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Best of SNL: I'm not that strong a swimmer

84aswimmers1.jpgI'm on this comedy kick (which is odd, given that I am also on a scary stories kick), and I was talking with some co-workers about our favorite Saturday Night Live skits.

Of course, you can talk for hours about that. You first go over the old stuff, back from the SNL golden days, and then all the skits from when it got funny again, and then that other brief stint when it was really funny and then the skits from recent years, mostly with guest stars, that stand out through all the crap.

Googling around a bit, I came up with the transcript from one of my all time favorite skits (below).

So, what's your favorite(s)? (I'm working on my list)

Synchronized Swimmers

Gerald.....Harry Shearer
Lawrence.....Martin Short
Director.....Christopher Guest

[ open on an underwater camera angled upward to see Gerald & Lawrence on the surface above, as they jump into the pool below and begin their synchronized swimming routine. ]
Gerald: Oh, it's not going to be easy. My brother and I know. Men have never done synchronized swimming in a sanctioned competition in this country. Officially, it's got like a zero acceptance rate.

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence sitting and chatting ]

Lawrence: I don't swim.

Gerald: Lawrence doesn't swim. So.. I mean, no, of course not.. no one's going to just walk up and hand us a gold medal. Men's syncro isn't even in the '88 Olympics yet.

Lawrence: That's okay, because we could use the time. 'Cause I'm not.. I'm not that strong a swimmer.

Gerald: But I mean, that just means, you know, for '92, we're a lock for the gold.

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence doing more of their routine in the pool ]

Gerald: I remember it was a Friday. I was coming home. My wife, Abby, asked me, "Honey, is there something wrong?" And I said, "No, there's nothing wrong. I've made a decision. I'm leaving the accounting firm, and Lawrence and I are gonig to pursue a dream that we have, and that basically synchronized swimming is going to be our lives for the rest of this century."

[ cut to Gerald's wife, Abby ]

Abby: At first, I was sullen, because it turned our lives upseide-down, you know? But then I realized that it wasmaking Gerald really happy.. after being down for so long. I just decided that.. this was going to be great. [ cut to visual of Abby walking up a suburban sidewalk with a suitcase of wares ] Going back to work was a challenge.. but I found a whole outlet of experience.. and, let me tell you, you meet so many new people in the course of one day.

[ Abby knocks on door, but is ignored after being noticed from the window ]

Gerald: She's been great. I'm really fond of the lady.

[ cut to a Director helping Gerald & Lawrence with their routine ]

Director: 1, 2, 3, 4 - here it goes. This is like a mirror between you, and then he goes this way, and then let's say you were to point at each other. You're doing the same thing, aren't you? No, you're not angry at him..

Gerald: No, I'm not.

Director: No, you're just pointing at him. "Hey, you! I know you! I know you!" Let's hear the waggle. The waggle. Yes, just let me see this.. [ waggles ] Yeah, you remember that.. Maybe not.

[ cut to Director discussing his work withGerald & Lawrence ]

Director: Working with them has also given me a goose - if I may use that expression. I've been directing regional theater - "Shakespeare in the Park" - and if I ever do that again, I'm just going to, you know, kill myself with a Veg-o-Matic.

[ cut to more directing ]

Director: We dig a hole, we dig a hole, we dig a hole..

Director Voice-Over: And the great thing about these boys is they are thinking gold. I mean, who would want to wear bronze, anyway?

[ the boys learn underwater breathing techniques ]

Director: Be aware of the waterlines. So start holding your noses now! And hold your breath! Count: 1, 2.. you're underwater - I am, too, but I'm talking, this is just pretend - 2, 3, 4.. look at the fish going by, you see people's feet? Can you hold it any longer? No. So, burst out of the water, and aren't you glad to be out of the water? Lawrence, aren't you glad?

Lawrence: Yes.

Director: Yes!

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence on the deck, Lawrence performing an on-deck dance routine ]

Director Voice-Over: Although the judges don't count it, deck work is a very important part of Lawrence's preparation for the gold, and that's allowed to come from within in. He can be surprisingly creative.

