While we gear up for the 2016 Leafly Comedy Tour, which kicks off January 2nd with T.J. Miller of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” headlining at the Crocodile Café in Seattle, we wanted to start your new year with a laugh! We sifted through old Saturday Night Live archives to find the funniest cannabis-related sketches from the last 40 years. It was a tough job, but we managed to narrow the results down to the top six funniest SNL skits pertaining to cannabis. Enjoy the laughs, and happy new year!
1. Weekend Update: Michael Vick – Really!?!
This skit is less about marijuana and more about Michael Vick, football player of infamous dog-fighting shame. In 2007, Michael Vick was confronted in the Miami airport as he tried to board a plane with a water bottle filled with cannabis. Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers expertly take down his attempt, piece by piece, in a gut-busting news segment that’ll leave you dying. From his obvious (and terrible) choice of hiding spots to the possibility of the Miami airport of all places checking for drugs, the Weekend Update hosts get into a delightful back-and-forth rendition of one of my favorite segments, “Really!?!”
2. Out of Africa – Put Your Weed In It
We open in a store filled with cultural artifacts to see a 1993 incarnation of Rob Schneider playing the hippie store employee. It’s clear he knows what he’s talking about and exactly what to do with all of these artifacts. “That’s a Tanamano ancestral idol from Brazil…You put your weed in there!”
It seems that for every customer, he’s got a gift – that they can put their weed in! Whether it’s tribal masks, talking drums, or rain sticks, don’t worry, there’s a compartment for that…until Charles Barkley shows up in a police uniform and Rob Schneider completely loses his cool. C’mon, man, be chill!
3. Nancy Grace – Legal Pot
This sketch takes place immediately after Colorado legalized recreational cannabis and features Noel Wells as the sharp-tongued, squinty-eyed news host who, yes, has already made up her mind. First, she interrogates a cannabis bakery owner played by the delightful Kate McKinnon, who is completely on board the cannabis train. When confronted by Nancy Grace about being pro-pot, her reply clearly has a grain of truth in it: “Nancy, last week I made $650,000. That’s more money than I’ve made in the last 15 years! You’re freakin’ right I’m pro-pot.”
Nancy turns to Katt Williams, played with convincing nasality by Drake, complete with tempered hair flips and velvet suit. After trying unsuccessfully to convince him of the evils of cannabis, “Katt” dismisses her concerns with a colorful description of her less-crazy counterpart.
4. The Mellow Show: Jack Johnson
Featuring Andy Samberg as the ultra-mellow songster Jack Johnson, and with random witticisms spoken aloud to the camera as “vegan cookies” and “hemp necklace,” this sketch is extra funny if you’re a fan of the mellow musicians visiting. Samberg’s Jack Johnson is prone to losing his canna-friendly pets, including a jester hat-wearing gecko who “is unique in that he can both roll and smoke doobies.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt visits the set to scat a few tunes about fedoras as Jason Mraz, and Bill Hader plays a nervous Dave Matthews who gets freaked out when the real Dave Matthews comes out pretending to be Ozzy Osbourne in all of his mumbly, long-haired, incoherent glory.
5. A New Day – New York Marijuana Policy
This gem is from one of the more recent seasons of SNL and it was, of course, inspired by true life. As you all may remember, New York City made a change of policy for low-level marijuana possession, reducing charges to a civil fine rather than jail time. In this skit, we see New Yorkers look up from their television, dust the crumbs from their lap, and step out into the New York sunshine with a bag of cannabis in tow. It quickly turns into a celebratory parade, complete with Woody Harrelson emerging from a cloud of smoke while carrying a bong among crowds waving the Rastafari flag.
Suddenly, everyone run into the NYPD. Will police try to harsh the buzz? No, instead of handcuffs, they give a tip of the hat, and the celebration continues….until someone tries to spark up a joint. Oops. Public smoking is still not allowed. Sorry New Yorkers, time to return to your couches and Funyuns to watch more “Rugrats.”
6. The Marijuana Doctor
Featuring the magnificent Kevin Spacey as, you guessed it, a physician recommending medical marijuana, this skit was filmed in 1997, just months after cannabis was legalized in California via Proposition 215, and it’s exaggerated for absolutely hilarious effect. For a sore throat, Kevin Spacey’s MMJ doctor writes a prescription for “two huge bags of weed,” with the recommendation of “huge bong tokes” to follow it up.
Darrel Hammond’s Harvey Weinstein makes an appearance, fingers orange with Cheetos dust, looking for a prescription refill in the form of a baggie from Jamal Wilkes Booth, an in-house “pharmacist” who looks suspiciously like a stereotypical dealer that reminds his patrons, “You know, Blue Cross Blue Shield don’t cover that!” Amen, Jamal!
American Dope Growers Union
We went digging through the archives to find this little clip from 1977, which just shows how far the cannabis movement has come. Laraine Newman opens with a somber face, advising the camera that “Every time you buy pot from Mexico, or Colombia, you’re putting an American out of work.” She urges you to buy locally sourced, American-grown cannabis, which you can identify by the “American Dope Growers Union” label on the bag.
As the camera pans out, the whole cast joins her with potted pot plants, shovels, and watering cans to sing the song of the American Dope Growers Union. Amazingly enough, while this skit was purely comical at the time, with legal marijuana becoming an industry, unions are, in fact, starting to pop up. Life imitates art!