TV Funhouse

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Saturday TV Funhouse is a segment on NBC's Saturday Night Live featuring cartoons created by SNL writer Robert Smigel.[1] 101 "TV Funhouse" segments aired on SNL between 1996 and 2008, with one further segment airing in 2011. It also spawned a short-lived spinoff series, TV Funhouse, that aired on Comedy Central.


Programmed to air between the host segments of Saturday Night Live, TV Funhouse parodied such genres as 1950s educational films, Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera/Filmation cartoons of the 1970s and 1980s, and the 1960s stop motion holiday specials of Rankin/Bass.[2] Any episodes of Saturday Night Live that has TV Funhouse in it would be listed by the announcer as "A cartoon by Robert Smigel".

The animation was produced by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions for its first three seasons until Wachtenheim/Marianetti Animation took over primary animation production duties.

Recurring SNL TV Funhouse skits[edit]

  • Fun with Real Audio - This sketch presented animated scenes to found, real-life audio tracks.
  • The All-New Adventures of Mr. T - A parody of the Ruby-Spears animated series Mister T. This cartoon depicts Mr. T (voiced by Tracy Morgan) as desperate to find work after 10 years, aggressively auditioning for unlikely parts such as classical theatre and tampon commercials with help from Jeff Harris (voiced by Andy Daly), Kim Nakamura (voiced by Ana Gasteyer), Spike O'Neill (voiced by Andrew Daly), and Bulldozer the Bulldog. Whenever he encounters obstacles such as directors telling him auditions are already over, he simply responds with the phrase "Ain't got time for jibber-jabber, I need work!" Mr. T also throws in different advice during his dialogue like "Drink your milk", "Stay in school", "Don't do drugs", and "Eat all your greens". After getting the employment, he would often mix up of all his advice to his companions when stating how one could get work as Bulldozer barks after that.
  • The Ambiguously Gay Duo - A parody of the comic book superhero duets. The vaguely homosexual superheroes Ace and Gary (voiced by Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell respectively) fight crime in Metroville while their adversaries like Bighead (voiced by Robert Smigel) and Dr. Braino (voiced by Stephen Colbert) try to figure out their true sexuality. Bill Chott provides the narration for this cartoon. All the shorts were re-written from The Dana Carvey Show. In the live-action version on the SNL episode hosted by Ed Helms, Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon play Ace and Gary while Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell played Dr. Brainio and Bighead.
  • The Anatominals Show - A parody of a Yogi Bear–type Hanna-Barbera–style cartoon where Kogi Bear, Pook Bear, Mindy Bear, Sheila Coyote, Betsy Cow, and other animal characters are anatomically correct even when they are confronted by the park ranger during attempts to take picnic baskets. Both episodes were interspersed with scenes of Lorne Michaels (voiced by Robert Smigel) expressing deep disappointment with the show or trying to prevent visitors to Studio 8H from seeing the cartoon.
  • The Michael Jackson Show - A parody of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, highlighting the misadventures of Michael Jackson (voiced by Dino Stamatopoulos) and his odd friends. Included in his rag-tag entourage are his talking common chimpanzee Bubbles, an aged Emmanuel Lewis, a talking anthropomorphic llama who's just called Llama, the living skeleton of Joseph Merrick the Elephant Man (voiced by Robert Smigel impersonating Jimmy Durante), a zebra with a pushmi-pullyu design, the sentient and speaking arm of Elizabeth Taylor, and a sentient urn containing Marilyn Monroe's ashes. Michael's friends often try to get him not to do stuff with little boys which goes comically awry for them. Sometimes when he gets satisfied with a little boy or the aged Emmanuel Lewis, Michael Jackson would have the same reactions that Quick Draw McGraw character Snuffles would have when he gets his dog biscuit. The theme song is to the tune of The Yogi Bear Show.
  • The X-Presidents - A parody of Hanna-Barbera/Filmation cartoons from the 1970s. This sketch features former US Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush (all voiced by Jim Morris) as crime-fighting superheroes imbued with superpowers by a "hurricane-powered dose of radiation" received at a celebrity golf tournament. Each of their wives is a member as well. Bill Clinton, despite his status as a living former president, is not a member since he did not receive the hurricane-powered dose of radiation, as he was in office during the initial incident.

