Saturday Night Live has featured many recurring characters that appear in sketches with a musical theme. In addition there are characters listed here who predominantly featured music, but may not have exclusively featured it.
Nick (whose last name changed with nearly every appearance) was a typical 1970s lounge singer portrayed by Bill Murray. He sang current songs, typically in a drawn-out fashion, including originally instrumental music like the Star Wars theme with made-up lyrics, and with musical accompaniment by Paul Shaffer on piano.
Candy Slice was a character played by Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live. An intense but troubled rock and roll artist, Candy Slice recorded an album in a sketch on December 9, 1978 (Eric Idle hosted). In this sketch, Candy Slice was addicted to cocaine.
She also performed in the Rock Against Yeast on February 17, 1979, while Rick Nelson was hosting. Her song was dedicated to Mick Jagger and was solely about how Candy Slice was his "biggest funked-up fan". In that sketch, she also hobnobbed with the likes of Olivia Newton-John (Laraine Newman), Bob Marley (Garrett Morris) and Dolly Parton (Jane Curtin).
Slice's act consisted of two songs: the punkish "If You Look Close (You Can See my Tits)", and her musical homage to the Rolling Stones, "Gimme Mick", which concluded with "rock me and roll me 'til I'm sick". At this point, Slice would belch into the microphone and pass out onstage, thus ending her set.
This song was originally in a Dana Carvey stand-up comedy routine about the vapidness of popular music.
Stevens returns in a later sketch, in which his producers try to convince him that his premature death might help the sales of his album. A fearful Stevens responds by hyping a new song, with the same tune as "The Lady I Know", but featuring different, though equally repetitive, lyrics and a similar endless refrain ("My pretty little lady! My pretty little gir-rl!" The producers are unimpressed.
This trio showcased three popular film characters who were probably least likely to get together and sing because they are all known for their inability to speak proper English. Tonto (played by Jon Lovitz) and Tarzan (played by Kevin Nealon) mostly spoke the lyrics in broken English, leaving out certain verbs and pronouns, while Frankenstein (played by Phil Hartman) usually just growled and moaned, rarely forming any semblance of the actual words. They came together to sing "We Are the World", and during the holidays they would usually sing Christmas carols. On one occasion, they recited Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem "The Raven". For Easter, the trio were joined by Frankenstein's evil twin (Mel Gibson), who spoke whole sentences; they sang "Here Comes Peter Cottontail". All four, plus Tarzan's own Jane, starred in their own sporadic soap opera, As World Turn (taken from the long-running As the World Turns). Circa 1990's.
I'm Chillin was a spoof of public access rap shows. Its host was played by Chris Rock and the show's sidekick was played by Chris Farley. Farley's character was introduced by Rock with a string of nonsensical rhymes such as "My Ace in the hole, my buttered roll, my grassy knoll," etc. This show was notable for its "Mother Joke of the Day" which would be sent in from (fictitious) viewers, all of whom lived in one housing project or another. The winner would typically receive some early-Nineties-themed gangster item (a red, yellow and green jacket with an 8-ball on the back, for example). Chris Rock's character was named Onski and Chris Farley's character was B-Fats. Onski also plugged local fictitious sponsors, like "Bullet Hole tampons: 'cause sometimes you bleed in other places!", and "F'ed Up Malt Liquor." The sketch usually came to an end when Onski received a beeper page from his "baby's mama" and he'd have to go pick her up somewhere (from work at Popeye's, or the check cashing place). Onski's parting words each episode were "Always wipe, stay off the pipe, and if someone gets in your face, tell em 'I'm Chillin!'"
Efrain Lopez Neris's "Don Florito" character predated Opera Man by at least fifteen years. However, Sandler's character had no direct relationship with López Neris', outside of the fact that they were both parodying opera and operatic arias.
Mighty Mack Blues is a member of the Blues Brothers, though not an original. He is a replacement for John Belushi's Jake Blues since John Belushi died in 1982. Mighty Mack was introduced on the 1995 episode where he hosted with musical guest The Tragically Hip, announcing that since he (Goodman) was hosting for the sixth time, he can do what he wanted and he wanted to perform with special guest and former castmember Dan Aykroyd as the newest incarnation of The Blues Brothers. The movie Blues Brothers 2000 has Aykroyd and Goodman as the new Blues Brothers.
A bald-headed, foul mouthed gangsta rapper played by Tim Meadows who usually appeared wearing only a Speedo or leather pants. He first appeared in a sketch with Teri Hatcher about a sitcom called "The Princess and the Homeboy".
