I’ve been a diehard “Saturday Night Live” fan since the ’80s, when the show kept me awake while I babysat for neighborhood kids. Back then, I couldn’t get enough of Eddie Murphy as James Brown, getting hot in the hot tub, Dana Carvey’s Church Lady taunting, “Isn’t that special?,” and Wayne and Garth schwinging their way through “Wayne’s World” (they were totally worthy!).
Now that I’m all grown up and a mom, I still think SNL is pretty damn funny — especially when it’s mercilessly skewering the breeding set. Here are 9 classic SNL skits that are extra funny for parents:
1. 4th Grade Talent Show
Host Lady Gaga and short-lived cast member John Milhiser play over-involved parents who can’t sit still during their daughter Ashley’s talent show performance. They start out pantomiming her dance moves (and who among us hasn’t been guilty of that?). Soon, they are out of their seats performing the entire routine, which escalates into a disturbing burlesque show complete with leg licking and torn-open shirts. Thank goodness we never see little Ashley.
2. The Kissing Family
When Jacob (Jason Segal) brings girlfriend Lucy (Vanessa Bayer) home to meet his extremely affectionate parents, she is taken aback by their passionate — not to mention incestuous — kissing style. By the time mom Kristen Wiig is spitting club soda at husband Fred Armisen’s crotch to remove a stain, you’ll be glad you never had to introduce your significant other to parents like these. Make sure to stick around for Paul Rudd’s very moist cameo.
3. Mom Jeans
This perfect commercial parody — starring SNL lady favorites Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler — represents your worst nightmare of middle aged mom attire. The advertised mom jeans feature “a 9-inch zipper and casual front pleats,” making them a fashion statement that says, “I’m not a woman anymore. I’m a mom.” Don’t let mom jeans happen to you!
4. Bedelia: The Sleepover
Nasim Pedrad created Bedelia, a dorky teen who would rather hang out with her mother (Tina Fey) than socialize with kids her own age. In this installment, Bedelia kills the vibe at a sleepover party by inviting her mom, whom she worships. During a game of Truth or Dare, Bedelia offers, ” I dare you to find a woman who strikes a better balance between work and family.”
5. I Am Your Mother
The scene opens on a commercial shoot for Gino’s Pizza Rolls — one of those typical TV ads where hungry teen-aged boys demand an after school snack from mom. But the actress playing the mother (Fred Armisen) gets a little too deep into character. Responding to Zac Efron’s line about her bad cooking, she goes wildly off script , screaming, “I am YOUR MOTHER! I gave birth to you!” With each take, she gets more and more into her role and ends up slapping Zac and the actor playing his friend (Andy Samberg).
6. Nelson’s Baby Toupees
In a take-off of those classic Hair Club for Men infomercials, Bill Hader presents Nelson’s Baby Toupees, a solution to the low self esteem caused by male infantile baldness. Not many SNL sketches feature actual babies, but this commercial parody is loaded with adorable infants rocking absurd wigs “made from real baby hair.”
7. Kaitlin: Visit to the Mall
Amy Poehler nails the manic energy and verbal diarrhea of Kaitlin, a braces-wearing 10-year-old who desperately wants to get her ears pierced at the mall. Kaitlin wears down her sweet stepdad (Horatio Sanz) through sheer persistence and intensity (“Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick!”). But when it comes time to do the deed, Kaitlin realizes she’s terrified and needs rescuing from Rick, who pretends to deny permission so she can save face with an older girl (Kate Winslet). Whoever wrote this was definitely a parent.
8. Debbie Downer
In one of my favorite SNL sketches of all time, a family’s trip to Disney World is ruined by a barrage of depressing stories from Debbie Downer (Rachel Dratch). Her sad sack comments (“feline AIDS is the number one killer of domestic cats”) punctuated by wah-wah sound effects and Dratch’s deadpan, googly-eyed mug make it impossible for Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz, and LIndsey Lohan to keep straight faces, and their constant breaking has the audience in hysterics.
9. Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood
Parents who watch a lot of PBS with their kids will love Eddie’s Murphy’s affectionate parody of children’s television. Like Mr. Rogers, Mr. Robinson talks directly to viewers while changing into his cardigan. Unlike Mr. Rogers, he lives in a dangerous neighborhood and teaches kids life skills like evading a slumlord: “Can you say ‘scumbucket?’ That’s our special word for the day, boys and girls.”
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- How to Read Mom’s Body Language