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Logo and screenshot during the opening
Created byJorma Taccone
Written byWill Forte
John Solomon
Jorma Taccone
Directed byJorma Taccone
John Solomon
StarringWill Forte (2007–2010)
Maya Rudolph (2007)
Kristen Wiig (2008–2010)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes30
Production location(s)Studio 8H,
GE Building,
Rockefeller Center
New York City, New York
Running timeApprox. 1 Minute
Production company(s)Broadway Video
SNL Studios
Original networkSaturday Night Live (2006–2010)
Super Bowl XLIII (2009)
Picture format480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseJanuary 20, 2007 – May 8, 2010
Related showsMacGyver

MacGruber was a recurring sketch on the NBC television series Saturday Night Live, first appearing on the show in January 2007. The sketch is a parody of the 1985–1992 adventure series MacGyver. The sketch stars Will Forte as special operations agent MacGruber, who is tasked in each episode with deactivating a ticking bomb but becomes distracted by personal issues, resulting in the bomb's detonation and (presumably) the deaths of his companions and himself.

MacGruber's popularity has led to a film based on the character, which was released on May 21, 2010.


The character of MacGruber was created by SNL writer Jorma Taccone. The sketches are written by Forte, Taccone and John Solomon and directed by Taccone, except for the March 2008 and May 2008 installments, which were directed by Solomon.


In the sketch's first appearance of each SNL episode, MacGruber finds himself and his assistants trapped in a control room with a ticking time bomb. MacGruber's female assistant (played in 2007 by Maya Rudolph and later by Kristen Wiig) and another assistant (usually played by that week's SNL host) "recap" their situation, explaining that they are in an abandoned mine, abandoned factory, or other adventure-type setting (it is a running gag that they are always locked in the control room, no matter how illogical the idea of a control room is in the context of the location where they are trapped), and that the bomb will detonate in about 15-20 seconds. As he attempts to deactivate the bomb, MacGruber calls for people to pass him ordinary objects such as rubber bands or bubble gum wrappers (a reference to the sorts of objects typically used by MacGyver in devising a way out of a jam), but MacGruber inevitably loses focus before finishing the job and the bomb explodes, ending the sketch. The replacement of his female assistant from Maya Rudolph's character to Kristen Wiig's is explained in the film version of the skit.

The sketch typically reappears for a second or third installment later in the episode, with the characters appearing none the worse for wear but MacGruber growing increasingly unhinged and his assistants becoming more disillusioned in his capabilities. Each installment ends with the bomb's detonation.


MacGruber's father is the famed Angus MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson), making his full name MacGruber MacGyver. His grandmother is portrayed by Betty White, who becomes his fiancée in her appearance. MacGruber also has an estranged homosexual son (Shia LaBeouf), whom he sends to a camp to become heterosexual over a three-sketch arc. He also has an older half-brother named Khaluber (The Great Khali) who does not speak English.


Some of the personal issues that have distracted MacGruber and prevented him from stopping the bomb include alcoholism (Molly Shannon/Linkin Park episode), his son's homosexuality (Shia LaBeouf/My Morning Jacket episode), losing his savings due to the current economic crisis (Josh Brolin/Adele episode), discovering his long-lost father (Dwayne Johnson/Ray LaMontagne episode), his addiction to plastic surgery (Seth Rogen/Spoon episode), accusing his coworkers of talking about him behind his back (Jonah Hill/Mariah Carey episode), his grandmother telling embarrassing stories from his childhood (Betty White/Jay-Z episode), and his racism (Charles Barkley/Alicia Keys episode).

MacGyver/Pepsi cross-over[edit]

During the January 31, 2009, episode of SNL, MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson appeared with Forte in three Pepsi commercials designed to resemble MacGruber sketches.[1] In the commercials, MacGyver complains about the poor job MacGruber is doing and accuses him of being a sellout. The commercials were later included as part of the SNL episode on Hulu.

In the second commercial, later re-aired during Super Bowl XLIII, MacGruber and MacGyver are locked in the control room of an "illegal supply ship", where MacGruber becomes distracted by the temptation of Pepsi and announces he has changed his name to "Pepsuber." In the third commercial, the MacGruber theme song lyrics and MacGruber's dialogue have been replaced by the single word "Pepsi" repeated over and over. When his companions finally get fed up with this and ask if he can say anything but Pepsi, MacGruber holds up a Diet Pepsi, but is only able to say "Diet Pep-" before the control room explodes, and the commercial ends.