[ Gerald & Larence jump into the water ]

Lawrence: The underwater part is really challenging. In a way, it's what makes this sport a sport. The male rules are a lot tougher. We can only touch the bottom with the balls of our feet, or else it's five-eighths of a point off.

[ cut to behind-the-scenes grooming before the next bout of practice ]

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence in the water showing off their best synchronized swimming skills ]

Lawrence Voice-Over: The music is chosen to express different moods: happy, underwater.. we'll argue sometimes about it, but I think Gerald trusts my tastes.

Gerald Voice-Over: There just comes a time in your life where you have to take yourself to the limit. We have the opportunity to do something that no one has ever done before. And we're going for it.

[ Gerald & Lawrence finish their synchronized swimming and wave to the empty crowd ]

SNL Transcripts


sadly, two of my favorite SNL skits involve... Alec Baldwin.

first, the one where he's a french teacher, correcting everybody (in that way that french teachers correct people - "repetez... je m'appelle... Rrrrrrobert").

second, the one where he plays a soap opera doctor who pronounces all the body parts and diseases phoenetically. i don't remember the exact lines, but i know that someone had canker (cancer).

the two best:

both with Will Ferrell- the Celebrity Jeopardy with Burt Reynolds (Turd Ferguson)


also the Behind the music on Blue Oyster Cult - Needs more Cowbell!

Emily Litella still rules!

The very early Slumber Party sketch is a perfect bit of television.

I'm also a big fan of What's The Best Way?, the game show by New Englandahs, foah New Englandahs.

I'm Not Gonna Phone It In Tonight

I liked Eddie Murphy in the Mr. Rogers take-off Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood. A sample:

Voice At Door: Robinson! Are you the guy that sold my kid a head of lettuce with a dress on it?!

Mr. Robinson: That reminds me of another word, boys and girls, that begins with "X" - "Ex-scape"! [ grabs his bag ] Well, I'll see you later. And remember: "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll visit you tomorrow when you're sound asleep.." [ jumps out window ] Goodbye, boys and girls!

I also liked his Gumby: "I'm Gumby, dammit!"

Abraham Lincoln: No, Tom. You're an incredible pussy.

Two come to mind:

Jon Lovitz - "Tales of Ribaldry"


"I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill every whitey I see..."

Belushi's shogun dry cleaner.

Coneheads always good.

Jane (or Gilda?) interviewing Dan as a toy manufacturer (Bags-o-Glass)

Also, Hartman did an Oval Office skit where Reagan engineered the entire Iran-Contra episode. Including wire-transfers to Switzerland (speaking German) and negotiating with the Ayatollahs (in Farsi), while his advisors passed out from exhaustion. My mom (a die-hard dem) just about choked to death from laughing.

Jesse Jackson reading Green Eggs and Ham.

Quite possibly the only time he's ever had a camera pointed at him that I haven't wanted to vomit.

My favorite is a bit with Nicolas Cage and Julia Sweeney where they play a married couple trying to decide on a name for their expected baby, and Cage's character rejects every name because the kid might get teased. At the end, a siniging telegram reveals his first name is "Asswipe" (pronounced Oz-wee-pay)....

That and the Jingleheimer junction skit from a Cameron Diaz episode in which she and 3 SNLers play Freddie, Umberto, Carrie, and Katie, with their initials on their shirts.... classic.

aus-WEE-pay! i totally forgot about that one! that one was good, too. i use that line all the time, and nobody ever knows what the hell i'm talking about.

Steve Martin and Bill Murray what the hell is that. sketch.

Murray (almost Caddyshack voice): whatthehell is that thing?
Martin (standard gawfaw Martin): what the HELL is THAT?
Murray: Whatdeh-hell isthatthing?
Martin: What in the HELL is THAT?
Murray: Ohhhh... I know what that is... wait... whatdeh-hell-isthatthing?

etc... etc... very funny. a lost classic

Sean Connery/Alex Trebek -


The game's afoot, Trebek.