Disney parodies[edit]

The February 10, 2001 episode, "Ray of Light," parodies the controversy over Ray Lewis's involvement in an Atlanta homicide. Although Lewis went on to become the Super Bowl XXXV MVP, he was unable to utter the famous line "I'm going to Disney World!" The skit was involved with Disney "making it up" to Lewis by placing him in various Disney animated movies. Lewis would be shown fleeing the scene of Disney character death scenes, frequently uttering "I didn't see nothin'!"

"Bambi 2002," a poke at Disney's penchant for direct-to video sequels at the time, imagines a sequel to the original movie where Bambi's mother turns up alive. The title character fights stylized terrorist types, meets Jared Fogle, and performs a rap music number in the forest. Also in the sketch are moments involving some of Disney's darker issues, as well as some pornographic humor.

On April 15, 2006, Robert Smigel again parodied Disney's home video moratorium policy, as well as Walt Disney's alleged racism and anti-Semitism. When two kids are brought to the Disney Vault by Mickey Mouse, they find Walt's frozen head, several controversial things that were never released, the "very original version" of Song of the South that Walt only screened at parties, and Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog bound and gagged in a chair, Mickey Mouse breaks down and quotes "He wouldn't sell! He wouldn't sell...!" (a reference to a broken deal between The Jim Henson Company and The Walt Disney Company circa 1990 following Henson's death; Disney bought the Muppets franchise in 2004, 2 years prior to the sketch).

NBC special[edit]

On April 29, 2006, NBC aired a full-length, 90-minute SNL "best of" special for TV Funhouse. The special was hosted by The Ambiguously Gay Duo interacting with the current SNL cast with a cameo from Jimmy Fallon.[3]

The special was released on DVD October 24, 2006.

Comedy Central's TV Funhouse[edit]

TV Funhouse
The TV Funhouse Panel at Comic-Con in 2008. L to R: Robert Smigel (with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Dino Stamatopoulos, Bob Odenkirk and Tommy Blacha with Doug Dale on laptop screen
Also known asSaturday TV Funhouse
Created byRobert Smigel
Dana Carvey
StarringDoug Dale
Robert Smigel
Jon Glaser
Dino Stamatopoulos
David Juskow
Tommy Blacha
Frank Simms
Theme music composerSteven Gold
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes8
Executive producersRobert Smigel
Dino Stamatopoulos
Lou Wallach
ProducersSamantha Scharff
Tanya Ryno, for SNL
Running time22 Minutes
Production companiesPoochie Doochie Productions
Comedy Central Productions
Original networkComedy Central
Original releaseDecember 6, 2000 (2000-12-06) –
January 24, 2001 (2001-01-24)
Saturday Night Live

The spinoff series was somewhat of a twisted Pee-Wee's Playhouse-style children's TV show, hosted by Doug Dale and his "Anipals" puppet friends.


Every episode had a different theme to it (e.g., "Hawaiian Day" or "Astronaut Day") and saw the Anipals usually getting into some sort of trouble, not wanting to do whatever their happy-go-lucky host had in mind for the day.

The theme song describes this show as the "last cartoon show of the day".

This show didn't show any cartoons from The Ambiguously Gay Duo, The Michael Jackson Show, and/or The X-Presidents despite some of its characters appearing in the theme song.


The Comedy Central version of TV Funhouse premiered in December 2000 and was not picked up for a second season. Interviews with Smigel indicate that Comedy Central believed in the show, but was disappointed in how it went over budget every episode. Smigel has also expressed how difficult the show was and how tedious the puppet-live animal segments were to shoot.

The show was released on DVD July 22, 2008 under the title Comedy Central's TV Funhouse.