Anderson returned to SNL on the March 7, 2009, episode, in which it was revealed that MacGyver is actually MacGruber's long-lost father (making the latter's full name "MacGruber MacGyver"), who left his mother (Abby Elliott) for a stripper when MacGruber was a baby.

List of MacGruber sketches and characters[edit]

Recurring characters
Character Played By First Appearance Notes
MacGruber MacGyver Will Forte January 20, 2007 The main character; a spoof of MacGyver.
Casey Sullivan Maya Rudolph January 20, 2007 MacGruber's assistant.
Vicki St. Elmo Kristen Wiig March 15, 2008 MacGruber's assistant; replaced Casey.
Episode list
Original Airdate Guest Star Character Distraction Plot
January 20, 2007 Jeremy Piven Jojo Assistants refuse to pick up disgusting things that MacGruber needs like dog feces, pubic hair, and sperm. The last sketch simply features MacGruber trying to mention their limited time only for the bomb to go off. Skit 1: At an abandoned factory, MacGruber asks Jojo (Piven) and Casey to pick up a small dog poop from the ground, but they refuse. As MacGruber angrily tries to pick it up, the factory explodes.

Skit 2: At the Cedarville Dam, MacGruber tries to defuse dynamite with pine needles, a paper cup, and asks for some pubic hair from Jojo, who refuses to give him any. MacGruber approaches to forcefully remove the hair from Jojo as the dam explodes.

Skit 3: In a prison boat, MacGruber asks Jojo to hand a bucket of sperm, to which Jojo immediately refuses and the bomb detonates.

May 12, 2007 Molly Shannon April Alcoholism Skit 1: At a boobytrapped bridge, MacGruber asks Casey and April (Shannon) to hand him ingredients to make a Bloody Caesar and drinks it as the bomb goes off.

Skit 2: At a POW prison camp, MacGruber, drunk off his butt, asks April to hand him a guitar, to which he plays a drunken version of his theme song before the place explodes.

Skit 3: At a drug lord's headquarters, MacGruber, having really developed a very bad drinking problem, lazily and drunkenly eats a hamburger while shirtless. With Casey having left him, April asks MacGruber to defuse a bomb that he himself made while he was drunk. April eventually has had enough of his bad behavior and leaves as well, leaving MacGruber to die alone as the bomb explodes.

October 6, 2007 Seth Rogen Caleb Fear of aging1 Skit 1: At a deserted silver mine, after Casey and Caleb (Rogen) hand him some of the materials to create a contraption to defuse the bomb, MacGruber's bandanna falls off, revealing his balding scalp. He then tells the two to look away, and he gets distracted by his vanity when he ties his bandanna back on that the bomb detonates.

Skit 2: After getting some plastic surgery and some hair plugs, at a deserted desert tower, MacGruber introduces Casey and Caleb to his new friend Taylor, who somehow ended up in the bomb room. After Casey and Caleb hand him materials, calling them "mom and dad", respectively, Taylor tells MacGruber that their friends got tickets to see Dave Matthews Band in concert. MacGruber gets distracted by Casey and Caleb's lack of reaction to this as the bomb detonates.

Skit 3: In an abandoned monastery, MacGruber is setting on a stool despondently. He asks Casey for a mirror piece so he can look at the results of his latest plastic surgery (which he did in South America after his surgeon left him, but South America's medical practices are bad there). He then turns around, looking hideous, and saying happily, "Not so bad!", right before the place explodes.

March 15, 2008 Jonah Hill Isaac Co-worker gossip2
May 10, 2008 Shia LaBeouf Merrill, MacGruber's son Son's homosexuality3
October 18, 2008 Josh Brolin Kyle Loss of stock market investments Skit 1: In an abandoned oil refiniry, MacGruber, confident that the defusing will be easy, decides to check his stocks online, only to find out in shock that he invested poorly and lost money in the stock market as the bomb explodes.

Skit 2: At an Italian Mafia hideout, MacGruber asks Kyle (Brolin) to lend him money, but Kyle refuses, so he wants his watch so he can sell it. When he refuses, MacGruber breaks a bottle and threatens both Kyle and Vicky into handing over all the accessories, including Vicky's watch. When he looks her watch to see how much time is left, the bomb explodes.

Skit 3: On a human trafficking ship, a demented MacGruber tries to convince Vicky and Kyle to pay him money to fart a ping pong ball out of his butt. When they refuse, he does it anyway, and then the ship explodes shortly after.

