A Big Super Cut of Saturday Night Live Cast Members Breaking Character and Cracking Up

Corps­ingaka laugh­ing inap­pro­pri­ate­ly onstage—requires far less skill than sol­dier­ing on when the actor play­ing oppo­site los­es con­trol, an occur­rence that almost always wins audi­ence favor.

The recent­ly released super cuts of Sat­ur­day Night Live cast mem­bers’ com­po­sure desert­ing them, above and below, sug­gest that the worst offend­ers are aware that view­ers will lap up these laps­es. Why strive to stay in char­ac­ter when bloop­er reel star­dom awaits?

It’s a fact that these crack ups have the abil­i­ty to loosen things up, recall­ing that free­wheel­ing peri­od before the show became the insti­tu­tion its cast mem­bers dreamed of audi­tion­ing for since child­hood.

It’s unclear what—if any—meaning we should ascribe to the evi­dence that the most indul­gent gig­glers are all male.

Could it be that women are fun­ny after all… enough to win the sort of punch­lines that’ll make the boys lose it on cam­era?

If so, per­haps we can arrange for aliens to abduct the next com­men­ta­tor who sug­gests oth­er­wise, probe him, then seat him oppo­site a bewigged Kate McK­in­non. No offense to guest host Ryan Gosling, the embod­i­ment of a good sport. His inabil­i­ty to stay in char­ac­ter was both under­stat­ed and heart­warm­ing, and he was­n’t pan­der­ing. SNL reg­u­lars Aidy Bryant and Bob­by Moyni­han strug­gled too. I still wager a lot of fun­ny ladies watched that Close Encoun­ters skit, and root­ed for McK­in­non to be giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take down an old school chau­vin­ist pig.

But not every­one delights in watch­ing these guys run off the rails, as Slate’s Jes­si­ca Win­ter notes in a piece about SNL’s corps­ing phe­nom­e­non:

Tra­cy Mor­gan exco­ri­at­ed his fel­low cast mem­ber (Jim­my Fal­lon) for “laugh­ing and all that dumb shit he used to do,” explain­ing, “That’s tak­ing all the atten­tion off of every­body else and putting it on you, like, ‘Oh, look at me, I’m the cute one.’

It’s true that the cam­era nev­er could resist cast mem­ber Bill Hader’s elab­o­rate, utter­ly unsuc­cess­ful attempts to bring his face to heel. Wit­ness the dress rehearsal for the West Coast-fla­vored soap opera spoof, The Cal­i­for­ni­ans, below. Amaz­ing how lit­tle it changed en route to per­for­mance.

The writ­ers out­did them­selves when they bestowed a sig­na­ture ges­ture on anoth­er of Hader’s recur­rent char­ac­ters, New York City cul­tur­al com­men­ta­tor, Ste­fon. His new­found pro­cliv­i­ty for hid­ing his face behind his hands could’ve helped the actor pull it togeth­er, but instead it turned into a bit. Won­der what Tra­cy Mor­gan thought when Had­er attrib­uted his inabil­i­ty to keep a straight face to his straight man / Week­end Update foil Seth Myers:

A per­son being patient with an insane per­son is my favorite thing in the world…. You were being so patient with this mani­ac who had the sim­plest job in the world.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Don Par­do (1918–2014), Voice of Sat­ur­day Night Live, Sug­gests Using Short Words

John Belushi’s Impro­vised Screen Test for Sat­ur­day Night Live (1975)

Father Gui­do Sar­duc­ci Pitch­es “The Five Minute Uni­ver­si­ty”

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her lat­est script, Fawn­book, is avail­able in a dig­i­tal edi­tion from Indie The­ater Now.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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