Saturday Night Live's humor plays Nausea Fuel and Paranoia Fuel for satirical laughs, but doesn't really touch on Nightmare Fuel — at least not often.
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A very, very, very disturbing sketch from 1987 where Phil Hartman plays an obstetrician who People Magazine is doing a story on because in 20 years of practice, he's delivered 4,300 babies, all girls. It becomes clear though that half those babies were boys and that the doctor convinced the parents they were girls and needed to have their genitals removed! Essentially he's mutilated 2000 little boys! When the People magazine reporter realizes this and confronts him, the doctor goes on an insane rant:
- "No! No, they weren't boys. They were little girls.. trapped in little boys' bodies.. [ music sweeps over him ] You see.. boys are.. bad. They have bad thoughts! Sometimes they disobey their mothers.. they have to be punished! [ sniffles ] But what do their mothers know, anyway.. [ weeping ] They're out all night with "Uncle Rudy"! But he's not my uncle! Why does she call him my "uncle"..? [ falls to the floor, crying ]
- Sinéad O'Connor's a cappella cover of Bob Marley's "War" enters this. Forget her infamous act after finishing the song, there's nothing right about the way she sings into the camera the whole time, with cold eyes, no music backing her, lit candles everywhere behind her, and especially when the camera zooms in towards the end. The shaved head doesn't help, either.
- The "Canteen Boy Gets Molested" sketch due to playing the Adult Fear of child molestation (especially within a seemingly wholesome club as The Boy Scouts) for laughs. While Mr. Armstrong (played by episode host Alec Baldwin) didn't end up having sex with Canteen Boy (Adam Sandler), it's still disturbing when you realize that (a) Canteen Boy can't run away because Mr. Armstrong is too fast for him, (b) he can't tell anyone what happened to him because everyone thinks he's an autistic freak, and (c) even if he did just run away into the woods, there's the chance he could die from exposure or the animals living there. Fortunately, Canteen Boy does summon snakes to get revenge on Mr. Armstrong and the reruns have a disclaimer that says that Canteen Boy is actually a 27-year-old man who just acts like a child.
- The "Wake up and Smile" sketch, mainly for how surprisingly violent and disturbing the events in the sketch escalate to. The sketch involves a morning news program celebrating its 20th anniversary. The hosts are depicted and cheery and enthusiastic as they should, but when the teleprompter brakes down, the hosts panic due to the lack of direction they are used to. To help fix the issue, they cut to commercial in the hopes that the prompter will be fixed when they return, but it doesn't work. Whenever the show cuts back, the hosts get more and more hysterical, to the point that Will Ferrell's character turns into a crazy cannibalistic tribe leader that turns his fellow hosts into savages. During a struggle for dominance, Will Ferrell's character decapitates the weather man after the latter challenges him. It should be noted that the viewers get a full view of the bloody decapitated head, with blood spewing out of the open neck wound as Will Ferrell begins to eat from it. Once the prompter finally gets fixed, the hosts, clearly shaken by what had transpired, sign off.
- The Tizzle Wizzle Show digital short. Besides the drug-addled knife fight and the end where James Franco is freaking out over what happened, what's really scary about the sketch is that you don't see any of it coming. It starts out with a kids' show flavor and, since it's a Digital Short, viewers will immediately assume it's going to be something silly and funny in an Internet meme way.
- From the Jim Carrey episode, we have The Merryville Brothers. The Uncanny Valley on the faces of Jim Carrey, Bill Hader, and Taran Killam, combined with the gruesome ending (Thompson's character was originally going to be beheaded on-screen, but the censors wouldn't allow it, though having him being dragged off-camera while a crude copy of his robot clone appears does make the point that he's going to meet the same fate as the women on the original 1970s film version of The Stepford Wives) make this skit a little unsettling.
- The Acupuncture sketch from the episode hosted by Kristen Wiig has been called the most terrifying sketch produced in the history of the show. Two acupuncturists (played by Kristen Wiig and then-new feature player, Aidy Bryant) attempt to give their client (played by Jason Sudeikis) an acupuncture, but not everything goes to plan.
- The acupuncturists tricking the man into drinking his own blood.
- The skin bubble that forms when the acupuncturists use masking tape to stop the bleeding.
- The end where they leave the man to die while they flee to Mexico.
- On the Edward Norton episode, there is a sketch where two pest control workers (played by Norton and new cast member Brooks Wheelan) try to get rid of some possums in the vent. In the end, they get sucked in and presumably eaten alive while the office workers who saw then get eaten just agree that they didn't see anything.
- If the "Acupuncture" sketch from Kristen Wiig's episode counts, then the "Bikini Beach Party" sketch from Charlize Theron's definitely does. The entire sketch spoofs camp 1960s TV shows, with the surf music and beaches. The characters only casually mention the "big dead whale full of deadly toxic gases". When Taran Killam decides to serenade Theron near the whale, it explodes, covering the two with blood and whale guts, sending the audience into hysterics. (In much the same manner as the "Acupuncture", might I add!) Covered in blood, the two move over to the second decomposing whale opposite, where the exact thing happens again. (The explosion wrinkles the soft backdrop behind them.)
