Cast giggles have led to some of the funniest moments in SNL history

By Lydia Price
September 30, 2019 03:01 PM
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Despite their best efforts, the professionals at Saturday Night Live find themselves laughing right along with us every now and then. It’s such a storied tradition that Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler even sang a song about breaking during the show’s 40th anniversary special.

Although the performers are supposed to avoid it at all costs, getting the giggles during sketches has led to some of the funniest moments in SNL history, so we’re looking back at some of those classic crack-ups that still get us every time.

“Inside the Beltway”

Aidy Bryant lost all hope of concealing her amusement when a crew member accidentally entered a live shot during the season 45 premiere. The sketch’s premise involved cutting to “previously recorded” news segments, and the wardrobe assistant jumped in before her cue to help with a quick change that was meant to bring Bryant’s character back to the present day. Not even a seven-season veteran like the actress could get through her lines giggle-free after the hiccup.

“Smokery Farms”

Seemingly thrown off by the smell of a “gorgeous, stinking basket” of raw meats, Bryant and Kate McKinnon smirked and giggled their way through a “Weekend Update” bit in which they played a pair of farmer cousins.

“Benihana”

Jonah Hill headed back to SNL in November 2018 for his fifth hosting stint. The episode included the return of Adam Grossman, the actor’s insult-serving, hibachi-loving, 6-year-old character. Neither he nor scene partner Leslie Jones could keep it together throughout Adam’s raucous antics, particularly when he tried to channel Bob Marley.

“Girlfriends Game Night”

During his 2018 hosting gig, Bill Hader joined Cecily Strong in a NSFW-themed bit about an elderly man trying to impregnate his wife. “I’m so bad at my job,” the actor joked about his performance in the sketch on Late Night With Seth Meyers.

“Debbie Downer: Happiest Place on Earth?”

A trip to Disneyland was the magnum opus of Rachel Dratch’s hilarious Debbie Downer character. All the actors in the sketch, from guest Lindsay Lohan to vet Amy Poehler, fell victim to Debbie’s laugh-inducing pessimism in this 2004 episode.

“Matt Foley: Van Down by the River”

Chris Farley’s genius overwhelmed David Spade and guest Christina Applegate, who played the teenage recipients of a (de)motivational speech, courtesy of his over-caffeinated speaker. The debut of Foley’s hysterical character, who rants about the dangers of ending up housed in a “van down by the river,” has ended up being one of the series’ most iconic sketches ever.

“Jeffrey’s”

Playing ultra trendy and supremely mean retail workers, Sean Hayes and Fallon lost all signs of composure when Will Ferrell made his entrance in the 2001 bit. Even Ferrell struggled to maintain a straight face as he took a call on the world’s tiniest cell phone.

“Close Encounter”

McKinnon, Cecily Strong and host Ryan Gosling played alien abductees in a 2015 scene that was destined for greatness. McKinnon’s “Miss Rafferty” had quite a different extraterrestrial experience than her fellow civilians, and as her recount gets increasingly absurd, everyone, including the actress, struggles to hide their smiles.

“Kissing Family: Brecken Brings His Boyfriend Home”

Fred Armisen in particular was reduced to laughs in this 2014 Vogelcheck sketch, which also included Kristen Wiig, host Paul Rudd, Andy Samberg, Taran Killam, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon and Maya Rudolph — all of whom exchange saliva over the course of the bit.

“Weekend Update: Stefon Returns”

Stefon got the giggle fits when he made a “Weekend Update” return in 2014, and it was nowhere near the first time he broke while playing everyone’s favorite city correspondent.

“Dr. Beaman’s Office”

Trust SNL to make a misplaced baby something to laugh about. Molly Shannon and Chris Parnell played the unlucky parents opposite Ferrell’s crazed doctor in the absurd 2000 sketch, during which the actress laughed like no mother would in such a situation.

“The Californians/Buh-Bye”

The Californians returned with an all-star cast for the 2015 SNL 40th anniversary special. As the drama unfolds between the family and their staff, Wiig, Armisen, Hader and the rest of the crew nearly start laughing with the audience.

“Love-ahs in the Hot Tub”

Love-ahs Roger and Virginia (Ferrell and Dratch) are joined in their resort hot tub by lone traveler Dave (Fallon) and friend Barbara (Drew Barrymore). Fallon was (naturally) the first to break character as the affectionate couple attempts to find Dave a “love-ah” of his own, but soon the entire group let the laughs slip.

“Weekend Update: Garth and Kat: Mother’s Day”

Wiig and Armisen clearly got amused while playing the beloved, chronically unprepared musical duo in 2013, especially when their instruments entered the picture.

“New Girlfriend”

Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen played a man and his very sensitive new girlfriend meeting the all-important friend group. By the time his foot was in the guacamole, Armisen and Aidy Bryant were visibly starting to break. Vanessa Bayer also finds herself at the mercy of Regine’s (Armisen) wild antics.

“Another Close Encounter”

McKinnon got him again. Gosling returned to host for the season 43 premiere, and the pair — along with Strong — resurrected their alien abductee characters. The actor visibly shook with giggles as McKinnon used his bum to demonstrate how the extraterrestrials examined her body, even putting her face in-between his cheeks. Honestly, we don’t blame him for cracking up on that one.