Top 10 Times SNL Used Animals in a Sketch
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
"SNL" loves animals and they love them back. For this list, we'll be looking at all the best times our favorite furry friends made an appearance for the sake of comedy. Our countdown includes "Court Show," "Joan Song," "The Dog Show," and more!
Top 10 Times SNL Used Animals in a Sketch
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times SNL Used Animals in a Sketch.
For this list, we’ll be looking at all the best times our favorite furry friends made an appearance for the sake of comedy. If we missed any of your favorite animal moments, let us know in the comments below.
#10: “Court Show”
Cecily Strong might be one of the funniest cast members to ever grace the hallowed halls of “Saturday Night Live.” Oddly enough, she’s also one of the best to work with animals. She’s hilarious and hysterical in a fake dog food commercial, and she’s great in a skit where a new military weapon turns out to be a dog. But in this courtroom skit, she and her furry friends shine. The skit is a parody of daytime court shows, but instead of legal grievances, people complain about other people’s dogs. We all know dog owners can get kind of wacky about their furbabies, and this skit does a great job poking fun.
#9: “Dissing Your Dog”
Will Ferrell has been a part of a long line of hilarious “Saturday Night Live” skits, ones that are sure to live on in the show’s history as some of the best. But one of our favorite skits of his comes from a show in the early 2000s hosted by baseball legend Derek Jeter. In the skit “Dissing Your Dog,” Ferrell plays a mild-mannered, but disgruntled dog trainer named Dale Sturtevant who has discovered a new way to train a puppy – “mockery and verbal humiliation.” For the rest of the skit, Ferrell says some of the nastiest things he can think of to some of the cutest and fluffiest puppies you’ve ever seen. It provides a great contrast and makes the skit hilarious.
#8: “Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals”
Sometimes the funniest skits come from the simplest ideas. In the late 2000s, Andy Samberg found that if he used his Mark Wahlberg impression in a sketch where he spoke to animals, audiences would howl with laughter. He talks to a donkey, a dog, a goat, and even invites a chicken to be in a movie with him. “Saturday Night Live” kept the bit going, doing a “Mark Wahlberg Talks to Christmas Animals” sketch and having the real Mark Wahlberg confront Andy about his impression, but we’ll always hold tight to the original. Say hello to your mother for us!
#7: “Joan Song”
You know what they say – if any pop star would make a good dog, it’s Harry Styles! They probably don’t say that, actually, but that didn’t stop “Saturday Night Live” from making it a reality. When Harry hosted the show during Season 45, he did a digital short with Aidy Bryant called “Joan Song,” about a lonely young woman who has decided to make her chihuahua named Doug her new boyfriend. Eventually, Doug morphs into a man – that’s where Harry comes in – and the duet about their newfound love, Joan’s love of romance, and Doug’s love of ham. The short lets Harry show off his silly side and keeps us giggling for hours.
People always say they wish they knew what their dogs were thinking. But “Saturday Night Live” dares to answer that inquiry with the idea that maybe you really don’t. In a skit called “Translator,” Scarlett Johansson – a veteran host and member of the five-timers club – plays a scientist who is trying to develop technology that will allow humans to communicate with dogs. The technology works on Scarjo’s dog Max – but it turns out, he's keen to share his political thoughts, which far from align with Scarjo's own! The skit did so well though, Scarjo came back to do it again a few seasons later.
#5: “The Dog Show”
Speaking of Will Ferrell, one of his most famous dog-related skits was the long-running dog show sketch he did with Molly Shannon. In the sketch, the two play an eccentric duo of dog enthusiasts, David Larry and Miss Colleen, who are always joined by their furry sidekicks, Rocky Balboa and Mr. Bojangles. But in one particular sketch, Mr. Bojangles gets a little too excited for her own good. Throughout the sketch, the dog keeps trying to leap from the safety of her basket onto Will Ferrell’s lap, prompting Ferrell to say, “Mr. Bojangles, not now!” Eventually, Ferrell ends up holding the dog – Mr. Bojangles wins again!
#4: “Whiskers R We with Tiffany Haddish”
When you’re working with animals, things don’t always go as planned – Tiffany Haddish learned that the hard way. During her time on the show, “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon had a slew of running cat rescue sketches called “Whiskers R We” that she would perform with different hosts. One of the earlier versions with Charlize Theron is hilarious, but nothing beats Haddish’s reaction when one of the kittens gets a little feisty. A sphynx cat that McKinnon is holding starts to hiss and move wildly around, prompting Haddish to rear back in a fake punching motion. Hey – you gotta protect yourself out there.
#3: “Massive Head Wound Harry”
We all have that one acquaintance who we don’t really want to invite to the party, but feel too bad to exclude. But at least for most of us, that friend isn’t Massive Head Wound Harry – especially for those of us who have dogs. There are so many funny old “SNL” sketches with all kinds of animals, but this one takes the cake. Dana Carvey plays a guy who has – you guessed it – a super gory, huge wound directly on his head. During a friend’s cocktail party, he lays down on the couch. Before you see what’s happening, the audience’s reaction clues you in. When the camera goes back to Harry, we see a dog licking at his open head – and almost pulling his wig off!
#2: “Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet: A Beaver and a Camel”
Tracy Morgan had a great run as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” But without a doubt, one of his most beloved characters was Brian Fellow, a guy with a 6th-grade education who loves animals – but really doesn’t have the wherewithal to deal with them professionally. All of the skits have their high spots, but our favorite involves a stubborn camel who wants to make sure he’s the star of the show. Towards the end of the skit, the camel starts to walk in front of the camera and blocks Tracy from view – but who can blame him? It’s “SNL!” Get your 15 minutes of fame.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
“Hero Dog Press Conference”
We Wish Canine Interpreter Was a Real Job
He’s Still the Goodest Boy
“I Love My Dog”
She Stay Loyal in These Streets
“Every Laser Cats Ever”
Get Him, Kitty!
#1: “Genetics Lab”
As evidenced by this list, dog skits have a special place in the “Saturday Night Live” canon. But even more special and rarer is the “dog with human hands” sketch. And no sketch did it better than this Sam Rockwell one. In the sketch, Rockwell plays a scientist who has the immense task of convincing a bunch of government officials that their money is being well-spent on this genetic endeavor. We can’t say that’s true, but there’s one thing we do know – watching the sweet face of a dog while disembodied human hands feed it a sandwich will never not be funny.