Saturday Night Live Sketches That Are Somehow Both Terrible And Amazing At The Same Time

 Jason Sudeikis on Saturday Night Live.
Jason Sudeikis on Saturday Night Live.
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There are just as many great and popular Saturday Night Live sketches as there are segments that are not remembered quite as fondly. However, there also exists a strange middle ground of sketches that seem so one-note and infantile that we should feel like our time is wasted, but we don't. This is because the bizarre nature of the bit or even just one unique key component or moment makes it all feel enjoyable and worthwhile. We actually managed to come up with many examples of SNL sketches we believe you will enjoy while not quite understanding why.

Aristotle Athari as Angelo on SNL.
Aristotle Athari as Angelo on SNL.

Angelo (Season 47)

While he only made it one season on SNL, Aristotle Athari still had an ultra-memorable recurring character whose whole premise seemed like it would get old immediately after his Season 47 debut. Yet, somehow, international lounge singer Angelo’s improvisational songs — all nearly identical ramblings of gibberish — get big laughs every time. Maybe he truly is the genius they say he is.

Fred Armisen on SNL
Fred Armisen on SNL

SNL Digital Short: Anger Problem (Season 32)

In their infancy, the SNL Digital Shorts were, dare we say, plagued by a shabbily random structure, like this one involving an unstable fast food manager (Fred Armisen), an exploding head mannequin, and a holiday greeting in the Lost font — supposedly in reference to host and Lost cast member Matthew Fox. Armisen’s commitment to every ludicrous threat at his employees — complete with an estimated time of attack — is what keeps this bit amusing.

Rachel Draft and Fred Armisen on SNL
Rachel Draft and Fred Armisen on SNL

Chandeliers (Season 31)

This sketch pokes fun at local ads for specialty shops from a few different angles — such as promoting the titular ceiling installation as the highway to a fancy lifestyle and an awkward attempt to include the store owners’ child (host Scarlett Johansson). Above all, however, the funniest part about the sketch might be Fred Armisen’s pronunciation of “chandelier” with a heavy Brooklyn accent.

Andy Samberg on SNL
Andy Samberg on SNL

SNL Digital Short: Daiquiri Girl (Season 33)

This Digital Short — framed as a creepy dude’s (Andy Samberg) poorly produced musical tribute to a woman who shares his love of daiquiris — kind of cheats its way onto this list. It apologetically acknowledges its own objective flaws with a cheeky text scroll explaining that musical guest Gnarls Barkley backed out of the original plan, forcing the creators to turn to alcohol for inspiration.

Will Forte on SNL
Will Forte on SNL

SNL Digital Short: The Date (Season 35)

The joke here initially seems to be based on the unlikelihood of a woman, like host Megan Fox, dating a guy as strange as Will Forte’s character, until she appears to like him for being a S.W.A.T. team commander and his heart-wrenching confession about selling his pet lambs’ meat. The twist that even he would refuse to marry her is a bit predictable, but Forte’s unsettling manner of speaking and his tendency to turn his emotions on a dime at least keeps your attention.

Will Forte, Bill Hader, and Josh Brolin on SNL
Will Forte, Bill Hader, and Josh Brolin on SNL

Fart Face (Season 34)

When you establish the main idea of a sketch — in this case, a veteran office worker begrudgingly nicknamed “Fart Face” — and the audience responds with dead silence, you know you are in trouble, especially when this playground insult is repeated enough times to play a potentially fatal drinking game with. Leave it to host Josh Brolin to give the bit a slight boost by incorporating the same level of professionalism we have seen in all his best movies though to make it funny.

Tom Hanks as David S. Pumpkins on Saturday Night Live
Tom Hanks as David S. Pumpkins on Saturday Night Live

Haunted Elevator (Ft. David S. Pumpkins) (Season 42)

It is easy to understand why, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Tom Hanks was initially hesitant to play the very bewildering David S. Pumpkins. However, it is equally easy to see how the incomprehensibly charismatic goof instantly became one of Hanks’ most iconic SNL characters. After our first interaction with the silly character, he would also return with his skeleton friends (Bobby Moynihan and Mikey Day) in an animated Halloween special and a Season 48 sequel sketch.

Chris Farley and Adam Sandler on SNL
Chris Farley and Adam Sandler on SNL

The Herlihy Boy House-Sitting Service (Season 19)

Sometimes, just putting Chris Farley and Adam Sandler on stage together was enough to ensure comedy gold. I think with any two other SNL cast members, this sketch — starring Sandler as a house-sitter desperate for work and Farley as his extremely supportive boss (or father or rehab sponsor, maybe?) — would have crumbled underneath its thin concept.

James Franco on SNL
James Franco on SNL

SNL Digital Short: Hey! (Murray Hill) (Season 34)

In the history of SNL Digital Shorts sending up modern teen TV dramas, some have been refreshingly clever (i.e., “Dear Sister"), while others offer nothing of the sort. Like this one in which the only joke is that James Franco’s character has a “tiny ding-dong.” If not for the Gossip Girl cast member Blake Lively’s rejuvenating cameo at the end, this Murray Hill episode would have been completely lost in obscurity.

Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney on SNL
Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney on SNL

Holes (Season 44)

This musical video in the style of a ‘90s power ballad is just a little too repetitive to earn the honor of being a classic, even with a guitar-shredding Adam Sander flashing some dirty, protrusive teeth for some reason. However, its concept about clothes technically counting as holes with the purpose of covering holes on the human anatomy is oddly fascinating.

Darrell Hammond and Jim Carrey on SNL
Darrell Hammond and Jim Carrey on SNL

I'll See You In Hell (Season 21)

By the end of this sketch — in which Joe (Jim Carrey) gets addicted to saying, “I’ll see you in Hell,” after its use on a thieving colleague earns him respect in the office — you’ll never want to hear the phrase again. That being said, Carrey keeps the one-joke bit somewhat fresh with a new take on the insult almost every time, and the final punchline is not bad either.

Andrew Dismukes on SNL
Andrew Dismukes on SNL

Joker Wedding (Season 48)

For the first half of this sketch — in which a Halloween wedding ceremony is nearly ruined by the best man (Andrew Dismukes) dressing as Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight — it seems like the only point is hearing “Joker” repeated ad nauseam. It takes a pretty fun turn, however, when the guests vote on his right to keep the costume Survivor-style, complete with a Jeff Probst cameo.

Andy Samberg on SNl
Andy Samberg on SNl

SNL Digital Short: Lettuce (Season 31)

While the legendary “Lazy Sunday” was The Lonely Island’s breakout SNL moment, their official, much-forgotten debut digital short was “Lettuce.” Honestly, we don’t blame anyone for subconsciously blocking out this bit — nothing more than Andy Samberg and Will Forte discussing a personal tragedy between big bites of leafy green vegetables — but if you can find it, you might find yourself unable to look away.

Margot Robbie on SNL
Margot Robbie on SNL

The Librarian (Season 42)

I imagine the pitch here was, “Let’s make Margot Robbie disgusting!” Well, we can’t say they didn’t nail it, and with some ideas that we truly did not see coming — eating a banana peel, “straight-up murder,” and the random appearance of Beck Bennett with a snake. Plus, setting the scenario to the iconic movie song, Yello’s “Oh Yeah,” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is an inspired choice.

Oscar Isaac on SNL
Oscar Isaac on SNL

Meatballs (Season 47)

Maybe it is not entirely fair to call this pre-taped, partially musical bit “terrible” since the concept of a woman (Sarah Sherman) with singing meatballs on her skin is pretty inventive and heightened by the participation of host Oscar Isaac and musical guest Charlie XCX. It’s just that it’s pretty gross and, therefore, not the easiest thing to sit through for the more squeamish.

Tom Hanks and Andy Samberg on SNL
Tom Hanks and Andy Samberg on SNL

SNL Digital Short: My Testicles (Season 31)

The subject matter of this ‘90s dance music parody featuring a Right Said Fred-esque duo called Ariel (Andy Samberg) and Efrim (Tom Hanks) makes us thoroughly uncomfortable and their inability to rhyme a single lyric is cringeworthy. Yet, we cannot stop watching it and can’t help but chuckle every time.

SNL's Rap Roundtable sketch
SNL's Rap Roundtable sketch

Rap Roundtable (Season 46)

Nunya Bizness (Ego Nwodim) hosts a panel of hip-hop artists including Queen Latifah (Punkie Johnson), Questlove (as himself), and a fresh, young duo (Pete Davidson and Timothée Chalamet) whose primary contribution to the conversation is the sounds “yeet” and “skirt.” Admittedly, some of their mindless ramblings earn a chuckle or two, but Questlove slapping Davidson and then striking Chalamet’s character with his hair pick are the most satisfying moments.

John Krasinski on SNL
John Krasinski on SNL

Ratatouille (Season 46)

In our opinion, the night John Krasinski hosted SNL for the first time was what we might call a “terrible, yet amazing” episode, especially with this sketch. It’s a far less kid-friendly take on one of the best Pixar movies, Ratatouille, and instead of a rat helping a man with his performance in the kitchen, this rat helps Krasinski’s character with his performance in bed.

Andy Samberg on SNL
Andy Samberg on SNL

SNL Digital Short: Roy Rules! (Season 32)

Early on, it’s easy to write off this musical short in which Andy Samberg professes his unhealthy attraction toward his sister’s husband, Roy, as an egregiously raunchy one-joke throwaway bit. However, you start to see the clip in a whole new light when Andy reveals the segment is a prank on his actual brother-in-law, as he confirmed in an IGN interview in 2012.

Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, and Blake Lively on SNL
Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, and Blake Lively on SNL

Potato Chip (Season 35)

When choosing SNL sketches we believed were both terrible and amazing, the first one we thought of was this thoroughly peculiar bit in which an aspiring astronaut (Jason Sudeikis) blows his chance when he steals a potato chip from a NASA recruiter’s (Will Forte) desk. For one, everyone's commitment to this asinine concept — especially host Blake Lively — is legendary, but what really takes it over the edge is when Sudeikis physically returns the chip he ate.

