Saturday Night Live has been on the air for 43 years. For some dads, that means SNL has been on the air since they were born.
And during those 43 years, the show has introduced hundreds of hilarious and memorable characters. For most dads, these characters are like their children. They can’t bring themselves to choose a favorite. But also like their children, dads totally have a favorite SNL character. Here are the 12 greatest SNL characters, according to dads.
12: Roseanne Rosannadana
Ask most dads, and they’ll say the best lineup of SNL was its original cast. While we’re not 100% sold on that argument, we can see where they’re coming from. Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtis, and John Belushi were all titans. But when Gilda Radner was on, she could outshine them all. Roseanne Roseannadanna remains her most timeless character, and “most timeless Gilda Radner character” is more than enough to make this list.
11: Nick The Lounge Singer
Every dad who remembers the early SNL days has a soft spot in their heart for Nick the Lounge Singer, and they probably sing his Star Wars theme about once a month. Plus, this wouldn’t be a dad list if Bill Murray wasn’t involved somehow.
10: Mr. Robinson
There was a time in the 80’s where nobody was bigger than Eddie Murphy, who basically single-handedly saved SNL after the exodus of its original cast members. (If you really want to get your dad going into storytelling mode, ask him what he thinks about Joe Piscopo.) Mr. Robinson, the inner-city Mr. Rogers, was probably Murphy’s most beloved character during his four-year tenure on the show.
Most other lists would have Stefon up much higher, but this is a dad-ranking, and as much as dads love Stefon, the character appeals more to millennials, which pushes him down a few spots. Still, the fact that Bill Hader’s Seth-Myers-obsessed nightclub expert even made this dad-ranking is a testament to how truly hilarious the character is.
8: Irwin Mainway
Dan Aykroyd created a myriad of classic characters in the first seasons of the show, but none were better or more hilarious than Irwin Mainway, the shady toy maker who defended the safety of such products as Johnny Human Torch (a bag of oily rags and a lighter) and Bag O’ Glass (an actual bag of broken glass).
7: Debbie Downer
Dads get really annoyed when characters constantly break into laughter in a sketch, also known as “Fallon-ing.” But they make an exception for Rachel Dratch’s Debbie Downer, who created beautiful chaos with her depressing factoids.
6: The Church Lady
If you had to ask a dad who their favorite SNL cast member of all time is, there’s a good chance they’d end up choosing Dana Carvey. While most of his best roles were impressions (his George H.W. Bush remains iconic) or as half of a popular duo (all hail Garth Algar), his sarcastic and sassy Church Lady was funny enough to make the list even without the classic dad-approved catchphrase of, “Isn’t that special.”
5: Hans and Franz
Dads love characters who they can impersonate. If they can re-tell a joke from Saturday Night Live and get to make a voice, they’re in dad-heaven. While Hans and Franz are technically two different characters, we’re lumping them into a single slot here. And they’re this high on the list because dads love saying, “We will pump *clap* you up.” Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon’s Austrian bodybuilders were practically made to be recycled as dad jokes.
4: The Festrunk Brothers
Better known as the “two wild and crazy guys,” these brothers played by Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin are perfect dad-approved nostalgia fuel. Dads love the original cast, even if they don’t quite remember how long the sketches were back in the day. The Festrunk Brothers were hilarious, but man, their sketches were like, seven minutes. Still, you got to give the classics their proper respect.
3: The Blues Brothers
Again, we’re cheating a bit here by lumping two characters into one slot, but the Blues Brothers are iconic, and you knew that Belushi would have to show up in this article at least somewhere. As characters on SNL, they really didn’t do much. They sang blues songs as musical guests in the early seasons, but the film they spawned (don’t talk to us about Blues Brothers 2000, we’ve erased that from our memories) made these two some of the most iconic characters in SNL history. And two of the most beloved-by-dad characters as well.
2: Matt Foley
“Living in a van down by the river.” That’s all you need to say to get a dad to whip out his best Chris Farley impression. Matt Foley is probably the most famous character that Farley portrayed, and definitely a dad-favorite. His motivational speeches and physical comedy still make dads (and non-dads) crack up, years later. He was almost good enough to top this list, but the ultimate dad-approved character goes to…
1: Wayne Campbell
There’s no way to deny Wayne Campbell’s status among dads. They quote Wayne’s World endlessly. They know how to do a mean “schwing.” Hell, dads still are headbanging during Bohemian Rhapsody because of Mike Meyer’s character. In all the years of the show, the character responsible for the best SNL movie has to take the top spot on our list. Excellent.
Also from Classic Dad: