By Beth Coyle
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
Saturday Night Live will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this Sunday. Here are my top 10 SNL sketches. (In no particular order)
Starring Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley, this sketch shows two men auditioning for the male strip club “Chippendales” with the joke being how much more physically fit Swayze is than Farley. This sketch includes some of the best dance moves I have ever seen and is one of Farley’s best.
This is easily one of the best-acted sketches in Saturday Night Live history. Starring Jan Hooks and Alec Baldwin, Hooks plays Brenda, the waitress who loves her job until cowboy (Baldwin) comes walking in, and they start to fight about breakfast specials. The sketch continues in a fast back and forth between the two, with short breaks when Brenda goes up to the cash register to talk with her coworker and other customers. The skit ends with the great line given by Baldwin: “You shouldn’t give out free pie with breakfast. Makes you look cheap.” leaving Hooks crying on the counter. Simply one of the best.
Debbie Downer is one of the few sketches where all the characters completely break. Featuring Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer she somehow owns the sketch while simultaneously being the worst person there. Her depressing comments on Feline AIDS and Mad Cow Disease damper everyone’s trip to Disneyland. By the end of the sketch the actors can barely get through it because they are laughing so hard at how depressing Debbie is. *wha-wha*
With Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond and a slew of incredible impressions, I can’t choose just one Celebrity Jeopardy to call a favorite. Each show has just the right amount of Alex Trebek getting annoyed, Sean Connery making jokes about Trebek’s mother and celebrities barely being able to play the game. Suck it, Trebek.
I can’t tell which is better in this sketch, Will Ferrell’s incredibly ill-fitting clothes, the band’s annoyance or Christopher Walken’s enthusiasm for the cowbell. This sketch has one of my absolute favorite lines: “I got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.”
This sketch stars Will Ferrell and Cheri O’ Teri, (one of the most underrated female SNL cast members) as high school cheerleaders who desperately want to make the team. Making up insanely catchy songs to cheer to and rather, creative chants, Spartan cheerleaders is one of the most energetic and well-timed sketches in SNL history.
7. “Buh-Weet sings”
Ah, Buh-Weet, the hillbilly releases an album that he can’t pronounce singing songs he can’t pronounce. The comedic genius of this sketch is that they let Buh-Weet (Eddie Murphy) sing, and then show the title of the song, giving the joke time to sink in with the audience, something SNL should do more often.
8. “It’s Pat”
Is Pat a boy or a girl? Who knows? It’s Pat! Julia Sweeney is unrecognizable in this sketch which is part of what makes it great. The audience truly does not know if Pat is a man or a woman. Genius.
Tina Fey plays the ditsy Republican. Amy Poehler plays the stern Democrat. What more could a viewer ask for? With bits including “I can see Russia from my house” and Tina posing for the camera, this goes down as one of the funniest sketches because of the spot-on impressions and the incredible jokes.
I know I said this list wasn’t in order, but I saved the best for last. Matt Foley is a Motivational Speaker hired by a suburban family after the cleaning lady finds marijuana in the living room. Foley (played by Chris Farley) explains to the kids what will happen if they keep using drugs. They will be living in a van down by the river. This sketch incorporates physical comedy and just the right amount of crazy, making this one of Farley’s best.