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When Saturday Night Live is on its game, it’s one of the funniest sketch comedy shows in TV history. A lot of that is dependent on the cast, as well as getting a guest host who is truly funny. There’s a reason why some guests have been invited back to host SNL multiple times over the years. Unfortunately, even a great guest host can’t do much when SNL falls flat on its face with some really awful skits.
Our roundup of the seven worst Saturday Night Live skits includes the lethal blend of terrible ideas, awful execution, and excruciatingly bad performances by guest hosts. Even the best comedians can’t land every joke, but these misfires will haunt SNL for as long as the show continues to run.
7. The Tampon Prince
This skit may be more memorable for viewers of Netflix’s The Crown, as it revolves around the current King of England, then known as Prince Charles, sharing his fantasy about being transformed into a tampon so he could stay with his mistress (and later, his second wife) Camilla Parker-Bowles. Dana Carvey made his final appearance as an SNL cast member in this skit, where Charles went ahead with his fantasy with alarming results.
The one redeeming aspect of this skit is that Camilla (Julia Sweeney) is suitably horrified, and she abandons Charles, whose final line is actually funny. The rest of the sketch is just as disposable as the product that it spoofed.
6. Rear Window
A common theme in these sketches is that some performers just aren’t suited to be comedic performers, especially when they’re going on live. Mad Men actress January Jones was way out of her comfort zone in SNL‘s Rear Window sketch, which featured Jones as Grace Kelly, Bobby Moynihan as Alfred Hitchcock, and Jason Sudeikis as Jimmy Stewart.
The “joke” here is that Kelly can’t get through a scene without loudly farting. And it just keeps going on and on that way. There was no saving this sketch. In Jones’ defense, even actual comedians would have had trouble making this work.
The one good thing that can be said about the Sasquatch skit is that at least the makeup and costume for Bigfoot isn’t bad. But when the rest of the sketch is built around Bigfoot sexually degrading a camper (Mikey Day), there really aren’t a lot of laughs to be found.
Guest host Sterling K. Brown (a recent Oscar 2024 nominee for his supporting work in American Fiction) does his best to get anything out of this sketch while offering explanations for Bigfoot’s behavior. But this one is DOA.
4. Jennifer’s Date
When the late Chris Farley can’t rescue a sketch, SNL is really in trouble. It was clearly a mistake to invite Steven Seagal on the show, whom even Lorne Michaels has called one of the worst guest hosts in the history of Saturday Night Live.
Seagal is the black hole where comedy goes to die, and never more so than in this skit, where he’s cast opposite the genuinely hilarious Farley as a suitor for Jennifer (Victoria Jackson). Almost any of the other action stars from the ’90s would have been able to get more laughs than Seagal. He didn’t even seem to care when the sketch bombed in front of the live audience.
3. White House 2018
SNL is rarely more awkward than when actual politicians appear on the show. In 2015, while he was running for p resident for the first time, Donald Trump guest hosted the show … and SNL gave him as little to do as possible because Trump simply isn’t funny.
When playing himself in this White House 2018 sketch, Trump can’t even generate laughs at the idea that both Omarosa (Sasheer Zamata) and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, would be working in his administration. Perhaps the ultimate joke is that Ivanka and the real Omarosa actually did have jobs in Trump’s White House. It just wasn’t as rosy a picture of the future as this incredibly unfunny sketch made it out to be.
2. The Arguing Couple
Chris Rock is a great comedian, and Leslie Jones is a good one, but The Arguing Couple sketch is just embarrassing for both of them. It’s one thing for a skit to miss the mark. There are plenty of SNL sketches that have bombed.
The Arguing Couple was next-level mediocrity that neither Rock nor Jones could salvage. There are even a few times where it seems like neither performer knew their lines. It’s now become legendary in the show’s lore for being a colossal misfire.
1. Gen Z Hospital
Elon Musk has the same issue that Trump does: both men think that they’re hilarious. Musk was at least more willing to try to be a performer — he just didn’t have the talent to pull it off. Musk’s entire episode is extremely cringe, but the Gen Z Hospital sketch was easily the worst skit in the show’s history.
As seen in the pic above, Musk played a doctor who attempted to speak with a couple of Gen Z teens in slang that they would be able to understand. It’s a poorly written and performed sketch that not only made Musk look bad, but was embarrassing for anyone on the SNL writing staff who thought this could work. Yet, given the ups and downs in Saturday Night Live‘s history, there’s always a strong chance that this sketch could be unseated by something even worse in the years to come.
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