So I am quite a fan of Saturday Night Live (SNL). There is a Youtube channel that puts up the highlights of each show and it is easy to get into a watching binge. So today, I would like to share my 5 favourite original SNL characters or character groups. For this blog, I am going to include original characters, so no celebrity impressions this time round.
- Vince Blake (played by Bill Hader)
Vince Blake is a gameshow host who never seems to be able to hold down a show. You can see him as the host of Game of Game of Thrones, Who’s on Top? What’s that Name? and What’s Wrong with Tanya? Every gameshow is weird and wacky, which is beautifully contrasted by Blake’s deadpan, straight-faced hosted. Blake is bought to life through Bill Hader’s wonderful comedic acting and keeps you hooked throughout each instalment of his work.
- Target Lady (Kirsten Wiig)
Have you ever encountered that one person a little too excited to be working behind the till at a large retailer? No? Then Target Lady will give you some idea of what I mean. With her pristine uniform and “bangs that go all the way around her head”, Target Lady is an employee at the popular American retailer, Target. She is ready to scream “Welcome to Target!” and generally make those she is serving highly uncomfortable. Target Lady is one of Kirsten Wiig’s many crazy characters and is one of her best, with her over-enthusiasm and improvisation skills (which is she displays through her intended uses for various products she buys from Target).
- The Californians (Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Kirsten Wiig, Kenan Thompson and Vanessa Bayer, plus guests)
If SNL does one thing right, it’s parody. The Californians are a group of barely coherent Californians who live out their dramatic and complex lives. They can often be heard detailing their exact travel plans and indulging in ‘passionate’ affairs. With the core group made up for experienced SNL cast members, there is plenty of hilarious (if barely coherent) dialogue between the group and the humour is genuine enough to have the actors lose it from time to time.
- The Spartan Cheerleaders (Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri)
Arianna and Craig are two plucky cheerleaders who didn’t actually make it onto the cheerleading squad. However, that’s not going to stop them being cheerleaders! Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri portray these two cheerleaders who bring the school spirit to some rather unorthodox tournaments, such as chess. Ferrell and Oteri’s chemistry is perfect and it leads to a hilarious performance from both of them. And hey, their cheerleading isn’t bad, I mean it’s not good but I’ve seen worse.
- Jonathan Cavanaugh and Rebecca Stern-Markowitz (Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, Jason Sudekis, Fred Armisen, plus guests)
We all know someone obsessed with Japanese culture and Michigan State University students, Jonathan Cavanaugh (Killam) and Rebecca Stern-Markowitz (Bayer) are no different. They host ‘J-Pop America Fun Time Now!’ an early morning student network TV show for MSU, overseen by their Japanese Studies professor, played by Jason Sudekis. While their knowledge is inaccurate and based mostly on idioms inherited from anime, they must be credited for their passion and the dedication to the role is fantastic. Over the course of four episodes, they are joined by students of a similar strain of fan culture, with the show’s only Japanese link being Cavanaugh’s Japanese girlfriend, played by Fred Armisen. The skit only gets funny as it is revealed that the two hosts are the worst Japanese Studies students.