Lillian Cohen ’21 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Saturday Night Live has been a classic for decades, creating entire generations of comedians and reinventing the genre of sketch comedy, just like those before them in Monty Python and The Carol Burnett Show. Their weekly shows consist of bits, impressions, songs, and political commentary, bringing the world together in one cohesive moment. When the holidays come around, this includes them too.
As soon as the first pumpkin spice lattes are brewed, sketches for the holidays start appearing. There’s more time to come up with the ideas, rather than current events content, so many have more working parts and fun involved. Some are originals, while some regular sketches come up with a holiday edition to their collection.
For Christmas in particular, there are almost too many sketches watch; so here’s a list of the best, to narrow down your watch-list and keep your holidays jolly.
- Christmastime for the Jews (2005)
By far the best Christmas special for SNL, this sketch took months to create. The stop-motion black-and-white clay ensemble mixes song and story to create a cult classic. It accurately describes the Jewish Christmas experience; watching Daily Show reruns and eating Chinese food, playing out in the snow. There’s a certain wonderland feel about it, no one else around or caring, the world closed down but somehow free for the taking. The subject is perfect for the swanky old-school music, bringing a nostalgic element on everyone’s TV screens.
As a Jewish person, often from a young age, we are defined as not celebrating Christmas. Hanukkah is not a comparable celebration and the Western world doesn’t care enough to learn about the holidays we take days off for in September. This sketch treads the line of truth and stereotype extremely well, laughing along with instead of at,
2. D*** in a Box (2006)
This song is a bit less low-key. Justin Timberlake is featured on this ensemble from the SNL band The Lonely Island. The fictional band has actually gone mainstream since its formation in 2001, members going on tour in real life.
The lyrics are a bit explicit, but absolutely hilarious. The entire concept is Andy Samberg and Timberlake giving their significant others a box with their genitals inside. Steps are included in the jingle, explaining how to cut and whole and insert one’s appendages. Everyone is dressed like a ‘90s boyband member, definitely playing into Timberlake’s ‘NSYNC days. The lyrics are set to a smooth beat and deep twang will make you laugh and melt in your seat.
3. NPR’s Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls (1998)
It’s amazing how well Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer are able to nail the mannerisms of dry radio hosts in their collection of NPR-spoof skits, featuring SNL guests and regular players. Its heavy ASMR vibes are perfect for the current fetish of Millennials and Gen Zers.
The holiday version of their long-running bit featured guest-star and now-regular Alec Baldwin, describing Ben and Jerry’s Schweddy Balls ice cream and agonizing detail. The sketch was so popular that in 2011 Ben & Jerry’s actually made a limited batch based on the dictated ingredients.
4. (Do It On My) Twin Bed (2013)
Nominated for an Emmy, this tune starring the ladies of SNL is a sequel to their Thanksgiving bop “Back Home Ballers.” Between red sequined dresses, XFiles VHS tapes, relatable family drama, and lots of uncomfortable seductive draping on childhood furniture, this song quickly became a classic. Jimmy Fallon even added a rap of his own between verses, hosting that week.
If nothing else, watch it for the flashback pics of the ladies of SNL. They’re iconic.
5. Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood (1984)
Eddie Murphy is great in this sketch, a spoof on the treasured childhood show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Now a movie starring Tom Hanks, the slightly less-updated version features Murphy telling kids about his own neighborhood, where poverty is a real issue that requires crafty solutions. He enters dressed as Santa so he can sneak into his building without his landlord knowing, but admits that he also pretends to be raising money for the Salvation Army as a “small business.” He makes Cabbage Patch Kids by sticking cabbage on a decapitated doll. A short sketch, Murphy doesn’t miss a beat, every line packing a subtle punch and matching chuckle.