Recurring skits[edit]

  • Wonderman — A parody of Max Fleischer's Superman cartoons that stars Wonderman (voiced by Robert Smigel) who fights a constant crusade to stop crime and get his alias of Henry Moore laid.
  • Mnemonics: Your Dear, Dear Friend — A parody of educational films about teaching children using a mnemonic for everyday subjects using age-inappropriate mnemonics to improve their memory. Robert Smigel narrates this segment.
  • The Baby, the Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms — Artemis the Cat watches over a baby (voiced by Sarah Thyre), an immigrant, and a guy on mushrooms while the female homeowner (voiced by Sarah Thyre) is away. Artemis works to keep the clueless trio out of any danger which always ends with him getting hurt.
  • A Michael Kupperman Cartoon - An assortment of cartoons drawn by Michael Kupperman.


No. in
TitleWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
11"Western Day"UnknownDecember 6, 2000 (2000-12-06)101N/A

Doug must wrangle up his own fun when the Anipals ditch him to head for high times south of the border in Tijuana.

  • Wonderman - After stopping a robbery at an ice cream van, Wonderman (voiced by Robert Smigel) meets Velma (voiced by Deanna Storey) and works to hook her up with his alias of Henry Moore so that he can get laid.
  • Mnemonics: Your, Dear Dear Friend - A live-action educational film discusses how to improve your memory. Featuring Katherine Sena Heisler, Natalie Laspina, Nicholas Boak, and Bryan Hyman as the students, Alan Spilton as the surgeon, and Kate Super as the nurse. Narrated by Robert Smigel.
  • The Baby, the Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms — Artemis the Cat works to keep the clueless trio from getting into danger at a construction site. Featuring the voices of Doug Dale, Sarah Thyre, and Robert Smigel.
  • Policeman - A live-action educational film about the duties of a police officer (portrayed by Jay Spadero). Also featuring Robert Trumbull as the governor and Richard Schlam as the chef. Narrated by Eve Josephson.
22"Hawaiian Day"UnknownDecember 13, 2000 (2000-12-13)102N/A

Doug and Rocky the Fish have a luau all by themselves while the Anipals help Chickie rescue his 95th son, Jason, from a cult.

  • Kidder, Downey, and Heche: Private Trespassing Investigators: Margot Kidder, Robert Downey Jr., and Anne Heche (voiced by Ana Gasteyer) use their trespassing abilities to help a woman look for her dog Corky. Featuring the voices of Joe Lo Truglio, Robert Smigel, and Nancy Walsh.
  • Overcoming Bowel Moments: A Teenager's Guide to Self Control: A live-action educational film that teaches the viewers how to control their bowel movements using God's plan. Featuring Massimo Di Giovanna, Nicholas Joy, Bob Goodman, Mary Ann Conk, Ruth Last, Kevin Payne, and Joe Lo Truglio. Narrated by A.D. Miles who also produced this short.
  • Klassic Kartoon Kommercials: An advertisement for a bug spray called Attack that stops cockroaches dead. Featuring the voices of Brade Abelle, Darren Baker, Daniel Barrios, Doug Dale, Daniel Fitzgerald, Jen Jiles, and Dino Stamatopoulos.
33"Christmas Day"UnknownDecember 20, 2000 (2000-12-20)103N/A

The Anipals tap Doug's spine to extract his Christmas cheer. After one of Chickie's sons helps to turn the cheer into powder, the Anipals snort it and get addicted to powdered Christmas cheer.

  • Tingles - A stop-motion cartoon about Tingles the Christmas Tension who appears on December 23rd where he sprinkles tension dust everywhere.
  • Lost Cartoon Flashback Presents: The Harlem Globetrotters First Christmas - The Harlem Globetrotters celebrate their first Christmas where they go back in time to the birth of Jesus. Featuring the voices of Andrew Daly as Saint Joseph, Tyrone Finch as Meadowlark Lemon, Ana Gasteyer as Mary, Tim Meadows as Curly Neal, Tracy Morgan as Hubert "Geese" Ausbie, and Robert Smigel. This segment originally aired on Saturday Night Live on December 12, 1998.
  • Places to Find Your Christmas Present - An instruction video that tells kids about the different places where they can find their hidden Christmas present. Featuring Gene Burke, Matthew Cowell, Sara Kapner, and Sam Stone. Narrated by Dan Landi.
44"Mexican Day"UnknownDecember 27, 2000 (2000-12-27)104N/A

The Anipals appear on the Sally Jessy Raphael show to help Dave, an endangered lizard, to get laid, leaving Doug to celebrate Mexican Day with a tequila worm and a Puerto Rican Mexican-food deliverer.

  • Fetal Scooby-Doo — A parody of the Scooby-Doo series where fetus versions of Mystery Inc. solve a mystery at the old amusement park and have encounters with the fetal version of a Headless Horseman and the Ghost of Baron Von Wilhelm. Featuring the voices of Amy Bennett, Dan Goettel, Elon Gold, Dino Stamatopoulos, and Leyna Juliet Webber.
  • Jokámel — A Joe Camel parody of the anime series Pokémon following Joe Camel's departure from the cigarette mascot business with the cartoon being tobacco free as the protagonists fight against Team Mortar. There is also commercials for Jokámel products. Featuring Jake Friedland, David Hayes, George G. King III, Lauren O'Neil, Grant Rosenmeyer, and Andrew Zutty and the voices of Lester Grant, Ashley Greenfield, Dino Stamatopoulos, and Leyna Juliet Webber. Narrated by Julia Ireland and Mark Rivers.
  • Mnemonics: Your, Dear Dear Friend - Another educational film that involves Mnemonics for reading the notes for music, the groups of bones in the spinal column, the first five Presidents of the United States, the original 13 Colonies of America. Featuring Nicholas Boak, Precious Coleman, Chase MacIntosh, Stella Maeve, and Josh Kaplan. Narrated by Robert Smigel.
55"Caveman Day"UnknownJanuary 3, 2001 (2001-01-03)105N/A

The Anipals compare New Year's resolutions: Hojo wants to learn to play the saxophone, Chickie hangs out with his brother with Tourette syndrome, and Fogey must resist eating his own poop. Meanwhile, Doug dresses as a caveman and builds a dinosaur skeleton out of baby back ribs, and Rocky the Fish takes a group of kids to visit a cookie factory.

  • Mischievous Mitchell — A parody of Dennis the Menace as Mitchell does things to taunt his Jewish neighbors the Goldsteins much to the annoyance of his neighbor George Wilton. Featuring the voices of Darrin Baker, Mollu K. Charette, Steve Horowitz, Jennifer Jiles, Jeremy Scwhartz, and Sally Winters.
  • Lost Cartoon Flashback Presents: The Black Sabbath Show - A supposed lost parody of The Beatles cartoon featuring the band Black Sabbath and their dog Doom Doom going to Hawaii. Featuring the voices of Tommy Blanca and Patrick McCarthy.
  • Mnemonics: Your, Dear Dear Friend - A third educational film that involves Mnemonics for learning the atmospheres, the circular system, and the five stages of grief. Featuring Nicholas Bock, Jordan Duffy, Natalie Laspina, Ed Moran, Max Rock, and Richard Saltzman. Narrated by Robert Smigel.
66"Safari Day"UnknownJanuary 10, 2001 (2001-01-10)106N/A

Part 1 of 2. The Anipals travel to Atlantic City to visit Fogey's old friend, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, where Chickie falls in love with a chimp-stitute.

Robert Goulet guest stars.

  • Stedman — A two-part supposed parody of James Bond starring the spy Stedman Graham (voiced by Tim Meadows) who is the boyfriend of Oprah Winfrey (voiced by Maya Rudolph) as some people like James Brolin (voiced by Chris Parnell) think that he is using Oprah's money and is gay. When their anniversary occurs, Stedman gets out of his love consummating with Oprah by claiming that Professor Hate has escaped from prison as he goes somewhere tropical. Oprah two-part has been told by of a vision from Dionne Warwick that Stedman is in danger and goes to help him. Also featuring the voices of Elizabeth Pryor Nagel, Tara Sands, and Ashley Wolfe.
  • Porn for Everyone — A video of "Silence of the G.A.M.S." where a man engages in censored sexual intercourse with his secretary Ruth. Originally titled "Porn For Kids", changed by the network.
77"Astronaut Day"UnknownJanuary 17, 2001 (2001-01-17)107N/A

Part 2 of 2. Still in Atlantic City, the Anipals attempt to "unstick" Triumph before his big show. Meanwhile, Doug tries to achieve weightlessness while dressed as an astronaut.