SNL's Short Term Memory Theatre sketch
SNL's Short Term Memory Theatre sketch

Short Term Memory Loss Theater (Season 38)

This is one of those sketches that is actually enhanced — dare we say, saved — by someone who couldn't stop laughing during a sketch. In this case, it was Bill Hader as a doctor who must constantly assist his patients afflicted with short-term memory loss with their lines in a play. Otherwise, the joke might have gotten too old and too fast, leaving no bearing on our memory.

Will Forte on SNL
Will Forte on SNL

Spelling Bee (Season 31)

Will Forte plays a young spelling bee contestant so nervous that he spends well over a minute spouting random letters (mostly “q’s”) while attempting to spell the word “business.” It’s a very simple premise, but Forte’s stone-cold, deadpan delivery actually keeps it afloat, and the Tenacious D cameo is a perfect way to end it.

Robert Downey Jr. on SNL
Robert Downey Jr. on SNL

Suitcase Boy (Season 11)

In an otherwise forgettable moment from one of SNL’s most infamous seasons, Robert Downey Jr. performs a “confrontational monologue” while housed in a suitcase for no discernible reason. The one incoherent ramble we found unintentionally interesting was when the future MCU star mentioned that he learned why whales beach themselves from Spider-Man.

SNL's Technology Hump Sketch
SNL's Technology Hump Sketch

Technology Hump: Emma Stone (Season 37)

This sketch featuring Andy Samberg and host Emma Stone is actually just one edition of a recurring bit in which smartphones, cameras, and other forms of technology are used to simulate intimate romance scenarios. Why? We have no idea. Why do we find it entertaining? Still totally stumped.

Pedro Pascal on SNL
Pedro Pascal on SNL

Waking Up (Season 48)

Pedro Pascal could not help but laugh on SNL a few times during his hosting debut, including in this sketch in which he comes out of a coma with a strange new personality and an even stranger voice. While you could see the voice as a bit annoying, the dialogue maddeningly low-brow, and the entire concept pretty lifeless, it's honestly so hilarious, and that's because the Last of Us cast member makes it charming.

Bill Murray and Steve Martin on SNL
Bill Murray and Steve Martin on SNL

What The Hell Is That? (Season 5)

We have little interest in watching two brainless individuals take turns expressing their bewilderment over an unidentifiable object without any context. We do, however, love Bill Murray (seemingly debuting his Caddyshack character here) and Steve Martin (arguably the all-time greatest SNL host), whose collaboration saves this otherwise empty bit.

Tom Hanks as Ron Howard on SNL
Tom Hanks as Ron Howard on SNL

America's Funniest Pets (Season 42)

Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon play hosts of a French show presenting funny homemade clips of domestic animals who prove to have a dark sense of humor (or lack thereof) when visiting its American version. What makes the mostly one-joke premise particularly memorable, however, is that the American host is Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard, portrayed with an overly-animated impersonation by a star of many Ron Howard movies, Tom Hanks.

Chloe Fineman, Amy Schumer, and Heidi Gardner on SNL
Chloe Fineman, Amy Schumer, and Heidi Gardner on SNL

Big Dumb Hat (Season 48)

This sketch, featuring host Amy Schumer, quickly begins to suffer from being as irritating as the titular fashion trend it is poking fun at. Luckily, it does earn some solid chuckles for a few jokes about the kind of people who do wear “Big Dumb Hats” that, as anyone who knows this kind of person can support, are pretty spot on.

Matthew Perry on SNL
Matthew Perry on SNL

Sarcasm 101 (Season 23)

Host Matthew Perry essentially plays Chandler Bing in this classroom sketch, technically making it one of three Friends parodies from this episode alone (including the monologue), for which we deduct points. Also, many of the funniest moments from this lesson in smart-alecky behavior come courtesy of the late Norm Macdonald, but in ways that almost seem unintentional from his broken cadence, giving the bit a thoroughly awkward aura.

Will Forte and Fred Armisen on SNL
Will Forte and Fred Armisen on SNL

Patrick Kelly and Gunther Kelly (Season 28)

This is actually one of several segments in which Patrick (Will Forte) and Gunther Kelly (Fred Armisen) appear on “Weekend Update” to inform people of a pressing topic with a song that actually offers no valuable information, save Forte’s ability to hit some crazy high notes. We chose to highlight this song asking viewers to “listen up” about SARS because, out of all their greatest hits, it is the weirdest and most irritating, but perhaps the biggest banger, too.

Lizzo and Andrew Dismukes on SNL
Lizzo and Andrew Dismukes on SNL

Steve's Beanie Babies (Season 47)

We’d call Lizzo a non-actor who nailed her SNL hosting gig, especially in how her uncontrollable laughter likely enhanced this sketch in which she plays the wife of a man (Andrew Dismukes) who freaks out after learning his Beanie Babies collection is worthless. The ensuing revelation of how he quit his job (talking through his butt like Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura) and ludicrous aspiration to make a living drawing Nintendo’s Mario feel so half-heartedly wedged in, but its the ludicrousness of the situation that also earns laughs.

In retrospect, maybe being a little awkward and bizarre is exactly what makes an SNL a classic.