When most people list off their favorite Saturday Night Live sketches, a lot don’t even crack into the seasons from 2000 and beyond. It’s true, many of the sketches from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s have a pretty lasting impact on people’s fond memories of the show, when it didn’t used to suck, etcetera, etcetera.
But while we can actually think of many noteworthy sketches from the past 15 years or so, Rachel Dratch’s Debbie Downer character has got to be somewhere near the top.
The sketch, which first aired on May 1, 2004 when Lindsay Lohan (remember when she was still relevant?) was hosting, had a fairly simple punchline: each time Debbie delivered some sort of bad news, a muffled “wah, wah” trombone sound played and the camera zoomed in on Dratch’s face.
What really took the sketch over the edge was cast members straight-up bursting into laughter (we’re looking at you Jimmy Fallon) throughout many of the bits. Dratch touched on that in an interview a couple years back.
“You know you try not to laugh when you’re on SNL. It’s such a cheat because the audience loves when you crack up and I would really try not to, but that one was just out of control.”
“It was so fun. People often ask, ‘Is the show really live?’ I like it when things go off a little to remind you, yes, the show is truly live and anything can happen. That seems to be the one people remember the most of the Debbie Downers.”
It doesn’t get any more classic SNL than that.