Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1996–1997
The Ambiguously Gay Duo 
Mr. Peepers 
Mr. Peepers was a part-monkey/part-human character created and portrayed by Chris Kattan. His signature bits of physical comedy involved eating apples one after another in rapid succession, and spitting out the pieces machine gun style. Often he would spit the apple chunks directly at characters in the scene. His other physical act was dry humping other characters, with the recipient of the act getting reprimanded when they tried to push him off.
Mr. Peepers was first introduced as an animal act brought out by John Barbary (played by Tom Hanks) on a parody of The Tonight Show (with Darrell Hammond as Jay Leno). In an episode in the 25th season, "Papa Peepers" (played by The Rock) was revealed to be Mr. Peepers's father. Another memorable sketch was a parody of an episode of Dawson's Creek, featuring Katie Holmes as Joey, the character she played on that show.
Episodes featuring Mr. Peepers 
- September 28, 1996: host Tom Hanks
- January 11, 1997: host Kevin Spacey
- March 15, 1997: host Sting
- November 15, 1997: host Claire Danes
- October 3, 1998: host Kelsey Grammer
- December 5, 1998: host Vince Vaughn
- November 20, 1999: host Jennifer Aniston
- December 11, 1999: host Danny DeVito
- March 18, 2000: host The Rock
- November 4, 2000: host Charlize Theron
- February 24, 2001: host Katie Holmes
- April 6, 2002: host Cameron Diaz
Additional Mr. Peepers appearances 
On the Weekend Update segment of the May 17, 2003 episode, Chris Kattan performed a lightning-round montage of his most popular characters, and assumed the character of Mr. Peepers for a brief moment during that bit. It was the final episode of the 2002-2003 season, and also Kattan's last episode as a cast member.
An Ana Gasteyer sketch. Debuted September 28, 1996.
Gene, the Ex-Convict 
A Colin Quinn sketch. Debuted October 5, 1996.
The Quiet Storm 
The Quiet Storm was a radio show hosted by Chris "Champagne" Garnett (Tim Meadows). Debuted October 19, 1996.
The Culps 
The Culps, or "The Culp Family Musical Performances", were recurring characters that appeared on SNL between 1996 and 2002, and were portrayed by Will Ferrell (as Marty Culp), and Ana Gasteyer as (Bobbi Mohan-Culp). Marty and Bobbi were an awkward, unstylish, married couple who served as music teachers at Altadena Middle School. In the sketches, they would perform prim, conservative medleys of modern pop, R&B or rap songs at various school functions, much to the embarrassment of their unseen son who attended the school; when Claire Danes hosted, she played their college-student daughter, embarrassed beyond words when her parents performed during Career Day.
Marty played the keyboard and sings backup, while Bobbi was the lead vocalist, who sang in a high-pitched, operatic style. In between medleys, the Culps make comments to the audience of middle school students, often implying that the children are mocking them, most often by showing them the finger. Debuted November 2, 1996.
The Culps followed in the tradition of earlier skits that began with 1970s sketch Nick The Lounge Singer and continued in the 1980s with The Sweeney Sisters. The basic premise being that the singers, who usually perform in bottom-of-the-barrel gigs, sing modern songs in their own unique style, but are totally oblivious to how unstylish and "cheesy" their performances are.
The Delicious Dish 
An Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon sketch. Debuted November 16, 1996. Margaret Jo McCullen (Gasteyer) and Teri Rialto (Shannon) host a fictitious show on NPR called "The Delicious Dish" on which they discuss cooking and culinary issues. They both speak in extremely bland monotone voices and imply that their greatest joys in life are derived from absurdly simple things such as purchasing a new funnel. When Molly Shannon left the show during the 2000 - 2001 season, the character of Teri Rialto was replaced by the equally bland and monotone Lynn Bershad, played by Rachel Dratch.
In each sketch they have a guest, always played with a similarly bland personality by the host of the episode. The dialog of their show is always laced with obvious sexual double entendres to which the show's two hosts and their guest are completely oblivious.
The most frequently replayed installment of this sketch, which originally aired on December 12, 1998, featured Alec Baldwin as Christmas treat maker Pete Schweddy, who was famous for his "Schweddy Balls" (assortments of spherical food treats made out of anything from meat to cake to candy), which were sold as an assortment in a "Schweddy ball sack". The two hosts and their guest were, as usual, completely oblivious to the double entendres. This installment of the sketch has appeared on every Saturday Night Live Christmas sketch compilation episode since it first aired.
On the May 8, 2010 episode, Gasteyer and Shannon both reprised their Delicious Dish characters in cameo with host Betty White playing their guest Florence Dusty, famous for her "Dusty Muffin", with all concerned again being oblivious to the double entendre.
