The SNL Funny 115
Entries 29-16

29. Woodbridge High School Student Theater Showcase - 11/14/15 (Host: Elizabeth Banks)

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Comments:  One of the things I have noticed about the current SNL cast is that it seems like a lot of them probably grew up as high school theater geeks.  Which totally explains the spirit behind this sketch, which is about the douchiest most self-important student acting troupe in the history of high school.  This is one of those sketches that, when I show it to friends of mine who have experience as stage actors, they always laugh their asses off because they can catch all the cheats and subtle little stage moves that the actors are doing.  And that's why I say, I can tell that most of the current SNL cast probably used to be theater geeks.  "Woodbridge High School" is more or less just a love letter to what it is to be a part of a high school acting troupe.  There are all sorts of subtle little visual jokes flying around in there that only other stage actors will catch.

They have done this sketch (Woodbridge High School) a couple of times now on SNL, and this one (with Elizabeth Banks) has been my favorite of the ones they have done.  But I imagine they will probably manage to top it in the future.  This is probably the best recurring sketch SNL has at the moment, we'll see where they are able to go with it.

28. WWE Promo Shoot - 3/28/15 (Host: Dwayne Johnson)

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Comments:  Dwayne Johnson is without question one of the most natural performers to have ever hosted Saturday Night Live.  Every single time he hosts, he blows me away with how easy he makes it look. And no Dwayne Johnson SNL sketch has ever been better than this one, where he plays psychologically destructive wrestler "Koko Watchout" during a WWE promo shoot. 

This is one of those sketches that gets funnier every single time you watch it.  Watch how good Dwayne Johnson is in it, and watch how much fun he is having out there.  In fact, I don't think even Will Ferrell could have played that role any better than Dwayne Johnson did.  But Dwayne isn't the only great actor in this sketch, watch Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam and some of the subtle little stuff they are doing.  Watch the way that Bobby reacts to stuff and the way he sells all of Koko's jokes.  This is just an all around fantastic live SNL sketch.

Like I said, every single time I watch this sketch, I appreciate it more.  Like Bobby's Trashyard Mutt character says, "That was soooo intricate!"  It's just Dwayne Johnson in the role he was born to play (and spent years actually playing in real life), and it's one of those golden little SNL sketches where everything just sort of clicks.  I can't recommend this dark little gem of a sketch enough.  I JUST CATFISHED YOUR ASS!!!  YOU SPANKED IT TO YOUR LONG LOST DAUGHTER!!!!

27. Mokiki and the Sloppy Swish - 11/10/12 (Host: Anne Hathaway)

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Comments:  Mokiki is one of those songs that SNL did a couple of years ago that was catchy enough to catch on with the pop culture world in general, as it became a crossover thing immediately after it aired on SNL.  I've seen Mokiki memes, I've seen references to it on other websites.  It is absolutely one of the more famous things to come out of SNL in the past couple of years.  And meanwhile all it is is Taran Killam doing a stupid dance to the beat of some sort of a Caribbean song while Kenan Thompson narrates.  Yet here it is, one of the catchiest things to come out of SNL in the 2010's, and something that Time Magazine even once called "inexplicably entertaining."

I happen to love Mokiki, even if some people (like my wife) think it is annoying.  But then again, I've loved just about everything that Taran Killam and Anne Hathaway have ever done on Saturday Night Live.  So you'll forgive me for considering Mokiki to be one of my little guilty pleasure favorites.  I happen to think this whole sketch is awesome.

P.S.  Taran Killam once admitted in an interview that Mokiki is based on an actual song he heard on the radio that he thought was catchy.  Here is the inspiration for Mokiki if you want to hear it for yourself.

26. Jammies (The Tizzle Wizzle Show) - 12/19/09 (Host: James Franco)

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Comments:  Well, we had SNL taking down Dora the Explorer a couple of entries ago, so why not also include the time when they went after Yo Gabba Gabba?  This is one of the darker Digital Shorts that the Lonely Island guys ever produced, but at the same time it's also one of the most cheerful and the most catchy.  Oh, and it also involves a lot of pills and knives.

I should add that this is probably also my kids' all time favorite SNL sketch.  They watch it all the time.  Yes, I apparently have some really dark kids.

25. Pantene Commercial - 4/7/12 (Host: Sofia Vergara)

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Comments:  Kate McKinnon is the most recent of all the big SNL standout stars, and like all Saturday Night Live stars, she had one big sketch at the start of her career that sort of served as her initial breakout.  And here it is.  The infamous Pantene commercial when she stars as Penelope Cruz alongside Sofia Vergara.  Nothing particularly complicated about this sketch, it's just Kate trying to pronounce a bunch of big long scientific words while speaking in Penelope Cruz's accent.  It's hilarious.  In fact, it's almost impossible to watch this sketch and not laugh. 

