Since the show was created by Lorne Michaels in 1975, Saturday Night Live has helped to provide a platform for some of the most well-known women in comedy. Maya Rudolph, who you may recognize from the iconic films Grown Ups, Wine Country, and Bridesmaids, got her start on SNL in 1999. Amy Poehler, star of the hit series Parks and Recreation, also catapulted her career by joining the SNL cast in 2001 after being persuaded to join by another outstanding female cast member: Tina Fey. Other amazing former members of the SNL cast whose names you might recognize include Molly Shannon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rachel Dratch, Nora Dunn, Laraine Newman, and Cheri Oteri.
However, one of my favorite cast members ever to grace the SNL stage since the show was created has to be Kristen Wiig. She first made her debut on SNL in 2005 and then became a full-blown cast member in 2006 for Season 32. Finally retiring from the show in 2012, her stint on Saturday Night Live included some of the show’s funniest-ever material. Outside of SNL, Wiig also had a successful career as a screenwriter, producer, singer, and film actor (including appearances in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Adventureland, Date Night, Semi-Pro, and so many other amazing movies).
Truly, Kristen Wiig’s awkward and outlandish brand of comedy is entirely unique and supremely entertaining. And her work on SNL is some of the funniest content I’ve ever seen. So, to honor Kristen Wiig’s career, we’re going to go through the # best SNL skits that she ever appeared in. Get ready to laugh.
1. Target Lady
One of the recurring skits on SNL while Kristen Wiig was a cast member starred Wiig as the “Target Lady”, your stereotypical, quirky, middle-American Target employee. Wiig’s portrayal of this character is genius because of how true to real life it is. She asks customers a bunch of questions when they’re just trying to buy their items and get home. She volunteers a bunch of information about herself even though no one asked. She’s very hard to understand at times. It’s just perfect.
The “Target Lady” skits also often feature fellow SNL legend Bill Hader as Mr. Evenings, the branch manager. In the “Boogie Bulks Up” installment of the “Target Lady” series, Mr. Evenings expresses his sexual interest in an employee named Boogie (played by Daniel Radcliffe), all while the Target Lady continues to terrorize customers with her quirky antics.
2. The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda
There’s a bit of a running joke about how the hosts of The Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, like to enjoy a glass of wine or two while hosting the show. So, naturally, the writers of SNL had to dial that joke up to 1,000. In this series of sketches, poor Kathie Lee Gifford is portrayed by Kristen Wiig, and her version of the morning show host can only be described as a drunken mess.
Throughout the series, Hoda Kotb is portrayed by several different actors, including Nasim Pedrad, Jenny Slate, and Michaela Watkins. However, in every skit, Hoda seems to be the more composed of the two while Kathie Lee is clearly too deep into a bottle of wine. In one of these skits, Kathie Lee even gets beat up by the Black Eyed Peas and the real-life Kathie Lee expressed her distaste at the display on The Today Show the next morning. Regardless of whether you think it was mean or not, Kristen Wiig’s portrayal of Kathie Lee Gifford is undeniably hilarious.
Yet another iconic Kristen Wiig character was Gilly, a troublemaking student who likes to play not-so-funny pranks on her teachers and classmates. Known for her bubble-like hairdo and her noodle-like dance moves, every Gilly skit will leave you crying with laughter. Typically, Gilly’s antics go far beyond that of a typical elementary school troublemaker and lean more toward those of a serial killer.
For instance, Gilly has been known to stab other students with pencils, light people’s ties on fire, smoke cigarettes, and drink wine in class despite being a child, and even detonate bombs in the classroom. Kristen Wiig’s performances as Gilly are also aided by hilarious performances from Will Forte as her teacher and Keenan Thompson as a boy named Sam whose arms are perpetually broken.
Penelope is another character played by Kristen Wiig that’s so hilarious because she’s so accurate to real life. We all know that one person who has to one-up everything that everyone else says. Penelope embodies that to the ultimate extreme. Whenever someone else in the skit says something, Penelope needs to butt in and show everyone that she can do it bigger, better, faster, or more.
For instance, if you’ve ever had M&Ms, Penelope has had M&M&Ms. If you have to go pick up your 7-year-old daughter, she has to pick up her 6-year daughter (who will “probably live a little bit longer than yours”). And, if you got a ticket for speeding, Penelope got 99 tickets for speeding so fast that she broke the sound barrier. The writing in these skits is truly genius and Kristen Wiig’s performance only makes them all the more hilarious.
5. Flight Announcement
One of the most hilarious SNL skits ever featuring Kristen Wiig is one that she tag-teams with Megan Fox called “Flight Announcement”. This skit plays on one of people’s most common fears: the fear that something’s going to go wrong when they’re in an airplane. Well, in this skit, Megan Fox and Kristen Wiig play two flight attendants who are delivering the news to the passengers that something is, in fact, going horribly wrong.
What makes this skit so funny, though, is that the two of them deliver this terrifying news in a calm and nonchalant way. And their soothing tones don’t really match up when they’re saying things like, “Please do not panic. The pilot is scared,” and “Just make sure your items are neatly stowed beneath you just in case the plane does rip in half.”
Another iconic SNL character played by Kristen Wiig is Shana, who appeared in quite a few skits during Wiig’s tenure on the show. Shana is the sexiest woman around. She’s always talking in a suggestive tone, playing coy, and drawing the attention of all the men around her. But, as those men begin to learn more about Shana, they discover that she’s not quite as cute and ladylike as they had once thought.
For instance, once she has the attention of every man in the room, Shana has been known to tell stories about accidentally eating cow poop while bobbing for apples, about clumps of rotten strawberry seeds forming in her intestines, and pretty much any other non-sexy thing you can think of. Yes, Shana is the ultimate tease. But, beneath her flirtatious exterior is something far more base and raunchy. For some reason, though, the guys still can’t get enough of her.