The 11 Most Iconic Musical Sketches in Saturday Night Live History

Tonto, Tarzan & Frankenstein's Monster

Saturday Night Live has produced many memorable sketches since the 1970s. Each sketch relies on a specific bit to draw humor from, and in many of those sketches, music is the driving force. With only a week to write and produce the sketches, it’s actually quite impressive how the SNL team can create unique songs in such a short amount of time. Which of these SNL musical skits do you like best? Take a trip down memory lane to recall the sketches that had you rolling on the floor laughing. 

One of the first musical sketches the show put on was The Blues Brothers. Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd played the eponymous brothers who would go on to star in their own movie. Another musical team that eventually got their own movie was The Roxbury Guys. You can definitely pick these guys out of a line-up for the unusual way they dance when “What Is Love?” starts to play. 

11. The Lawrence Welk Show

The Lawrence Welk Show

First appeared: October 4, 2008

This musical show would begin with three attractive sisters before introducing their fourth, less attractive sister. The fourth sister, Dooneese (played by Kristen Wiig), would usually end songs by going on a weird rant. 

  • Played By: Kristen Wiig

10. Tonto, Tarzan & Frankenstein’s Monster

Tonto, Tarzan & Frankenstein's Monster

First appeared: December 19, 1987

This trio of inarticulate characters may seem like an odd bunch at first. However, they would sing songs in broken English, making for comedic gold. 

  • Played By: Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, and Kevin Nealon

9. Opera Man

First appeared: April 18, 1992

Opera Man was a frequent guest on Weekend Update. He would enter to sing operatic-style songs about current events in the news. 

  • Played By: Adam Sandler

8. The Sweeney Sisters

The Sweeney Sisters

First appeared: October 18, 1986

The Sweeney Sisters were party singers always making a mess of pop songs. They would always star the songs the same way by singing, “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley” and then scat the rest of the way through. 

  • Played By: Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn

7. Candy Slice

Candy Slice

First appeared: December 9, 1978

Candy Slice was a troubled rock and roll artist. She’s loosely based on Patti Smith, and she performed at Rock Against Yeast in 1979. 

  • Played By: Gilda Radner

6. Nick The Lounge Singer

First appeared: April 16, 1977

Changing his last name to fit the venue, season, or theme of his performances, Nick was a typical 1970s lounge singer. Adding his own creative spin to the lyrics, Nick The Lounge Singer also schmoozed the audience between schmaltzy singing.

  • Played By: Bill Murray

5. Mascots


First appeared: October 11, 2003

A costumed street advertiser often got into fights with other mascots. They settled their arguments the only way they knew how: by singing parodies of famous songs. 

  • Played By: Justin Timberlake

4. The Culps

The Culps

First appeared: November 2, 1996

The Culps may not have been very stylish, but they kept up with all of the hits of the day. The Culp Family Musical Performances performed conservative medleys of pop songs, much to the chagrin of their son, who was never shown in a sketch. 

  • Played By: Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer

3. Buckwheat


First appeared: October 10, 1981

Buckwheat is an Our Gang character who sang all of the hits of the day in a garbled voice. Subtitles would have to come on the bottom of the screen, so views would know what he was saying.

  • Played By: Eddie Murphy

2. Season’s Greetings From Saturday Night Live

Season's Greetings From Saturday Night Live

First appeared: December 9, 2000

A slew of SNL cast members rung in the holiday season with a special performance of “I Wish It Was Christmas Today.” They performed sketches with the likes of The Muppets and Simon Cowell.

  • Played By: Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan

1. The Blues Brothers

First appeared: April 22, 1978

The Blues Brothers are a soul and revivalist band. What started as a simple bit with Jim Belushi playing the harmonica during a Slim Harpo song, the genesis of the band was born. 

  • Played By: Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd