne’s World
Host: Delta Burke, May. 11, 1991

Video here (not full video, sorry)

One of the most iconic and most popular reoccurring skits was Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in Wayne’s World. So popular that it created a lot of buzz when it was brought back as an encore on the show almost 20 years later! It spawned SNL’s best and most successful movie (sorry Blues Brothers) and was one of the gems of a very successful period for the show.
Many call the Aerosmith episode the most memorable of the Wayne’s World’s sketches, but I prefer the episode where Madonna shows up in the dream sequence, as that does a better job of encapsulating what the skit is about.

3. Buckwheat Sings
Host: Susan Saint James, Oct. 10, 1981

Video here

Even though you can’t really tell with his current track record, but Eddie Murphy was funny at one point. Here’s a good example with this commercial parody of Buckwheat from the Little Rascals attempting to sing.
Murphy was often involved in race tackling skits, and even though Buckwheat wasn’t centered around race, he was accused of stereotyping nonetheless. But SNL was never a show to shy from controversy, as long as there was humour.

2. More Cowbell
Host: Christopher Walken, Apr. 8, 2000

Video here

What can I say? I wonder if everyone in on this sketch had any idea it would o on to become one of the most memorable SNL sketches of all time. With both Christoper Walken as Bruce Dickenson, and Will Ferrell on the cowbell, this story of Blue Oyster Cult recording their hit Don’t Fear the Reaper his become a hilarious instant classic. The song has even reached to point where many can’t even listen to it anymore without thinking of the skit. Will Ferrell and company gave SNL fans a fever for more cowbell even years later.

1. Chippendale’s Audition
Host: Patrick Swayze, Oct. 27, 1990

Video here

Some of the best humour is often some of the simplest and most instinctual, like watching a fat guy dance. And when that fat guy is the irrepressible Chris Farley who is dancing in contrast to the “hunky’ Patrick Swayze, the gut reaction to laugh is that much stronger. This is one of SNL’s most memorable sketches ever, and has an even stronger touch of nostalgia with the knowledge that both of those guys are now gone. It was a genius pairing which led to what is perhaps the show’s most beloved sketch.

7 Responses to “The Ten Best Saturday Night Live Skits”

  1. I haven’t seen a lot of these but that Chippendale audition is a hoot!! Genius pairing indeed, I mean they didn’t have to do anything it’s already sooo funny to see ’em together. Too bad both Swayze and Farley are no longer with us 😦

  2. Martin Short….could he be any funnier !! Awesome and fresh view of a possible Olympic event of the future ??

  3. This is AWESOME! Thank you!

  4. Not a big Farley fan, but “Dick in a Box” and “Synchronized Swimming” are my top two, all-time. Others on my list: “Mastermind,” featuring Phil Hartman as an out-of-character, in-control Reagan; “Lord and Lady Douchebag,” from the last classic-era SNL episode with Buck Henry; “Jackie Rogers Jr.’s $100,000 Jackpot Wad”; the 2000 Presidential Debates (“strategery”); Dana Carvey as Ross Perot trying to get rid of Admiral Stockdale by driving him into the woods; Irvin Mainway’s Christmas Toys; the Sinatra Group; “Carsenio”; and “James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party.”

  5. Would have been cool if you had included even one sketch driven by a female cast member. Just one.

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