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50 of the best 'SNL' skits

  • 50 of the best 'SNL' skits

    From the moment it premiered on NBC in 1975, "Saturday Night Live" quickly became one of the most loved comedy shows on television. With hilarious and often bold mockery of anything and everything—not to mention anyone and everyone—the satirical skits that make up the late-night series have become an iconic part of American television. No one is safe from the sometimes savage bite of SNL humor, from famous actors or musicians to politicians and world leaders.

    The series has also served as a stepping stone to fame, with some of the most successful comedic actors in the entertainment industry starting out as featured performers. Former SNL cast members include Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler, to name a few. Some famed skits of the show have also branched off to become feature films in their own right, including movies such as “Coneheads,” “MacGruber,” and “The Ladies’ Man.”

    Now entering its 45th year and still going strong, "Saturday Night Live" is one of the longest-running television programs in the United States. Many of the skits and parodies created inside the writer’s room have become deeply ingrained in American pop culture, making it difficult to determine which ones are the most popular and best remembered.

    Using data and research from various sources, including sites such as IMDb and NBC, as well as fan pages and celebrity interviews, Stacker has compiled a list of some of the best skits to grace the SNL stage. These include the sketches that have had the largest cultural comedic impact, those that bring humor to more serious social issues, and political satire at its finest. Added to that are skits that generated Emmy awards for the actors, and several funny pieces that have become a historic part of our social fabric. 

    Take a look at Stacker’s compilation of the top 50 "Saturday Night Live" skits, presented in no particular order or ranking. Read on to see if your favorite made the cut.

    You may also like: Best 'Simpsons' episodes of all time

  • Rosanne Rosannadanna

    - Host: Steve Martin
    - Season: 3
    - Episode: 55

    Created by the late Gilda Radner, who was an SNL cast member from 1977 to 1980, Rosanne Rosannadanna was a character featured on the “Weekend Update” segment of the show. Using the catchphrase “It’s always something,” Radner’s character would editorialize on various social issues, which would inevitably segue into inappropriate discussions about her personal hygiene and bodily functions. Radner passed away from cancer in 1989 at 42.

     

  • Two Wild and Crazy Guys

    - Host: Steve Martin
    - Season: 3
    - Episode: 47

    Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd portrayed “two wild and crazy” Czechoslovakian brothers looking to date American women, or “foxes” as they called them. In recurring sketches, the duo would visit various hangouts to try to pick up girls, despite not understanding cultural or social norms. They made their debut in season three and popped up several more times over the years.

  • The Olympia Café (Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger!)

    - Host: Robert Klein
    - Season: 3
    - Episode: 56

    The Olympia Café skit, commonly known as “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger,” was supposedly based on a real Chicago restaurant that cast members used to visit when they worked at Second City, an improv club where many of the SNL cast got their start. The café only sold three things; cheeseburgers, chips, and Pepsi. John Belushi played the owner and was hilarious in his responses to customers trying to order anything else.

  • The Nerds (Lisa Loopner)

    - Host: Robert Klein
    - Season: 3
    - Episode: 56

    In another stellar performance by Gilda Radner, nerdy Lisa Loopner and her boyfriend Todd, played Bill Murray, brought to light those awkward teenage moments that were eminently relatable. Lisa’s mother, Mrs. Loopner, played by Jane Curtin, usually wandered around in a housecoat, making comments about her “wifely duties” to her late husband, while Todd showed his affection for Lisa by giving her “noogies” or knuckle rubs on her head.

  • Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood

    - Host: Charlene Tilton
    - Season: 6
    - Episode: 117

    Like many SNL alumni who became household names, Eddie Murphy wasn’t well-known when he became a cast member. His recurring skit, “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood,” was an inner-city version of the children's show, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” and touched on real-life social and economic issues of the time. Murphy left SNL in 1984 and starred in movies such as “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Trading Spaces.”

  • Emily Litella

    - Host: Robert Klein
    - Season: 1
    - Episode: 5

    Gilda Radner’s comedic genius shines in her portrayal of the elderly and often-confused Emily Litella, a recurring guest on the show’s “Weekend Update” segment. Litella was hard of hearing and often misconstrued the news reports, going on and on about a nonsensical issue, such as “Eagle Rights” vs. “Equal Rights” until corrected by anchor Chevy Chase. Her response to the correction was always, “Oh. Never mind.”

  • The Coneheads

    - Host: Ralph Nader
    - Season: 2
    - Episode: 35

    Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, and Laraine Newman were a family of cone-headed aliens trying to unobtrusively live on earth, somehow fitting in despite their strange ways and large conical heads. This skit debuted during season two and was a recurring sketch for a few years. The concept made its way to the big screen in 1993 with the movie “Coneheads,” which starred original actors Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin.

  • Wayne’s World

    - Host: Leslie Nielsen
    - Season: 14
    - Episode: 259

    One of the most popular skits to come from "Saturday Night Live" was “Wayne’s World,” which starred Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as young rock-n-rollers Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. In the sketch, the pair ran a public-access cable show that they broadcast from Wayne’s parent’s basement. The recurring sketch spawned a host of what became common colloquialisms, such as “schwing” or “we’re not worthy.” Another skit that ended up being made into a movie, “Wayne’s World” premiered in 1992, followed by the sequel “Wayne’s World 2” in 1993. Both movies starred original SNL cast members Mike Myers and Dana Carvey.

  • Lazy Sunday

    - Host: Jack Black
    - Season: 31
    - Episode: 594

    A digital short starring cast members Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell, “Lazy Sunday” was created by the comedy troupe The Lonely Island and premiered on SNL Dec. 17, 2005. A musical rap piece in which Samberg and Parnell rhyme about how they plan to spend their Sunday eating cupcakes and seeing the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia,” the short became an overnight internet sensation when it appeared on YouTube, garnering over 2 million views within just a few days.

  • Celebrity Jeopardy

    - Host: Martin Short
    - Season: 22
    - Episode: 414

    A parody of the popular game show, Celebrity Jeopardy first aired on Dec. 7, 1996, and starred Will Ferrell as host Alex Trebek. The recurring skit featured obnoxious guests like Sean Connery, played by Darrell Hammond, who would taunt Trebek relentlessly until he lost his cool. There were 15 Celebrity Jeopardy sketches between 1996 and 2015, with a variety of famous names appearing in each skit.

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