Funny Aneurysm Moment / Saturday Night Live

A lot of past sketches are harder to look at (and laugh at) now due to cast member deaths, host deaths, or the "prediction" of a horrifying/tragic/controversial event that was once played for laughs and not thought to be real at all. Examples:
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  • The infamous "Don't Look Back in Anger" short film that showed an elderly John Belushi as the last living member of the original "Not Ready for Primetime" cast who ends up dancing on his cast mates' graves. (What's more disturbing is that the short film "predicted" that Gilda Radner would be one of the dead cast members)[1] you can watch the clip here.
    • The worst part is Belushi's comment that "they all thought [he'd] be the first to go", a reference to his then already well known excessive lifestyle.
    • Oh, and John "dies" at the end of "Wolverines", the very first sketch in the very first episode. So does Michael O'Donoghue (see below).
    • "Don't Look Back in Anger" has since been used for Refuge in Audacity at least twice: It's the closing sketch on the 1980s VHS compilation The Best of John Belushi and the fortieth anniversary special opened the obligatory dead-folks montage with a clip from it!
  • A lesser known example from the "Not Ready for Prime Time" era is in a sketch known as "Least-Loved Bedtime Stories." Michael O'Donoghue narrates a story called "The Little Engine that Died," where he says "I think I can... I Think I Can... HEARTATTACK... OHMYGODTHEPAIN!" In 1994, "Mr. Mike" woke up, felt what was thought to be a severe migraine headache, and screamed "OH MY GOD" in pain and later died from cerebral hemorrhage. Michael O'Donoghue was an SNL writer known for his sadistic humor and his frequent migraines, making this death a literal "funny aneurysm moment" and a Karmic Death.
  • A lot of the second season jokes and sketches about the swine flu outbreak in 1976 ceased being dated when round two showed up in the late 2000s.
  • A 1970s episode hosted by Steve Martin had a sketch called Jeopardy 1999. It was basically Jeopardy in a (then) futuristic setting. One of the answers was, "Comedian whose career fizzled when he left NBC's Saturday Night". The question: "Who is Chevy Chase?" While Chevy had several hit movies and a role on Community after leaving SNL, he did ultimately go through a career decline, making that line eerily prophetic.
  • Carrie Fisher, when she hosted in 1978, played Linda Blair as Tom Snyder's guest on Tomorrow. After discussing cocaine use she offers this prediction for her future, which eerily foreshadowed what would end up happening to Fisher herself.
    "Well, Tom, you know, I'm still real young and, well, I've got LOTS to look forward to, you know? Unhappy marriages, household accidents... maybe even a nervous breakdown! You know, I'm really entitled to one!"

  • On season 5 (the 1979-1980 season), Strother Martin hosted SNL. One of the sketches he was in was about a dying man who recorded a video will. In August of 1980, Strother Martin died, not only making the episode he hosted (Martin's last acting gig, mind you) a Missing Episode, but making the video will sketch a lot less funny.
  • On the season 11 premiere hosted by Madonna, there was a cold opening where then-NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff announces that he's subjecting the 1985-1986 season cast to mandatory urine tests for drugs (this sketch was later Edited for Syndication, as the censors in the 1980s thought that the idea of urine testing was too taboo for late-night TV at the timenever mind that ''SNL'' is supposed to be the vanguard of edgy, late-night TV humor). One of the cast members during the 11th season was a 20-year-old Robert Downey, Jr.., who would later spend all of the 1990s being more well-known for his drug abuse and arrests than his movies (though it was playing drug addicts that got Downey, Jr. back into stardom in the 2000s. Go figure).
  • Even the Jean Doumanian era isn't immune to the Funny Aneurysm Moment. At the end of the first episode (hosted by Elliot Gould), Gould introduces the cast again and tells the audience, "We're gonna be around forever!" Eleven episodes later, all but Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo were fired after the F-bomb debacle on the episode hosted by Charlene Tilton, and most of the cast members from that season haven't really been in the spotlight since then (with the possible exceptions of vastly-underused cast member at the time Gilbert Gottfried, Eddie Murphy [despite the career slump], and Gail Matthius, who did voice acting in a lot of 1980s and 1990s cartoons before becoming an improv and theater teacher).
    • Speaking of the Charlene Tilton episode, the whole "Who Shot C.R.?" running joke is a lot less funny, considering that Charles Rocket took his own life in 2005 (even worse is the fact that Charles Rocket in the sketch got shot in the neck and wore a bloodied bandage during the infamous "Goodnight" part; in Real Life, he slashed his throat with a pair of box cutters) and SNL would later have a cast member who was shot in cold blood (Phil Hartman).
