SNL 40: Dynamic Duos

Wayne and Garth. The Spartan Cheerleaders. Lisa Loopner and Todd DiLaMuca. Hans and Franz. Those are but a few of the greatest duos the series has offered. In fact, Saturday Night Live has spawned dozens of fantastic pairings over its 40 years – hardly surprising given that many of its greatest cast members come from the world of improv comedy.  Our favorites include two wild and crazy guys, swinging sisters, and two guys that… well… we don’t know what they’re up to. Awkward.

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The Festrunk Brothers

Way back in 1977, Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd introduced two Czech brothers who relocated to American shores with a basic desire to blend. What resulted inspired Halloween costumes for 30-plus years with their hip-shaking walk and their the omnipresent catchphrases “two wild and crazy guys” and “big American breasts!” While many of SNL‘s greatest skits are very specific to particular moments in time, the appeal of the Festrunk Brothers is timeless despite being solidly rooted in the attitudes and fashions of the 70s.


The Sweeney Sisters

Even as a kid before I fully understood what cabaret singers were, I remember the brilliant, manic energy of Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn as The Sweeney Sisters. Hooks and Dunn took their natural chemistry and fashioned the perfect parody of bar singers, queens of puns and segues. The beauty of these skits is all the more bittersweet considering Jan Hooks was taken from us too early.

The Ambiguously Gay Duo

Flash-forward a decade or so to Robert Smigel’s stint on SNL with the “TV Funhouse” series of animated shorts. Where today’s Digital Shorts are the buzziest components of the show, Smigel ruled the water cooler conversation in the late 90s and early 2000s with his often hilarious points of view. Viral before “going viral” was a thing, Smigel’s Ambiguously Gay Duo, Ace and Gary (voiced by Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, respectively), originally debuted on the short-lived The Dana Carvey Show before becoming a recurring event on SNL. The joke is apparent from the first frame, but the humor comes (heh heh) in the various awkward positions Smigel employed the Duo. The skit eventually ran out of steam and culminated in a live-action version starring John Hamm (Mad Men) and Jimmy Fallon which couldn’t fully capture the hilarity of the awkwardly posing superheroes.

Published by Clarence Moye

Clarence firmly believes there is no such thing as too much TV or film in one's life. He welcomes comments, criticisms, and condemnations on Twitter or on the web site. Just don't expect him to like you for it.