The 5 Funniest Saturday Night Live Sketches of the '80s
SNL AT 40
From Wayne amp Garth to Tina amp Amy, the Church Lady to the Target Lady, every moment of SNL hilarity is covered in the new PEOPLE book 40 Years of Saturday Night Live, on newsstands Jan. 30.
MR. ROBINSON'S NEIGHBORHOOD
Eddie Murphy's urban take on the popular PBS children's show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was an instant hit. Murphy imitated Fred Rogers' soft, sing-songy voice to say things like, "Another reason why Mr. Robinson likes Christmas so much, boys and girls, is because I have so much in common with Santa Claus – we both like to sneak into your house late at night." The result? This stolen "doll baby." Mr. Robinson appeared on nine SNL shows between 1981 and 1984.
LARRY THE LOBSTER
In the show, hosted by Daniel J. Travanti (shown here), Murphy created an interactive world of his own by asking viewers to vote by telephone on whether to save the life of a lobster named Larry – otherwise the lobster would be boiled on air for dinner. A half-million people responded, at 50 cents a call, and Larry was saved by a margin of about 12,000 votes (the response almost crashed AT&T's lines). The following week Murphy ate the lobster anyway.
FATHER GUIDO SARDUCCI
Writer Don Novello portrayed the dapper, chain-smoking priest – the gossip columnist for L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper – on more than 30 occasions during his SNL run. He stayed in character while hosting the show in 1984, the only time a fictional character hosted. The highlight? He nominated ZZ Top for president while conducting a primary poll.
Well, isn't that special? Dana Carvey created Church Lady Enid Strict based on memories of women he knew at his childhood house of worship. Dressed in a matching blue and purple jacket and dress, the Church Lady sarcastically put down celebrities with catchphrases like, "How con-VEEN-ient!" or, "Could it be ... SATAN?" She did not approve of Sean Penn's then-wife Madonna, noting that the singer "doesn't quite live up to the standards" of her namesake. Continued taunts prompted Penn to punch the Church Lady in the nose.
In perhaps the weirdest recurring sketch in SNL history, Mike Myers played Dieter, a bored German expressionist who disdainfully interviewed celebrities. His chat with The Munsters' Eddie (played by Ben Stiller) is a classic. "Vhat vas it like to vork with Fred Gwynne – Herman Munster?" Myers asked in a heavy German accent. He later created one of SNL's great catchphrases: "Do you vant to touch my monkey?"