Episodes featuring The Delicious Dish 
- November 16, 1996: Host Robert Downey Jr.
- December 14, 1996: Host Rosie O'Donnell
- February 8, 1997: Host Neve Campbell
- May 10, 1997: Host John Goodman
- October 18, 1997: Host Brendan Fraser
- December 19, 1997: Host Helen Hunt
- March 14, 1998: Host Julianne Moore
- October 3, 1998: Host Kelsey Grammer
- December 12, 1998: Host Alec Baldwin (The perennially replayed "Schweddy Balls" installment of the sketch.)
- December 11, 1999: Host Danny DeVito
- October 21, 2000: Host Dana Carvey
- February 17, 2001: Host Sean Hayes
- April 7, 2001: Host Alec Baldwin (Baldwin again appeared as Pete Schweddy, this time promoting his springtime treat, the "Schweddy Wiener". First appearance by Dratch as Lynn Bershad.)
- March 16, 2002: Host Ian McKellen
- May 8, 2010: Host Betty White (Gasteyer and Shannon in cameo as McCullen and Rialto.)
Shopping At Home Network 
A Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan sketch. Debuted November 16, 1996.
Cinder Calhoun 
Portrayed by Ana Gasteyer, Calhoun was an activist, feminist singer who played at the Lilith Fair festival. In one episode, she is introduced as the warm-up act for the festival. Ultra-politically correct, she would go out of her way to pronounce ethnic-named cities in their native dialect and would frequently dedicate her songs to activist causes. On a Christmas episode she sang a song called "Christmas Chainsaw Massacre", referring to the "senseless cutting down of innocent trees for our twisted holiday pleasure". She also performed the anti-Thanksgiving song "Basted in Blood" in a duet with Sarah McLachlan, referencing in her introduction as being inspired by Fiona Apple's criticism of Butterball Turkey for having a 1-800 number for Turkey recipes. She professed her love for Garth Brooks in a song entitled "Adonis in Blue Jeans" when he hosted the show. Debuted November 23, 1996.
Celebrity Jeopardy! 
Janet Reno's Dance Party 
Janet Reno's Dance Party ("coming to you live, from my basement/the deck of a battleship") was an SNL sketch starring Will Ferrell as U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. It aired four times and featured the song "My Sharona" by The Knack. Debuted January 11, 1997. 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, Darrell 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, the real Janet Reno herself made a top 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. Will Ferrell stated:
It was all her idea to come on the show, and I was impressed with her. She talked about how important humor is to our political process. She said that when she speaks at schools, the first question she's asked is, "Have you seen the guy who plays you on Saturday Night Live?" She tells them she loves (being lampooned); it lets all the tension out of the room.
The X-Presidents 
A cartoon by Robert Smigel, part of the Saturday TV Funhouse series. Debuted January 11, 1997.
The Atteburys 
Wong & Owens, Ex-Porn Stars 
A Jim Breuer and Tracy Morgan sketch. Debuted January 18, 1997.
The Zimmermans 
The Zimmermans were a married couple portrayed by Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri. As Jim and Laura Zimmerman, they would often meet other couples in various settings. Normal dialogue between the Zimmermans would often change course suddenly, as the couple work one another into a sexual frenzy which typically ends just as abruptly. Each sketch typically ends with one or both members of the other couple finally adopting behavior similar to the Zimmermans after extensive baiting, at which point the Zimmermans become shocked and appalled by the other's display.
Episodes featuring The Zimmermans 
- February 15, 1997
- May 2, 1998 - featuring host Matthew Broderick and Molly Shannon as the Zimmerman's neighbors.
- October 24, 1998 - featuring host Ben Stiller and Ana Gasteyer as the Zimmerman's neighbors.
- February 13, 1999 - featuring host Brendan Fraser as a gym instructor.
- May 15, 1999 - featuring host Sarah Michelle Gellar and Chris Parnell as Karen and John Hopkins.
- October 16, 1999 - featuring host Heather Graham, Will Ferrell and Chris Parnell as airplane passengers.
- February 19, 2000 - featuring host Ben Affleck and Horatio Sanz as car salesmen.
- May 20, 2000 - featuring host Jackie Chan and Molly Shannon as an interracial couple.
