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Rolling Stone's 50 Greatest Saturday Night Live Sketches of All Time

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    John_George_Peppers

    [1]Feb 26, 2014
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    http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/pictures/50-greatest-saturday-night-live-sketches-of-all-time-20140203


    I didn't see a discussion on this, so I hope I'm not stepping on any toes posting this here.


    From the 'comments' section and other forums such as IMDB, the general consensus is the list is pretty terrible, and there are definitely some baffling choices on here. It seems in spots they just went with whatever sketch they could easily find a video of. There are some sketches on here that I find really funny (Sincere Guy Stu, Jimmy Tango's Fat Busters, Centaur Interview, Stefon, The Falconer) but just aren't significant enough to the show's history to sit with the likes of Matt Foley or Stefon. Some all time classics like The Sinatra Group, Clinton at McDonald's, any presidential debate sketches, Schmitt's Gay, Wake Up and Smile (the first great Will Ferrell sketch), "Lazy Sunday," Steve Martin's "Not Gonna Phone It In Tonight" and others are all missing at the expense of stuff like Garth & Kat (among the worst recurring bits from both Fred and Kristen) and a largely forgotten Season 20 sketch with Jeff Daniels and Chris Elliot. Additionally, while still very funny, the Celebrity Jeopardy they chose was not the best one (I'd have included 'Turd Ferguson').


    Any other thoughts?



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  • Avatar of Hennes81

    Hennes81

    [2]Feb 26, 2014
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    I already mentioned it in the "General News & Media Mentions" thread. If you find something in the future this might be the best place to post it.


    As I wrote two weeks ago, those lists will never be perfect (the comments at the RS page mentioned the lack of John Belushi), but I really liked this one because it features some almost forgotten skits and includes all eras of SNL.


    I also love those additional information about the writing or the reception by other cast members (e.g. Spades take on Farleys Chippendales audition).

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  • Avatar of HelloStuart

    HelloStuart

    [3]Feb 26, 2014
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    Yeah, the list is a mess, but it's hard to whittle down nearly 40 years of sketches into a tight list of 50. A top 100 would have been more suitable.
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  • Avatar of John_George_Peppers

    John_George_Peppers

    [4]Feb 27, 2014
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    HelloStuart wrote:
    Yeah, the list is a mess, but it's hard to whittle down nearly 40 years of sketches into a tight list of 50. A top 100 would have been more suitable.


    I agree with you in theory, but some choices are just flat out baffling - when mentioning an SNL sketch to the average person, most won't recall Film Beat or Alec Baldwin's Christmas Wish. If they wanted to make a list called '50 Underrated Saturday Night Live Sketches,' then yeah, fine, I could get behind that. But 'Greatest of All Time' implies that a significant amount of detail went into focusing on the historical impact and overall popularity of a sketch, which is betrayed by the staggering amount of either poor or poorly remembered sketches present on such a list.


    The fact that there's barely any Eddie Murphy sketches, no Michael O'Donoghue penned sketches and no Phil Hartman sketches aside from two commercial parodies utterly destroys the credibility of the list in my opinion.

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  • Avatar of Hennes81

    Hennes81

    [5]Feb 27, 2014
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    John_George_Peppers wrote:
    I agree with you in theory, but some choices are just flat out baffling - when mentioning an SNL sketch to the average person, most won't recall Film Beat or Alec Baldwin's Christmas Wish. If they wanted to make a list called '50 Underrated Saturday Night Live Sketches,' then yeah, fine, I could get behind that. But 'Greatest of All Time' implies that a significant amount of detail went into focusing on the historical impact and overall popularity of a sketch, which is betrayed by the staggering amount of either poor or poorly remembered sketches present on such a list.


    The fact that there's barely any Eddie Murphy sketches, no Michael O'Donoghue penned sketches and no Phil Hartman sketches aside from two commercial parodies utterly destroys the credibility of the list in my opinion.



