Top 10 SNL Weekend Update Characters
Written by Q.V. Hough
These larger than life personalities ensure the news is NEVER boring. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Weekend Update Characters from Saturday Night Live.
For this list, we're focusing on the most unforgettable Weekend Update characters from NBC's famous sketch comedy program.
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Top 10 Weekend Update Characters (SNL)
These larger than life personalities ensure the news is NEVER boring. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Weekend Update Characters from Saturday Night Live.
For this list, we’re focusing on the most unforgettable Weekend Update characters from NBC’s famous sketch comedy program.
#10: The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party
This was Cecily Strong’s first recurring character on “Saturday Night Live.” And we all know someone like her; the well-meaning girl with off base hot takes on societal issues. She’s a Valley-Girl type that speaks in slurs, and whose points are always forceful – even if her facts are most often flawed. This gal can flip any topic to her advantage, leaving the understandably confused anchor struggling to keep up as she navigates world politics like a pinball. The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party might not be smart in the traditional sense, but she sure understands the art of owning a conversation.
#9: Jacob Silj
Portrayed by Will Ferrell, this gentleman speaks with clarity. Unfortunately for the Weekend Update anchors, Jacob Silj also speaks LOUDLY and without normal inflection due to his condition - “voice immodulation syndrome”. He covers a variety of topics, mixing politics with unfortunate facts about being Jacob Silj. He can be quite rude too, having proven that he’s quick to get hostile when his voice is brought up. Through his brilliant improv skills, Ferrell manages to get Jacob’s personality across while maintaining that distinct monotone pitch. Much like another classic Update character, Harry Caray, it’s all about vocal inflection and whether or not Ferrell can get a laugh from the anchor.
#8: Bennett Brauer
Here’s a man who doesn’t “understand” modern standards of fashion, hygiene or propriety. Performed by Chris Farley, Bennett Brauer struggles with self-confidence, using air quotes inappropriately to accentuate his perceived inadequacies. He’s awkward, painfully self-aware, and way too willing to share with the audience. Taking into account his hygiene and hairstyle, one could safely assume that Bennett uses his own sweat as hair gel, which is both “gross” and “unfortunate.” With this character, Farley relies on repetition and physical comedy, with Brauer’s biggest moment arguably coming when he flies over the live studio audience, all of whom were likely “concerned” - maybe even “terrified.”
Spontaneous and sly, this pathological liar knows how to spin a tall tale. Portrayed by Jon Lovitz, Tommy Flanagan makes up stories on the fly, often repeating the same points to make sure you know he’s a big deal. He’s not, of course, and his fidgety mannerisms hilariously complement his erratic storytelling. He’s another relatable character, representing that one special friend who seeks attention but ultimately fails spectacularly whenever they open their mouths to speak. Tommy will lie about anything, and so by egging him on, the Weekend Update anchors are to use him as a source of endless entertainment. As for Lovitz, he absolutely kills it with the cadence and improvised wordplay.
#6: Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy
Endearingly performed by Vanessa Bayer, this Jewish teenager sees the glass as half-full. He comes prepared, and he’s got jokes, too, but Jacob is usually skeptical of SNL anchors, resulting in some hilariously one-sided attempts at conversation on the part of Michael Che. It’s a gender-bending role that emphasizes religious traditions and adolescent obedience. Jacob is a timid character with a heart of gold, and Bayer sells the performance with her trademark smile and comedic pacing. Whereas SNL performers improvise from a script, Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy is fully locked into his own, and therein lies the comedic paradox.
#5: Garth and Kat
With these obnoxious characters, two SNL legends do what they do best: improvise. Portrayed by Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig, Garth and Kat are indeed a hot mess, but they emit positive vibes. Their questionable style matches their performances, which are typically erratic and full of flair. Garth and Kat always show up with purpose but never actually come through, which irritates the weekend update anchors. These two have a special bond, one that speaks to the undeniable comedic chemistry between these two performers. Unpredictable and peppy, Garth and Kat were born to be stars… just not on the news.
#4: Roseanne Roseannadanna
Portrayed by the legendary Gilda Radner, and based on real-life anchorwoman Rose Ann Scamardella, this intense character is a real piece of work. She comments on current events, but Roseanne Roseannadanna’s ego and blunt personality prove to be the main focus. With her edgy style and no-nonsense approach, Roseanne Roseannadanna embodies a typical Big Apple elitist, with Radner providing depth through her remarkable diversity as a performer. Roseanne Roseannadanna will gab and exaggerate until the anchor calls her out…. and then she’ll gab some more. Roseanne Roseannadanna is a big fan of Roseanne Roseannadanna, but hey, so were the viewers!
#3: Opera Man
With this expressive character, Adam Sandler seriously flexed his comedic muscles. Opera Man looks and sounds the part, singing the news with a satirical slant. He mixes and matches words, creating his own version of Italian, complete with that buffoonish edge that fuels so many classic Sandler characters. He’s a traditional vocalist with an unorthodox style of delivery, allowing Sandler to have fun and comically exaggerate his singing voice. Opera Man helped Sandler further develop his gonzo brand of comedy, while functioning as one of SNL’s more unique Weekend Update commentators.
#2: Drunk Uncle
Performed by SNL veteran Bobby Moynihan, Drunk Uncle is your faux-friendly family member that steals the show with questionable commentary. He’s a sympathetic figure, as he’s perpetually boozed-up, which makes his political rants both mildly disturbing and entertaining. Drunk Uncle takes exception to politically correct dialogue, and while he may not actually be a horrible person, he does reveal troubling thoughts from time to time. For a physical comic like Bobby Moynihan, this character allows him to accentuate all those little things that make drunk uncles everywhere so memorable. Though Drunk Uncle may arguably be his crowning achievement, Moynihan has brought us many classic characters, like Anthony Crispino and Riblet.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Nicolas Cage
- Mr. Subliminal
Flamboyant and modern, this character is a true New York City insider. As the Weekend Update city correspondent, Stefon’s tourist recommendations stray from the norm, as evidenced by his bizarre yet fascinating commentaries. On the surface, SNL’s Bill Hader infuses the persona with a distinct personality, but Stefon’s absolute best moments come when Hader breaks character. After all, SNL is a live show, and the cue cards occasionally change between rehearsal to air. As a result, Hader’s reactions are often genuine, and all in the name of improvisation. In the end, Stefon’s comedic banter with Seth Meyers transcends the usual guest-anchor relationship.