Staff Recommendations: SNL skits
October 7, 2015
“Celebrity Feud,” Season 39
by Rachel Ruecker, Deputy Social Media Editor
SNL is in its 41st season; writing new, creative, funny and engaging material on a weekly basis is certainly not getting any easier for the writing staff. But I’d argue that I don’t watch SNL for the new sketches, but rather for the actors themselves interacting. The best moments for me are when the show goes meta; when someone breaks character and tries to face away to giggle; or when two actors with an established relationship off camera are just having fun together. That is why my favorite SNL sketch is Season 39’s Celebrity Feud, with Jimmy Fallon portraying Jim Parsons and Fallon’s real life best buddy Justin Timberlake opposite him in the role of none other than Jimmy Fallon. Their bromance shined through as they both cracked up multiple times throughout the sketch. The real kicker came when the survey came to Timberlake’s Fallon, asking “What would you do to be sexy?” His response and the number one answer? A deadpan “Be Justin Timberlake.” In its 41st iteration, the show must celebrate its treasured comedic dynamics, and this sketch did just that, beautifully.
“The Californians,” Seasons 37-38
by Anne Cruz, Copy Chief
As someone who hails from Southern California, I relate to this sketch on a very serious level. Before the sketches turned into a celebrity shock-fest (see: Bradley Cooper and Betty White), they focused their humor on California’s culture and predisposition to exaggerated drama. While I’ve found that people on the East Coast always talk about the weather, California’s climate is so monotonously mild that all we talk about is the traffic and how we drove there that day. I barely even noticed this preoccupation with traffic before hearing four straight minutes of “I took the 5 to the 405 and OH MI GAWD it was carmageddon over there” type dialogue in the skit that my friends and I would exchange . The Californians is great for transplants missing home, or when you just need a laugh from Kristin Wiig’s facial expressions.
“The Target Lady,” Seasons 31-38
by Joseph Myers, Theater and Books Editor
By far, my favorite SNL sketch is “The Target Lady.” I have always had a soft spot for Kirsten Wiig and think that she’s a comic genius. Everything about Wiig’s portrayal of the Target Lady is awkwardly endearing—her thick Midwestern accent, her contorted facial expressions, her uncomfortably innovative uses for products and her love for working at Target. This sketch is particularly amusing because it’s incredibly relatable. We’ve all been stuck chatting with a cashier who is all too enthusiastic to share personal information that we don’t care to hear. The over-the-top “Target Lady” sketches are heightened versions of a shopper’s worst nightmare, but Wiig’s sweet touch to her character makes it comedy gold.
“Debbie Downer: Happiest Place On Earth,” Season 30
by Grace Halio, Deputy Features Editor
Debbie Downer was my first exposure to SNL; I remember watching the sketch with my best friend and the two of us felt the same way that Rachel Dratch probably did while portraying the character. To start, Debbie Downer is relatable — perhaps you are one, perhaps you know one. Better than the lines themselves is the fact that almost no one can keep it together. I don’t think anyone could keep a straight face during the quick zoom on Dratch after she delivers a hallmark depressing line in conjunction with the sad trombone music. It’s kind of incredible to watch nearly everyone fall apart over the course of six minutes. Added bonus: Jimmy Fallon looks like he’s fourteen.
“SNL Digital Shorts,” Seasons 31-40
by Audrey Deng, Arts Editor
My first Facebook status was the complete lyrics to “Threw it on the Ground,” the angst-ridden song about Andy Samberg’s distrust of society and thusly throwing various things on the ground. The extreme parody of The Lonely Island was one of the greatest successes of SNL — its digitalization made SNL youth and online-friendly, which was apparently Facebook status-worthy to me at the time. The Lonely Island, made up of Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, brought the modern digital age to Saturday Night Live with raunchily filmed digital shorts and equally graphic lyrics. Songs like “The Creep” and “Like a Boss” are emblematic of the growing 21st century presence in the late night show. The Digital Shorts attracted collaboration with acclaimed professional singers such as Lady Gaga (“3-Way (The Golden Rule)”), Adam Levine (“Iran So Far,” “YOLO”) and Michael Bolton (“Jack Sparrow”).
Email the Arts Desk at [email protected]