  • In the 1985-1986 season, there was an episode hosted by Pee-Wee Herman that had two (count 'em two) Aneurysm Moments:
    • The cold opening where Pee-Wee Herman performs a tightrope walk across the World Trade Center towers and falls, screaming the show's opening line. Thanks to the 9/11 attacks, whatever humor can be mined from this sketch has been tainted from tragedy (like everything else made before 2001 that shows New York City with the World Trade Center towers as part of the skyline).
    • Then, there was a sketch where Pee-Wee Herman is thrown in jail and meets the Pathological Liar, Tommy Flanagan (played by Jon Lovitz). Pee-Wee Herman (or rather, the actor who plays him [Paul Reubens]) would find himself on the wrong side of the law in the 1990s and early 2000s (both for sexual offenses). That Pee-Wee is screaming, "I'm innocent! I'm innocent!" adds to the cringe factor of rewatching this sketch.
  • Back in 1982, there was an episode hosted by Drew Barrymore - fresh from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, all smiles and curls, just seven years old (making Barrymore the youngest host SNL has ever had, beating out Jodie Foster, who was 14 when she hosted in 1976). In the cold opening, when asked if she wanted a glass of milk, she responds: "Milk? I'm a Barrymore! Get me a drink and make it a double!" Her family legacy of alcoholism and self-destructive behavior would catch up with her for real, and in a big (bad) way; just four years after, she really was drinking alcohol. Subverted in that there is a happy ending to all of this: Drew Barrymore managed to climb out of the same pit of drugs and despair as her ancestors did and has come back to host a few more times, now becoming SNL's most frequent female host (beating out Candice Bergen, who frequently hosted in the early days of the show) as of October 2009.

  • Any time Chris Farley faked a heart attack in the Bill Swerski's Superfans sketches, not to mention the one-off sketch where Farley plays "The Relapse Guy" — so called because he keeps going on and falling off the wagon.
    • In addition, the cold open and monologue from Farley's hosting gig in 1997 (two months before his death) were all about poking fun at his addiction problems.
  • The final sketch on the season 19 finale hosted by Heather Locklear where Phil Hartman, in his last episode as a cast member, sings "So Long, Farewell" to Chris Farley. It was meant to be sweet and signal the end of the season, but with both Farley and Hartman dead (within 6 months of each other!), it's now too depressing to watch.
  • When Phil Hartman came back to host for the second time (in season 22 — the 1996-1997 season), he says in his monologue that he bought his family's affection with the money he makes from being on NewsRadio and The Simpsons. Apparently, it didn't work, when you consider what happened to Hartman a few months after he hosted.
  • "The Mr. Bill Show" was a popular recurring SNL sketch in the 1970s-early '80s. While it didn't air on SNL itself, there was a spinoff video in the 1990s, Mr. Bill's 20th Anniversary — which has him hang gliding off the World Trade Center and sucked into an airplane jet engine in one sequence, and duct taped to the space shuttle Columbia in another. Ouch!
  • Season 15 Episode 14 has Fred Savage as a kid playing with a gun he took from his dad. Who just happened to be played by Phil Hartman. During the skit, Fred holds the gun to Phil and threatens to shoot him. Later on at the end. Kevin Nealon comes in to talk about gun safety. And, he startles Phil. Leading Phil to retort "Don't spook me like that. I almost blew your head off!" Not so funny, since that's basically what happened to Phil. Yeah... May be Harsher in Hindsight.
  • The "New Hollywood Squares" sketch involves the entire board collapsing with the players in it. The joke is that Tom Bergeron (Will Ferrell) keeps playing the game with the contestants screaming and bleeding everywhere. One of the contestants is Rodney Dangerfield (Darrell Hammond). Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.
  • On a 1997 Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch, Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald) guesses "Robert Blake" to a question and later tells Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) that he's a good guy. Four years later, Blake's public image was tarnished when he was accused of shooting his second wife.
  • A scene in the Halloween Episode of their parody of The McLaughlin Group in which John McLaughlin is killed mid-show by the Grim Reaper, portrayed by the real McLaughlin, became this after McLaughlin's death in 2016, just a few days after he missed a taping due to illness, caused his long-running PBS debate program to be cancelled after 34 years.
  • In a 1991 skit, Al Franken played Senator Paul Simon during the Anita Hill hearings, normalizing Clarence Thomas's sexual harassment. Franken himself would later be the subject of sexual harassment claims and step down from the Senate in 2018.

  • The episode hosted by Charlize Theron on the 2000-2001 season had a cold opening called "A Glimpse into Our Possible Future," a sketch showing what would happen to America if George W. Bush were President (and later, if Al Gore were President and if Ralph Nader were President). While the sketch did exaggerate how far George W. Bush (played by Will Ferrell) would run America into the ground (like setting the Great Lakes on fire or giving Texas to Communists), lines like, "I hope I get a war. Wars are like executions supersized," and "I killed Dick Cheney in a hunting accident" (and the fact that his new map of the United States shows several flooded states starting in Louisiana and pooling in the Midwest and California as a flaming wreck) now don't seem so funny.
