‘SNL’ cast members and Breaking Character hosts on the show

  • The cast members and hosts of “Saturday Night Live” play various roles in the comedy series.
  • They rarely break the character on the show, but it can be contagious when they do.
  • Below are 13 times the cast members and hosts of “SNL” who struggled to contain their laughter.
  • Visit the Insider home page for more stories.

No matter how long the cast members of “Saturday Night Live” have been on the show or how much the hosts rehearse before their appearances, no one can control what happens on live television.

While many “SNL” stars and famous guests have a habit of keeping their cool during absurd skits on the long-running NBC series, some of them still slip up and break the character from time to time.

Here are 13 hysterical moments on “SNL” that have cracked an actor or a host.

Kate McKinnon broke down and said she ‘clearly disagrees’ during a ‘weekend update’ segment

After President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, McKinnon appeared as “Dr. Wayne Wenowdis” – with a gray wig, white coat, and tie – in a “Weekend Update” segment with Colin Jost.

The “SNL” actor weighed in on Trump’s diagnosis before insisting on taking Jost’s blood pressure, cracking as she creaked the machine.

The editor finally asked McKinnon if she was okay, and she replied, “Obviously I’m not.”

Then she dropped Wenowdis’ voice and spoke directly to the audience.

“It’s such a crazy time and it’s something that I started to do to deal with it,” McKinnon said. “I have a lot of wigs and mustaches at my disposal, and it’s refreshing to play a character who ‘knows that’.”

Aidy Bryant cracked up on set in political sketch

The “SNL” actor was not supposed to be the person who made audiences laugh while playing the host of a political talk show called “Inside the Beltway” in 2019.

However, she lost her temper when they returned to an old clip of a team member mistakenly entering the stage during a live sketch.

Bryant later called it “the worst break of my life” on an episode of “Tonight’s Show with Jimmy Fallon. “

She said the other cast members Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson knew she “already struggled” with the fence line during rehearsals, which only made them laugh harder.

Adele couldn’t hold out during a sketch on the “Tourism Board of Africa”

During her debut in the animation of “SNL” in 2020, the singer of “Rolling in the Deep” claimed to be a divorcee raving about her time in Africa.

Flanked by cast members McKinnon and Heidi Gardner, who both stayed in character during the skit, Adele burst out laughing as she launched into the “tribes” and “lush, hanging foliage.”

While it was amusing to watch the singer crack up throughout the scene, many people criticized the “SNL” writers for “fetishizing” African men in the skit.

Rachel Dratch’s role as ‘Debbie Downer’ made a whole table laugh

Debbie Downer (Dratch) was a recurring “SNL” character who had an unfortunate habit of approaching depressing subjects in inappropriate contexts. In a 2004 sketch about Debbie, she joined her family on a trip to Disney World.

As her loved ones – played by Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, host Lindsay Lohan, and Horatio Sanz – expressed their excitement for the holidays, Debby rang in every conversation with grim facts about topics like mad cow, train explosions and infertility.

Dratch’s deadpan delivery caused everyone at the table to break up, including her.

Vanessa Bayer couldn’t help but laugh amid a skit titled “New Girlfriend”

When Michael (Jason Sudeikis) introduced his posh girlfriend Regine (Armisen) to his friends, he made the rest of the party uncomfortable by constantly touching her.

Bayer, who rarely breaks his character, played one of Michael’s friends at the rally. In the middle of the skit, she tried unsuccessfully to suppress a laugh at the exaggerated antics between Armisen and Sudeikis.

‘SNL’ duo Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph forced Bill Hader to break his character

In a game of “Super Showcase” on “SNL” in 2012, Hader took on the role of host of the show and walked the contestant (Bayer) through the game. Wiig and Rudolph were the models who introduced the awards that the candidate has not won.

As the comedic duo touted the merchandise – which included luggage, golf clubs, and a lifetime supply of frozen chicken – Wiig and Hader struggled to stay in character.

Hader also lost his temper during another sketch with Wiig titled “The Californians”

The 2012 skit was part of a recurring soap opera-style saga poking fun at Californians’ fixation on road routes.

When Stuart (Armisen) meets his partner Karina (Wiig) with Devin (Hader), he tells her to “come back to San Vicente, take her to 10, then go to 405 North and drop you in Mulholland where you belong.”

Wiig kept a straight face, but Hader failed to stifle his laughter.

Ryan Gosling had to cover his mouth during alien abduction skit

Strong, McKinnon, and Gosling, who hosted the 2015 episode “SNL”, played three “little town buds” who recently returned from an alien abduction. The trio responded to several questions posed by two National Security Agency agents.

Strong called his interaction with alien beings “beautiful” and Gosling reiterated his feelings, remarking that it was “amazing.”

McKinnon, however, said it was “a little different” for her.

As the “SNL” actor described peeing in a metal bowl and getting beaten up by a line of aliens, Gosling smiled.

It wasn’t until McKinnon said the kidnapping wasn’t his “worst Wednesday night” that the actor’s body shook with laughter.

Larry David struggled to recite his lines towards the end of a sketch called “New Wife”

The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” comedian is no stranger to being in the midst of humorous situations, so it’s rare that he breaks the character.

However, he lost his temper when hosting “SNL” in 2017.

David claimed to be a man named Vincent who introduced his friends – Beck Bennett, McKinnon and Chris Redd – to his new wife, a performer played by Strong.

After McKinnon asked David if everything was okay, he started to crack as he tried to work his way through the rest of the dialogue.

After one of the cats on set took action, Tiffany Haddish’s instincts took over

Haddish, who hosted “SNL” in 2017, joined McKinnon in a sketch called “Whiskers R We,” which focused on a Fall Cat Giveaway. They played characters named Claudia and Barbara, respectively.

At first, the couple struggled to control their laughter as Haddish struggled to keep a pair of kittens in a trash can.

Then, in the middle of the sketch, McKinnon lifted a hairless cat and remarked that people “wouldn’t have to worry about molting.”

Soon after, Haddish joked that the feline “had everything shaved for a gay circuit party”, and the animal pounced on her.

The host instinctively raised his fist at the cat, then turned to the camera, frowning at the audience.

The four actors of ‘the Love-ahs’ broke the character

A 2001 skit titled “The Love-ahs” turned out to be a test for some of the more experienced “SNL” comedians.

Set in the hot tub at the Welshly Arms Hotel, the scene centered on Roger (Will Ferrell) and Virginia Klarvin (Dratch), a beloved couple.

They struck up a conversation with a man named Dave (Jimmy Fallon) and tried to set him up with their friend Barbara (Drew Barrymore).

As Roger and Virginia described their sexual escapades, the four actors found themselves succumbing to their laughter.

Dave Chappelle and Pete Davidson had to take a break not to laugh during a skit

In a skit about Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, the “Allstate guy” and Count Chocula defending their work, many comedians struggled to stifle their laughter.

The segment began when Alec Baldwin fired Aunt Jemima (Maya Rudolph), who replied, “But I’m Aunt Jemima!” Rudolph paused to regain his composure amid the enthusiastic response from the audience.

Rudolph’s Jemima suggested that they also fire Uncle Ben (Kenan Thompson). “If I go down, you come with me,” she told him.

Attention then turns to the “Allstate dude,” played by the host of the night, Chappelle. He slammed his hands on the desk in defense of his work, but had to turn away from the camera as he broke the character.

Chappelle’s “Allstate guy” called Earl Chocula (Davidson) for retaining his job, which led Davidson to spit out his fangs and quickly put the mouthpiece back on.

Julia Sweeney said the cameraman must have cut her out of a sketch because she was laughing too much

Sweeney and Phil Hartman played parents who hire a motivational speaker to convince their kids not to take drugs in a 1993 “SNL” skit titled “Matt Foley: Van Down By The River”.

As speaker Matt Foley (Chris Farley) began his impassioned monologue, the setting shifted between Sweeney and Hartman and the two children, played by David Spade and Christina Applegate. Turns out there’s a reason the camera avoided Sweeney at parts of the sketch.

“They must have cut around me because I was laughing. Because it felt like I had the best place in the house for the funniest thing happening on the planet,” she said upon of a panel “Women of ‘SNL'” according to Weekly entertainment, adding: “Spade was laughing too, but they were mad at me.”

Sweeney continued, “They had to change the camera angle and it’s terrible. It’s terrible. I actually feel bad about it.”


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Kenneth T. Shippee

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