When you step back and realize that many of Saturday Night Live's best sketches were conceived, pitched, written, rewritten, produced, and aired in the frenzy of a week-long production, you... might start feeling a little exhausted. It's no surprise that SNL takes a good, long break during the Thanksgiving holiday -- the cast and crew earned it. But we're thankful they still found time in their busy schedules to cook up Thanksgiving sketches that capture the chaos, celebration, and familial angst of the holiday (which may be an ideal alternative in the heat of an SNL "on" week).
In anticipation of the holiday -- and the staff break -- SNL dropped a trove of vintage, Thanksgiving-appropriate sketches on to its YouTube page. Here are the best:
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"Back Home Ballers"
Season 40, 2014
Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Sasheer Zamata, Vanessa Bayer, Leslie Jones, Aidy Bryant, and guest Cameron Diaz all appear in this rap video about how sweet life is at your parents' house, where you don't have to care about a damn thing.
"Thanksgiving Song Auditions"
Season 22, 1996
Once upon a time, SNL did weird audition sketches that did not involve celebrity impressions or goofball takes on classic characters. In this bit, the National Endowment for the Arts wants to fill a void in the cultural world by commissioning a Thanksgiving song. The cast parades through the audition process with an array of bizarre caricatures.
Season 5, 1979
Four angsty thirty-somethings (Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, Jane Curtin, and Paul Shaffer) return home for Thanksgiving dinner only to find themselves seated at the basement kids' table. Like the '70s version of "Back Home Ballers," they immediately devolve into their childhood selves.
Season 42, 2016
In 2013, Edward Norton did a version of this sketch for Halloween candy. It was extremely weird. Wiig one-ups him with her take on Thanksgiving delicacies, which comes off a little like The Silence of the Lambs.
"Deep Thoughts: Thanksgiving Advice"
Season 17, 1992
If you hate Thanksgiving food, writer Jack Handey has a psychopathic alternative for you.
"Guy Fieri on Thanksgiving"
Season 36, 2010
We're fans of the larger-than-life Guy Fieri and his unabashed devotion to Donkey Sauce. But Bobby Moynihan's impression of the guy (which Fieri has acknowledged he loves) is a ridiculous joy that's never been better than in this Weekend Update segment. Only one man can teach you how to stuff a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey inside a rabbit inside a pig inside of a baby cow inside of a big cow inside of a horse inside of a Cornish game hen.
Season 19, 1993
The 1990s "Clear Craze" demanded full transparency in items like watches, TVs, Game Boys, and even Pepsi. SNL lampooned it all in a commercial for the most disgusting food to follow the trend.
"Vincent Price's Thanksgiving Special"
Season 31, 2005
Bill Hader's Vincent Price is one of those rare, esoteric SNL impression that clicks and clicks and clicks again. Less horror spoof than a love letter to the nadirs of golden-age Hollywood careers, this "Thanksgiving Special" is top-tier thanks to appearances by Ricky Ricardo (Fred Armisen) and Lucille Ball (Eva Longoria).
"Rita Delvecchio's Thanksgiving"
Season 23, 1997
You probably don't remember Rita Delvecchio because, like most of Cheri Oteri's characters, she's a wacky lady who screams and whigs out and explodes at the sight of a misbehaved kid. But here's the thing: Oteri's hysterical in the role, and in this Thanksgiving-themed sketch, she goes toe-to-toe with Delvecchio's whiny mother -- played by New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in drag.
"The Californians: Thanksgiving"
Season 38, 2012
There's no hinting at the totally tubular joys within this sketch, bro. You have to hear the gnarly jokes and hip Cali accents for yourself, bro. Thanksgiving with the Californians is for real better than driving down the 405, bro.
Season 16, 1990
This is a one-joke sketch and it's an amazing one-joke sketch. Do you remember Reebok Pump, the shoe you "pumped" up to cushion around your ankles? Now it comes in turkey form -- complete with '90s hip-hop rap.
Debbie Downer: Thanksgiving Dinner
Season 30, 2004
"Boy the traffic was a disaster coming up!" "Nothing compared to the disaster the Chinese are going through. They're still digging out from typhoon season, just in time for the bird flu to take even more lives." You know, we'd still take Debbie Downer at the Thanksgiving dinner over Loud Political Uncle.
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