Saturday Night Live has become known for many recurring features over the years, from the opening monologue and Weekend Update segment, to the musical guests and closing scene of everyone gathered on the stage, waving goodbye and hugging. But probably the most beloved feature that has remained on SNL over its 40 year run are the fake advertisements that appear each season. SNL’s fake ads have produced some of the program’s funniest and most memorable moments over the years, and some of the ads have been so convincing, viewers didn’t realize they were part of the show, or meant as a joke. Here is a list of the 10 best fake advertisements from SNL.
10. Schmitts Gay Beer
It’s shamelessly politically incorrect, but the Schmitts Gay Beer commercial featuring SNL cast members Adam Sandler and Chris Farley is also super funny. The commercial is filmed just like any other beer commercial from the early 1990s, with a couple of knuckleheads (Sandler and Farley) housesitting and throwing a party by the pool. Only, instead of the scantily-clad girls in bikinis that you normally see in beer commercials, it features Sandler and Farley partying with a bunch of muscular guys in Speedos! Set to blaring rock music and featuring all the familiar camera angles and editing seen in standard beer commercials, the Schmitts Gay Beer ad shows Adam Sandler and Chris Farley dancing in a conga line with the guys, as well as rubbing them down with baby oil. The end line: “I think I’m going to like housesitting” is perfect for the ad, which sends up beer commercials and their “party hard” attitude.
9. Colon Blow
High fiber cereal ads that promise to help with “regularity” seem to be all the rage these days, and that is what SNL parodied perfectly in its fake commercial for the ultimate high fiber cereal known as “Colon Blow”, proving that SNL was far ahead of its time. Featuring the late great Phil Hartman as an everyman who tries the cereal that has more fiber in it than any other in the world, the ad captures the sanctimonious tone featured in real ads promoting fiber and colon health, as well as a voice-over discussing the benefits of a high fiber diet while masquerading as medical advice. And, of course, who doesn’t love a poop joke now and then? As with the best fake SNL ads, what makes this one great is how close it seems to similar, real commercials that you saw every day.
8. Taco Town
How crazy have some of the dishes served at fast food restaurants gotten? Pretty damn crazy. From burgers wrapped in pizzas, to tacos stuffed with cheesies and potato chips, SNL lampoons it all in the Taco Town ad starring Andy Samberg, Jason Sudekis and Bill Hader. The ad shows three guys about to maw down on a regular taco only to have the announcer continually interrupt them and explain how they’ve added more and more layers to the tacos. It starts out with the addition of a corn tortilla, and ends with the taco being stuffed into a corn husk, wrapped in a Chicago style deep dish meat lovers’ pizza, deep fried, and then crammed into a tote bag and drowned in vegetarian chili. Completely hilarious and familiar from real life ads, this ad keeps going and going and gets more outrageous the whole time. It is a spot-on satire of the fast food industry and their efforts to constantly one-up themselves.
7. Compulsion By Calvin Kleen
A blatant spoof of the Calvin Klein fragrance “Obsession,” the fake ad for “Compulsion by Calvin Kleen” is about a perfume that gives SNL cast member Jan Hooks Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, leaving her compelled to clean her all-white home, wiping and vacuuming around party guests as they mingle and socialize. Stylized and narrated by Phil Hartman, the ad expertly parodies the Calvin Klein perfume commercials of the time and gets increasingly ludicrous as it goes on. Jan Hooks is funny and believable as the woman suffering from OCD, and Phil Hartman is at his deadpan best as the commercial’s narrator. This is one fake ad that feels completely real.
6. Shimmer Floor Wax/Dessert Topping
This fake commercial from the first season of SNL is a classic. With the tagline “The best shine you’ve ever tasted,” the ad shows married couple Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner arguing over whether Shimmer is a floor wax or a dessert topping, before pitchman Chevy Chase intervenes to tell them “Hold on you two. Shimmer is a floor wax and a dessert topping.” Aykroyd then proceeds to spray Shimmer on his butterscotch pudding and eat it, while Radner uses it on her floors and marvels at the shine. Chevy Chase is absolutely hilarious as the smarmy pitchman, and the whole ad strikes the right tone for those home product commercials featuring bickering couples.