The Roxbury Guys were two brothers named Doug and Steve Butabi (although their names and relationship to one another were never revealed until the subsequent release of the film) who always got dressed up in rayon suits to go clubbing, where they would attempt to pick up women. They were played by Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell respectively. Their trademark was bobbing their heads in unison to the song "What Is Love" by Haddaway, which always played throughout the duration of each sketch. They were extremely unfortunate with the women at the clubs, often gyrating against them in an attempt to get them to dance, but always causing a negative reaction. The sketches often featured a third member of the group, similar to the others in appearance and actions, performed by that week's host (such as Tom Hanks, Martin Short and Jim Carrey) where they were credited as "Barhop".
The Culps were two recurring characters on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Marty Culp (Will Ferrell), a guileless, balding, middle-aged man, and his wife Bobbi Mohan-Culp (Ana Gasteyer), who teaches alongside her husband at Altadena Middle School, make up the Culp Family. They perform at various school functions, singing medleys of recent pop songs in their own conservative style. Marty plays the keyboard and sings backup, while Bobbi leads the singing with her high-pitched, operatic vocals. In between medleys, the Culps make comments to the audience of middle school students, often implying that the children are mocking them.
The Culp Family Musical Performances borrowed from the Nick The Lounge Singer character popularized by Bill Murray in the early days of Saturday Night Live, and from The Sweeney Sisters played by Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn. The basic premise is the same, that the singer (who performs at bottom-of-the-barrel gigs) takes a popular song and sings it in a cheesy way, sometimes adding or changing lyrics to suit the occasion, completely oblivious to how square he is.
Some have speculated that The Culps may in fact be a parody of the musical duo of "Mark and Lorna", made up of Mark Wayne & Lorna Lambey who have been headlining the Red Fox Lounge at the Best Western Mt. Vernon Inn in Orlando, Florida, for a number of years. SNL writer Paula Pell was once an Orlando-area actress. Like the fictional Culps, Wayne and Lambey are a married couple; Mark sits at the synthesized piano and sings, while Lorna stands. They mix standards with more recent fare in their signature style. And like the Culps, will often talk to the audience while Mark continues playing.
Janet Reno's Dance Party ("coming to you live, from my basement/the deck of a battleship") was a SNL sketch with Will Ferrell as U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. It aired four times and featured the song "My Sharona" by The Knack. During the dance party, Reno expressed an aversion to mosh pits and accused her youthful guests of lying during interviews. While she opposed moshing, Reno did engage in stage-diving during one episode, warning the dancing youths below to brace themselves for "180 lb. of pure Reno." In most episodes, Darrel Hammond would make an appearance as then-President Bill Clinton, urging Janet to leave her basement and rejoin society; he would assure her that nobody blamed her for the events at Waco, to which Reno would respond, "DANCE PARTY TAKES AWAY WACO!" Notable guests included Donna Shalala (played by Kevin Spacey), who slow-danced with Janet; and Rudy Giuliani (played by himself), who lost to Janet in a boxing match. The last time the sketch aired, January 20, 2001, Janet Reno herself made a then-secret cameo appearance. It was also the day she left office, as the Clinton administration had ended earlier that afternoon. After George W. Bush's inauguration ceremony was completed at noon, Reno was whisked away to a supposed undisclosed location. Her appearance on the sketch was a complete secret to the public and surprise to the press. The press noticed afterwards how good a sport she was.
The DeMarco Brothers are played by Chris Kattan and Chris Parnell. The premise of the sketch is that the brothers are auditioning to be dancers on tour for a musical act (usually, whoever is the musical guest on the show that week). They would wear matching t-shirts with quotes or references to a particular song by the artist, and then play a tape of the artist's songs and proceed to dance to it. Their dancing can be described as interpretive, as they often act out a portion of the song's lyrics in the form of skits during their performance. The musicians generally detest their performances, cutting them off before ever getting through an entire song.
The Céline Dion Show was faux talk/variety show in which Ana Gasteyer played the Grammy award-winning singer, who in the opening credits, claimed to be the most beautiful and most loved singer in the world. The sketch was inspired by Dion's success in the wake of her number one Billboard Hot 100 hit "My Heart Will Go On" in 1998
But in this case (the show, that is), she had a habit of upstaging her guests or interrupting them by joining them in a song duet (or overtaking them mid-song)....much to the displeasure of the guests.
The sketch attracted the attention of Dion herself, who invited Gasteyer to perform the character in one of her concerts in 1998.
Episodes featuring Gasteyer as Dion:
A parody of late-1990s "Boy Bands", specifically 98 Degrees. The members were Jeph (Chris Parnell), Samm (Chris Kattan), Sweet T (Horatio Sanz), and Wade (Jimmy Fallon); the host or musical guest would appear as the fifth member (similar to Gemini's Twin). Their manager was a man with a thinly-veiled criminal past named Peter Tanner, played by Will Ferrell. They were often seen bouncing around on large inflatable playground balls while singing, a reference to the Backstreet Boys' trademark "folding chair dance".