The DeMarco Brothers 
The DeMarco Brothers are played by Chris Kattan (Kyle) and Chris Parnell (Sean). 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. However, two auditions were successful: In the January 20, 2001 sketch, Lenny Kravitz, while initially dismissive, empathizes with the pair and hires them over the vociferous objections of his tour manager (host Mena Suvari), while for the May 11, 2002 episode, in which host Kirsten Dunst joins them as their cousin Tamara, Eminem ended the audition many of the same insults other artists had used to describe their performance — but since this was exactly what he was wanted out of his backup dancers, they got the job. Debuted (solely Kattan) March 15, 1997.
Dominican Lou 
Dominican Lou, played by Tracy Morgan, is the building super at 1901 Burnside Avenue in The Bronx. Debuted March 22, 1997. On Weekend Update in 1998 he attempted to sell Colin Quinn the signed 62nd home run ball of his fellow countryman Sammy Sosa for a million dollars, even though it was later discovered to be a foul ball hit by Gary Gaetti and signed Dominican Lou.
He also did the weather report on Good Morning, Bronx.
Goth Talk 
A late-night Tampa Bay Public-access television cable TV show hosted by goth high school students Azrael Abyss, Prince of Sorrows (Chris Kattan), and Circe Nightshade (Molly Shannon). The show, recorded in Azrael's home, begins with the theme song, "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus, and a station identification bumper, ironically from "Channel 33: Sunshine State Cable Access." The hosts speak in a melodramatic, woeful tone, and wear dark gothic clothes and black make-up. Azrael speaks in a grating, high-pitched voice and frequently makes noises like a cat. They try to be as dark and gothic as they can, making regular references to death and the macabre, but always end in matters that are in quite contrast to both, prompting them to end the show abruptly with the slogan "Stay out of the daylight!".
Recurring themes include Azrael's job at Cinnabon and Jim Breuer's interruptions of the show as Azrael's older brother Glenn, a stereotypical jock attending Michigan State. Glenn ruins the goth mood by turning on the light in the garage and calling Azrael and Circe by their real names, Todd (Henderson) and Stephanie. Often the dark aspects of their lives are juxtaposed with their surroundings, such as the time they mused that "The Tampa Bay Lightning aren't very goth." The show's sponsor is a clothing store called "The Gloom Room," which has the slogan, "It's an orgy of the macabre... located right next to the Pizza Hut on Hibiscus Road." Another recurring theme is having guests on the show who are touted as being dark and sinister, but are revealed to have regular pedestrian lives despite the hosts' efforts. Will Ferrell also appears as Baron Nocturna in three sketches. Nocturna, whose real name is Gordy, is an employee at Cinnabon and a friend of Abyss and Nightshade. In one appearance, Nocturna was scheduled to appear on the show but was "pantsed" and thrown in their pool by Glenn and his friend (Chris Farley).
|22||April 12, 1997||Rob Lowe||Lowe appears as "The Beholder"|
|22||May 17, 1997||Jeff Goldblum||Goldblum appears as "Count Feedback"|
|23||October 25, 1997||Chris Farley|
|23||January 17, 1998||Sarah Michelle Gellar||Gellar appears as "Countess Cobwella"|
|23||April 4, 1998||Steve Buscemi||Buscemi appeas as school custodian Tony "Baloney" Fontaine|
|24||October 17, 1998||Lucy Lawless||Lawless appears as "Baroness Blackbroom"|
|25||December 4, 1999||Christina Ricci||Ricci appears as "Hezabiah of the Dusk"|
|26||November 4, 2000||Charlize Theron||Theron appears as Marla.|
Collette Reardon 
A Cheri Oteri sketch. Debuted May 10, 1997. Collette Reardon was a disheveled middle aged woman who appeared to be significantly impaired by some drug or mixture of drugs. In the first two sketches, she would show up in a pharmacy with a stack of numerous prescriptions for unbelievably large supplies and large doses of an assortment of drugs, most of which were notorious for being addictive. Some of the prescriptions would be for clearly recreational drugs, such as peyote buttons, that would not be available in a pharmacy. The pharmacist (played by the host of the episode) was naturally skeptical of the legitimacy of the prescriptions. Subsequently she appeared on Weekend update as an "expert" and in situations where her impairment was particularly inappropriate.
During the course of some of her appearances, it was mentioned that Ms. Reardon drove a school bus for a living.
- May 10, 1997: Host John Goodman as the skeptical pharmacist.
- Oct. 18, 1997: Host Brendan Fraser as the pharmacist.
- Nov. 14, 1998: Host Joan Allen. In this installment, Collette Reardon appears as a pharmaceutics "expert" on Weekend Update.
- Apr. 10, 1999: Host John Goodman. Reardon again shares her expertise on Weekend Update.
- Mar. 11, 2000: Host Joshua Jackson. Reardon embarrasses her nephew (Jackson) when she visits him at his school.