Like the rest of the country, according to the ratings anyway, I spent my Sunday night watching the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary special. Like any episode of SNL, it had its ups and downs, but overall I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane, with classic sketches, characters, and catch-phrases popping up almost faster than I could register. But of course my favorite sketches of all time have been about the music.
“King Tut.” I had this on a mix tape when I was in middle school and practically wore it out listening to Steve Martin’s brilliance over and over again. In college I downloaded every mp3 from Napster that I could find of Marty and Bobbi Culp, the middle school music teachers who sang pop songs in their terrible(ly hysterical) style. More recently I have gone to iTunes and downloaded the best digital shorts for my playlists, like “Lazy Sunday,” and “Dick in a Box.” Bill Murray singing “Star Wars.” Christopher Walken demanding more cowbell. The Blues Brothers. I just love the sketches with music. But there is one sketch that stands out above all the rest as the absolute funniest thing I have ever seen on the show, and it is now almost impossible to find.
Back in 2004, I remember sitting in my living room on my small basement apartment with my new wife and watching SNL as Donald Trump came out to host. The Apprentice had been on for only a season or two, and we were into it. So we sat there, as Donald Trump came out and did an advertisement for his new restaurant, “Donald Trump’s House of Wings.” And honestly, this sketch gets better every time you see it. It involved Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, and Kenan Thompson dressed up in giant chicken costumes (baby chickens that were just hatching actually), and singing a a parody of the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump.” It was the best thing ever.
You can’t really appreciate the whole thing on one viewing. Each back-up dancer chicken is so hilarious in its own right. At first Amy was my favorite chicken, but then I started to watch Maya’s face and I decided that she was my favorite chicken. Oh, but look at Seth! There just is no bad part of watching those 4 dance in chicken suits to a Pointer Sisters song about chicken wings. There just isn’t. It is the best thing Donald Trump has ever done, period, and it is possibly the best thing anyone has ever done on live television. But you can’t watch it.
It is listed as a featured sketch on the back of the DVD case of the SNL Commercials set, but when you get the actual disc, you will find that this sketch is not on there. The whole episode is streaming on Hulu plus, but with this sketch removed. It is also on Netflix, but without Donald Trump’s House of Wings. WHY?! The rest of the episode is available, so it can’t be The Donald who is blocking this, can it? Is it a rights issue with the Pointer Sisters? Because the video has been uploaded to YouTube many times, but then taken down again. SNL historically does not like their stuff on YouTube, but it isn’t even available on the new SNL app, or their video library online.
Seth Meyers was on Jay Leno once and discussed this sketch as being one of his all time favorites, and they even showed a clip of it. It exists! I know it exists! Why are you keeping this from us?! There is a currently a version of it on YouTube, which was recorded with someone’s phone as the video played on their TV. It is not the best quality. You cannot appreciate the nuances of the chicken’s faces and dance moves. But it is better than nothing, and it will probably be gone soon too. Enjoy it while you can. And if anyone knows why this sketch has been buried, please contact me. I will do whatever I need to do to help bring this bit of perfection to the world to make it a better place. I’ll meet you at Rockefeller Center at midnight. You bring the bolt cutters.