  • Great Leaders of History — A VH1 documentary parody that talks about George Washington as it claims that he fell into a deep depression and an addition to painkillers after becoming the first President of the United States, an intervention with a painful outcome, his friendship with Napoleon, his arrest for public nudity and battery of a small bear, and checking into the Betsy Ross Rehabilitation Center at Eisenhower. There are also interviews with Joe Walsh, Rick Nielsen, and George Washington himself.
  • The Baby, the Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms — Artemis the Cat works to keep the clueless trio from getting into danger at an airport while his owner works to check to see if their seats are together on the airplane. Featuring the voices of Doug Dale, Sarah Thyre, and Robert Smigel.
  • The Safety Gang — An educational television show where four kids make up the titular group and talk about safety while interacting with Stranger Dan and keeping Wet Fingers and Outletta from playing too close to each other. They also claim that they "take a bullet for safety". Featuring Cournie Beceiro, Morgan Billings, Matthew Bush, Phillip Miller, and David Roya.
  • A Michael Kupperman Cartoon Presents: Captain Marginal - A Captain Marvel parody where Billy Batsonsaws was a regular paperboy until he is talked into entering a magical cave where a powerful old man inside gives him special powers which he gains upon saying the word "Skrewpa" and will be turned into a hillbilly-themed superhero. Though the old man forgot what the acronym is due to being in the cave for too long. Featuring the voices of Robert Batttone, Doug Kleinman, and Henry Strozier.
88"Chinese New Year's Day"TBATBA108TBD

The Anipals ditch the Funhouse to enter the lucrative, glamorous world of laboratory animal testing, as Doug celebrates Chinese New Year's Day and makes fireworks with a panda. The set was struck by detonating a puppet panda (full of innards for realism) on the set, splattering everywhere. Staged as a satirical accident, Doug replied with the word "Cut." Eventually, the Anipals reunite with an injured Doug.

John Ritter guest stars as a speaker for Claredelon, the cosmetic company doing the animal testing.

  • Wonderman - After helping a woman (voiced by Ana Gasteyer) who tripped over a blind homeless man over a woman dangling from a window and a woman struggling with a purse snatcher, Wonderman (voiced by Robert Smigel) hooks her up with his alias of Henry Moore who operates a dry cleaning business.
  • Nurture-You Mom & Dad - A commercial about full-sized dolls for the daughters of tired parents. There is even a version of "Nurture-You Mom & Dad" that wet themselves. Featuring Sara Kapner, Kevin Dorff, and Nin Nelson. Narrated by Jackie Maloof.
  • What Do We Know? - An educational show where a man (portrayed by Bob Odenkirk) talks about a cactus, how much it rains in the Amazon rainforest, facts about Morocco, the Black Pyramid of Amenemhatt III, and the Himalayas. Also featuring Howard Kremer and Chip Pope.
  • A Michael Kupperman Cartoon Presents: Pablo Picasso: His Amazing Life - A documentary about Pablo Picasso where he would get into arguments with imaginary statues that follow him, frequently getting attacked by lions, driving around with a cartoon duck, and fairies rocking him while duck sang him to sleep. Featuring the voices of Robert Battone, Doug Kleinman, and Dino Stamatopoulos.


Anipal Voices[edit]


  1. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 23, 2006). "'Saturday TV Funhouse' Gets Its Own 'Saturday Night Live' Special". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. pp. 274–275. ISBN 9781476672939.
  3. ^ Ambiguously Gay Duo & Fellow Saturday TV Funhouse Shorts Special Slated | AWN | Animation World Network

External links[edit]