April 21st, 2010
12:12 PM ET

'Saturday Night Live' – really live!


This past weekend, I was lucky enough to get tickets to see "Saturday Night Live" –- in person. I was ecstatic because I started watching the show back in junior high (Bill Clinton was running for his first term as president at the time) and I have always been a huge fan.

When I arrived at the 30 Rock building, I was quickly led up the elevators and out into the studio hallway that is wallpapered with matted, framed shots capturing moments from throughout SNL's 35-year history. There are also old costumes encased in glass.

Due to sparse seating capacity - along with the fact that only 20 episodes are produced per season - tickets to SNL have always been hard to come by. I was in the balcony, directly across from the stage where the musical guests perform and basically had a bird’s eye perspective of Studio 8H.

It was fun to watch the carpenters and prop masters expertly put together and break-down the sets. For a second, I thought I was at work when I spotted a replica of the familiar "Larry King Live" backdrop, with its Lite Brite-esque dotted world map.

Before the show began, the band practiced a bit, and legendary SNL announcer Don Pardo took the microphone to tell warm-up jokes. He then handed the mike over to cast member Jason Sudeikis, who made jokes/safety announcements ("WHEN the building catches fire, grab some memorabilia and head out the exits in back and to your left.")

Next, cast member Keenan Thompson came out and sang the Elton John classic "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" - along with SNL featured players Abby Elliott, Jenny Slate and Nasim Pedrad as backup singers/dancers. Other celebrity sightings included cast member Fred Armisen and writer Jim Downey, who were spotted in the hall graciously posing for photos with fans. I also saw musical guest Ke$ha practicing her dance moves.

Finally, it was time to start the show. After a cold-open featuring a "Larry King Live" spoof, host Ryan Philippe gave his monologue. The way everything was situated gave me a phenomenal view of certain sketches, for others I had to crane my neck just to get a slight glimpse (but luckily there were large flat-screen monitors overhead so not a moment was missed).

Unlike the early Belushi-era purists, I believe that the Phil Hartman/Dana Carvey seasons of the late 80s-early 90s were the funniest. Maybe it's because I discovered the program during those years.

My dear friend and I still laugh about (and quote) this one particular skit from an episode hosted by John Goodman in 1993. It was called "The Man without a Shout." Goodman and his buddies were skiing when Goodman went to the ski chalet to grab lunch. Delighted by the fact that the chalet was serving seasoned curly French fries, he ran out to the mountain and shouted down to his friends:

"Hey guys! This is great! They have spicy curly fries!"

Unfortunately Goodman’s shout triggered an avalanche and his friends were killed. Thus, he became "The Man without a Shout."

My friend and I - who taped SNL religiously back then - watched it over and over. We quoted it, and tortured our parents in public by screaming out the lines. We even attempted to reenact it multiple times that winter on ski trips.

I have not been able to locate this brilliant skit on Hulu, YouTube or anywhere. Maybe I should leave well enough alone. Perhaps it won’t be as magical as I remember it.

What about you? Do you have a favorite SNL skit, character, cast member, or era?

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  1. Lemuel Cloffi

    Aykroyd gained fame on the American late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live, where he was a writer and the youngest cast member for its first four seasons, from 1975 to 1979. Aykroyd brought a unique sensibility to the show, combining youth, unusual interests, talent as an impersonator and an almost lunatic intensity. Guest host Eric Idle, of Monty Python, said that Aykroyd's ability to write and act out characters flawlessly made him the only member of the SNL cast capable of being a Python.`*

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    May 1, 2013 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    I'm from Turkey! Think!!

    December 18, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Babs M

    I loved the Star Trek parody after cancellation with Belushi as Kirk and Chevy Chase as Spock. Even Trekkers got a kick out of that one.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KFM

    Phil Hartman hands down no questions asked defined the show. More than Belushi.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    I iiked the show during the 70's, 80's and part ot the 90's. It has been 10 + years since I watched SNL. It is not a good as it used to be. I don't think the show is funny any more.

    May 26, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MrD

    "Never Mind" , The Church Lady

    April 22, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Say What?

    The show has jumped the shark – maybe as early as twenty years ago. The current cast is the worst to date. Get rid of Kenan and Kristen. Especially Kenan – he's about the most useless, untalented member of the cast they have.

    April 22, 2010 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tutti

    for me, the most memorable SNL skits have to be the ones with Jim carrey and will farrell bobbing their heads to WHAT IS LOVE...BABY DONT HURT ME....:D classic!

