In its long history, Saturday Night Live
has created hundreds of fake commercials to spoof products, poke fun at people, and make us laugh. Here’s a short list of my personal favorites in order by decade.
Saturday Night Live Commercials: the 1970s
Bass-o-Matic – 1976
Fish, a blender, and Dan Aykroyd’s maniacal, enthusiastic parody of Ron Popeil’s Ronco ads. “You never have to scale, cut, or gut again!!”
The Phone Company – 1976
I find Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine character from Laugh-In so hilarious in this SNL commercial that I get a headache from laughing: “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the Phone Company.”
The Navy – 1979
For as much as the military tries to lure new recruits with action shots and scenes of alleged honor, this commercial uncovers the truth about cleaning toilets, peeling potatoes, and getting a paycheck: “It’s not just a job; it’s $96.78 a week.”
Saturday Night Live Commercials: the 1980s
Jewess Jeans – 1980
Gilda makes us giggle with giant hair, giant glasses, a blue halter, and tight jeans with stars of David on the back pockets: “She’s got a lifestyle uniquely hersÃ¢Â?Â¦Europe, Nassau, wholesale furs.”
KANNON AE-1 – 1983
Stevie Wonder endorses this camera that’s so simple even he can use it! His attempts to take pictures result in blurred tree tops and slanted shots of John Newcombe.
Adobe – 1986
From the days of the uber-cheap Yugo and Hyundai, Phil Hartman brings us the ad for a Mexican car made of clay: “German engineering and Mexican know-how helped create the first car to break the $200 barrier.”
First Citiwide Change Bank – 1988
“You can come to us with sixteen quarters, eight dimes, and four nickelsÃ¢Â?Â¦we can give you a five dollar bill.” This commercial brilliantly mocks an ad type that still exists – the “caring local bank” where a kind branch manager explains the meaning of customer service and whatnot.
Saturday Night Live Commercials: the 1990s
Happy Fun Ball – 1991
A simple but still-funny take on product disclaimers and toy ads, this item’s taglines may be familiar even to Americans who haven’t seen the commercial: “Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.”
Metrocard – 1991
Roseanne Barr and Phil Hartman pair up as a phone rep and a frustrated credit card customer. The commercial underscores their distinct comic personalities perfectly as they both share their views on Metrocard’s service.
Oops I Crapped My Pants -1998
Making fun of, among other things, the blue liquid often used to demonstrate absorption, this commercial makes light of adult diapers in a fresh way: “Imagine this pitcher of iced tea is really a gallon of your feces.” Sick but hilarious, the humor is in the constant repetition of the product’s name.
Saturday Night Live Commercials: the 2000s
Kotex Classic – 2002
Menstrual product commercials are always ripe for humor, and this one spoofs pads by bringing back an antiquated version. Proudly sporting the bulky device, female cast members say: “This IS your mother’s pad” and “I always know it’s there.”
Mom Jeans – 2003
Everyone knows what Mom Jeans are, even though it’s not an official brand. SNL assures us that Mom will “love the 9-inch zipper.”
Woomba – 2004
A parody of the Roomba, this is robotic cleaner that can tell when a woman needs some feminine hygiene. It doesn’t get any better than Tina Fey saying “It cleans my business – my lady business – and I like that.”
Saturday Night Live Commercials: Honorable Mentions
Other personal favorites include: Arthur Andersen, Gap Fat, Martha Stewart’s Topless Xmas, Clear Results, Swill, Buh-Weet Sings, and the New York Word Exchange. Do you remember Saturday Night Live commercials that you think are even funnier than these? Then add a comment to this article!