Wayne’s World (1992)
Chalk it up to the comic genius of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey that a sketch about two slacker guys recording a public-access cable show in their parents’ basement became a phenomenon. The popular early ‘90s bit was adapted into a successful film and sequel. Costarring Rob Lowe and Tia Carrere, Wayne and Garth can be credited not only with popularizing such crucial phrases as “to hurl” and “extreme close-up,” but also with introducing Queen to a new generation. We’re not worthy!
Office Space (1999)
In the mid-‘90s, a dark and quirky series of animated shorts called Milton gave voice to millions of voiceless cubicle workers. Perhaps sensing that he’d struck a nerve, in 1999, creator Mike Judge (of Beavis and Butt-head fame) adapted the shorts into a feature film. While the movie, starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston, cast the original characters in supporting roles, it maintained the shorts’ sentiment and became a cult hit.
It's Pat (1994)
There’s only one way to describe Pat’s style: androgynous. Played by Julia Sweeney, the pudgy SNL character sported short, curly black hair, an outdated blue-shirt-and-tan-pants combo, and thick-rimmed glasses. Patrick? Patricia? Hidden behind Sweeney’s nasally voice was Pat’s mysterious gender. The tricky subject matter didn’t stop producers from bringing his/her story to theaters in the 1994 film, It’s Pat.
A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
Perhaps hoping to duplicate the success of Wayne’s World, a few years later, SNL brought us A Night at the Roxbury, another film about two loser guys living at home, this time loaded with cash and illegal substances. But alas, while the recurring SNL sketch had its moments, the big-screen version fell short. Starring Will Ferrell and Chris Katan as two club-hopping brothers living in Los Angeles, it dragged on for about an hour too long. It also rendered it impossible to listen the Haddaway song “What Is Love” without bopping one’s head.
Stuart Saves His Family (1995)
As the intro of his fictional television show Daily Affirmation says, “Stuart Smalley is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist.” The self-help guru and SNL character transitioned from late-night skits to a full-length feature film in 1995’s Stuart Saves His Family. Al Franken’s potent mix of creepy smiling and blonde hair ultimately wasn’t enough to make box-office gold. Maybe the movie was a classic example of, as Stuart would say, “stinkin’ thinkin.’”
A decade and a half after the first Coneheads sketch aired in 1977, the film adaptation hit theaters. Starring Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin as Beldar and Prymatt, aliens from the fictional planet Remulak, the friendly, robotic outsiders charmed as they struggled to adapt to life on Earth—but often ended up eating toilet paper.
A Mighty Wind (2003)
SNL was the stage for the first performance of the folk band The Folksmen. In the skit, they performed a beautiful rendition of what is now their biggest hit, “Old Joe’s Place.” In 2003, the guys reunited in A Mighty Wind, a mockumentary that chronicled the foot tapping and string plucking musicians as they prepped for a concert on national television.
The Ladies Man (2000)
Once a lady stepped into Leon Phelps’ radio studio—curiously decorated like the set of a 1970s porn flick—she was powerless to resist his smooth talk and polyester duds. With Tim Meadows’ hilarious portrayal of the talk-show host, the late-'90s sketch became a hit—and because the ladies man preferred everything bigger, in 2000, it was adapted for the big screen. While the movie failed to nab any Oscar nods, it drew names like Will Ferrell, Eugene Levy, and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, and likely boosted sales of Courvoisier worldwide.
Arguably SNL veteran Molly Shannon’s most memorable role, Mary Katherine Gallagher dreamt of becoming a star and kissing a boy. The awkward Catholic schoolgirl, with her habits of crashing through walls and sniffing her armpits, amused viewers throughout the mid-to-late-‘90s, and she made her silver screen debut in 1999. Yet like other SNL-inspired movies, Superstar—which also starred Will Ferrell—proved that one can have too much of a good thing.
Bob Roberts (1992)
As far as millionaire businessmen and recording artists go, conservative politician Bob Roberts is the best. And after only one SNL skit, his character proved film worthy. The 1992 mockumentary, which Tim Robbins starred in and directed, followed Roberts as he ran for senate on a platform of cleaning up America’s mess. Why does this skit work? Because Bob spelled backwards is still Bob.
Blues Brothers (1980, 1998)
Since The Blues Brothers donned black suits and sunglasses on SNL, they’ve been synonymous with the word cool. With Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi shakin’ and singin,’ the duo’s album reached number one on the charts and their first film hit screens in 1980. Then came a somewhat underwhelming sequel in 1998. If the SNL musical guests still have anything going for them, it’s soul.