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Monday, December 9th, 2013

A Video Guide to 'SNL's Bill Brasky

After a 15-year hiatus, the classic "Bill Brasky" sketch made a comeback on SNL this weekend, with Taran Killam and host Paul Rudd joining Will Ferrell and David Koechner as the rowdy group of bucktoothed alcoholic salesmen who take turns delivering drunken homages to their legendary coworker and son-of-a-bitch Bill Brasky. As one of the earliest collaborations between Will Ferrell and head writer Adam McKay, the "Brasky Buddies" served as some of the most inexplicably funny and quotable 10-to-1 sketches of the late 90s and gave players Mark McKinney and David Koechner (who was hired out of Chicago alongside McKay) some much-needed screen time. The Brasky Buddies have gone on to influence Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Scarlett Johansson's Victorian lady sketch "Mr. Willoughby", Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, and Will Forte's "Song Memories" bar buddies, and a load of dumb Chuck Norris jokes. Speaking on an episode of The Fogelnest Files in October, McKay explained the unexpected success of the Brasky sketches:

People were not happy about these Bill Brasky sketches, I can tell you that … They would get enough laughs. There's some laughs in there. It wasn't bombing. There's a bunch of people [in the audience] not happy. A bunch of people saying, "Where's the cheerleaders?" … We got this through simply because the first one did work really well, and everyone was going, "Are these hit characters?" But then, it was far too strange to be hit characters. But it was mainly John Goodman and Alec Baldwin are the sole reason we got to do a bunch of these 'cause every time they would show up, they would go, "Are we doing a Brasky?" And I could see Lorne and the other producers kind of roll their eyes like, "I guess we're doing a Brasky." That was how we got those on.

In the spirit of Brasky's return to TV, here's the complete collection of the Ferrell/McKay-created sketch, featuring John Goodman, Alec Baldwin, Norm Macdonald, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows, and Chris Farley in a 1997 sketch cut after dress rehearsal.

1. Airport Bar (January 20, 1996)

Bill Brasky Buddies: Will Ferrell, Alec Baldwin, David Koechner, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows

2. Holiday Inn (March 16, 1996)

Bill Brasky Buddies: Will Ferrell, John Goodman, David Koechner, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows

3. Funeral (February 22, 1997)

Bill Brasky Buddies: Will Ferrell, Alec Baldwin, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows

4. Little League (May 10, 1997)

Bill Brasky Buddies: Will Ferrell, John Goodman, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows

5. AA Meeting (unaired – October 25, 1997)

Bill Brasky Buddies: Will Ferrell, Chris Farley, Norm Macdonald

6. Wall Street (December 12, 1998)

Bill Brasky Buddies: Will Ferrell, John Goodman, Alec Baldwin

7. Chuck E. Cheese's (December 7, 2013)

Bill Brasky Buddies: Will Ferrell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Taran Killam