Gemini's Twin is an R&B/pop music group composed of Jonette and Britanica, created for a series of sketches on Saturday Night Live and written by SNL writer James Anderson. The sketches featured Maya Rudolph and Ana Gasteyer as members of a "famous" singing group that parodied Destiny's Child. The two would incorporate hip-hop slang into their conversations in inappropriate ways, often misusing intellectual words or making up new words altogether. ("It's time to get musicational!" "Our music comes from a very emotionary place.")
A celebrity (often that episode's host) would often appear as the current third member of the band. Such third members have included Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lucy Liu, Britney Spears, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lopez. This was a jab at the infamous turmoil and frequent membership changes in Destiny's Child.
In one sketch, the real members of Destiny's Child appeared as former members of Gemini's Twin who had been kicked out of the band. They were there to introduce the new band they had formed on their own, called "Serendipity's Coincidence," but they got into an argument with their former bandmates that led into a sort of sing-off, called "Big-Ups". This culminated in Michelle Williams, who was lurking in the background of the confrontation, pushing her way forward and belting out "I'm just here!" (This was essentially Williams making fun of public speculation that she had been hired into Destiny's Child to round out the band but made no real contribution.)
Within their fictional realm the group has released at least two albums: the patriotic post-9/11 album America the Bootyful and Babydaddyology, with the single from this album called "Woman Made Man." Other singles include the hits "No Wack Wack," "No Bling Bling," "Red, White, and Not You," and "I'm a Stewardess".
The group has twice appeared on TRL, had two MTV specials, appeared on MTV Cribs, and appeared on HBO's First Look promoting their feature film debut Damn, My Dixie's on Fire.
Rap Street was a TV show sketch which appeared twice on Saturday Night Live. The hosts of Rap Street, Grandmaster Rap (a take-off on Grandmaster Flash played by Jerry Minor) and Kid Shazzam (Horatio Sanz) were caricatures of old school rappers who hearkened back to the early days of rap. They would often refer to their time spent in the Vietnam War, mention friends of theirs who had great-grandchildren or hip problems, and use plural forms where they didn't belong (i.e. "Vietnams", "hip-hops"). They spoke out against profanity in rap music, saying things like, "We didn't rap about givin' your man friend fellat-i-os. We rapped about good stuff, like sneakers." They would begin and end each show with a similar simplistic rap which went "Rap rap, ribbity rap rap, rip rop ribbity do!" (a send-up of "Rapper's Delight" by the The Sugarhill Gang).
The first full-fledged Rap Street sketch featured Tom Green as MC Kevin Gustafson from Ottawa, Ontario. Green, an Ottawa native himself, was likely drawn to this subject matter due to the fact that he was a member of mid-nineties rap group Organized Rhyme.
An installment of this sketch appeared on the season 31 episode hosted by Steve Martin with the real Prince as musical guest. Ironically, the real Prince doesn't appear in the sketch, either as himself or another character (not even in the part near the end when Fred Armisen as Prince is facing the mirror).
Fred Armisen also appeared as Prince on the "Donatella Versace Super Bowl Special" sketch on the season 32 episode hosted by Drew Barrymore, making it the first (and so far, only) time that Armisen appeared as Prince outside of The Prince Show.
Drew Barrymore is the only celebrity to appear on a Prince Show sketch portraying someone else as well as being parodied herself in a later sketch.
This sketch featured regular cast member Fred Armisen as Henry Quincy Lundford and Paul Giamatti (later replaced by Steve Carell) as the hosts of a 70s-era, Smothers Brothers-esque variety show. It featured Amy Poehler as Dorothy Winckler, an actress who herself was playing a character named Granny, whose catchphrase was "Aw, nuts!", accompanied by a zoom to her face; Maya Rudolph as a female-empowerment singer who sang about being pregnant and not needing a man; Kenan Thompson as a Barry White-esque, "King of the Sob Songs" singer, whose song was "Amanda"; and a skit set to 1920s-style upright piano music that featured two flappers, Charlie Chaplin, and a man cranking an old Model-T Ford.
Despite the departure of Rachel Dratch, Deep House Dish returned on the December 2 episode with Matthew Fox. In it, DJ Dynasty Handbag says that Tiara is no longer "with us"; she posted a picture of him in his Dunkin' Donuts outfit and although she was not dead, she was dead to him, so, he replaced Tiara with T'Shane (Andy Samberg), who is equally dimwitted. Whereas DJ Dynasty Handbag tended to insult Tiara on her dullness, he criticizes T'Shane mainly for his lack of intelligence.
During the "program" a variety of musical guests appear. These are usually played by cast members with at least one portrayed by the guest host of the week. The "artists" are usually parodies of a certain archetype of house music performer, the overlying joke being that within any given genre the artists who top the charts are indistinguishable from one another. Examples include Shereals Davis, a vapid, sexy but tone-deaf woman with a vacuous house song called "It's My Duty".
The opening sequence music clip is borrowed from the German electropop band (Melotron), and the song is 'Der Kosmonaut'.