  • The Weekend Update segment on 3/17/01 had a joke (starting at 5:10 of this clip) based on the Army announcing that it was changing its black berets to tan berets, and the Army Rangers and Paratroopers each releasing statements about the color berets they'd be wearing. Tina Fey's punchline was, "In a related story, these guys need a war." That same year, they'd get one...
  • On the Seth Rogen/Phoenix episode from season 34, Seth Meyers (the Weekend Update anchor) did a report on how during Michael Jackson's summer world tour, he would bring his son onstage, who would be accompanied by a police officer who would have Michael Jackson arrested. Unfortunately, the concert (and the punchline to the joke) would never come to pass due to Jackson's death two months after the episode originally aired.
  • Then there's that SNL Digital Short where Bill Hader plays a man who writes a letter to his sister and his friend (played by Andy Samberg) shoots him, leading to the shooting deaths of another man (played by episode host Shia LaBeouf), the sister (played by Kristen Wiig), and two police officers (played by Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis). Two days after the sketch aired, the shooting at Virginia Tech happened, which was one of two reasons why the sketch never appeared on NBC's Saturday Night Live web page, which has video highlights of past and present sketches (the other reason being that NBC never cleared the copyright to the song used in the sketch). What a shame that everyone overreacted to a simple parody of The O.C.. As it was, the short became one of the first from the show's to be unofficially popularized on YouTube. Memetic Mutation followed; the Imogen Heap song which SNL couldn't get cleared has now been sampled for a hip-hop beat.
  • The SNL episode from season 35 hosted by Blake Lively from Gossip Girl had a Weekend Update segment where Abby Elliott plays a looped-out Brittany Murphy who thinks she's hosting SNL with musical guest blink-182 (Quick note: Brittany Murphy actually did host SNL during its 28th season in 2002, only the musical guest was Nelly, not blink-182). The Blake Lively episode aired on December 5th, 2009, fifteen days before the real Brittany Murphy would suddenly die of cardiac arrest. Because of this, pulled the video of this segment and the NBC TV rerun of this episode does not include this part.
  • Here's one that doesn't involve death, but still became controversial after the fact: On the Anne Hathaway/The Killers episode, there was a sketch about the assorted deadbeats and greedy people who would benefit from the economic bailout at the time. One of the people was a couple by the name of Herbert and Marion Sandler (played by long time cast member Darrell Hammond and 2-year feature player Casey Wilson), who screwed Wachovia Bank out of a lot of money and personally thanked the Congress for not holding them responsible for their corrupt activities. Who would have guessed that Herbert and Marion Sandler were an actual couple that actually did this (according to show creator Lorne Michaels, he and the other writers had no clue about this until after the sketch aired)? Because of this, the Internet video version of the CSPAN Bailout sketch and the NBC rerun of the Anne Hathaway episode edited out the entire part with the Sandler couple. The Netflix version does keep the part, but the lower-third caption describing the Sandlers as "People who should be shot" and Herbert Sandler (Darrell Hammond) thanking the Democratic Party for letting them get away with what they've done were removed (the edits are obvious, but not as blatant as removing the entire scene with the Sandlers, like on the television and Internet versions).
  • When Al Gore hosted a Christmas episode in season 28 (2002-2003), the monologue showed how Al Gore picked his running mate, rejecting John Kerry (Seth Meyers) and John Edwards (Will Forte). Gore then remarks that "one of them would make a great Vice President someday." Kerry and Edwards would team up to run for President and Vice-President in 2004, only to be beaten by Bush and Cheney (who were running for re-election). Depending on your political leanings, this is either a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment or Hilarious in Hindsight.
    • A "Meet the Press" sketch on the episode hosted by Senator John McCain (the genuine article, not a cast member impersonation) in 2002 had McCain denying that he would run for President in 2004. McCain was right; he didn't run in 2004. The 2008 election was a different story, and, as mentioned before, depending on your political leanings, the fact that McCain ran and lost is either an aneurysm moment or Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • An in-sketch example: "The Carter 'N Sons Barbecue" fake commercial from the Taylor Swift episode (season 35), which was supposedly filmed in 2002 and didn't air until 2009, which was when the H1N1 ("swine flu") virus was much-talked-about. The "commercial" was plastered with disclaimers stating that "swine fever" (an appetite for Carter 'N Sons brand barbecued pork) wasn't associated with the H1N1 virus (followed by a disclaimer reading that the management regrets naming their Sausage and Ribs Sampler platter "S.A.R.S").
