Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1986–1987
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A Phil Hartman sketch. Debuted October 11, 1986.
The Church Lady
Dana Carvey plays a "holier-than-thou" talk show host. Debuted October 11, 1986.
Played by Kevin Nealon, he was originally an advertising executive (named Phil Maloney) who used subliminal messages to influence people. His appearances on Update utilized the subliminal technique (i.e. saying things rapidly and under his breath, in between sentences) to reveal what he is really thinking. For example, in an editorial on the 1994 caning of Michael Fay, he stated that:
"...the boy admitted to spray painting cars but he's only eighteen and young people often do stupid and impulsive things they later regret Shannen Doherty. I happen to think [pause] that everyone's entitled to one mistake Euro Disney. And I'm not saying there aren't [pause] those who I'd love to see get a good flogging Urkel, it's just that [pause] I'm afraid we've become so insensitive that we've learned to accept the idea of a man's beating in public Pee Wee Herman."
Debuted October 11, 1986.
Derek Stevens ("She choppin’ broccoli...")
An English singer/songwriter (played by Dana Carvey) is meeting with his record producers to go over his demo, which they soon discover he has failed to record. He insists, however, that he has written songs and he can play the songs for them live, and when they ask him to do so, he quickly makes up a song called "The Lady I Know". He then sits at the piano and begins sloppily faking his way through the song, which ultimately becomes an endless refrain of the chorus, "Choppin' broccoli" in various vocal styles and intonations. Upon hearing it, the producers appear to be awestruck by his lyrics, and are ecstatic about recording the song. Debuted October 11, 1986.
This song was originally in a Dana Carvey stand-up comedy routine about the vapidness of popular music.
Stevens returns in a later sketch, in which his producers try to convince him that his premature death might help the sales of his album. A fearful Stevens responds by hyping a new song, with the same tune as "The Lady I Know", but featuring different, though equally repetitive, lyrics and a similar endless refrain ("My pretty little lady! My pretty little gir-rl!") The producers are unimpressed.
Stevens appeared once more on SNL's 40th Anniversary Special in 2015, singing "Choppin' Broccoli".
The Sweeney Sisters
The Sweeney Sisters are a duo of party singers, Candy Sweeney (played by Jan Hooks) and her sister Liz (played by Nora Dunn). They normally sing cover medleys of pop standards in very high-pitched voices, a la Nick the Lounge Singer. Their medleys always include the first two lines of "The Trolley Song" ("Clang, clang, clang went the trolley...") about two-thirds of the way through, followed by a string of scatting. In these medleys the last word of one song often segues into the first word of the next. The sisters are usually seen performing at various U.S. hotel lounges, and their performances usually begin with "You must have pressed 'L' for 'lobby'! Come, join us." Candy and Liz have a sister (a former member of the group), Audrey, who was played by Mary Tyler Moore. The Sweeneys' accompanist, Skip St.Thomas, was played by composer Marc Shaiman. Debuted October 18, 1986.
Instant Coffee with Bill Smith
A Kevin Nealon sketch. Debuted October 18, 1986.
Miss Connie's Fable Nook
A Jan Hooks, Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon sketch. Debuted November 8, 1986.
Ching Chang's Pet Chicken Shop
The Two Sammies
A Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon sketch. Debuted November 8, 1986.
A Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks and Victoria Jackson sketch. Debuted December 13, 1986.
A Phil Hartman sketch. Debuted January 24, 1987.
A Charlton Heston sketch. Debuted March 28, 1987.