Before he became one of the country's leading comedy directors, helming films like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers, Adam McKay spent six years working on Saturday Night Live. Hired on as a staff writer in 1995, he was promoted to head writer in 1996, a position he held until handing it over to Tina Fey in 1999. McKay then became the show's resident filmmaker. He asked for — and got — the absurd job title "Coordinator of Falconry" and was able to do whatever he wanted on the show until he left in 2001 to make movies.
During an AMA on Reddit to promote his latest movie, Anchorman 2, McKay was asked what his favorite SNL sketches he wrote or co-wrote were, and he rattled off a list of 10 sketches, from well-known recurring segments like "Celebrity Jeopardy" to weird one-offs like "Centaur Job Interview." We dug up all the sketches (except for one called "The Baby and the German Intellectual" that's not online) and embedded them below.
SNL writers don't receive credit on individual sketches on the show, and it's often difficult to find out who wrote each one, even when it comes to a well-known prolific writer on the show like Adam McKay, so this is the first time that the public has been aware McKay is behind some of these sketches. Watching them all though, you can clearly see his sensibility running strongly throughout all these sketches during his 1995-2001 stint on the show.
Check out McKay's five favorite SNL sketches he wrote, and four he considers to be "honorable mentions" below:
1. "Old Glory Insurance" (1995) - A commercial for robot insurance hosted by Law & Order's Sam Waterston, who guest starred in this episode as a spokesperson scaring the elderly into buying robot insurance they clearly don't need.
2. "Wake Up and Smile" (1995) – You can see shades of Anchorman in this early Ferrell/McKay sketch about all hell breaking lose on a morning show after the teleprompter goes out. Starring Ferrell, Nancy Walls, and host David Alan Grier.
3. "Angry Boss" (2001) – Host Piece Brosnan plays a guy about to work for Will Ferrell's dickish boss character. This is from one of McKay's last episodes on the show.
4. "The Procedure" (unaired) – Willem Dafoe and Andy Richter guest star in this short film McKay made for the show that never made it to air. Nevertheless, it magically turned up on Funny or Die a few years ago.
5. "Bill Brasky" (1996-1998, 2013) - A recurring sketch that McKay returned to the show to reprise a couple weeks ago, the "Bill Brasky" sketches were a fixture of the show's early Will Ferrell year. For more, check out our recent piece on the "Bill Brasky" sketches, featuring video of all of them.
Honorable mention: "Crazy OB/GYN" (2000) - One of Ferrell and McKay's stranger sketches, this one is chock full of great throwaway lines like a lot of their work. They brought Ferrell's demented OB/GYN, Dr. Beamen, back one more time after this.
Honorable mention: "Neil Diamond VH1 Storytellers" (1998) – Host John Goodman and Tim Meadows star in this sketch alongside Will Ferrell that makes use of Ferrell's hilarious Neil Diamond impression.
Honorable mention: "Centaur Job Interview" (2001) – From McKay's final episode on SNL, host Christopher Walken plays an employer interviewing a well-qualified centaur (Chris Parnell). This was also Parnell's final episode (he was laid off from the show the first time after this), and it's a rare McKay sketch to not feature Will Ferrell.
Honorable mention: "Celebrity Jeopardy" (1996-2002, 2005, 2009) – One of the most well-known SNL sketches of all-time, Ferrell and McKay reprised "Celebrity Jeopardy" frequently throughout their time on the show. Check out a complete collection of all the "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketches in our piece here.