Far too many to pick from: Bass-o-matic; Ackroyd as Julia Child; the commercial for Puppy Uppers and Doggy Downers; Ackroyd as the plumber whose crack shows as he's working under the sink - Bill Murray and Gilda Radner couldn't stop laughing. Apparently, Ackroyd had been told NOT to do that during rehearsals, but thankfully, he didn't listen and gave us something TV hadn't ever witnessed before.

My favorite guest skit was Lucy Lawless as Stevie Nicks doing a commercial for a Mexican cantina - her singing impression was flawless.

Tomcat: as I recall, the 'What the hell was that' was an improv necessitated by a skit being canned moments earlier. If that is true, it makes the bit even more golden in my mind.

= Samurai Baker. Anything Samurai..
= Land Shark!
= 'it's a desert topping, AND a floor wax!'
= Gilda and Steve Martin, dancing.
= Bill Murray's WU interview with Liz Taylor (Belushi)
= My all time fav: "March comes in like a lion..."

Eddie Murphy as Mr. Robinson with the "cabbage patch doll" (cabbage on a doll's body); the cheerleaders (Will Farrell); and I will admit to still having a soft spot for the copier guy. The Stevester, makin' copiesssss...

The Reagan-as-evil-genius skit always cracked me up too... here's the transcript.

Chris Guest and Billy Crystal - "I hate when that happens"

Killer Bees

Just about anything else with Belushi and Akroyd

"Jane you ignorant slut!"

John Lovitz - Pathological Liar

Eddie Murphy - Tyrone Green, Velvet Jones, Buh-wheat

Piscopo and Murphy were sometimes almost as good as Belushi and Akroyd

Oh! My favorite SNL News bit:

[Jane Curtain] Cuba has announced that it will be pulling out of Angola. A frustrated Angola could not be reached for comment.


One of my favorites was "The Sinatra Group", with (among others) Phil Hartman as The Chairman and Sting as Billy Idol. Best line ever: "You don't scare me. I got chunks of guys like you in my stool!"

I just saw a rerun of it last weekend. Here's a transcript. Good times.

Hey BumperStickerist:


Will Ferrel as Neil Diamond -Storytellers.


"I wrote this song after I shot a drifter to get an erection..."

"sorry about that folks, I'm feeling a bit woozy, Frank, that's my keyboard player jsut gave me some dynamite pills."

the whole thing is gutbustingly funny.

Also Will Farrell as Harry Carry.

"I'll come at ya Norm... like a hurricaine made of nails and teeth!"

The most brilliant piece was Masterbrain, with Reagan toggling from doddering old disengaged sleepyhead in public to international political mastermind behind closed doors.

Any espisode with Steve Martin was special. His dance routine with Gilda Radner was magical.

This is going to sound so lame

alec baldwin swechty (sp?) balls
when Josh Jackson and n'sync were on they did this skit that was so funny, totally mocking themselves.

anything from the original not ready for prime time players.

Ed Grimley
Billy crystal - You look mahvalous, it's better to look good then feel good
Jon lovitz - the liar
So much stuff, so little brain power to rememeber it all.

Cheri Oteri:

Judge Judy

Laura Zimmerman:

Laura Zimmerman: [ re-enters with pate, limping ]

Josh Zimmerman: Honey, why are you limping? Are you alright?

Laura Zimmerman: Ooh.. I've got a charlie horse..

Josh Zimmerman: Oh, geez..

Laura Zimmerman: I'll tell you - my yoga instructor is one tough cookie! Ow!

Josh Zimmerman: Yes, she is crazy. [ gets up ] Come here, honey, sit down. [ Laura sits ] Let's find that horse for you.

Laura Zimmerman: It's right here. [ lifts her leg ]

Josh Zimmerman: Is that it? [ grabs her upper thigh ]

Laura Zimmerman: Ooh.. right there!

Josh Zimmerman: That's it?

Laura Zimmerman: That's it. Just work it! Work that horse, baby!

Josh Zimmerman: [ rubs her thigh ferociously ] Come on! Coming around the track!

Laura Zimmerman: Get him out the stable! He's out the stable! Alright, strap the reins!

Also, Cheri Oteri as Rita Delvecchio:

Rita's Mom: The kids need more pop!