I'll be honest, Kate McKinnon hasn't always been a big favorite of mine, and it's mostly because she spent the majority of her first season on SNL just staring into the camera and mugging with those big old crazy eyes.  But she got better.  She got a LOT better.  Once she settled down and she figured out her niche, she quickly became one of the stars (arguably even THE star) of the current SNL cast.  Nowadays she is probably the biggest sure thing for a laugh in every episode.  But it all started with this, the famous Pantene commercial.   This was her breakout moment.

24. MySpace Seminar - 5/13/06 (Host: Julia Louis-Dreyfus)

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Comments: Yay, SNL is going back to the pedophile humor!  As you can imagine, the minute a sketch is going to be about creepy middle aged child molesters, sure enough, there is Will Forte in a mustache, front and center.  It's the role he was born to play.

If you're not familiar with the joke in this sketch, when MySpace first came out in the early 2000's, there were allegations that all it was was a place for middle aged men to hook up with underage teens.  MySpace spent years trying to battle those allegations, to the point that when I linked this sketch from my MySpace pop culture blog back in 2007, I was 75% sure that MySpace was going to delete my account because you weren't supposed to joke about this stuff on there back then.  It was strictly forbidden.

In any case, I love this sketch, and I love the performances in it, and I love that Will Forte might not even be the creepiest of the child molesters in the cast.  It sounds hard to believe, but Horatio Sanz or Seth Meyers might actually play a sleazier, creepier pedophile than Will Forte does.  And hey, there's a very young Jason Sudeikis as an uncredited extra in the back!

23. Maine Justice - 12/8/12 (Host: Jamie Foxx)

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Comments:  Alright, now we're talking.  Maine Justice.  Now we're moving into the truly elite stuff.

Maine Justice is one of the most bizarre sketches that SNL has ever done, and it is maybe the only sketch on this list that I would rank up there with Potato Chip Thief in terms of just plain sheer weirdness.  Although that might only be because Jason Sudeikis appears to be playing the exact same character here that he played in Potato Chip Thief.  He seems to be playing the exact same overacted southern dignitary, only, instead of being a distinguished Georgia wannabe astronaut, this time around he is a distinguished Maine superior court judge.  In other words, this is one of those sketches you just sort of have to see to believe.

The reason I put Maine Justice so high on my countdown is because it has an interesting story behind it.  Apparently Jason Sudeikis wrote this sketch years before he ever was hired by SNL.  He wrote it, and it was one of his favorites, but for some reason he was never able to convince Lorne Michaels to put it on the air.  Apparently the idea of a Maine courthouse where everyone speaks in Louisiana accents and talks about alligators and shrimp gumbo was a little too out there, even for Saturday Night Live.  But Sudeikis persisted.  He believed in this sketch with all of his heart.  So he fought for it, and he fought for it, and he even stayed on SNL a year after his contract ended just because he wanted to get it on the air.  And then, finally, on December 8, 2012, the unthinkable happened.  Jason Sudeikis finally got his beloved Maine Justice sketch on the air.  And it was so popular that they actually did it again a couple of weeks later, this time  featuring Justin Timberlake.

See kids, this is why you should always believe in your dreams. Especially when they are as bizarre as this dream.

Thank you, Jason Sudeikis, for fighting so hard for this sketch.  It is one of my favorites.  Even with all of the ass-fire.  And hey, shout out to the random Charlie Day cameo as a distinguished eight-term Cajun Maine congressman.  There's another role you don't see every day.

P.S.  If you want to see something really funny, google "Maine Justice Jamie Foxx" and read some of the reactions to this sketch when it first came out.  In particular, pay attention to the legion of people from Maine who were furious that this sketch "wasn't accurate" and "why do they always make fun of New England?" and that "they didn't get our accents right."  Well no shit they didn't get your accents right.  It is absolutely astounding how many idiots took this sketch seriously and didn't get the joke the first time it aired.  But hey, it's all preserved on the internet for us to laugh at now, so go google it and have fun with it.

22. Threw it on the Ground - 10/3/09 (Host: Ryan Reynolds)

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Comments:  Here’s how awesome the SNL Digital Shorts were.  Keep in mind that I ranked Threw it on the Ground as my 22nd favorite SNL moment of the past fifteen years.  Well, this is #22 on my countdown, and it is still only my FOURTH FAVORITE of the Digital Shorts.  That means we still have three more to go, and they all made the top 20.  That's how big the Digital Shorts were and how much they completely took over Saturday Night Live in the mid to late 2000’s, and how they made the show better.

