We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Nowadays, Jon Lovitz might be best known as the wacky comedian recently seen on The New Apprentice (and after this weekend’s Super Bowl, potentially the wacky Avocados guy). However in the late 80s, Lovitz played a crucial role in helping Saturday Night Live regain momentum.
A cast member from 1985 to 1990, Lovitz was beloved for playing bizarre and over the top characters. His witty and biting delivery created a handful of memorable catchphrases. Yet while such a style of comedy could tend to be distracting, Lovitz was always able to play in perfect harmony with cast members like Dana Carvey or Phil Hartman.
After leaving SNL, Lovitz went on to appear in a handful of movies and TV shows, and was the leading voice of the cult favorite animated show The Critic. He continues to perform stand-up, and is currently doing a Las Vegas residency with his former SNL castmate Dana Carvey.
But take a look back at a few of our favorite moments from Lovitz’s time on SNL below.
“The Night Hanukkah Harry Saved Christmas”
It’s funny how Hanukkah Harry has been accepted by so many as the Jewish version of Santa Clause, when it all started as a concept for an SNL sketch, where Hanukkah Harry fills in for Santa who is too ill to deliver toys on Christmas Eve. In fact, we’d bet many people who don’t celebrate Hanukkah never realized till now that Hanukkah Harry isn’t actually the Jewish Santa.
Mephistopheles on The People’s Court
Lovitz’s recurring portrayal of the Devil was always an odd treat, but even funnier when seen losing a verdict during The People’s Court.
“One More Mission”
Lovitz and Phil Hartman’s friendship went back to their days together in the Groundlings, and their chemistry together was evident in sketches like the above. Fun fact, the two actually did a shortened version of the above sketch during Hartman’s SNL audition.
Only Lovitz and Tom Hanks could make you feel sympathetic for two creepy losers who can’t get a single woman’s attention.
“You Mock Me”
There’s something so simple yet funny about watching Lovitz and Dana Carvey mock their overly sensitive lord (played by John Malkovich).
“The Master Thespian”
Lovitz often spoke with posh, Shakespearean accents in sketches. However, when you think of Lovitz and English accents, the first thing that comes to mind is the greatest, most egotistical actor of them all: the Master Thespian!
“Plug Away with Harvey Fierstein”
Poor Harvey … he just wants to be loved! (And maybe deep down, so does Jon…)
“Tommy Flanagan, The Pathological Liar”
For better or worse, the catchphrase that will likely end up on Lovitz’s tombstone is “Yeah, that’s the ticket,” as spoken by everyone’s favorite pathological liar (TV Funhose would arguably agree). Hell, even Trump quoted Lovitz’s most popular character during his presidential campaign … again, for better or worse.