Rita: The kids are smashed, Ma!

Rita's Mom: No, they're not. They're just happy.

Rita: Just sit down, Ma.

Rita's Mom: [ flops into a chair ] Alright, alright, I'll finish stuffing the shells. When was the last time you basted the turkey?

Rita: Three minutes ago, Ma!

Rita's Mom: Rita, where did you the ricotta cheese to stuff these shells?

Rita: I don't know.. Tony's.

Rita's Mom: How could you support Tony's store?!

Rita: I know, I know.. when he spends all his money buying high-class jewelry for his girlfriends..

Rita's Mom: His poor wife's walking around in a rabbit fur poncho.

Rita: It don't affect the cheese, Ma!

Rita's Mom: It does if you cook it with love, like I taught ya.

Rita: There's love in there. Keep beating. Keep beating.

Niece: [ runs into the kitchen ] Aunt Rita, we're starving!

Rita: [ pushes her niece out of the kitchen ] Yeah? So are Sally Struthers' kids! Now, go upstairs! Finish watching "The Sound of Music" upstairs! And stay away from Grandma's moustache cream - it's poison!

Rita's Mom: It won't hurt e'm! Let 'em have fun. [ notices Rita's stirring in the pot ] Martha Stewart says not to stir while you simmer.

Rita: Martha Stewart. If I hear Martha Stewart tell me how to cook one more time, I'm gonna shove a cornish game hen down that WASPy bitch's throat!

Rita's Mom: She's bad! I hear she doesn't pay her bills - and she's single. There's a surprise.

The very first SNL I saw still sticks with me, particularly because of the Jean-Claude Killy sketch, complete with gunshots overdubbed to a montage of some of his skiing.

Two other moments I think I almost pissed myself while watching:

1) Eddie Murphy as Tyrone Green, skewering Norman Mailer with "Kill My Landlord"
2) A spoof on "Dallas," particularly who shot J.R., with the guy playing the gunshot victim saying "I'd like to know who the fuck did it?"

Oh yeah... and Larry the lobster.

The Judge Judy skit when he's the dance instructor whose signature move is "The White Tornado" And when he's the creepy high school janitor Tony Baloney.

An obscure but hysterical skit was Mike Meyer as a Japanese executive pitching his new show for "American television, " The Nude House of Wacky People.

Here is the father coming home from work with many American hamburgers for the family. He is driving so crazy it makes me laugh! Oh, no! He is crashing so much I have to laugh again! This is too much for me to look at and yet somehow I want to watch more!

[Sitcom living room. The father carries an armload of hamburgers through the front door]

Here is the father again, trying to carry the hamburgers home. Maybe he should carry the car it is so small by now!

[doorbell rings]

Oh, no! How much more insane can it get, I am wondering also.

[Father opens door. Bear enters & immediately attacks Father.]

A bear? How did he get there? There is no time for wondering, because the father is already fighting the bear! Then the bear leaves.

[The bear does indeed stop fighting and walks calmly out the door.]

Whew! Could we please stop now because it is so insane? No, we cannot!

"The most brilliant piece was Masterbrain, with Reagan toggling from doddering old disengaged sleepyhead in public to international political mastermind behind closed doors."

Phil Hartman in a role he didn't get to play long enough.

"This is the part of the job I hate!"

(referring to a photo op with a girl scout)

"Well, the $3,000 was to supposed to get all of you guys, not just one, do you know what I mean?" (Words to that effect -- Lorne Michaels to George Harrison)

Paul Simon playing a one-one basketball game with an NBA player.

A Buck Henry piece with pimps dancing to Swan Lake.

"I am black and you are white..." "You are blind as a bat and I have sight."

Stevie Wonder & John McEnroe do a commercial for a camera. ("So easy, even I can use it!")

And Stevie Wonder as a Stevie Wonder impersonator auditioning for Eddie Murphy. "Still stinks man."

I liked the old skits with Mike Myers as "Middle-Aged Man"

1. Alec Baldwin: Schweaty Balls and later on the Schweaty Weiners skits.

2. Any of the Celebrity Jeopardy skits

3. Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze in the Chippendale Dancers danceoff.

