“Saturday Night Live” gets attention for its political humor, but seasoned viewers know that the best sketches often veer toward the bizarre — humor so outrageous it makes even the most steadfast cast members (looking at you, Cecily Strong) break character. These are our favorite weird sketches from the past year, ranked from good to great.
Keep it weird, SNL.
10. House Hunters
Host Liev Schreiber and Leslie Jones send the absurdity of “House Hunters”— the HGTV show where couples inevitably abandon all sense of a budget in search of a dream home — into overdrive.
Everything is on the table here, from your split-level ranches to your Hidden Valley ranch packets. But even beyond the ridiculous residential choices, the sketch packs in bonkers details, from Schreiber defying gravity on a toilet descended from the ceiling to Heidi Gardner prancing across a lawn when Jones mentions one “property” having room for her sister-in-law to run around.
It’s only a little weirder than the actual “House Hunters,” to be honest.
9. Barbie Instagram
A trio of new interns (host Donald Glover, Pete Davidson and Gardner) for Mattel’s Barbie division are tasked with coming up with captions for the iconic doll’s Instagram account. They are all terrible at it, but a poker-faced Glover takes things to a macabre level, suggesting that Barbie once witnessed a terrible accident outside of her dream house and that she had a devastating identity crisis after discovering she’s just a toy.
Davidson and Chris Redd team up on an oddly aggressive rap song about trees, but Davidson plays to his usual persona and, initially, mistakes the theme as marijuana. Redd quickly corrects him, and Davidson devotes several bars to someone who knows a lot about the outdoors: "Just tryna change the world like Al Gore, should-have-been-president Al Gore!” he raps. The former vice president makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. Apparently, Davidson knows him in real life. Weird.
7. Girlfriends Game Night
A group of girlfriends get together to play Uno — which, let’s be honest, is weird enough — and one woman (Strong) brings along her elderly, power chair-bound husband, played by host Bill Hader. Things go off the rails when Strong casually sits on his lap and announces that his Cialis has kicked in and that they need to take action right away since they’re trying to get pregnant.
Hader uses the power chair to full comedic effect, knocking into the set furniture while chiding the women for judging him and his wife. Meanwhile, Strong speaks to Hader like he’s a puppy being housebroken: “Horaaace, Hooooorace.”
Two strangers (Strong and host Steve Carrell) meet at a Thanksgiving dinner and discover they know the same obscure Thanksgiving song. Turns out the other guests know it, too.
It’s all fun and games until … well, we won’t give it away.
Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett play two siblings arguing in front of company, but what makes this sketch so ridiculous is that they argue wearing only ’90s Looney Tunes T-shirts (complete with hip-hop and rasta themes), white underwear and white socks. Oh, and the fact that their dad (Schreiber) tries to separate them using a garden hose he apparently keeps indoors.
4. Teacher Fell Down
Kate McKinnon has fallen and can’t get up in this sketch, in which she plays a driver’s education teacher who refuses to let her students help her off the floor after a slip. As dramatic music, worthy of a soap opera, plays in the background, McKinnon’s teacher directs an existential stream of consciousness at her students, including host Jonah Hill, Aidy Bryant and Davidson, who can’t figure out why they just can’t help her up.
3. Career Day
Adam Driver takes all of the gusto he applied to the struggling actor/bad boyfriend he played on “Girls” and applies it to a very different character: Mr. Abraham H. Parnassus, an extremely old man who talks about his work as an oil baron — a career spanning 82 years, he tells us — at his son’s school.
Davidson, who plays the son, can barely keep a straight face as Driver bellows, “Look at your father, boy!” It’s a wonder Driver doesn’t break character as he delivers insane lines such as: “Oil is not for the weak. It is the earth’s milk, and only the strong may suckle at mother’s teat.”
Anyone who has ever argued about the musical prime of a rock band (or the enduring cultural relevance of any artistic effort) can relate to this sketch, which finds Matt Damon and Jones nearly coming to blows over whether Weezer is still a good band.
Damon’s character is a ride-or-die fan who appreciates the band’s early work and their more recent offerings such as their cover of Toto’s “Africa.” Jones, on the other hand, plays a woman who thinks Weezer’s best days are behind them. “They’ve been trash since 2001, son!” she declares.
1. Diner Lobster
Davidson dares to order lobster at a diner in this terrific “Les Miserables" parody, which host John Mulaney co-wrote (with Colin Jost) during his days in the SNL writers room. MVP Kenan Thompson plays the ill-fated crustacean, who tweaks Valjean’s somber “Who Am I” to fit the narrative of a lobster confronting his impending demise: “Who am I? And why am I condemned to boil alive?”
Davidson seems to know it’s comedy gold from the start, but his goofy grin turns to full-on laughter when Strong joins in as a diner cook hoping to change Davidson’s mind. The sketch becomes a full-scale musical production as Mulaney orders “the barricade" and SNL’s other players join, in full peasant garb, to sing “Do you hear the lobster scream?”