Saturday Night Live: 15 Criminally-Underrated Sketches
When you're pumping out eight sketches per week for almost 50 years, you're bound to have some great writing and performing slip under the radar. These are our selections for 15 SNL sketches that people just don't talk about enough. We ask that you watch them all and spread the gospel to give'm the credit they deserve.
Melissa McCarthy’s first SNL hosting spot will always remain one of my favorite episodes of all time. McCarthy’s raw comedic talent makes every sketch hilarious but especially this ‘Hidden Valley Taste Test’ sketch, where McCarthy’s physicality and commitment to the bit shine through.
Astronaut Jones was a recurring Tracy Morgan sketch that always included his entire theme song, an interaction with a sexy alien, and a sexual comment from Morgan to end the sketch. Its stupidity and simplicity make it a bit that should be remembered and worshipped today. Watch it here.
The Falconer: Vegas
Will Forte may be the king of underrated sketches on Saturday Night Live. His tendency to lean into the absurd and nonsensical make his sketches feel ahead of their time. This addition to the story of his recurring sketch, ‘The Falconer’ follows the falcon’s hijinks in Vegas, completely leaving the original plot of the sketch behind.
J-Pop America Fun Time Now!
Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer could have rocked a Key and Peele-style sketch show, and you can quote me on that. This sketch highlights their ability to play characters who are completely un-self-aware, as the two leaders of a Japanese culture club at their university. The comedy stems not from making fun of Japanese culture but from making fun of white people who claim Japanese culture as their own because let’s be honest, they’ve had it coming.
This sketch feels like it was taken right from an episode of I Think You Should Leave, but it was instead released all the way back in 2013. Forte portrays the creepiest man you’ve ever seen on a date, complete with the mention of the lambs he slaughters daily.
A bit that really could have become a great steadily recurring sketch is that of the “mermaids” scene from 2016. In a classic rule of threes/“Maharelle sisters” style reveal, Kate McKinnon plays the daughter of a blob-fish, contrasted with the beauty of her fellow mermaids. It would have been great to see her return as the daughter of different other kinds of sea life, which will be one of my innovative ideas when I go to my job interview to replace Lorne.
This sketch with Vanessa Bayer and Paul Rudd is such a hidden gem that even YouTube hasn’t found out about it yet. The sketch centers around a meeting between divorce lawyers and their clients, but the former couple can’t seem to help falling back in love whenever Fleetwood Mac’s “I Don’t Want To Know” comes on. It excels in highlighting Rudd and Bayer’s weird ass dance moves. Watch it here.
Mr. Riot Films
A clip I show everyone when it’s my turn to throw something on YouTube with a group of friends. This sketch seeps everything great about Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s chemistry and lampoons YouTubers (and now TikTokers), who use hidden cameras to change the world one person at a time.
This sketch written by Conan O’Brien took almost a year to get approved for air and says the word “penis” almost 50 times. You can really feel the Conan in this bit’s silliness, and it will undoubtedly become one of your new favorites if you missed it.
Yankees Stadium Opening Day
You may have thought you’ve seen all the best Chris Farley sketches, but have you seen this one featuring Farley as Andrew Giuliani on Yankees opening day? I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t watch a full SNL feature film adaptation about this character, whose sole purpose is to get hit in the face with baseballs and scarf-down cheese fries.
Tim Robinson’s time on SNL was mild at best, possibly because his ideas were so strange they didn’t appeal to a wide-enough audience, or because his sketches are better suited for a pre-recorded setting. This sketch, however, shows just how fun the former cast member could be when they let his freak flag fly with Jason Sudeikis. “Gimme gimme gimme the ball because I’m gonna dunk it!”
Brenda The Waitress
This sketch is mind-blowingly impressive. No checking cue cards for lines, non-stop word play, and turns of phrase along with delivering lines at lightning speed. It’s like watching a heavily choreographed scene from a play instead of a live sketch. Jan Hooks and Alec Baldwin make it look easy, although it’s anything but.
Googly Eyes Gardener
This sketch follows a hyper-anxious gardener who is terrified of plants, so he glues googly eyes onto all of them so he can look them in the eye. The definition of weird but wonderful.
Chris For President
Kyle Mooney’s character, Chris Fitzpatrick, was a transplant from his earlier work on Good Neighbor, and SNL really gave him the creative control the character needs to be effective. Terrible, outdated camera technology, PowerPoint slides of information, and music most likely downloaded from LimeWire combine to make this out-of-touch sketch hilarious. Watch it here.
Christmas In Australia
This lost Will Ferrell gem features Ferrell and a kangaroo boxing then making love. Its premise comes out of nowhere and Hugh Jackman’s charm sells the bit in a way no one else could.
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