Despite never having been a Saturday Night Live cast member, Steve Martin is synonymous with the sketch show. The comedian has appeared on the show a whopping 27 times since the mid-’70s and we can guarantee you he’ll be back for more. It’s undeniable: he’s a fan favorite.
Of course, after hosting 15 times, he was bound to be the reason for some of the most memorable moments in the show’s history. Case in point: the fact that VH1 Classic is dedicating a whole block of their “SNL Rewind: 2015- 1975 Mega Marathon” to him today.
For those of you whose Valentine’s Day plans are taking you away from the TV, don’t worry. Here are Steve Martin’s greatest SNL sketches.
“Coneheads: IRS” (Season 2, Episode 14)
Being a great comedian isn’t always about being the funniest guy in the room. Comedians know how to take turns, and most importantly, give other people the chance to steal the scene. Take, for example, Steve Martin’s appearance as an IRS agent in a Coneheads sketch. The other-worldly family makes jokes and chugs beer and eats “chicken embryos” for breakfast, and Steve Martin plays the straight man perfectly.
“The Festrunk Brothers” (Season 3, Episode 1)
You have to wonder if, when Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd first donned their matching hats, plaid pants, and perfected their Czech accent, they knew they were creating iconic characters. They misuse American pop culture catch phrases and attempt to woo women, all while rocking a gold chain and wiggling around. The characters are still so popular that 36 years later, they appeared alongside Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake’s characters, Andy and Raif, of “Dick in a Box” fame, in a dating show sketch. The audience still lost their minds when the wild and crazy guys showed up.
“Dancing in the Dark” (Season 3, Episode 18)“Dancing in the Dark” is one of the most beloved sketches of longtime SNL fans. Steve Martin and Gilda Radner appear in a bar, where their eyes meet for the first time, and everything around them slowly pauses. Soon, it is just the two of them dancing around the entire set of Studio 8H. The sketch has no words, and the simplicity of it is so pure that the joy the two comedians experience is palpable. Eleven years later, when Gilda Radner passed away from cancer on the afternoon that Martin was hosting the years season finale, he offered a tear-filled monologue and showed the sketch again.
Check out a classic episode hosted by Steve Martin, with musical guest The Blues Brothers:
“King Tut” (Season 3, Episode 18)
“King Tut” is the five-time Grammy Award winning Steve Martin at his most bizarre. Alongside his backup band, the “Toot Uncommons,” Martin offers a song for the boy pharaoh, whose recent traveling exhibit, “Treasures of Tutankhamun,” drew in eight million visitors. The sketch was the most expensive production that SNL had tried up to this point, and Lorne Michaels planned it all.
“Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber” (Season 3, Episode 18)
While the premise of Martin’s character, Theodoric of York, who’s a barber and also a doctor, is pretty out there, the sketch itself is a hilarious example of every generation thinking they know what is right. He perfects haircuts and blood-lets anyone that’s hurt, even if it’s obvious one woman suffers from too much blood-letting and another man only has broken legs. What makes Theodoric memorable is his smug attitude, something Martin’s characters are known for, namely when he laughs off the previous era’s ideas of medicine, in which they blame everything on witchcraft. He proudly states that they now know what causes illness: “Perhaps… toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach.”
“Rise” (Season 5, Episode 1)
Commercial parodies are always popular on SNL, but with so many memorable ones out there, it’s a shame that “Rise” doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Steve Martin, as himself, endorses the personal hygiene product as he appears in the public bathroom of New York City’s dirtiest bus station. His timing is magnificent as he steps into a stall, drops his drawers, and raises his head slowly above the door, while Rise does it’s work by making him hover eight inches above the toilet seat. It’s so simple, and his straight face totally sells it.
“A Holiday Wish” (Season 12, Episode 6)
Watching Martin appear as a character isn’t nearly as fun as watching him play his over-the-top version of himself. While he’s actually quiet in real life, even referring to himself as a “lonely guy who’s alone even with people,” his persona on stage is over the top and self centered. In “A Holiday Wish,” he captures a feeling that lives deep inside everyone, greed at the holiday season.
“Theatre Stories” (Season 17, Episode 9)
Alongside other notable SNL greats, Mike Myers and Martin Short, Martin played an old British stage actor, sharing stories about Dustin Hoffman and Nazi attacks. His posh attitude is humorous, but it’s when he discusses things like Hoffman telling a Brit to suck it, and having soiled himself, that makes the sketch really memorable.
“Steve Martin’s Penis Beauty Creme” (Season 20, Episode 1)
Home Shopping Network-type parodies are a dime a dozen, but this one, featuring Martin, who is proud to put his name on this product, is much more, uh, hard to come by. Steve Martin’s Penis Beauty Creme is a simple product, which you only have to apply on your down under for several minutes to a half hour. The commercial is tongue-in-cheek, but totally unabashed in admitting what it’s really for.
“Memories” Monologue (Season 31, Episode 12)
To honor his 14th time hosting SNL, Steve Martin reminisced about his past on the show, beginning with his first hosting gig back in 1976. He even showed some old cast photos from back in the day, all with an extreme close-up of himself. The monologue is a great introduction to new fans of the show of what a staple Martin is at Rockefeller Center, and how he helped form the Saturday Night Live into what it is today.
[Photo Credit: NBC/Getty Images]