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September 4, 2015

Top 35 Best 'Saturday Night Live' Skits of All Time

by Kim Potts, posted Oct 14th 2010 3:00PM
Saturday Night Live skitsHappy 35th anniversary, 'SNL'! Yes, the groundbreaking sketch comedy series premiered 35 years ago this week (on October 11, 1975, to be exact), which got us thinking about the show's all-time funniest, most memorable sketches, recurring and one-off skits -- the 35 best, appropriately enough.

The list comprises everything from the iconic 'Blues Brothers' sketch to Eddie Murphy's Buckwheat impression to newer digital shorts like 'Lazy Sunday.'

The toughest thing about compiling the list was keeping it to only 35. And instead of a countdown, we decided to present the list in chronological order, to demonstrate how the show has evolved over the years.

Do you agree with our picks? Someone we left off? Maybe you're a devotee of Toonces, and can't believe the driving cat didn't make the cut? Or David Spade's "Buh-bye!" guy? Vinny Vedecci? Hans and Franz? Debbie Downer? The Lovers? Doug and Wendy Whiner? Master Thespian? Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer?

Make sure to sound off in the comments if your favorite skits are MIA.

'Land Shark'
Original Airdate: Nov. 8, 1975
Starring: Chevy Chase and various cast members and guests
The Sketch Sitch: 'Jaws' was a summer movie hit and people were freaking out about alleged shark sightings, so 'SNL,' in its fourth episode ever, introduced this spoof, about another panic: The Land Shark. Disguising himself as a delivery man for flowers or Candygrams, Land Shark lured young women to their front doors, only to deny that he was the Land Shark and then eat them when they foolishly believed him and opened the door. So persistent in pop culture is the Land Shark that, 35 years later, people are still repeating the bit, even some who've never seen any of the original sketches.

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'Samurai Futaba'
Original Airdate: Dec. 13, 1975
Starring: John Belushi
The Sketch Sitch: Like some of 'SNL's' best skits, this one had a simple premise: Belushi was a samurai, who, traveling through space and time with his sword, ended up performing several jobs where you would not expect to find a samurai. Like Samurai tailor ... Samurai bellhop ... Samurai deli worker ... Samurai psychiatrist ... 'Samurai Night Fever' and, in a nod to 'Animal House,' 'Samurai B.M.O.C.,' in which Samurai Futaba must convince Dean Bynum (Buck Henry) that he is qualified to graduate from college.

'The Blues Brothers'
Original Airdate: Jan. 17, 1976
Starring: John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd
The Sketch Sitch: The Blues Brothers were officially born after pals Belushi and Ackroyd, who had bonded over a love of blues and jazz, performed the Slim Harpo tune 'I'm a King Bee' (while still in their Killer Bees costumes from an earlier skit) in a Jan. 1976 skit. They would go on to form a real band, with real musicians, and create a fake background for their Jake and Elwood characters, who would go on to achieve real success with the double platinum album 'Briefcase Full of Blues' in 1978 and the John Landis-directed 1980 hit flick 'Blues Brothers.' Only Belushi's 1982 death derailed the band's future, though his brother Jim, as well as John Goodman, have stepped in to play Ackroyd's cohorts in subsequent 'Blues Brothers' projects.

'Consumer Probe: Irwin Mainway'
Original Airdate: Dec. 11, 1976
Starring: Dan Ackroyd and Candice Bergen
The Sketch Sitch: Nothin' says Merry Christmas to a child like a Pretty Peggy Ear-Piercing Set, Mr. Skin Grafter, a General Tron's Secret Police Confession Kit and Doggie Dentist, all fine, fine products from the Mainway Toys collection, as presented by Irwin Mainway himself. Bergen plays the reporter who grills old Ir about the safety of his kiddie fare (which also includes the Johnny Switchblade doll that's really a doll of The Fonz with little switchblades coming out of his arms), and he lamely, but hilariously, tries to show her that even the most seemingly safe toys, like a sponge ball, can kill a kid. We think about Irwin and his Mainway Toys' Bag O' Glass product every time we see that "Shards O' Glass Freeze Pops" PSA.

'The Coneheads'
Original Airdate: Jan. 15, 1977
Starring: Dan Ackroyd, Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman
The Sketch Sitch: It's one of those simple ideas that just worked because it was so silly and fun, and because, haven't we all had neighbors so wacky they seemed like they were from another planet? The Coneheads, of course, really were, though, even though they insisted they were from Remulak, a small town in France. "Consuming mass quantities" took up much of their time, as the 'SNL' skits spun off into a movie, a comic book, an animated special and a song, 'Conehead,' by Frank Zappa.

'Roseanne Rosannadanna'
Original Airdate: Oct. 29, 1977
Starring: Gilda Radner
The Sketch Sitch: The hair, the accent, the hair ... the 'Weekend Update' editorialist attempted to tackle the issues of the day, via answering letters from viewer Richard Feder, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, but it always devolved, hilariously, into rambling chatter about Roseanne Rosannadanna's encounters with celebrities and some disgusting bodily function, like the naked Dr. Joyce Brothers and a little ball of sweat that's stuck on her nose. "It's always something," as Roseanna Rosannadanna would say when 'Update' co-host Jane Curtin attempted to reign her back in.

'Olympia Restaurant'
Original Airdate: Jan. 28, 1978
Starring: John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and various other cast members and guests
The Sketch Sitch: It was a Greek diner where you could order just three items: Pepsi (no Coke!), chips and a "cheezeborger, cheezeborger, cheezeborger." The sketch was inspired by the Billy Goat Tavern restaurant in Chicago, was named in homage to a diner Belushi's father once operated and has inspired a fast food chain -- Cheeburger, Cheeburger -- where, as the signs say, you can't order Coke. Only Pepsi. (But you can get fries).

'Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood'
Original Airdate: Feb. 21, 1981
Starring: Eddie Murphy
The Sketch Sitch: Mister Robinson lived in a considerably grittier 'hood than did Mister Rogers, as in kiddie show host Fred Rogers, who was reportedly a big fan of Murphy's spoof. Most installments revolved around Mr. Robinson's attempts to hide from his landlord in order to avoid getting evicted, all while teaching his viewers important words like "scum" and "scumbucket" and how to get things for free. "See what these are, boys and girls? They're drums. That's a beautiful instrument, you know. You know where drums come from? Africa! You know where these drums come from? Smokey Robinson was at the Apollo Theater, and left his van open in the back of the place. I ripped him off! I wonder how Smokey is gonna sound with no percussion?"

'Prose and Cons'
Original Airdate: Oct. 3, 1981
Starring: Eddie Murphy
The Sketch Sitch: America's finest writers don't necessarily come from high-fallutin' universities, this sketch, in the form of a documentary produced by Norman Mailer, argues. Sometimes they come from America's penal system, as in the case of Tyrone Green, a murderer who's written a lovely, prison contest-winning poem, 'Images,' about his landlord. His dead landlord: "Dark and lonely on the summer night/Kill my landlord, kill my landlord/Watchdog barking ... Do he bite?/Kill my landlord, kill my landlord ... C-I-L-L ... My land-lord."

'Ebony and Ivory'
Original Airdate: May 22, 1982
Starring: Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo
The Sketch Sitch: Remember Piscopo? Remember when he was funny? It almost always involved a collaboration with Murphy, as in this sketch, when Piscopo's Frank Sinatra meets up with Murphy's Stevie Wonder for a little cover of Paul McCartney and Wonder's 'Ebony and Ivory,' with Sinatra's unique views on racial harmony. Sample lyrics from the Sinatra version: "You are blind as a bat, and I have sight!/Side by side, you are my amigo,
Negro/Let's not fiiiiiiiight!"

'The Gumby Christmas Special'
Original Airdate: Dec. 11, 1982
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Gary Kroeger
The Sketch Sitch: Merry Christmas, damnit! Murphy's Gumby wasn't kid-friendly; his Gumby was usually chomping on a cigar and railing at how he didn't get the respect he deserved from his showbiz cohorts. And in the Christmas special, though the network has finally given him a primetime spot, he's still upset that "I've been sitting in my living room watching specials by nobodies like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for years. Hey, Rudy: Drop dead, baby!" Like most holiday TV specials, Gumby also had guests on his show, namely Donny (Kroeger) and Marie Osmond (Louis-Dreyfus), who get a little, well, flirty, while singing 'Blue Christmas' together. Actually, a lot flirty ... they start making out near the punch bowl, forcing Gumby to break up their holly, jolly fun. "Donny and Marie! Hey, hey, hey, cut it out! Is this how you kids go Hawaiian? Give me a break here!"

'John David Stutts'
Original Airdate: March 19, 1983
Starring: Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo
The Sketch Sitch: This brilliant poke at network news and psycho celeb stalkers (i.e., John Hinkley and Mark David Chapman) revolved around Stutts, the assassin of Buckwheat (both played by Murphy). After Buckwheat's funeral, Ted Koppel (Piscopo) rolls out a profile of Stutts, who, it turns out, wasn't really a surprising killer; he'd been voted "Most Likely to Kill Buckwheat" in his high school yearbook, and he was the president of the Future Assassins of America. And when Koppel asks Stutts' tailor, Saul, if he believes Stutts really killed the 'Little Rascals' star, Saul replies, "Oh, yes, definitely. That's all he ever talked about. Why, just the other day, he comes in and he says, 'Saul, make me a new suit. I'm going to kill Buckwheat, and I want to look good on television." For those who haven't seen, or don't remember the sketch, make sure to check out the Lee Harvey Oswald-esque ending.

<< Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 >>


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"What is the difference between a sketch and a skit?
A sketch and a skit are essentially the exact same thing, but there is a vast difference in the way the terms are used in comedy terminology. A skit is usually used like this: 'Oh, last night the Cub Scouts put on the cutest little skit at their meeting!' or 'Your grandmother did so well in her skit in the Senior Follies.' A skit is for amateurs; sketches are for professionals."


May 26 2013 at 11:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the chris farley skit on "living in a trailer down on the river"

November 03 2012 at 10:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Flavio Paschoal

LOL! , 'John David Stutts', the best episode of all time! Where is Steve Martin's "wild & crazy guy"?

October 23 2012 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All of the videos, except the last one are restricted to viewers in United States, although my people in country have been able to watch (Live) Saturday Night Live as long as I can remember. Since your website is available form an international audience, please either restrict your website so that no one outside the United States can stumble upon it, or replace the links videos so that like the last video, your audience can view them all.

Thank you.

January 20 2012 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Waht about Will Ferrell's skit "The Spartans", Arianna (Cheri Oteri) and Craig (Will Ferrell)?--super hyper and exuberant cheerleaders--Hillarious...

June 30 2011 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is there a posting for the "Ghost Hunter" skit, that featured a thermal camera
catching a giant fart from the lead "ghosthunter?

February 24 2011 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where's Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute!!

November 30 2010 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where's Fred Garvin, Make Prostitute!!

November 30 2010 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rosemary Hirsch

The skits mentioned in your article were in the past and were hilarious;I use to stay at home to watch SNL. However, today the show is boring and is living on its past glory. I believe that SNL's days are numbered; there is no new consistent talent.

October 23 2010 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You left out the one where Gilda Radner was acting like a cocaine addict ala Pati Smith on a movie set with Dan Ackroyd. Funniest ever.

October 19 2010 at 2:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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