    April 22, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. laysomepipe

    suck it Trabeck

    April 22, 2010 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Donelle

    Synchronized swimming sketch

    April 22, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rob J

    Toonces, The Cat Who Could Drive A Car.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rob J

    more recently.. the Digital Short "People Getting Punched Right Before Eating"

    and D**k In A Box is good too, though overexposed.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rob J

    Happy Fun Ball

    April 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rob J

    James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub Party

    April 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob J

    Lothar of the Hill People

    April 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  16. John Lane

    Lots of wonderful memories reading over the list . . . but one musical event stands out as well . . . . when Paul Simon introduced us all to Ladysmith Black Mombazo. "Homeless" made my jaw drop, my spine tingle, and tears come to my eyes. I tear up now just thinking about it. Thank you Paul. Thank you Lorne.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Ww

    I'm Chevy Chase and you're not" -"Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.... " along with Garrett Morris shouting the top story at the end for the hearing impaired... both classics from season one.

    April 21, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Todd

    Jim Carey (host) as a lifeguard of a hottub, with Will Ferrell trying to swim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIhPBm4xAko

    April 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Adrian J

    All of you have named some great stuff. One classic I love: Dan Aykroyd as crook/salesman Irvin Mainway: "Heh, heh, yah know". But Mr. Mainway, this toy is nothing but a bag of broken glass. "I know, but it comes with a warning label: "Hey, now you be careful wit dat!" Will Ferrell really kept the show relevant with antics like Doug Blasingame, Atty at law: "Hey, are you tired of dogs taking a crap on your lawn?" "Did I personally inject a steak with poison, no. Am I glad the dog is rotting in Hell. Yes!" Andy Samberg, in this new new, do do crowd, was epic in Space Olympics.

    April 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  20. sandi

    shoulda been "...by..." not "my" –
    mybad

    April 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  21. sandi

    also – to reduce stress in this bad economy, our own family has permanently borrowed Chris Farley Motivational Speaker's of "living in a VAN, down my the RIV-ERRR!!!"

    April 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  22. sandi

    I forgot about Point/Counterpoint!!!! It was great; the memory made me smile, Jerry.

    Every thing Dan Ackroyd in those days, and Dana Carvey in all things.

    Chris Kattan was also priceless.

    April 21, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Ashley

    THANK YOU Kei Rai for reminding me of the "Singing Sisters" sketch! That one is the funniest moments on that show! I laughed about it for weeks afterwards! haha 🙂

    April 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Jerry

    Point/Counterpoint

    Jane you ignorant ....

    April 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  25. J Mcnichol

    .....Dan Ackroyd and Steve Martin- 2 wild and crazy guys!!!! Jon Lovitz as Hanukah Harry.......John Goodman as Elizabeth Taylor giving an interview wile eating a whole chicken w/ her hands....Rob Schneider "makin copies!"

    April 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  26. W. O.

    I didn't see the older era with Belushi and the gang, due to being born in the mid-80's; Dana Carvey as Church Lady was classic. The cold opening after the Clinton Impeachment: Tracy Morgan dressed as Betty Currie slow-dancing to "Chain of Fools" is one of the funniest clips of the 1990's (to me).

    April 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Buddha

    Van Down By The River with Farley, Spade and guest Christina Applegate.........hands down!

    April 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Rick

    Will Ferrell doing Harry Caray

    April 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Birdlady

    Does anyone remember the skit from many, many years ago about The People Who Ruined it for Everyone Else? And it showed the guy who pee-ed all over the gas station bathroom, so now we have to go in and get the key, etc., as well as other examples...? My husband and I remember it being really funny but don't recall all the details...

    April 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  30. dana

    Got to love rosanne rosanna danna!!!! Churchlady is priceless!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Skiking226

    Chevy Chase & Richard Pyror doing job interview

    April 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  32. stephanie

    Debbie Downer.....

    April 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Pat

    Skylab is Falling!! Who could ever forget John Belushi ripping into NASA with a toy skylab and a globe on Weekend Update in the 70's?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  34. joey hood

    So many funny skits. Many have Will Ferrell. The cheerleaders, the cowbell, the business office where he has a thong(and the camera prominently shows his buttcheeks), the educated lovers who've made love in so many ways with so many people, and I drive a dodge stratus among others. I'm smiling thinking about this. Oh, and Chris Kattan doing Mango.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  35. P

    So so many skits were my fave.
    Chris Farley & Patrick Swayze as Chippendale dancers!
    Gilda Radner as Bah Bah Walters, Patti Smith, and the teen who's uncle baby sits and smells her panties.
    Oh and, gotta love "Those Schwetty Balls" w/Alec Baldwin!
    So flippin funny!!!!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Hal14

    Dan Aykroyd's Julia Child –

    'Save the liver!'