- From the Larry David episode, which aired the night before Super Bowl 50, we have another Totino's pizza rolls commercial. Vanessa Bayer is again cheerfully preparing snacks for "the BIG Game," while the men repeatedly keep saying "Go go go go go! TOUCHDOWN!" or "No no no no no! FUMBLE!" Once the pizza rolls are ready, she goes to deliver them...and sees that the TV isn't even on. As they keep cheering, she grabs scissors and yells for her daughter to get in the car, to which the men turn and reveal completely black irises. Followed by a promo for The X-Files.
- In the Melissa McCarthy episode, she plays a middle-aged woman Leslie Jones is stuck next to on a bus while making passively racist comments to her. Leslie repeatedly tries to find an out, asking the driver to pull over. The driver later states that there is a bomb on the bus that will detonate if he goes under 50 mph, a la Speed. The sketch ends as the driver pulls over and the bus explodes.
- In the Julia Louis-Dreyfus episode, the last live sketch stars her and Kate McKinnon as two dark-eyed, deep-voiced Human Aliens attending a Match.com Meet N' Match at an Earthly bar. They announce that they come from a Dying Race, and find two men eager to help them reproduce. When one of the Earth women tells the aliens not to call dibs on any guys, the aliens deliver a chant that gives her Laser-Guided Amnesia and a nosebleed. Unfortunately, the men prove "too weak" for extraterrestrial procreation, as making out with the aliens causes them to become stripped to the bone. All the while, the moderator of the event tries his hardest to treat all this as an Unusually Uninteresting Sight.
- The Margot Robbie librarian sketch. Robbie plays a sexy librarian who flirts with a student, then gradually turns into a demon that eats a banana peel rather than the banana, licks him with a lizard-like tongue, vomits acid, and straight-up murders somebody.
- Dave Chapelle plays a parody of Negan, the Big Bad of The Walking Dead. He ultimately chooses to kill Tyrone Biggums, and uses Lucille to knock his head clean off.
- A sketch in the Kristen Wiig episode features a family overlooking the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in their apartment. The character balloons (portrayed with the actors' real faces, with unblinking eyes and creepy grins) start creeping towards the window, with freaky close-ups. Even worse is when one of them holds Kristin Chenoweth while hundreds of feet in the air, and we hear her shrieking before the balloon lets her plummet to the ground. (Though one character's comment that she failed to defy gravity provides Nightmare Retardant.)
- Steve Bannon, known for turning Breitbart into a "platform for the alt-right" and was one of President Donald Trump's main advisers is portrayed as the Grim Reaper, and is accompanied by dramatic, scary music whenever he appears.
- A parody of Fatal Attraction sees Trump's borderline insane adviser Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon) try to seduce and kill Jake Tapper of CNN when he refuses to allow her on air after she made up a massacre to try to cover Trump's ass (which happened in real life). She nearly throws a knife into Jake's head, nearly slits his throat, and when he finally relents, she falls out of the apartment to her death. We see her corpse with her limbs all flayed the wrong way, but she then revives and reforms. She says she still has three lives.
- Louis C.K. plays a lonely, pathetic middle-aged man who hires a birthday clown so he won't have to spend his birthday alone. The poor clown gets more and more weirded out as he just blankly watches the act, until he warns a couple other kids' entertainers "You don't want this!" and casually accepts the guy revealing he's going to murder him, saying it fits perfectly.
- In the Season 42 Jimmy Fallon episode, Bannon is fired as the de facto president, and Trump has him dragged back to hell by a bigger, scarier Grim Reaper. It's a pretty awesome moment that's also pretty damn terrifying, particularly since the actual Bannon is still high in Trump's hierarchy.
- The final episode of the season, hosted by Dwayne Johnson, had a commercial parody for a rather shady male enhancement drug known as Xentrex, which contains ingredients like rhino horn and ammonia hydroxide. The commercial has Johnson's character acting increasingly hostile towards his doctor, resulting in him beating said doctor up. The drug in question contains a rather disturbing list of side effects, and near the end, Johnson's character has a nosebleed while he lists off some of these side effects, which ends with him uttering "Hail Satan."
- Ryan Gosling plays the Black Sheep of a brother house-flipping trio, who continually brings up his far worse upbringing and gradually revealed depravity because of it while the others desperately try to stop him, all with Gosling's genuine acting chops making it very unsettling.
- If you thought Kellyanne Conway as Alex Forrest was bad, just try her as Pennywise. And she's already killed Rachel Maddow when Anderson Cooper runs into her, and gets him by turning into Hillary Clinton.
- The gift wrapping sketch in the James Franco episode approaches the acupuncture sketch in levels of disturbing bloody mutilation.