There Is No ‘SNL’ Sketch More Chaotic And Hilarious Than ‘Super Showcase Spokesmodels’
"If your man likes chicken, he might like Chicken-Man"
Sometimes you look around, at the choices you’ve made, at the situation you’re in, at the life you’ve chosen, and you just have to laugh until you cry at the absurdity of it all. The SNL sketch ‘Super Showcase Spokesmodels’ is the perfect example of this feeling.
Starring Bill Hader, a very new Vanessa Bayer, and Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig as the titular spokesmodels, the sketch is what looks to be a pretty simple parody of a gameshow, focusing on heightening the already humorous trope of beautiful gameshow ladies who present prizes. The Adriana Xenides of it all.
However, and I cannot stress this enough, this sketch is both very funny, and absolutely brimming with chaos energy. Very few sketches in Saturday Night Live history feel so uncontrolled, so spontaneously funny. Very few sketches manage to hold on to the structure of the gags, while seemingly careening into chaotic mistakes.
It’s also one of the premium examples of people breaking mid-sketch, and adding to the joy and humour of the sketch by doing so.
Let’s watch it now, before I absolutely strip all joy from this sketch by earnest breaking it down.
Before we dissect the chaos, we have to point out that the sketch is funny on its own.
There’s a basic rule of comedy which is that any word can be really funny if said enough times in a stupid voice. Shonda and Vonda have just a generically silly voice, which immediately make saying the word “beef” on repeat funny. However, they escalate this gag, heightening that humour with a very clever-yet-stupid format.
“If it’s not Luggage-Guy luggage, it’s just luggage from some place,” says Rhonda.
“You’ll be the talk of baggage claim, with Luggage-Guy baggage,” continues Shonda. I mean, just say that out loud yourself, it’s inherently enjoyable.
It also just has some funny gags: “You’ll be golfing all day and leaving before dinner, courtesy of Pebble Beach”
But where this sketch truly takes off into something unique, something perfect and un-transferrable, unrepeatable, is the escalation of chaos.
First it starts off with Rudolph and Wiig almost breaking immediately, as they struggle to speak the tongue-twister lines in their strange eggy voices. You can see that they are aware of the ridiculous situation they’re in, and it’s PERFECT.
Wiig finally properly breaks when she says “if your man likes chicken, he might like Chicken-Man”.
From then, we see Hader hiding his smiles behind his hands, and Wiig and Rudolph’s absolute hysteria leaking through their wide eyes. Only Vanessa Bayer keeps it together, which I feel helps juxtapose the chaos.
The hysteria rises, each escalation of the gag leading us closer to the point where they will break fully — and it’s delicious to watch. The anticipation is palpable.
And then Kristen Wiig drives her golf cart through the back of the set, and it’s the most perfect break in history.
“That wasn’t supposed to happen!” says Hader. And it’s perfect, beautiful, chaos.
Patrick Lenton is the Editor of Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.