Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Movies Based On 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches

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Vote up the most interesting “making of” stories.

Eleven feature-length films have been adapted from popular Saturday Night Live sketches to date. Some of the adaptations have gone on to become comedy classics, like Wayne’s World and The Blues Brothers. A few have turned out to be box-office kryptonite, such as It’s Pat and Stuart Saves His Family.

A bunch in the middle, including MacGruber, Coneheads, and Superstar, were not financial or critical hits at the time of their release, but have gone on to become cult classics. Sometimes, comedy takes a few years to brew.

Vote up your favorite behind-the-scenes tales from SNL sketches turned into movies. 

  • Wayne's World is the top-grossing Saturday Night Live spinoff movie and the only one to surpass the $100 million mark. The 1992 comedy was adapted from the popular sketch featuring a duo of rock-loving pals, Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey), who air a public access television show from the basement of Wayne's parents' house. 

    One of the most memorable scenes in the film features Wayne and Garth cruising around in a car with three friends in the back seat. Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody” plays as the five friends rock out.

    The production wanted a Guns N' Roses song for the scene. However, Myers threatened to quit if “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not used, which he shared during a 2014 interview on Marc Maron's podcast:

    They wanted Guns N’ Roses. Guns N’ Roses were very, very popular. They were a fantastic band. Queen, at that point… the public had sort of forgotten about them. Freddie [Mercury] had gotten sick; the last time we had seen them was on Live Aid; and then there were a few albums after where they were sort of straying away from their arena-rock roots. But I always loved "Bohemian Rhapsody." I thought it was a masterpiece. So I fought really, really hard for it. And at one point I said, “Well, I’m out. I don’t want to make this movie if it’s not "Bohemian Rhapsody.”

    126 votes
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    42 VOTES

    Dan Aykroyd Called His Performance In 'Coneheads' By Far His Best

    Comedy legend and original SNL cast member Dan Aykroyd has more than 100 acting credits in his filmography. Some of his most popular films include classics like Ghostbusters and Trading Places, and he received an Academy Award nomination for his dramatic performance in 1990's Driving Miss Daisy.

    Despite the mediocre box office and critical reviews for Coneheads, Aykroyd said in 2021 that he thought his performance as Beldar in the movie is his best:

    It’s by far the best work I have ever done and will ever do. I’m very close to the alien spirit and ready for them to arrive!

    42 votes
  • The Blues Brothers was the very first SNL sketch made into a movie. In the John Landis-directed comedy, Jake Blues (John Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) are on a mission from God to stop the closing of the orphanage where they were raised. Belushi and Aykroyd created the characters for SNL as part of a recurring musical sketch. 

    In the movie, the brothers take to the road in their 1974 Dodge Monaco patrol car and along the way engage in several car chases. One such chase features Jake and Elwood trying to escape from state troopers in a high-speed pursuit that runs through an indoor mall. 

    At the time, the comedy set the record for the movie with the most cars destroyed at 103. Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon currently sits on top with 532 cars totaled. 

    66 votes
  • Dan Aykroyd got the idea for the popular 1970s recurring “Coneheads” sketch, about a family of aliens with bald, cone-shaped heads, while smoking weed, according to Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller in their book Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. Aykroyd recalled:

    I had been looking at TV - I guess I’d smoked a “J” or something. I thought, “Everybody’s heads don’t really reach the top of the screen. Wouldn’t it be great if you added 4 inches to everybody?”

    The final “Coneheads” sketch appeared on SNL in 1979, and producers brought Coneheads to the big screen years later in 1993. The film was not received well and underperformed at the box office. However, it has gone on to become a cult classic. 

    Prosthetics makeup designer David Miller said he had to figure out how to create long, pointy cones that would keep their shape even after a full day of production: 

    There was not a lot of research to be had, because Saturday Night Live dates back almost 20 years. Nobody had stills of it. The only pictures we could find were from a can of candy popcorn. We found one of those tin cans of popcorn in Kmart illustrated with the Coneheads.

    Miller made the cones out of foam latex and sculpted a mold for each individual member of the cast. He also had to make the cone and the actor's skin look seamless. He used an adhesive layer between cone and skin in a process that took about two hours every day. Miller and his team needed to produce about 1,000 cones in total for the production because the prop was destroyed when an actor removed it at the end of their workday. 

    46 votes
  • In Tim Meadows's SNL sketch "The Ladies Man," he plays self-described ladies' man Leon Phelps, a late-night, lisping talk-show host who sips Courvoisier cognac and doles out questionable love-making advice. The 2000 adaptation The Ladies Man bombed at the box office and was critically panned. 

    Julianne Moore has a cameo in the comedy as a girl in a clown suit. She had previously hosted SNL and loved the sketch so much that she asked to be in it. Meadows explained how Moore came to be involved:

    She was the first host to come on our show and ask to be on [“The Ladies Man”] sketch. So she was a fan of the character… She told us when she was in Boston in college she used to work in a bar where these guys existed. So she knew these dudes. We named the character Julie after her when we were writing the script because we just loved her.

    When we started casting, we sent her the script and asked her if she wanted to do anything in the movie and we’d be honored to have her. And she picked the clown scene… She said, “I want to do something different. I want to be one of the girls that he scores with.” So I was like “NO!… I’ll make out with you.”

    27 votes
  • Schwing!

    After the box office success of Wayne's World, Lorne Michaels and company produced Wayne's World 2 in 1993. Unfortunately, the sequel didn't perform as well at the box office and received mixed reviews. 

    In the early 1990s, Kim Basinger was one of the hottest in-demand actors in Hollywood. The Academy Award winner doesn't have many comedies in her filmography, but took on the role of Honey Horneé, love interest for Garth (Carvey), after Carvey would not stop asking her to play the part. Basinger recalled:

    I never saw Wayne’s World so I didn’t know what it was about. But Dana Carvey just clean-called me and he was very sweet and sincere. He said, “We’re really going to have fun, please do this with me.” At first I said no, but he kept calling. It was just a blast. Dana’s wonderful. It was a little gift to be given in the middle of the year.

    40 votes