I have nothing bad to say about Threw it on the Ground.  I love this song.  I quote it all the time.  In fact, nearly every single month of the year, on Facebook I will still wish somebody "Happy birthday to the ground!"  Yet there are still three more Digital Shorts that I think were better than this one.  If that's not a sign of quality, I don't know what is.

Remember, you can’t trust the system.

21. Roundball Rock - 4/13/13 (Host: Vince Vaughn)

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Comments:  Sadly, we've now come to the end of the Tim Robinson entries on my countdown.  But the good news is that we get to end with what I consider to be his SNL masterpiece, the Roundball Rock sketch about the Tesh Brothers and their invention of the famous NBA on NBC Theme.

This sketch is so goofy in so many ways (tiny hammers, wtf?) but I absolutely love it because Robinson and Sudeikis put so much intensity into their performances.  Sudeikis commits to playing a crazed John Tesh with the same intensity he brought to playing a potato chip thief, and the over the top judge in Maine Justice.  And even though Robinson was never meant to be a leading man (he once joked that audiences don't want to look at him because he looks like "a fat eagle") you have to admire his quote about the fact that it's okay that the song is repetitive because basketball is also repetitive.  And for one of the details that I really love about this sketch, watch where Sudeikis misses his music cue towards the end of the sketch and how he quickly recovers by putting his hands on the keyboard.

All in all, this is one of my favorite SNL moments of the past few years, and I'm glad that we get to send Tim Robinson off of the countdown in style.  Oh, and if you don't already have the NBA theme song stuck in your head (it's a real song, by the way, in case you didn't know that), here is a clip from an actual John Tesh concert that was probably the inspiration for this sketch.

20. 80's Song (Josie) - 11/23/13 (Host: Josh Hutcherson)

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Comments:  If you are a child of the 80's, or a fan of the 80's, just go watch this sketch and enjoy.  I'm serious.  I'm not gonna describe it at all, just go click on that link above and watch it with whatever language that is in the subtitles. Then go jump down to the next paragraph after you have seen it.

There, done? 

Without question, the Josie sketch with Josh Hutcherson is one of my favorite SNL sketches of the past five years.  It's so unique and fun.  In fact, it is so unique and fun that I am SHOCKED that SNL hasn't tried to do it again in an attempt to replicate it.  Yes, this is one of those rare great SNL sketches that is actually a one-off.  Every single time I watch it, I smile because it looks like the castmembers (especially Vanessa Bayer) are having so much fun.  This is one of those sketches that looks like it was blast to do, I have nothing bad to say about it at all.   Even if no, Vanessa Bayer chooses not to do mouth stuff.

P.S. Listen to the applause from the crowd at the end of this sketch, they loved it too.  That is one of the biggest SNL crowd ovations I have ever heard.

P.P.S.  Oh and since a lot of younger people ask me, the song is "Your Love" by The Outfield.  Yes it's a real song, it has long been one of my favorite 80's songs.

19. Swarovski Crystals - 12/8/12 (Host: Jamie Foxx)

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Comments:  Wow, the Jamie Foxx episode from December 2012 sure had some good stuff in it.  Between Maine Justice, Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney, and Swarovski Crystals, we now have three sketches from the same episode all making my Top 50.  And what's funny is that all three of these sketches aired after Weekend Update, which means that Lorne Michaels didn't have all that much faith in any of them. 

By this point, pretty much everyone knows Swarovski (Sharky?) Crystals, which was an instant classic the moment it aired.  And of course SNL has tried to replicate it numerous times since then, because they decided to make it recurring and then they just beat the joke to death over and over and over like they usually do.  None of the recurring ones have ever been as good as the original though. 

If you have never seen this sketch before, it's Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong playing two brain dead porn stars, who think that if they make a commercial for Swarovski Crystals, then the Swarovski company will send them free stuff.  It's a fun idea for a sketch, but what really sends this one over the top are the great performances in it.  And especially the dialogue. It's basically Vanessa and Cecily talking about all the lewd ways somebody tried to bang them once, or insert something into them once, or how they were in the middle of some degrading sex act with an animal once, and how they were only able to recover from it because of the thought of whatever luxury product they are trying to advertise.

Swarovski Crystals is without question the definition of an "end of the night" sketch (a "10-to-1" sketch in SNL parlance) because some of the stuff they say you could never say on TV until one o'clock in the morning.  But they are clearly having a lot of fun with it.  I should also point out that I don't think I have ever seen Vanessa Bayer fully break character in a sketch on Saturday Night Live, but she almost did once in one of the Swarovski sketches because she had to say the line, "One time I was jerking off a horse."  Yet she recovered and she powered through it, and that's the mark of a professional.  That's a tough line to get through with a straight face.