January 31, 2009 Richard Dean Anderson MacGyver Bickering with MacGyver / Pepsi obsession. Skits aired as commercials for Pepsi during the Super Bowl Skit 1: In an abandoned oil refiniry, MacGruber gets into an argument with MacGyver (Anderson) over the stupidity of his name. After a while, he asks Vicky to hand him a can of Pepsi, and is about to drink it as the dynamite explodes.

Skit 2: In the second commercial, later re-aired during Super Bowl XLIII, MacGruber and MacGyver are locked in the control room of an "illegal supply ship", where MacGruber becomes distracted by the temptation of Pepsi and announces he has changed his name to "Pepsuber."

Skit 3:vAt an Italian Mafia Hideout, MacGruber's obsession with Pepsi goes so far that he's holding two cans of Pepsi in each hand, and only speaks say the single word "Pepsi" repeated over and over, causing a huge language barrier between Macruber and his companions. MacGuyver gets fed up with this and asks if MacGruber can stop saying "Pepsi", MacGruber holds up two cans of Diet Pepsi, and is only about to say "Diet Pepsi", but the place explodes.

March 7, 2009 Richard Dean Anderson MacGyver MacGyver is revealed to be MacGruber's long lost father. Deals with father issues when MacGruber finds out why MacGyver abandoned him as a baby.4 Skit 1: At a toxic oil refinery, as MacGruber tries to defuse dynamite, MacGyver reveals that he is MacGruber's dad, and a flashback of MacGruber's birth is shown, which took place in a room at an abandoned hospital in 1972 with a bomb that detonates. In the present, as MacGruber tries to say, "dad", the refinery explodes.

Skit 2: At a smuggler's compound, as he prepares to defuse a bomb, MacGruber wonders why he was abandoned, triggering another flashback that takes place at the MacGyver home in December 1973. As he tries to leave his wife and baby MacGruber in favor of a stripper, the door is locked and the house blows up. Back in the present, MacGruber is shocked about his dad being a jerk, and MacGyver tries to leave, only to find out the door is locked, then the bomb explodes.

Skit 3: With his relationship with MacGyver falling apart, at a hijacked cocaine tanker, he tries having Vicky hand over materials for bomb defusing while refusing to acknowledge MacGyver by name, while MacGyver refuses to acknowledge MacGruber by name as well. MacGruber vows to, when MacGyver dies, he will scatter his ashes in a toilet and will poop on them, then flush them down the drain. As he tries to get back to defusing the bomb, the tanker explodes. The scene goes to many years later in 2040 in outer space (Spaceport: 2040), an older MacGruber flushes MacGyver's ashes after taking a dump. He ends up being unable to defuse a bomb because one second remained, and the spaceship that he and Vicky were on explodes.

January 10, 2010 Charles Barkley Darrel MacGruber's racist attitude towards Darrel and his clumsy attempts at being politically correct around him.
May 8, 2010 Betty White Nana, MacGruber's grandmother Embarrassing stories about MacGruber's childhood. In the second sketch, MacGruber proposes marriage to his grandmother.

^1 The second part of installment also featured cast member Kristen Wiig as Taylor, MacGruber's new girlfriend.
^2 This installment also featured cast member Bill Hader as MacGruber's life coach (though the third part of this "MacGruber" installment never aired on TV and was, instead, put on's Saturday Night Live video page).
^3 The third part of this installment also featured cast member Andy Samberg as Scott, Merrill's secret boyfriend.
^4 The first and second parts of this installment also featured cast member Abby Elliott as MacGruber's mother.

Feature film[edit]

On the June 1, 2009 episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Forte confirmed that a MacGruber film was being written by him, Taccone, and Solomon. The film stars Forte, Wiig, Val Kilmer, and Ryan Phillippe. The film was released on May 21, 2010, after being pushed back from April 23, 2010.[citation needed]

The film has stirred up controversy with Lee Zlotoff, creator of the TV series MacGyver, whose contract stipulates he retained the right to a film version of the TV series. His lawyer has sent several cease-and-desist letters and is currently meeting with litigators to determine a course of action. So far no suit has been brought.[2]


  1. ^ Sumner, Darren (February 1, 2009). "MacGruber! RDA does Saturday Night Live". GateWorld. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  2. ^ Belloni, Matthew (2010-02-03). "'MacGyver' creator wants to stop 'MacGruber' film". THR, Esq.