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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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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