5. The Love Toilet
This ad, starring cast members Kevin Nealon and Victoria Jackson, is hands down one of the funniest things ever aired on SNL. The voice-over narration declares “You dine together…you play together…you sleep together… so why not share the most intimate moment of them all together?” It then shows Nealon and Jackson sitting side-by-side on attached toilets, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes with their pants down around their ankles. The closing shot of their two hands flushing the toilet together is priceless, while the narrator exclaims “Brought to you by Niagara, the toilet people”. The soft music, white clothing and fuzzy lighting just adds to the hilarity of this outrageous commercial. Funny, funny stuff.
4. Oops! I Crapped My Pants
This late 1990’s fake commercial totally nails the adult diaper industry. What makes the commercial work, and seem authentic, is that it features two old people who were not SNL cast members at the time. People flipping channels who passed by this ad could be forgiven for not realizing it is fake. When the old lady in the commercial passes up on a game of tennis with her grandchildren because she’s having “control issues”, her helpful husband introduces her to the latest and greatest adult diaper called “Oops! I Crapped My Pants”. The old man then proceeds to dump a jug of iced tea into the diaper to demonstrate how much liquid it can hold. When the old woman asks “How do you know so much about Oops! I Crapped My Pants”, the man responds, “Because I’m wearing them right now, and I just did!” The commercial ends with the elderly couple playing tennis with their grandchildren and the woman exclaiming: “Thanks Oops! I Crapped My Pants”. They don’t get much funnier than that one.
3. The Bass-O-Matic
This fake ad by original SNL cast member Dan Aykroyd is so beloved and influential that it was revived at the show’s 40th anniversary celebration. What made the “Bass-O-Matic” spoof ad so great is that it totally nails the essence of infomercials. Most important to the nature of the sketch, Dan Aykroyd’s fast talking pitch is perfect. He originally did the fake ad live on air and didn’t flub a single word or syllable. And at the time this fake ad aired in the mid-1970s, infomercials were still in their infancy and showed up late at night to fill dead time on television sets. The fact that Dan Aykroyd is dressed as a used car salesman and is trying to sell a bass smoothie maker (really a blender) as the perfect item for any kitchen is classic. Fellow cast member Lorraine Newman taking a sip of the bass smoothie at the end of the segment and exclaiming “That’s good bass!” is totally hilarious and icing on the cake.
2. Little Chocolate Donuts
Riffing on Wheaties commercials that featured popular athletes of the day like decathlon winner Bruce Jenner, the Little Chocolate Donuts ad stars SNL legend John Belushi as an out-of-shape track and field star with a beer gut, who fuels up before competitions with his favourite breakfast, “Little Chocolate Donuts”. Holding a lit cigarette in his hand, Belushi explains that the “Donut of Champions” has the sugar he needs to get him going in the morning, and that he not only “logged a lot of miles” training for the Olympics but that he also “downed a lot of donuts”. The shots of John Belushi running around a track, and doing the pole vault in tight shorts with his gut hanging out, are gut-busting funny, as is the whole reverse engineering of the famous Wheaties commercials.
1. Mom Jeans
The fake ad for Mom Jeans has to be one of the greatest moments in SNL history. The ad, featuring Tina Faye and Amy Poehler, was a sensation and coined a whole new term in popular culture, as “Mom Jeans” are now used to explain the jeans preferred by middle aged mothers everywhere. Originall run as a commercial for Mother’s Day, a voice-over announcer explains that Mom Jeans are “cut generously to fit a mom’s body”, before imploring people to “give mom something that says: “I’m not a woman anymore. I’m a mom”. This is spot-on satire at its best. What makes the ad so darned funny is how familiar it feels when watching it. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hilarious as the moms in the commercial who model the jeans. They literally look like some mothers you might know (maybe even your own mother)! This fake ad is a classic that you should be sure to check out if you haven’t seen it.