There are a ton of classic rock inspired musical skits on Saturday Night Live, but some are drastically better than others. In the skits below, some of these shorts include rockers like Dave Grohl and Aerosmith, while others simply poke fun at musicians and their quirky habits.
Among the many options of SNL classic rock skits, our favorites include Punk Band, The Prince Show, the Bee Gees, Eddie Murphy as James Brown, Rolling Stones Karaoke, and clearly the skits from Wayne’s World and the “More Cowbell” skit that made Will Ferrell a household name.
Since NBC doesn’t allow for all of these skits to be broadcast on YouTube, look for links if there isn’t a video available.
Punk Band, Featuring Dave Grohl
At the Cadena-Norton wedding, a handful of former rockers decided they wanted to pay tribute to the happy couple. In a skit called “Punk Band Reunion At The Wedding,” a father-of-the-bride and his old buddies got up to play their first gig since 1983. The skit included Ashton Kutcher, Fred Armisen, Bill Hayer, and Dave Grohl.
“I guess when you get right down to it, rock and roll always endures,” said Kutcher’s character. “Unlike my prostate,” joked Grohl. Soon, the band started a super punk version of “All Of My Life.” Ashton Kutcher kicked and broke a plate on the table in front of him. Armisen bounced around the stage and knocked over a table.
Then, the band really brought the house down. They kicked over a waiter’s tray and started to sing their non-corporate songs, dressed in suits. Soon, Armisen actually jumped into his daughter’s wedding cake. As they broke plates, Kutcher wailed on guitar and Grohl actually rocked out the drums in the background of this classic rock sketch.
Prince Show With Shia LaBeouf
Fred Armisen has made his way into a majority of the musical skits, but his role as Prince takes the cake. On the “Prince Show,” Armisen’s mannerisms are perfect. He came out and invited Beyonce to join him for a number. Together, they sang a rendition of the title song for the fake, “Prince Show.”
“Prince is happy to see everyone, but wants you to remind you to turn off your cell phones,” said Beyonce after Prince whispered in her ear. Then, Shia LeBeouf came out and played Tobey MaGuire. “Is there mold in here because I totally have mold allergies?” he asked the classic rock star.
“Have you ever spun a web so complex that you became entangled in the very web you wove?” asked Prince. Again, the mannerisms are the highlight for these skits, which came out around the time that Tobey was Peter Parker in Spider-Man. Prince’s cold-look is what makes the skit so interesting.
Then again, the non-SNL Dave Chappelle skit of Prince playing basketball on Comedy Central is still likely the best Prince skit ever performed. “How about you and your friends versus me and the Revolution?”
Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake As Bee Gees
Technically, the Bee Gees are more pop than rock, but they’re certainly classic. In another reoccurring skit, Justine Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon dressed up for The Barry Gibb Talk Show. As always, the duo over-sang the songs and over-emphasized the performance by the Bee Gees.
With a disco ball overhead, Barry and Robin sat and tried to talk to the cameras. Together, they spoke in single syllables to their guests. In this skit, the duo spoke to Al Franken (Jeff Richards), Cruz Bustamante (Horatio Sanz), and Arianna Huffington (Rachel Dratch).
The bulk of the dialogue came from Fallon’s character. As usual, both Fallon and Timberlake cracked up during the skit. At the time, it was surprising Fallon took over The Tonight Show since he almost always laughed during the live bits.
“Robin, do you have anything to add?” asked classic rock star, Barry Gibb.
Eddie Murphy As James Brown On SNL
In “James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party,” Eddie Murphy came out in a robe and danced around a hot tub. Meanwhile, back-up jazz musicians performed. Eddie Murphy sang “Hot Tub” as James Brown. “Should I get in the hot tub? Will it make me sweat? Should I get in the hot tub? Will it make me wet?” he sang.
Clearly, Eddie Murphy is playing off the soul-singer’s insane stage performance. There, he started to get in the hot tub but kept stopping himself. As he took off one hot tub, a man ran out and put another rob on him. He kept get closer and closer, but never actually got in. Eventually, he tipped a toe in, then stepped in.
The show ended as he said, “Don’t go away. We’ll be right back with more celebrity hot tub.”
Rolling Stones Karoke With Mick Jagger
In the SNL skit, “Rolling Stones Karoke with Mick Jagger,” Fred Armisen jumped up on stage at an office party to sing “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones. Meanwhile, Nerdy Kevin, played by Mick Jagger, sat and listened. “Look, he’s making the Mick Jagger face,” said Vanessa Bayer.
“That is a perfect Mick Jagger face,” said Kristen Wiig, “I seriously think I might have sex with Frank because of how much he reminds me of Mick Jagger. Meanwhile, Nerdy Kevin couldn’t help but question Armisen’s over-acting performance. “It was okay I guess,” said Nerdy (and shy) Kevin.
Then, Bobby Moynihan jumped up and did the YMCA dance and Kevin got really upset when the girls said their favorite song was “Moves Like Jagger,” which is actually a Maroon 5 song. “’Moves Like Jagger’ is not a Rolling Stones song,” said the business suit-wearing rocker.
“I’m starting to think that that guy might be better than the real Mick Jagger. Clearly, this line from Bayer might have finally crossed the line. Soon, his friends left, the lights dimmed, and Kevin started to sing, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction…”
Chris Farley Chippendale’s Audition
The Chippendale’s Audition between Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze should be on every type of SNL countdown. The timeless audition highlights Adrian and Barney as they audition to be male erotic dancers. Clearly, the hilarity of the scene comes from the juxtaposition and the seriousness of the judges.
The 1990 skit began with Mike Myers saying, “This is impossible—can’t we just hire them both?” in terms of the skit, they’ve been through multiple auditions and this is the final round for the new dancer. “These guys have been through hell: a five hour audition, three callbacks…” said Myers.
“This is the part of the job that I hate,” said Mike Myers. Then, of course, Adrian and Barney came out to give their final performance. In terms of the rock aspect, the duo danced to the song “Working For The Weekend” by Canadian rock band, Loverboy. In the end, Barney didn’t get the gig.
Will Ferrell As Blue Oyster Cult
Then, of course, there’s the Blue Oyster Cult skit. This is one of those skits that no one really thought would make anyone laugh. Ironically, it became one of the best-known skits of all time. It all started as Sunshine Studios in August of 1976. The real skit came out in April of 2000.
“Luckily for us, the cameras were rolling,” said the narrator. In a VH1-style video, Christopher Walken came out as famed producer Bruce Dickinson. The cast included Chris Parnell as Eric Bloom, Jimmy Fallon as Albert Bouchard, Chris Kattan as Buck Dharma, Horatio Sanz as Joe Bouchard, and of course, Will Ferrell as a fictional cowbell player named Gene Frenkle.
After “The Bruce Dickenson” came out, Blue Oyster Cult started to perform “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” The band started to play and Will Ferrell slowly started to explore just what he could do with a cowbell. As the camera moved in, his movements got more and more intense.
Parnell’s character asked if it was sounding okay. Bruce Dickinson surprising said, “I could use some more cowbell.” The producer then advised the performer to explore the space in the studio. The next round, Ferrell’s character really bounced around the room and went crazy on the cowbell. He enraged the other performers even more.
The funniest part, of course, is Ferrell’s tiny V-neck sweater. By the time they started the third round, Ferrell got right in Parnell’s ear and hit his cowbell. If that wasn’t enough, he kicked off the mic stand. Finally, Bruce came out and asked for more cowbell again. This is when Kattan and Fallon started to crack up and make Ferrell laugh. “Quit being so selfish Gene!”
“If Bruce Dickinson wants more cowbell, we should probably give him more cowbell,” exclaimed Ferrell’s character. “The last time I checked, we don’t have a lot of songs that feature the cowbell.” Finally, Dickinson sealed the skit: “Guess what? I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.”
Wayne’s World Featuring Aerosmith
In terms of one-time skits, the “More Cowbell” skit is one of the best. But, Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar are as good as it gets. In fact, the two movies that came from these skits remain two of the most quoted movies of all time (Mike Myers also wrote “that’s what she said”).
In one skit, Wayne and Garth spoke to their cable access audience as they prepared to invite a roadie named Barry (Tom Hanks) and Aerosmith to the show. As Barry, Hanks came down with an Aerosmith tee shirt with the sleeves cut off. Then, Barry let them know that Aerosmith was upstairs in the breakfast nook.
“Aerosmith is sitting where I eat my Nut & Honey, everyday,” said Wayne. Garth started to freak out on the couch and went into an “I’m Not Worthy” chant. Luckily, Barry was there to stop him. About this time, the duo start to ask Barry about his “share of the babes.” This was also the first 10-minute skit on Saturday Night Live.
“What you’re saying is that roadies are the bottom-feeders in the great babe food chain?” asked Wayne. “There’s a ton of chicks that would rather go out with roadies than the band,” said a delusional Barry. “Chyea right,” said Wayne, before adding “And later on, monkeys might fly out of my butt.” This too, made it to the movie.
Then, the nook cam showed Wayne’s mom showing Aerosmith the house. Just like the movie, it’s unclear of Wayne and Garth’s ages, but they are presumably around 17-21 or so. After checking their microphones and prepping scarves, Barry ran upstairs to bring down the band.
Wayne and Garth started to do their “we’re not worthy” bowing and hop around. This is the first time the band showed up on the show, but Aerosmith was also in the second movie, Wayne’s World 2. “I gotta say, I think you guys are the great band in the world,” said Wayne.
Then, Aerosmith sang along to the Wayne’s World them with the boys.
What is your favorite skit from Saturday Night Live? What do you think of this ranked countdown and what did we miss?