The Best Saturday Night Live Sketches of the 80s

The best 'Saturday Night Live' sketches of the 80s featured some of the funniest and most memorable characters ever created for the show. At the center of it all: Eddie Murphy (at least for several years). Murphy's funniest characters included Buckwheat, Gumby and Mr. Robinson (from the parody 'Mister Robinson's Neighborhood'). Martin Short's Ed Grimley, a character he originally portrayed on 'SCTV,' is another phenomenal sketch worth noting. Other great 'SNL' 1980s sketches include Jon Lovitz's "Master Thespian," "Fernando's Hideaway" featuring Billy Crystal ("You look mahvelous!") and of course "Pumping Up with Hans & Franz," starring Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey, some of SNL's best cast members.

List of SNL sketches from the 80s includes some real gems like 'SNL' fan favorites "Jackie Rogers, Jr.'s $100,000 Jackpot Wad" and Phil Hartman's hilarious "Anal Retentive Chef." If you haven't seen this one in forever, now's the time to watch. This list is vote ranked, which means you get to vote for your personal favorite 'Saturday Night Live' sketches from the 1980s (and vote down the skits you didn't like).

What are the best SNL skits from the 1980s? This funniest 'Saturday Night Live' sketches from the 80s list includes all your favorites (including the ones you might have forgotten about). Enjoy!
  • Mister Robinson's Neighborhood

    Mister Robinson's Neighborhood

    Season 7, Episode 3

    'Mister Robinson's Neighborhood' first debuted in October of 1981. In this hilarious parody sketch of PBS's 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,' Eddie Murphy invites us into his dysfunctional home, where his wife has just left him ("I'm so glad that b*tch is gone!") and entertains visitors ("Who is it?!"), including a landlord who gives him an eviction notice. The word for today, kids, is "scum bucket."

  • Buh Weet Sings

    Buh Weet Sings

    Season 7, Episode 2

    Eddie Murphy's portrayal of an adult Buckwheat (from 'The Little Rascals') made for some of the best SNL sketches of the early-1980s. The first Buckwheat skit debuted on October 10, 1981. The commercial parody for the 'Buh Weet Sings' album featured such songs as "Wookin' Pa Nub" and "Fee Times a Mady."

  • Buckwheat Buys the Farm

    Buckwheat Buys the Farm

    Season 8, Episode 15

    Ted Koppel opens this sketch, informing everyone that "Buckwheat has been shot" as he was leaving 30 Rock after an appearance on SNL. Video of the shooting is shown repeatedly, and friends of Buckwheat, including Alfalfa, are shown commenting on the tragedy (after watching the video, again and again). Ted Koppel's crew then takes the camera into Buckwheat's operating room, to show his surgeon the video too.

    It gets worse: Don't think I'm spoiling anything here by telling you that poor Buckwheat doesn't make it. Who killed him? Koppel's on the case. After a moving tribute to Buckwheat of course.

  • James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party

    James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party

    Season 9, Episode 4

    The James Brown Hot Tub sketch gets better with age. Yes, it was funny when it first aired during SNL's ninth season, but it's still very, very funny now. Classic Murphy humor.

  • Gumby


    Season 10, Episode 9

    If anyone could take a sweet, adorable children's character and turn it into a monstrous, generally mean-spirited one, it was Eddie Murphy - and Gumby is it! This particular skit, entitled 'Broadway Gumby Rose,' originally aired on December 15, 1984.

  • Pumping Up with Hans & Franz

    Pumping Up with Hans & Franz

    Season 13, Episode 1

    Who could forget Hans & Franz? Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon's first 'Pumping Up with Hans & Franz' first debuted during 'Saturday Night Live's' 13th season in October of 1987. Hans & Franz' Austrian jocks hope to follow in the footsteps of their famous cousin, bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, with their own training program. Unfortunately, no one can live up to their strength. Ever.

  • Ed Grimley

    Ed Grimley

    Season 10, Episode 6

    Martin Short's portrayal of nerdy, enthusiastic Pat Sajak fan Ed Grimley made for one of the most memorable, funny 'Saturday Night Live' characters ever. The Ed Grimley 'SNL' sketches of the 1980s were truly hilarious, "I must say." Here's Ed's preparing for a wonderful Thanksgiving party when he sees something he shouldn't (and yes, that is Ed Asner).

  • Toonces the Driving Cat

    Toonces the Driving Cat

    Season 14, Episode 20

    Toonces the Driving Cat barely eeks in on this list of the best 'SNL' sketches of the 1980s. The first Toonces skit, featuring Dana Carvey and Victoria Jackson as the owners of a pet cat who wants to drive (and does so very, very badly), debuted in May of 1989. In the original skit, Toonces' "dad" is played by 'SNL' host Steve Martin.

  • Fernando's Hideaway

    Fernando's Hideaway

    Season 10, Episode 9

    Billy Crystal made his mark forever on 'Saturday Night Live' with the sketch 'Fernando's Hideaway,' which debuted in November of 1984. The skits continued into the following year as Crystal, playing actor Fernando Lamas, interviewed various celebrities and to let them know that "You look mahvelous!" Remember kids, it's always "better to look good than to feel good!"

  • Cooking With the Anal Retentive Chef

    Cooking With the Anal Retentive Chef

    Season 15, Episode 7

    In incredibly gifted Phil Hartman stars as chef Eugene in this sketch entitled 'Cooking With the Anal Retentive Chef.' The original sketch first aired on April 1, 1989, and featured then-host Mel Gibson, but one of the funniest without a doubt is the sketch from December 2, 1989 with John Goodman as Cajun chef/author Odel Robes Pierre LaFete. Eugene the chef, as you'll see, has some serious issues that tend to derail his cooking.

  • Master Thespian

    Master Thespian

    Season 13, Episode 8

    Jon Lovitz' 'Master Thespian' definitely deserves a place of honor on this list. Lovitz' portrayal of an over-the-top Shakespeare actor was featured in several 'SNL' sketches from 1985 to 1989. When the Master Thespian is asked to play Santa Claus at Macy's, he has some trouble understanding the true meaning of...improv. Master Thespian sees it as the "greatest challenge of his career."

    And, just because, here's a bonus: 'SNL' host Carl Weathers (random!) plays Othello - a little too well.

  • Jackie Rogers, Jr. $100,000 Jackpot Wad

    Jackie Rogers, Jr. $100,000 Jackpot Wad

    Season 10, Episode 16

    Some 'SNL' fans will tell you that Jackie Rogers, Jr.'s $100,000 Jackpot Wad is their favorite sketch ever on the show, and with good reason. In this skit, Martin Short is Jackie Rogers Jr. His game show guests include Captain Kangaroo and Sammy Davis Jr. Classic 'SNL' with a great cast. Best. Game show. Parody. Ever. "Sea......birds." This sketch features Billy Crystal, Mary Gross and Christopher Guest. Classic.

  • Tales of Ribaldry

    Tales of Ribaldry

    Season 14, Episode 16

    'Tales of Ribaldry' is another 80s 'SNL' skit that made it just under the wire, airing on April 1, 1989. Jon Lovitz as Evelyn Quince, the host of the racy show. In the original sketch, 'SNL' host Mel Gibson stars with Nora Dunn in "The Woodsman and the Lady." Things are going quite well until the Woodsman and the Lady decide they're going to have sex. Quince isn't happy, as you'll see.