MacGruber and the History of SNL Movies

snl_moviesDepending on who you listen to, the most recent Saturday Night Live movie, “MacGruber”, is either the best SNL movie since the indisputably awesome “Wayne’s World”, or just another sad and mediocre attempt by Lorne Michaels at transforming Saturday Night sketch humor into box office success, ala “It’s Pat”.

But let’s admit this much. Every SNL movie began with a good idea; a funny sketch that found success on the small screen. ”Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley” was a great and simple sketch. And who didn’t love Tim Meadow’s Ladies Man, or Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher character when you first saw them on Saturday night? Before all of these sketches became bad movies, they began as something already great.

This got me thinking. I wanted to compile a history of SNL movies- not as a way to take knocks at Lorne Michaels’s failures- but to remember the colorful characters and sketches that Lorne Michael’s failures (and successes) originated from.


The masterpiece of all SNL movies before it went to the big screen. In this sketch, Garth’s cousin, Tom Hanks, plays a roadie for Aerosmith who arranges for the band to appear on the local cable access show. Schwing!    


Molly Shannon’s memorable Mary Katherine Gallagher character in all its armpit-sniffing, violently awkward insanity. Gotta love that dive into the pile of folding chairs.



I was so psyched for this movie to come out when I was 14, and for good reasons- Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan were hilarious on TV as these clubhopping clowns, making this sketch a huge hit. If only they could’ve fit Jim Carrey into the movie somehow…


This movie BOMBED at the box office, and rightfully so. Al Franken’s character was ridiculous, but even the sketches were uneven. When this movie was in production, Lorne Michaels must have been telling himself, “Doggone it, people will like it!”


Since the only Ladies Man clip known to the Internet was too low res to use (thanks NBC), I have not a Leon Phelps clip for you. I recommend netflixing “The Best of Tim Meadows” DVD, and while you wait, check out The Ladies Man, Junior!

IT’S PAT (1994)

The grandfather (or is it grandmother??) of all shitty SNL movies, it was pulled from theaters after just one week. NBC has eradicated everything Pat related from the Internet, save for this one scene with the band Ween. Personally, I loved the Pat sketches from the early 90s, and I’m annoyed I can’t watch one right now. 

What was your favorite SNL movie? What did you think of MacGruber?

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