7 most underrated Saturday Night Live skits, ranked

Rachel Dratch and Eric McCormack in Saturday Night Live.
Rachel Dratch and Eric McCormack in Saturday Night Live.
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The 50th anniversary of Saturday Night Live is still over a year away, but there’s never a bad time to revisit the history of SNL. We’ve already gone over the funniest Saturday Night Live skits and the worst SNL skits of all time. Now it’s time to look back at the seven most underrated Saturday Night Live skits.

We’ve lost track of how many skits SNL has had throughout its 49 seasons to date. And of course, all of the picks below are subjective. But when we think back on the sketches that made us laugh, these are the skits that deserve more recognition.

7. President Reagan, Mastermind

President Reagan, Mastermind - SNL

If you think that the two leading Presidential candidates are too old to hold the office, then you may have missed President Reagan’s forgetful grandfather persona in the 1980s. In season 12, with the Reagan administration facing scandals, the late great Phil Hartman portrayed Reagan as a folksy President in public, and an evil mastermind behind closed doors.

Hartman’s Reagan can turn on the charm on a dime, right before he slips back into his true self and berates his underlings in the administration. This version of Reagan is so sharp that he speaks multiple languages and even does complex mathematical calculations off the top of his head. Hartman is so over-the-top with Reagan’s evil that it’s almost impossible not to laugh.

6. You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown

You're a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown - SNL

A Charlie Brown Christmas may be a beloved holiday special, but it wasn’t immune from getting mocked by SNL decades after the fact. In this skit from season 38, Bill Hader portrays Al Pacino starring as Charlie Brown in The New York Actor’s Studio’s production of You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown.

It’s as if the Peanuts gang were reenvisioned as hilariously profane South Park characters with Larry David as Linus (Martin Short), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Pig Pen (Jason Sudeikis), Edie Falco as Lucy (Kate McKinnon), Michael Keaton as Schroeder (Taran Killam), Forest Whitaker as Franklin (Kenan Thompson), and Fred Armisen as Snoopy. Short was the guest host of the week, but Hader absolutely rules in this sketch.

5. Cobras & Panthers

Cobras & Panthers - SNL

Robert Downey Jr. may have hosted this episode in season 22, but Norm Macdonald stole the show in Cobras & Panthers. In a riff on West Side Story, Macdonald plays the leader of a street gang called the Cobras, who were portrayed by Downey, Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, Chris Kattan, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows, and Colin Quinn.

Despite the fact that their rivals, the Panthers, are coming for a showdown, Macdonald’s character can’t get his guys to stop breaking into songs and choreographed dance numbers. When the Panthers finally arrive, they’re just as into the music as the Cobras are.

4. Game Night

Game Night starts innocently enough with a couple played by Amy Poehler and Will Forte hosting a night in with two other couples who are portrayed by Maya Rudolph and Will Forte and Rachel Dratch and Eric McCormack.

It’s all chill and laid-back until Dratch and McCormack’s characters fail to match the success of their friends, and she goes absolutely nuts. Her husband shakes like he’s terrified and even her friends don’t know how to respond when her anger gets out of control. It’s a hilariously dark skit, which has the perfect ending when Dratch’s character wants to continue the game as if she didn’t just trash the place.

3. Who’s More Grizzled?

Garth Brooks and Robert Duvall in Saturday Night Live.
Garth Brooks and Robert Duvall in Saturday Night Live.

Garth Brooks was an underrated musical guest and host during his second appearance on Saturday Night Live in season 23. But as entertaining as Brooks was on the show, he was upstaged by special guest Robert Duvall in the sketch Who’s More Grizzled?, a game show hosted by Norm Macdonald’s Champ Greer.

In this two-man showdown, Tate (Garth Brooks) went up against returning champion Wayne (Duvall) to determine which of them truly deserved to be called grizzled. And in this contest, there’s almost no wrong answer, unless one of these guys shows too much emotion.

2. White Like Me

White Like Me - SNL

It can’t be understated how much Eddie Murphy carried SNL when he was a cast member in the early 1980s. After leaving the show in early 1984, he returned as a guest host in December of the same year. Before taking a decades-long hiatus from the series, one of Murphy’s highlights was White Like Me, a mockumentary in which his character uses makeup to go undercover as a white man in New York.

What Murphy’s character discovers is that life’s a party for white people when they’re alone, and he can get almost anything he wants with his new appearance. Playing under heavy makeup became one of Murphy’s signature moves, but the understated makeup and Murphy’s reactions make this skit an underrated classic.

1. Meet Your Second Wife!

Meet Your Second Wife - SNL

Meet Your Second Wife! is a popular skit from season 41 that still doesn’t get the full appreciation it deserves. This sketch reunited the Weekend Update team of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as the hosts of a game show that introduces Brian (Bobby Moynihan), Steve (Taran Killam), and Toby (Kenan Thompson) to their future wives, while their current wives – Samantha (Vanessa Bayer), Elaine (Aidy Bryant), and Deanna (Leslie Jones) – watch from the audience.

The hosts, Fey (playing herself) and Helen Walsh (Poehler) have an uncanny knowledge about what’s going to happen in the lives of these men and their spouses. And the sketch takes the obvious joke about men marrying younger wives to the extreme, which only makes it even funnier when Toby realizes just how young his next wife is going to be.