There are lots of iconic SNL sketches, sketches that have either gone down in history as the best of the best or become instant classics in the blink of an eye. Of course, humor is subjective, so what strikes me funny might not tickle your fancy and vice versa. Still, I've tried to find something hilarious out of every era of the long-running show. See what you think about these priceless SNL sketches and don't be afraid to share your own! (Lyndsie's note: SNL does not like anyone, ever, to share their videos, so some of these are a little meh; the author strongly suggests some serious Googling, even if you have to scour the SNL page!)
Sorry, this one is all for me. I know it's probably not one of the most priceless SNL sketches, but I listen to almost every incarnation of this one constantly. It doesn't even have to be Christmas. Horatio Sans is adorable, Jimmy Fallon is too cute for words, Tracy Morgan is precious, but Chris Kattan, on whom I've always had an inexplicable crush, really takes the cake. I love it when he peeks at the camera!
For me, nothing will ever beat Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd. Honestly, no one will ever beat Steve Martin, period. In the classic “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” sketches, these two funny men paved the way for Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell to awkwardly pick up women as the Roxbury Guys. But these two? These two still do it better than anyone. The Festrunk Brothers win the entire world. I mean, with bulges that big, who could resist them?
There were lots of fantastic Celebrity Jeopardy sketches, and lots of comedic moments within them. I mean, Winona Ryder as Bjork? Yes please. However, as long as it starred Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery against Will Ferrell's Alex Trebek, I'm a happy girl. Norm McDonald's Burt Reynolds comes close to the hilarious hatred between these two, but that's the real highlight.
Any time Eddie Murphy took on the role of Buckwheat from “Our Gang,” it was comedy gold. I sort of wish he'd host and reprise all of his best roles. No doubt there's lots of opportunities for a reunion of the Little Rascals. I never understand a word he sings, but whatever. It's Buckwheat!
Stuart Smalley's Daily Affirmations were just … so awkward. I always preferred Stuart to Pat, because he's just … he's so sad. But there's nothing ambiguous about his vulnerability; he's sweetly pathetic, yet he tries so hard. And you know what else? He's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him! And I like Al Franken. A lot.
Let me tell you something: it's always the right time for more cowbell. Sometimes, some of the best sketches focus not just on the players, but on the host. There's no denying that Will Ferrell's years on SNL created some of the most hilarious skits, but this one would not be the same without Christopher Walken. May I? AWS readers, I got a fever, and the only prescription … is MORE COWBELL.
I include this sketch for several reasons: it's hilarious, it's true, and it highlights another SNL Golden Age. The Golden Age of the funniest women in the world. I love the women who traditionally starred in the Mom Jeans sketches. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are like this generation's answer to Lucy and Ethel, and I've developed a girl crush on Maya Rudolph since seeing Bridesmaids. I miss this cast a lot. (Apologies for the video, though; I say, get thee to Hulu!)
I LIVE IN A VAN … DOWN BY THE RIVER! No one on SNL has ever done physical comedy like Chris Farley. He took serious risks. I think Matt Foley was the greatest motivational speaker in the entire world, and I would have happily joined him in his van down by the river. I particularly loved these sketches when David Spade played the smarmy son – because he does smarmy so well.
While Dana Carvey is famous for playing Garth (see below), he's not just a “with you as always is Garth” kind of guy. No, no, he merited fame on his own as the Church Lady. Isn't that special? Or could it be … Satan? I leave it up to you to decide for certain.
Did you think I'd leave the Blues Brothers off the list? I'm still debating on whether or not to include Samurai Hitman because it's kind of awful – funny, but awful – but Jake and Elwood? Belushi and Aykroyd? There's no question. They're on a mission.
You know who was really sexy? Patrick Swayze. You know who was even sexier? Chris Farley. I mean, seriously, if he was auditioning in front of you, wouldn't you want him to be your next Chippendale's dancer? No contest. Sorry, Patrick.
There have been many incarnations. Mike Myers is excellent. Robert Smigel is spot on. When John Goodman hosted, he was absolutely lovable. George Wendt, too, was just a Windy City dream come true. But, as always, Chris Farley as Todd always stole the show. Of course, the skit first aired with Joe Mantegna as the eponymous Bill Swerski, and that is just … I never would have thought that such a homegrown Italian boy could sound so perfectly perfect as a beer-chugging, sausage-swilling Chicago man. Let's hear it for … da Bears!
Wayne came, Wayne saw, Wayne conquered. Over time, this sketch birthed two movies and introduced Queen to a new generation. Wayne and Garth made it cool to live in your basement. Well … not really. I sometimes wonder if Tom Green ever would have gotten his own show if it wasn't for Wayne's World. Party on!
Although Superstar was just an awful movie (I loved it, naturally), the Mary Katherine Gallagher sketches were absolute brilliance. Until quite recently, there weren't a lot of strongly featured women on SNL, and hardly any of them were able to do down and dirty physical comedy. To that, Molly Shannon said “NO!” – and then she stuck her hands in her armpits, smelled them like that, and launched herself at a pile of folding chairs.
This? This is why Justin Timberlake is a genius SNL host. I know he wants to be a player for real, and that would be cool – if his writing is as on-point as his comic timing. If not, SNL just needs to jump on the ball and let him co-host with Jimmy Fallon all the time. As much as I love Alec Baldwin, I'll take these two as hosts any day. Oh my god, the falsetto!
Let me be clear: I could include almost any skit performed by The Lonely Island, because The Lonely Island is awesome. I adore Andy Samberg. I'll be honest, though, this is about the only SNL/The Lonely Island skit that isn't licensed out the butt, plus it also features the unique comedy styling of Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, and Justin Timberlake, so sit back and enjoy!
I know that people either really love or really hate Adam Sandler these days – but I love him, and have since a very tiny, very adorable bit part on The Cosby Show. I thought he was a highlight on SNL, whether he was the Herlihy Boy or singing opera. However, not many people realize that Adam is a really great singer. He paved the way for Jimmy Fallon and celebrated his Jewish heritage in the most classic song ever.
If Stuart's Daily Affirmations didn't do it for you, Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts will send you in the corner with a box of tissues and a carton of ice cream. I advise you to start following the Jack Handey Tumblr, not to mention his website. Just because he's not on SNL anymore doesn't mean you can't enjoy daily bouts of weird wisdom. Every time I hear one of these sketches, however, I miss Phil Hartman.
I include this for one very important, personal reason: Gilda Radner was actually my third or fourth cousin. Not close kin, of course, but my whole family loved her dearly long before she was famous (or entangled with Willy Wonka). She was one of the first really strong comediennes on SNL, and her legend lives on in every female player you enjoy watching today.
Alec Baldwin, whom I've mentioned several times already, is one of the best SNL hosts ever. This skit is so awkward and so awesome. Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon help make it. Those innocent, subdued voices, so sweetly giving way to all that innuendo. Who wouldn't want some Schweddy Balls? I hear they're awfully tasty!
SNL is an iconic show, it's been around forever. Some years the cast and the sketches are hit or miss, but most seasons have at least one great skit. Let me know your favorite SNL golden age, and pitch in with your very favorite sketches!
Please rate this article