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The Five Worst Films Based on Comedy Sketches

The Five Worst Films Based on Comedy Sketches (photo)

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When it comes to the family of films based on comedy sketches, “Saturday Night Live” is Don Corleone, though in terms of quality, a more apt analogy might be Fredo, as the venerable late-night staple is responsible for some of the most inept cinematic yukfests of the past two decades. In the ’90s alone, a slew of spin-offs helped expand the show’s brand to movie theaters with negative results, with the movies often so awful that the show’s once-unimpeachable status as a comedy innovator slowly gave way to a new reputation as a program dedicated to creating recurring characters fit for lame celluloid treatment. As the only comedy show on TV with the clout to get its gossamer-thin bits blown up for the big-screen, “SNL” naturally dominates our roundup of the worst sketches turned into films, though Lorne Michaels can take minor solace from the fact that the one non-“SNL” film to make this dubious list stars a comedian who wouldn’t be appearing “Live from New York” until some years after its production. [You can find a list of the best films based on comedy sketches here.]

“Coneheads” (1993)

Perhaps the only thing less enticing than a film based on a lame “SNL” sketch is one based on a lame old “SNL” sketch. Enter “Coneheads,” an 88-minute saga starring Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin’s pointy-headed alien clan. Unlike many of their “SNL” brethren, the Coneheads’ culture-clash weirdness makes them reasonable candidates for a movie, and their feature debut certainly doesn’t lack for stars, featuring more cameos from the show’s past and present (including Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Chris Farley, Garrett Morris and Kevin Nealon) than any of its sketch-to-film compatriots. Yet despite such factors working in its favor, “Coneheads” is another in a long line of elongated sketches that mistake bigger scope and scale for bigger laughs, piling on special effects and set-pieces with a gusto that would have been far better directed towards making use of the uniformly wasted comedy talent onhand.

09012009_It'sPattheMovie.jpg“It’s Pat: The Movie” (1995)

A one-note joke that could be reconfigured in endless (though rarely amusing) ways, Julia Sweeney’s androgynous Pat was perhaps the definitive ’90s “SNL” character, which in turn made him/her wholly unfit to sustain a feature-length film. Unsurprisingly, then, “It’s Pat: The Movie” is more or less unwatchable. Providing slightly more context and more elaborate dramatic circumstances for a cipher incapable of properly sustaining either, Adam Bernstein’s film gives Pat a similarly he-she love interest (“The Kids in the Hall”‘s Dave Foley) and an acquaintance driven mad by his/her sexual ambiguity, but nonetheless hews so closely to its sketch’s bedrock premise – Pat says and does stuff that almost, but never completely, identifies his/her gender – that inertia quickly sets in. Only released in three cities before flopping its way onto video, “It’s Pat” remains the preeminent model of “SNL” film ignominy, and of interest only to fans of the cameo-ing alt-rock band Ween.

09012009_Goodburger.jpg“Good Burger” (1997)

Based on a recurring sketch from Nickelodeon’s “All That,” “Good Burger” isn’t just unfunny, it’s unfunny with the kind of lethargy that generally follows eating fast food. Starring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, the stars of “All That” and future headliners of their own sketch comedy show “Kenan & Kel,” Brian Robbins’ kids’ flick rests squarely on the shoulders of its young leads, who have the kind of comfortable, jokey rapport that should translate into actual humor. Alas, there’s next to nothing to smile about during this distended skit, from Sinbad in an egregiously goofy ’70s afro to Abe Vigoda (yes, the Abe Vigoda) as the titular burger joint’s decrepit French fry fryer who – perhaps in a twist meant to subtly mirror Vigoda’s own decision-making faculties – winds up in a mental hospital. “Good Burger” is, in fact, so cruddy, it should have been obvious at the time that at least one of its stars – Kenan Thompson, it turns out – would eventually be recruited by Lorne Michaels for “SNL.”

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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