    You have to understand what the goal of this list was. The RS editors didn't want to compile a big rating which includes results of data analysis or a representative survey or something like that. Since those picks are always subjective they just listed some of their favourite skits, excluded every segment which was in there multiple times (so you just have one Digital Short, one Celebrity Jeopardy etc.) and discussed about the order of the sketches. That's just how it works. (And since some of those RS editors want to brag with their SNL knowledge there were some unpopular skits on the list as well.)


    I still think this list is really informative and well-balanced (since all eras are represented instead of just original cast or Digital Shorts dominating). If you wanna see lists which are worse, here are the first two I found via Google:


    http://uk.askmen.com/top_10/entertainment/top-10-saturday-night-live-sketches.html
    2 Digital Shorts in the Top 10, but no Waynes World


    http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/05/19/igns-top-25-snl-skits-of-all-time
    What Is love better than Matt Foley? Hans and Franz over Schweddy Balls?


    Compared to those lists I like the RS slideshow much better (since it's more than just an list but also gives interesting information).


    Also, I saw Hartman in 3 ads (MetroCard, Clukin Chicken, Happy Fun Ball), and in "Sincere Guy Stu" (32), Mr Belvedere Fan Club (26), Choppin Broccoli (7) and Matt Foley (1). Of course I would have loved The Sinatra Group but you can't have everything.

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  • Avatar of John_George_Peppers

    John_George_Peppers

    [6]Feb 27, 2014
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    Hennes81 wrote:


    John_George_Peppers wrote:
    I agree with you in theory, but some choices are just flat out baffling - when mentioning an SNL sketch to the average person, most won't recall Film Beat or Alec Baldwin's Christmas Wish. If they wanted to make a list called '50 Underrated Saturday Night Live Sketches,' then yeah, fine, I could get behind that. But 'Greatest of All Time' implies that a significant amount of detail went into focusing on the historical impact and overall popularity of a sketch, which is betrayed by the staggering amount of either poor or poorly remembered sketches present on such a list.


    The fact that there's barely any Eddie Murphy sketches, no Michael O'Donoghue penned sketches and no Phil Hartman sketches aside from two commercial parodies utterly destroys the credibility of the list in my opinion.



    You have to understand what the goal of this list was. The RS editors didn't want to compile a big rating which includes results of data analysis or a representative survey or something like that. Since those picks are always subjective they just listed some of their favourite skits, excluded every segment which was in there multiple times (so you just have one Digital Short, one Celebrity Jeopardy etc.) and discussed about the order of the sketches. That's just how it works. (And since some of those RS editors want to brag with their SNL knowledge there were some unpopular skits on the list as well.)


    I still think this list is really informative and well-balanced (since all eras are represented instead of just original cast or Digital Shorts dominating). If you wanna see lists which are worse, here are the first two I found via Google:


    http://uk.askmen.com/top_10/entertainment/top-10-saturday-night-live-sketches.html
    2 Digital Shorts in the Top 10, but no Waynes World


    http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/05/19/igns-top-25-snl-skits-of-all-time
    What Is love better than Matt Foley? Hans and Franz over Schweddy Balls?


    Compared to those lists I like the RS slideshow much better (since it's more than just an list but also gives interesting information).


    Also, I saw Hartman in 3 ads (MetroCard, Clukin Chicken, Happy Fun Ball), and in "Sincere Guy Stu" (32), Mr Belvedere Fan Club (26), Choppin Broccoli (7) and Matt Foley (1). Of course I would have loved The Sinatra Group but you can't have everything.



    And almost none of them have Hartman in the central role, except I guess for MetroCard, although Roseanne primarily gets laughs there. In the objective context of SNL, leaving off any Hartman-centric sketches off is a crime considering how important he was to the era of the show in which he was a cast member. Leaving off him is as bad as leaving off any Belushi sketches.


    Those lists you provided are terrible, of course, and from a journalistic standpoint more poorly organized than the RS list. That said, none of them include sketches like Film Beat, Garth & Kat and Dick in a Box (the most overrated Digital Short). I don't think there was a good balance, either, as the 1990s' outweighed any other period while the 1980s' didn't even get 10.


    I know all lists are subjective, but it's very easy to see where Rolling Stone decided to forgo actual historical perspective and either interject their own personal favorites or remain current by sucking up to the most recent successful era of the show (Wiig / Poehler / Fey / Stefon, etc.).


    Just my two cents, of course.


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  • Avatar of Hennes81

    Hennes81

    [7]Feb 27, 2014
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    John_George_Peppers wrote:


    And almost none of them have Hartman in the central role, except I guess for MetroCard, although Roseanne primarily gets laughs there. In the objective context of SNL, leaving off any Hartman-centric sketches off is a crime considering how important he was to the era of the show in which he was a cast member. Leaving off him is as bad as leaving off any Belushi sketches.


    Those lists you provided are terrible, of course, and from a journalistic standpoint more poorly organized than the RS list. That said, none of them include sketches like Film Beat, Garth & Kat and Dick in a Box (the most overrated Digital Short). I don't think there was a good balance, either, as the 1990s' outweighed any other period while the 1980s' didn't even get 10.


    I know all lists are subjective, but it's very easy to see where Rolling Stone decided to forgo actual historical perspective and either interject their own personal favorites or remain current by sucking up to the most recent successful era of the show (Wiig / Poehler / Fey / Stefon, etc.).


    Just my two cents, of course.



    I mostly agree with you. It's just that these lists will never be actually relevant. They are just opinions from small groups of SNL fans and are heavily biased on personal interests. It's some sort of fan-fiction since there will never be a sketch which will be THE BEST sketch in SNL history.


    Maybe the Hartman era is underrepresented in the RS list (even though some highlights of Farley and Myers are placed very high). But, I don't hesitat to repeat it: This list isn't perfect and there will never be such a list.


    But I have to disagree in one detail: Dick in a box was (along side with Lazy Sunday and Tinas Palin skits) the most influencial skit of the last 10 years (or more). Timberlakes status as fan favourite started with this Short and even now (years later and with Samberg gone) every time he appears as host or MG the ratings hit new season highs. I'm also saying he wouldn't be a five-timer without that idea by the Lonely Island.
    Of course I'm accepting your personal opinion that the skit wasn't that good. But since this short had such an impact on the show, it's absolutely necessary for this Top 50.

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  • Avatar of JustinRAn

    JustinRAn

    [8]Mar 1, 2014
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    HelloStuart wrote:
    Yeah, the list is a mess, but it's hard to whittle down nearly 40 years of sketches into a tight list of 50. A top 100 would have been more suitable.


    Like that E! 101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments? with the Zagats Couple?
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  • Avatar of HelloStuart

    HelloStuart

    [9]Mar 7, 2014
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    JustinRAn wrote:
    HelloStuart wrote:
    Yeah, the list is a mess, but it's hard to whittle down nearly 40 years of sketches into a tight list of 50. A top 100 would have been more suitable.


    Like that E! 101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments? with the Zagats Couple?


    I suppose.
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  • Avatar of JustinRAn

    JustinRAn

    [10]Mar 8, 2014
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    HelloStuart wrote:
    JustinRAn wrote:
    HelloStuart wrote:
    Yeah, the list is a mess, but it's hard to whittle down nearly 40 years of sketches into a tight list of 50. A top 100 would have been more suitable.


    Like that E! 101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments? with the Zagats Couple?


    I suppose.


    You didn't see that 5-part special?
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  • Avatar of HelloStuart

    HelloStuart

    [11]Mar 8, 2014
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    JustinRAn wrote:
    HelloStuart wrote:
    JustinRAn wrote:
    HelloStuart wrote:
    Yeah, the list is a mess, but it's hard to whittle down nearly 40 years of sketches into a tight list of 50. A top 100 would have been more suitable.


    Like that E! 101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments? with the Zagats Couple?


    I suppose.


    You didn't see that 5-part special?


    Yes I did; I was shrugging at the reference point in general. That countdown wasn't perfect, either.
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