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Chris

    I love Will Ferrel as Bush and Schweaty Balls by Alec Baldwin!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  38. MeMyselfAndI

    John Belushi and "little powdered donuts".

    April 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Kelly from Dallas

    Oh, and NO DEPTH PERCEPTION is funny too.....

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Kelly from Dallas

    MASSIVE HEADWOUND HARRY....AND Shweddy Balls Skit....Youtube them and enjoy.....

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Charles

    Such a great show-loved and grew up with the original cast-loved "Weekend Update" and The Cone Heads, Belushi as the Samurai -so great. Loved Dana Carvey as the " Church Lady" and Wayne & Garth with Madonna-that is a classic skit. Chris Farley as the Motivational Speaker-and dancing with Patrick Suayze in the Chippendale's spoof-so many funny moments from so many great cast members that I could go on forever.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Brian JM

    I have 2 favorite skits: unearthed caeman lawyer, and the "lay off my french fries" skith with the late Chris Farley is drag.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Chris L.

    Will Ferrell doing a Robert Goulet impression for a mock commercial called "The Players Ball: It's a Rap!". What's better than Robert Goulet singing The Thong Song and Who Let The Dogs Out?

    April 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  44. moon627

    So many of these make me smile in rememberance ... i loved the original cast with Chevy Chase and then Bill Murray came and did "Todd" giving "noogies" to Gilda's Lisa. I used to love Phil Hartman and all his characters – especially Frank Sinatra . i loved "Goat Boy", "Mr Peepers", "Donald the Falconeer" and more recently Tina as Sarah Palin and Keenan doing his "Whats up with that" song. But my all time favorite skit was Chris Farley and Adam Sandler as the married couple with Chris reading restaurant reviews – he was the absolute funniest ever !

    April 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Sharp

    Chris Farley and Patrick Swazye trying out to be Chippendale dancers, A. Whitney Brown's comments on Weekend Update, and Jack Handy's Deep Thoughts.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Natasha

    One of my favorite moments happened on Weekend Update back in 1991... Dr. Seuss had just passed away, so to commemorate him, Jesse Jackson read, "Green Eggs and Ham" live to the audience. Classic!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Jess

    "I DRIVE A DODGE STRATUS!!!!!!!!!" -Will Ferrell, Anna Gasteyer and Sarah Michelle Gellar

    April 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  48. T

    I almost forgot! I love Single Ladies with Justin Timberlake and Beyonce!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  49. ScrapSupply

    this is good news!

    check out
    http://scrapsupply.blogspot.com/2010/04/roethlisberger-gets-6.html

    April 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Ulysses

    Wake Up and Smile – the skit where Will Ferrell beheads David Alan Grier.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  51. T

    1. "Sean Connery" playing Celebrity Jeopardy . 2. Will Ferrell and the cowbell....everytime I hear the song on the radio, I picture Will Ferrell and crack up! 3. Justin Timberlake as the Cup of Soup. 4. Alec Baldwin in Schweddy Balls.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  52. dude

    Billy Crystal & Christopher Guest – "I hate when that happens".

    April 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Mark

    Any John Belushi Samuri sketch, but the deli one where he actually split a tomato with is sword in mid-air and surprised himself was classic.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  54. ChrisA

    This is a hard one to narrow down. There's Mike Myers "Coffee talk", Chris Farley as a Chippendale's dancer, Eddie Murphy's "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood", George Wendt and the Chicago Superfans, and of course – More Cowbell!!. Haven't watched it recently because now it just isn't funny.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Frank

    it has gone down the drain since the started their obsession with anti-Palin anti-Bush skits....we can certainly laugh at all but some are outright disrespectful

    April 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Daniel

    I would have to say that my favorite skit thus far would have to be the Macgruber/Macgyver skit. I laughed my rear off during the cameo by RDA!

    April 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Chunkworthy

    "Our bodies sluggish with goatmeat..."

    April 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Alison

    Personally, I love the first "Brian Fellows" skit (Tracy Morgan playing a dim, lip-glossed up host of an animal show).

    "That bird's is NOT Brian Fellows....that bird's gonna steal my credit!"

    April 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Keith from Monmouth Beach, NJ

    You gotta love all the Celebrity Jeopardy skits...they were freakin' hilarious!

    I also really loved Robert Deniro reading the list of terrorist names supplied by college students...his deadpan made the skit...