The synchronized swimming bit is one of my favorites.


Chris Farley on the Japanese game show. It never did much for me when I first saw it, but it got funnier every time I've seen it since.

Any of the Belushi samurai stuff.

Dan Aykroyd reviewing Titian's art.

Jim Carrey "Ride the Snake."

Christopher Guest and Billy Crystal "Didja Ever...."

SNL Favorites (in order of preference):

Buckwheat gets shot

Stevie Wonder, playing the world's WORST Stevie Wonder impersonator

Steve Martin's "King Tut"

Harry Anderson in a straitjacket vs. his wife tied up in rope...and Harry cheats like heck, still loses, and takes all the credit for winning anyway. (Eating the Guinea Pig was a good bit, as well)

Frank Sinatra (Piscopo) and Stevie Wonder (Murphy) do "Ebony and Ivory"

Sarah Michelle Gellar for "Holding Your Own Boobs" Magazine

Ashlee Simpson's career-ending performance

Joe Montenga criticizes disappointed boy who was there to see Joe Montana

Happy Fun Ball.

And one bit they showed on a "best of" Christmas specialó the guy from the original cast who sang opera regaling the audience with "O, Tannenbaum." In the second verse, the trees start moving in, and suddenly, he's impaled on one of the branches... Not "When Trees Attack" (too early) but similar idea.

Two more. Ana Gasteyer as Martha Stewart in Martha Stewart's Topless Christmas.

Also, we'll learn how to make beeswax candles. They really say Yuletide. [camera zooms out to reveal Martha only wearing a dickey ] And, I'll show you how to make a festive holiday dickey out of an old turtleneck. I made this one. I really treasure it.

Also, Will Farrell. Just seeing him on tv made me laugh.

Oh, ScottC reminded me of the skit with Joe Montana - "I'll just be up in my room masturbating" was CLASSIC.


The entire original cast singing "Lets kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas".

The film with Belushi dancing on the other's graves.

The Continental with Christopher Walkin

Christopher Walken auditioning for Han Solo. "Chewie, here, tells me, you're looking for, TRANSPORT, to the Alderaan, SYSTEM."

"1) Eddie Murphy as Tyrone Green, skewering Norman Mailer with "Kill My Landlord" "

"C-I-L-L mah landlord!"

Gezz I'd forgotten how funny that was.

I'm Wookin pa nub...

sweeny sisters
toonzes the cat
richard pryor the exorcist
'you ignorant slut'
'touch my monkey'
Hans und Franz
2 wild and crazy guys
land shark
kaufman doing mighty mouse
peter boyle, belushi- dueling brandos

pleasze check out early SCTV for kick ass skit comedy

Oh, I forgot The Mighty Pahvaat, the stone idol worshipped by Muppet aliens in the oldest episodes.

Pahvaat Mighty Favog

Chris Farley - what a talent. I loved his interview with Paul McCartney.

Chris Farley: [ uncomfortable ] You.. you.. you remember when you were with The Beatles?

Paul McCartney: Yeah, sure.

Chris Farley: That was awesome!

Paul McCartney: Yeah, it was.

Talking about this post with my much-better-half, she reminded me of Richard Pryor in a send up of the Exorcist.

Lorraine Newman is in the bed, as it starts to levitate. "Father" Pryor announces "The bed must stay on the floor"
"The bed must stay on the floor"
"The bed must stay on the floor"
"Ooooh!! The bed is on my foot...."

LOVED the Nick Cage as Ozweepay sketch. Lot's of goods ones already mentioned.

Dana Carvey as Massive Headwound Harry.

The I'm Gonna Be a Better Cowboy song. "I ain't gonna shoot at your feet anymore, yelling dance little sissy-boy, dance ..."

Christopher Walken as Col. Angus. (All the ladies love Col. Angus.)

This thread needs more cowbell ,too.

Don't know if you'll see this, Michele, but I just read an article kinda appropo this discussion. Nicholas Cage has just had a son and named him Kal-el.

Now 'scuse me while I clean my monitor.



Waynes world skits....

and Anything done by chris farley.