If the ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ ‘SNL’ Sketch Had Originally Run in 2018 As Planned, Maybe We’d Be Done with It By Now

‘SNL’ insiders say that the biggest sketch of the year was originally planned for Jonah Hill’s hosting gig back in 2018
If the ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ ‘SNL’ Sketch Had Originally Run in 2018 As Planned, Maybe We’d Be Done with It By Now

After Ryan Gosling and the Saturday Night Live cast performed the now-legendary “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch on April 13th, some fans just kept laughing and laughing… and laughing…

It’s easy to see why the most popular sketch from SNL Season 49 has stayed on people’s minds for many weeks after it aired. The game of the “Beavis and Butt-Head” scene is stupidly simple — two men dressed up like the titular best friends from a cult-beloved 1990s cartoon derailing a serious scholarly discussion simply by sitting in the background isn’t going to go over anyone’s heads. The escalation is perfectly executed, as we’re first introduced to Beavis, then Butt-Head, then both together at an even pace throughout the six-minute sketch before four King of the Hill lookalikes take us home. 

And, of course, there’s the most important piece of the puzzle — the entire cast breaks down in laughter at different intervals during the scene. It’s a perfect formula for a classic SNL sketch, and, apparently, it’s been six years in the making, as revealed in the most recent and probably-not-last behind-the-scenes article about “Beavis and Butt-Head” coming from The Ankler.

According to the interview with SNL hairstylist Jodi Mancuso and makeup designer Louie Zakarian, whose brilliant work was obviously pivotal to the scene’s success, SNL writer Streeter Seidell and scene star Mikey Day first pitched “Beavis and Butt-Head” to be performed with Jonah Hill playing the former role back in a 2018 episode of SNL

If we’re not careful, the sketch that was five and a half years in the making will spend another five in our feeds.

During the talk, Mancuso admitted that a large part of why “Beavis and Butt-Head” didnt make it to air back in 2018 was because she “wasnt fully happy with the wigs,” and the next couple of tries to get the sketch to showtime were similarly frustrated by the exceptional and critical challenge of simulating distinctive cartoon hair on a live-action celebrity guest.

Zakarian also had to try multiple unsuccessful strategies to mold the two leads facial features before finding the exact right look, saying of his process, “I made this crazy little bridge that goes into his mouth, and the first time it didn’t lift his lip up enough. This time I went in and redid it and made it a little more prominent and made it pop a little more. Just having his lip have those braces and those teeth exposed, it really did help.”

Back on May 1st, we wrote about how, two and a half weeks after the sketch aired, it still dominated SNL discourse online, perhaps to the detriment of our collective enjoyment of the scene. Gosling had just recruited Mikey Day to reprise the role (and re-don the hard work done by Mancuso and Zakarian) in a bold-faced PR stunt in promotion of his film The Fall Guy, and Heidi Gardner, whose composure-collapse completed the derailing of the scene to the uproarious laughter of the in-studio audience, had recently lamented that her full break was fully unprofessional for a seasoned sketch veteran such as herself.

Today, two weeks after SNL concluded its 49th season, the lore of the “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch is still expanding, and it seems all-too-likely that the online SNL community will still be discussing the scene come next season’s premiere. It certainly shouldn’t have taken this long for arguably the two most important artists involved with the scene, Mancuso and Zakarian, to get their time in the spotlight, but the fact that the “Beavis and Butt-Head” news cycle is still going tells us that this will, inevitably, become one of those SNL sketches that gets referenced and repeated ad nauseam until we forget what about it made us laugh in the first place.

In 20 years, we’re going to see a 64-year-old Mikey Day appear in a burger commercial wearing Mancuso and Zakarian’s work à la Kristen Wiig’s “Target Lady” campaign. Let’s see who's huhuhu’ing then.


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