    April 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Marina

    Sean Connery on Celebrity Jeopardy.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Maria from Houston, TX

    I am also a fan. Have been since the John Belushi era. My older siblings got me hooked to SNL. My favorite cast member was and always will be Gilda Radner (may she rest in peace). Her skits as Rosanne Rosanna Dahnna (Hope I spelled it correctly) were hilarious. That era of SNL had great cast members....I looked forward to Saturdays. That was even before VCRs so I was unable to tape.

    One of my favorite skits from more current era is one w/Alec Baldwin. He played Cantin Boy w/Adam Sandler.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Kei Rai

    Top 5 Favorite SNL Skits:

    For starters, the SNL skits from 1990-1998 were by far the best seasons IMO. Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Will Farrell and Adam Sandler are my all time favorite cast members; and now of course Keenan Thompson is awesome! I will say I although I have been a fan of SNL for over a decade, I am not as impressed as I once was and really hope to see more of Kristen Wiig and Keenan Thompson, as they are now my two favorite, current cast members.

    Now for my favs:

    -Spartan Cheerleaders (Will and Cheri): any skit with the Spartan cheerleades was hilarious, but the Christmas Cheer was the funniest.

    -The Joyologist (Molly Shannon): "I love it, I love it, I love itttt"

    -Penelope (Kristen Wiig): "...so yea I invented air..." I love this character, she is the eptiomy of the 'one-up' personality and I think its genisu

    -The Singing Sisters (Amy, Kristen and two others): singing the "We're Sisters" song when Kristen plays "Judy" the sister with the baby arms...OMG so funny, I'm laughing just thinking about it.

    -More Cowbell (Will Farrell): in the recording studio with the cowbell, as Will is banging on it loudly, and his shirt is rising up...

    April 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  63. castle

    massive headwound harry, when the dog comes in and starts yanking at Carvey's scalp

    Jesse Jackson – the question is moot

    April 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Tricia

    Christopher Walken plays Colonel Angus; a skit cleverly written by Tina Fey. A funny play on words.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Joelan3

    Whether they have a good night or bad I always watch SNL. The work that goes into that show week by week is amazing. We can't lose that form of entertainment. They have had their ups and downs. my favorite year was the Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Martin Short...I will stand by the show till the end.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Pamela Givantt

    I am old school I love Eddie Murphy doing his James Brown impersonation in the pool! But most of all I love John Belushi & Dan Akroyd doing thier "Cheeseburger cheeseburger...no coke pepsi" routine. My friends & I would just fall on the floor with laughter!

    April 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Tricia

    NPR's Delicious Dish – Schweddy Balls w/host Alec Baldwin: "tells us about your balls Pete... no one can resist my Schweddy balls." The skit is hilarious and it never gets old.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Rick

    ...Choppin' Broccoli....

    April 21, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Stacy

    "I need more Cowbell", includes Christopher Walken and Will Ferrel. Too funny!!

    April 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  70. btuckg

    The Bass-O-Matic. Priceless.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Jenny

    I think your favorite era just aligns with your coming of age. My favorite era was the late 90's/early 2000's (Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Chris Kattan, etc) but my dad swears by the John Belushi era. I have younger friends who love the current cast. Just all depends.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  72. btuckg

    "Because if you don't, you'll be like me, living....in a van...down by the river." Chris Farley RIP.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  73. bigbill327

    Anything Chris Farley.. Miss you Chris.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Joel T.

    John Belushi's Samurai warrior was AWESOME!!!
    I loved the one where the warrior and his wife want a divorce and the lawyer asks about parental rights and the warrior decides the parents should each get HALF!!! Too funny!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Tom

    Keenan : "Oooh wee T-shay " good stuff

    April 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  76. mike marshall

    this show hasn't been the least little bit funny in years. It almost painful to watch. ABSOLUTE GARBAGE! Needs to taken off of the air. Skits where they repeat the same punchline over and over for 3 minutes straight are not funny either. Whoever writes this crap needs to have their face punched in.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Head Diva In Charge

    I would say the early to mid-90's....when I started watching. I think the cheerleaders (Cheri Otari and Will Farrell), since at the time I WAS a cheerleader. And a the skit with Mike Myers as the kid harnessed to the playground with a helmet. Just perfect stuff!

    April 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  78. tina m ruiz muncrief

    I still love the skit with Wayne & Garth with Aerosmith!!

    April 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Nick

    Will Ferrell yelling at the kids to "Get off the shed!"

    April 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Liam Harden

    I would say it would have had to been the more cowbell Skit Who doesnt love IT!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Miguel

    The skit where Luke Wilson (host), Seth Meyers and Kenan Thompson are businessmen having drinks during a convention is my favorite of all time.

    "I had a midget riding a pot-bellied pig ride into my room..."

    Hilarious.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |

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