Some of the best parts of "Saturday Night Live" are those that don't air live. Many viewers don't realize that, per "SNL" standard operating procedure for decades, show creator Lorne Michaels doesn't settle on which sketches will actually appear on the broadcast until airtime.
And with increased frequency during "SNL's" current 39th season, these unseen sketches are starting to surface online. The shift has amped up over the past two weeks, with three each of Charlize Theron and Andrew Garfield's unaired sketches available on the Internet.
The skits are labeled "Web Exclusives" on Yahoo Screen, Hulu, and NBC.com, and they're actually really funny — in some cases, they're more memorable than those that do air.
Making these sketches available online takes advantage of changing consumption habits. The shift began last decade with Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island troupe's "Digital Shorts" — pre-taped sketches that were intended to go viral before "going viral" had really become a thing.
The process of putting the unaired sketches online first started about five years ago, originally a result of how funny the moments were when the cast broke character during the dress rehearsal. One of the first was a "Weekend Update" spot with Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig as Garth and Kat from the 2009 Christmas episode.
Then in 2010, the Betty White-hosted episode contained so much comedic gold that two of the dress rehearsal versions of sketches from that week — "Bronx Beat" (with Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph) and "Pretty Living" (with Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer) — went live online too.
The show's dress rehearsal runs for two hours, and is also shot in front of a live studio audience. So every week, the show has at least three to four sketches from the dress that go completely unaired.
Here's a selection of some of this season's more delectable unaired extras:
Charlize Theron (May 11) — "Web Exclusive: Cocktail Hour"
In this faux "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"-like dinner party, Theron and Taran Killam compete over who can sip the more outrageous beverage, beer stand included.
Charlize Theron — "Web Exclusive: Viper"
Theron towers over John Milhiser as her miscast police officer boyfriend, Viper, whose description doesn't quite match his stature.
Charlize Theron — "Web Exclusive: Mornin' Miami"
Theron, Bobby Moynihan, and Kate McKinnon play local TV morning news hosts who can't stand each other when the cameras stop rolling.
Andrew Garfield (May 3) — "Web Exclusive: Wing"
Perhaps the funniest of the recent bunch, Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney fawn over the friendship and attention of Garfield — and a lone chicken wing — in this "very special episode" sitcom spoof.
Andrew Garfield — "Web Exclusive: Touch O' Heat"
Kenan Thompson and Brooks Wheelan play the hosts of a Southern local radio show that focuses exclusively on… barbecue?! Garfield shows up as a barbeque connoisseur named Sugar Foot.
Andrew Garfield — "Web Exclusive: Janet & Andrew"
Garfield picks up super fan Janet (Bobby Moynihan in drag) from the "Amazing Spider-Man 2" premiere and brings her home for a little Spidey romance. This one is a total showcase of Moynihan unleashed and at his best. Best line from the sketch: "I look like all of the ladies from 'The View' smashed up together."
Anna Kendrick (April 6) — "Web Exclusive: Nickelodeon Show"
This spoof looks back at a fictional early-'90s children's TV show called "Zap!," in which the entire cast (and crew) was fed speed. Needless to say, there was never a second season.
Lena Dunham (March 8) — "Web Exclusive: Backstage with Lena Dunham"
Vanessa Bayer tries to show off her mad new dance skills to Beyoncé's "Partition." Unlike the other sketches, this sketch was made originally for the Web by "SNL's" digital producer Rachele Lynn. It was so good though, it almost bubbled up the other direction — from web to show!
Lady Gaga (Nov. 16) — "Web Exclusive: Female Sea Captains"
As the title implies, Gaga, Aidy Bryant, and Nasim Pedrad turn gender roles upside down, but the true joy is seeing Jay Pharaoh, Taran Killam, and Brooks Wheelan as emasculated mermen, and John Milhiser as a gay stowaway. Keep an eye out for "Moby Puss."
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