Tonight I present part 3 of my top 25 SNL sketches series, including numbers 10-14.
14. Roxbury Guys (with Jim Carrey)
from episode 21.20 – Jim Carrey, Original Air Date 05/18/1996
Of all the SNL sketches that would eventually get turned into movies, this classic bit featuring Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, and a rotating host seems like the least likely candidate. However something about the simple premise – a bunch of guys club hopping looking to “score” set to Haddaway’s “What is Love” – just clicks. This particular version of this sketch was not the first nor the last, and while Tom Hanks, Sylvester Stalone, and Cameron Diaz put their own spins on the third character, it is the performance of Jim Carrey that pushes this sketch into legendary status… as well as the increasing absurdity of the locations that the brothers frequent. This sketch also gets bonus points for having 1995 era cell phones in it.
13. The French Chef
from episode 4.08 – Eric Idle, Original Air Date 12/09/1978
I think I saw this absurdly hilarious sketch on TV when I was younger, and frankly I’m surprised it didn’t scar me in any way. That being said, one of the greatest strengths of early SNL was physical comedy – it was present in the earlier Belushi Samurai sketch, and it’s equally present here in Dan Aykroyd’s wonderful send up of cooking host Julia Child complete with a cleverly situated blood hose and perhaps one of the greatest understatements in sketch comedy history: “I’ve cut the dickens out of my finger.”
12. Bill Clinton at McDonald’s
from episode 18.08 – Tom Arnold, Original Air Date 12/05/1992
Nowadays Darrell Hammond is known as perhaps the best Bill Clinton impersonator around, however during his first few years in office he was played by Phil Hartman, who did an equally great job. However probably the sketch that both captured Clinton’s mannerisms and public persona is this gem from before he was even elected president. The best part is the self-prophesizing line about there being a lot of things he won’t tell Mrs Clinton about, several years before the Lewinsky scandal.
from episode 4.15 – Margot Kidder, Original Air Date 03/17/1979
There have been many of these segments on Weekend Update over the years, but it was Dan Aykroyd who popularized the standard rebuttal of “Jane, you ignorant slut,” delivered in a deadpan tone that only Aykroyd could pull off. On top of that, his response is some of the best writing to ever appear on the show.
10. Wayne’s World with Aerosmith
from episode 15.13 – Tom Hanks, Original Air Date 02/17/1990
Wayne’s World is another iconic SNL sketch, and it was tough choosing between this one and the similarly amazing Madonna Dream installment that parodies her “Justify My Love” video, but in the end I had to go with this one, simply because Mike Myers and Dana Carvey actually join Aerosmith at the end in playing the Wayne’s World theme song. Oh, and Tom Hanks is in it, too.