Oh yeah, pay special attention to the end of this sketch where Jamie Foxx says there is one thing that never goes out of style.  Simultaneously, Vanessa answers that the thing that never goes out of style is "crystals", and Cecily says it is "anal", and if that isn't this sketch in a nutshell I don't know what is.  Great sketch.

P.S. The transcript version of this sketch actually gets that crystals/anal line wrong.  They don't both say "anal."

18.  Debbie Downer - 5/1/04 (Host: Lindsay Lohan)

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Comments:  Pretty much everyone has seen Debbie Downer by this point. This is the infamous sketch where Rachel Dratch gets distracted by the sound effects in the background and she blows a line.  Then Jimmy Fallon (of course) starts giggling, and then Rachel herself starts giggling, and pretty soon the entire sketch is ruined because everyone in the sketch has broken character and started laughing.  And then it's capped off by Horatio Sanz actually wiping his eyes with a waffle because he is laughing so hard.

Debbie Downer is one of those sketches that everyone knows, and everyone loves, and I love it too.  But it also started a bad trend on SNL in the mid 2000's where it seemed like the goal was to get the castmembers to crack up in the middle of a sketch.  People broke character so often in the early to mid 2000's that SNL fans actually started rooting for it to happen in every episode, and it led to the rise of a word called "corpsing."  If you have never of "corpsing" before, it is an old British theater term that refers to a scene that is ruined because all the actors laugh and break character.  Prior to SNL in the early 2000's, I don't think most people had ever heard the word corpsing before, but because of this specific Debbie Downer sketch in particular, pretty soon it was all you ever heard whenever people wrote about SNL.  People like Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz were corpsing SNL sketches left and right, it was the trademark of the era.  And the audience loved it.

In the end, I can't blame Debbie Downer entrely for the SNL corpsing era, that cast in the early to mid 2000's was simply a giggly bunch.  Like I said, it almost seemed like the goal of every sketch for a couple of years there was for one (or more) of the actors to break character.  So I won't fully crap on Debbie Downer for that, it was simply a product of its time.  I happen to think the break in this one is hilarious, which is why I included it on my countdown.  I love the look of panic on Rachel Dratch's face when she knows she has to deliver the line about not being able to bear children, and she knows there is no way in hell she is going to be able to say that without breaking up.  The terrified look on her face is just plain old live TV awesomeness.

P.S.  I remember hearing somewhere that the reason Rachel Dratch broke so hard in this sketch is because they didn’t play all the sound effects (like the sad trombone sound) during dress rehearsal.  The first time she heard them was on live TV, and that's why she laughed.  And then once she laughed, everyone else laughed.  I don’t know how true that is, but that’s the story that I have always heard.

17.  Dick in a Box - 12/9/06 (Host: Justin Timberlake)

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Comments:  Dick in a Box is probably the most famous SNL moment of the past ten years, and you'd be nuts not to rank it in your top ten.  I mean, you can pretty much thank this sketch for turning Justin Timberlake from a singer into a singer/comedy star.  This is the song that raised the bar on SNL Digital Shorts and brought SNL comedy up to a whole new level.  This is the clip that was responsible for everything.  Hell, half the stuff on SNL is taped now instead of live, and it is probably only because Dick in a Box proved that taped stuff is probably better than live stuff and Lorne Michaels finally realized that.

So then you might ask, well if Dick in a Box was THAT good and THAT influential, why did I only rank it down here at number 17?  Well the answer to that is simple.  I didn't want the top ten on my countdown to be all Digital Short stuff.  You have to mix it up a little if you are making a countdown like this.  And since I actually like two Digital Shorts even more than I like DIAB, I am dropping it down here into the teens, which is still a perfectly noble place of honor for it to be finishing.  Hell, at least it beat Debbie Downer.

Dick in a Box is still a great song and it has always been a great clip.  Go track down the uncensored version on Youtube some time, it's even funnier.

16.  The Merryville Brothers - 1/8/11 (Host: Jim Carrey)

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Comments:  Here's another fun little SNL star breakout sketch.  This is the sketch where Taran Killam went from an anonymous featured player no one had ever heard of before, and he immediately became known as "Wow, did you see that guy who actually upstaged Jim Carrey in a physical comedy sketch on SNL last night?  Who the hell is Taran Killam??" 

The first Merryville Brothers sketch is one of my favorite SNL breakout moments of all time because it just came completely out of nowhere.  Seriously, NOBODY had even heard of Taran Killam prior to this sketch.  Then all of a sudden he was one of the big stars of the cast and he was the center of every episode.  And all because of his weird creepy little performance as a robot where he showed the SNL world how talented he was.


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