  • The Christmas episode from season 28 (2002-2003 season): in the cold opening, Al Gore is worried when he can't find his wife, Tipper, then when he finds her, they kiss so long and so hard that it takes a taser for them to separate. It took eight years: on June 1, 2010, Al and Tipper announced their separation.
  • In the Colin Firth/Norah Jones episode from season 29, Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton remarks that John Edwards is like a "boring version" of himself, stating, "This guy might have sex in the Oval Office, but hed probably do it in the missionary position - with his wife." Thanks to the Rielle Hunter affair and the sex tape scandal, that line rings hollow.
  • A sketch on the Topher Grace episode from season 30 (2004-2005 season) called "The Not Incredible Adventures of the Down-And-Out Dollar" parodies the fact that the U.S. dollar had reached an all-time low by having a tiny dollar bill (Amy Poehler) being mocked by currencies from other countries, one of which is a Euro (played by episode host, Topher Grace), who brags that he's doing well in every country in the European Union. That would prove to be so very false five years later with news of several European countries suffering from economic meltdown (what's worse is that the Euro mentions that Greece was doing better than America economically in 2005, which isn't true now). In addition, economic trouble in the U.S. combined with a declining trust in government and the dollar means the moment hits home as well.
  • A 2008 sketch sees Hillary Clinton claim that if she is ever made the Democratic nominee she will be happy to play both the sex card and the race card- as in, anyone who doesn't vote for her is both a sexist and a racist-, admitting that she's willing to do it even though, as a white woman, it doesn't even make sense, on the grounds that she has no ethical standards, and even after claiming that her own supporters are racist as well. Flash forward to 2016 and many commentators and shows, including SNL itself, repeatedly made the claim that since Donald Trump was supported by the Ku Klux Klan and had policies that discriminated against Muslims and illegal immigrants and was caught on tape boasting about grabbing women "by the pussy", it was both sexist and racist to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton. Whether this is because Trump was genuinely a sexist or racist candidate or due to the Clinton campaign pushing that angle in the media (or most likely both), it's still an oddly and disturbingly prescient turn of events.
  • Lindsay Lohan's monologue during her 2005 hosting appearance included a visit from her "future self"note  played by Amy Poehler, warning her to stay away from her drinking, partying ways. She didn't end up marrying Tommy Lee and hosting a Cinemax show called Night Passions, but what did start happening not too soon after that made this monologue eerily prophetic as well.
  • Lou Reed appeared on "Weekend Update" in 2001 to address rumors that he was dead by confirming that, yes, he really was dead. No longer a joke after Reed's actual death in 2013.

  • Maya Rudolph would often do an impression of Whitney Houston that showed Houston as a drug-addled loon. In late 2011, Rudolph made a surprise appearance to do the impression once more. Two months later (and just a week before Rudolph was to host the show herself), Houston died of a drug overdose.
  • In the SNL Digital Short on the Gwyneth Paltrow/Cee-Lo Green episode, Andy Samberg has a wild, drunken night out with Pee-Wee Herman (the same one who hosted SNL in 1985 during its 11th season). During this night out, they break a chair over Anderson Cooper's head in the street (and Cooper comes back later in the short with a bandaged head, complaining that his blue eyes [which he considers one of America's national treasures] almost got destroyed). Less than three weeks after the sketch aired, Anderson Cooper really was brutalized in the streets during his coverage of Cairo's uprising.
  • In a 2015 Weekend Update sketch, Kate McKinnon as Ruth Bader Ginsburg says that, while she's the oldest Supreme Court Justice, she's not the closest to death, mentioning that Antonin Scalia would go before her. Indeed, in February 2016, Scalia died of a heart attack.
  • In one of the Trump Administration sketches, President Trump is persuaded by the Grim Reaper/Steve Bannon to call infamous dictator Robert Mugabe (the governor of Zimbabwe) as a way of making himself known to the world. Shortly after Trump's 100-day mark, he announced that he would invite another infamous mass-murdering dictator - Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte - to the White House.
  • Combined with Early Installment Weirdness, one Season 41 episode has unannounced guest Alec Baldwin, not as Trump but as Democrat presidential candidate hopeful Jim Webb, who's not only boasting all his accomplishments but strangely the least left-leaning Democrat, what with his NRA certification, and when asked questions suddenly gets all evasive. All this, and going from declaring himself "your future president" to just calling himself "President Webb" by the end.
  • The sketch featuring Louis C.K. and a teenage girl note  flirting in a '50s soda shop is less funny following Louis C.K.'s sexual assault allegations, especially the end where the girl says she likes getting attention from old men.
  • Speaking of which, the rising torrent of sexual harassment allegations that coincided with the start of season 43 led to a new character, Claire from HR (Cecily again) reviewing the working conditions of her female colleagues, implying that this was taking place within the SNL staff. This came just one week before the accusations reached a former cast member, Al Franken.