The 10 Best ‘Saturday Night Live’ Moments That Weren’t Live

Hilarious, but more ‘Saturday Night' than ‘Live’
The 10 Best ‘Saturday Night Live’ Moments That Weren’t Live

For a show that has Live in its title, Saturday Night Live gets more than its fair share of laughs from sketches that aren’t performed before a live audience. And it didn’t just start with Lonely Island — SNL has been airing short comedy films from the get-go. Here are 10 classic sketches from the show’s nearly 50-year run that didn’t need bodies in the seats to bring the laughs… 

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Fall Preview

In the earliest days of Saturday Night Live, filmmaker and comic Albert Brooks was on board to contribute short films. The relationship was doomed from the start, thanks to Brooks’ penchant for turning in 13-minute opuses that didn’t exactly fit the show’s format. But Brooks still contributed some classics, like this ode to fall television schedules. Skip the preview for Medical Season and check out Brooks trying to convince two women to join him for group sex in the sitcom The Three of Us, a veteran who becomes an animal doctor in Black Vet and an all-child version of Death of a Salesman.

Don’t Look Back in Anger

In addition to Brooks, Gary Weis and Tom Schiller also contributed short films to the show during those first few years. Schiller’s La Dolce Gilda is a classic, but his tour de force was Don’t Look Back in Anger, featuring an aging John Belushi dancing on the graves of his castmates. “They all thought I’d be the first to go,” he joked. “I was one of those live-fast, die-young, real-good-looking-corpse types, you know. But I guess they were wrong. There they are, all of my friends. This is the Not Ready For Prime Time cemetery.”

Unfortunately, of course, those who thought Belushi would go first were right. 

Synchronized Swimming

“I watched the synchronized swimming on television in August. I was just fulminating about the outrage of these people, you know, getting the same medals as real athletes,” Harry Shearer says in SNL oral history Live from New York. “Dick (Ebersol) said, ‘You know, by the time we go on the air in mid-September, nobody will remember the Olympics,’ and I said, ‘We’ll make ’em remember.’”

Love Is a Dream

Schiller breaks our hearts once again with a perfectly swell film starring Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, two SNL legends who passed away too soon. “If you’ve never seen this,” says HuffPost’s Carol Hartsell, “get ready to cry.”

Wayne’s World’s Madonna Fantasy

Why is this Wayne’s World sketch totally excellent? We’re down for the integration of a live sketch with a filmed segment, Mike Myers penning a sketch so he could make out with Madonna at a time when she ruled the world, and Dana Carvey writhing in a black bodysuit that shows off his impressive unit. Party on, Garth. 

Lazy Sunday

Sure, many of us have seen “Lazy Sunday” a million times (it holds up!), but it’s arguably one of the top five most important SNL sketches ever, creating new relevance for an aging show in the digital era. 

Totino’s with Kristen Stewart

All of the Totino’s commercial spoofs are hilarious, with subservient Vanessa Bayer doing anything to please her hungry guys. But who’s pleasing Bayer? Kristen Stewart, that’s who. Marrying a Totino’s Super Bowl commercial with Blue Is the Warmest Color is surprising, erotic and hilarious. Beck Bennett can get his own freaking Tostino’s!

Three Sad Virgins

Please Don’t Destroy has taken the digital-short baton from Lonely Island and run with it, creating a series of pre-filmed segments that are among SNL’s most popular. The guys don’t need celebrity cameos to get laughs, but it’s hard to resist Taylor Swift joining in the emasculation of Ben, John and Martin. It doesn’t get more self-deprecating than this. 

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