9 Celebs Who Met Their 'SNL' Impersonators (VIDEO)
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"Saturday Night Live" occupies a unique place in comedy and in our culture, in that the sketch show both parodies and creates headlines. One long-held tradition is giving audiences the chance to see a celebrity and his or her "SNL" counterpart side-by-side and letting them play off each other. From John Belushi mocking Joe Cocker's dance moves to Andy Samberg and Jesse Eisenberg meeting Mark Zuckerberg for the first time, "SNL" knows what audiences respond to: celebrities talking to exaggerated versions of themselves.
Here are a few of our favorites (some notable ones are not available online, such as Janet Reno busting Janet Reno's Dance Party, and Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro taking baseball bats to the hosts of The Joe Pesci Show). Vote for your favorite!
Tina Fey's resemblance to Sarah Palin may begin and end with a slender figure, dark hair and tendency to wear glasses, but the "30 Rock" star/creator may be as famous for her Palin as the former governor herself is. (And equally qualified to be president.) When Palin showed up at "SNL" while Fey did her impersonation, Alec Baldwin let loose on how he really feels about the former vice presidential candidate -- to her face.
We all saw the "first meeting" between Facebook founder/super bazillionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Mark Zuckerberg portrayer/Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg on "Saturday Night Live" last week -- dubbed "awk-berg" by Zuckerberg No. 3, Andy Samberg. Mark Wahlberg should have joined in somewhere to make it the ultimate conference of the -bergs.
Like most of Will Ferrell's impersonations, his Alex Trebek has little to do with the actual "Jeopardy!" host's personality. But that didn't stop "Celebrity Jeopardy!" from becoming one of his era's funniest recurring sketches. The actual host only shows up at the end of this sketch, which was on Ferrell's last episode as an "SNL" cast member, but the sketch has been resurrected -- complete with Sean Connery -- when Ferrell has come back to host.
Jimmy Fallon may have mocked Dave Matthews in a "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketch, but he didn't do it sitting next to Matthews himself, as Bill Hader did in "The Mellow Show." Matthews was the show's musical guest, but was up to impersonating Ozzy Osbourne in a sketch with his doppelganger.
Fred Armisen has stopped by the Weekend Update desk to perform his version of former New York Governor David Paterson: a wisecracking, nasal-voiced politician who never misses an opportunity to make cheap jokes about New Jersey. Oh, and he's so blind he usually stumbles directly in front of the camera as Weekend Update attempts to wrap up. But at the end of his term, the real Paterson appeared to show his sense of humor ("You've made so much fun of me for being blind, I almost forgot I was black!"), and to make a few New Jersey jokes of his own. But the real punchline occurs as Amy Poehler announces the departure of ousted NBC-Universal CEO Jeff Zucker.
During Hillary Clinton's run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, the current Secretary of State made an appearance on "SNL" to give her response to Amy Poehler's impersonation. It's clear that she is delighted by Poehler's take on Clinton, and Poehler, in turn, seems equally inspired by her political counterpart.
Robert De Niro
Impersonating Robert De Niro has long been a staple of "Saturday Night Live," and at least twice he's shown up to take cast members to task. The first time was his infamous appearance with Joe Pesci, seeking revenge on Jim Bruer and Colin Quinn impersonating them in "The Joe Pesci Show." In this clip, De Niro stops by the Weekend Update desk to chide Jimmy Fallon for a negative review he gave "Meet the Parents." Fallon impersonates De Niro, and then De Niro impersonates Fallon's impersonation of De Niro, and then De Niro impersonates Fallon. Does our head hurt? Lil bit.
Andy Samberg's Mark Wahlberg in his recurring sketch "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals" is one of those impressions that falls somewhere between abstract interpretation (like Will Ferrell) and mimicry (like Darrell Hammond). Samberg's Wahlberg captures the essence and basic mannerisms of the "The Fighter" star while elevating them to an absurdist place that is somehow both spot-on and outlandish. In this clip, Wahlberg shows up to threaten Samberg for his impression, then slowly embodies it (notice a trend here?).
As a host, Alec Baldwin has had more classic sketches than some cast member rack up their entire time on the show. Although known for his solid character work, his spot-on impressions always surprise us (who can forget his Richard Nixon on "30 Rock"?). In this sketch, he pulls out his Tony Bennett impersonation for "The Tony Bennett Show," and introduces us to one "Anthony Bennedetto," a Tony Bennett impersonator. Yes, that would be Bennett's pre-showbiz name; and yes, it's a delight to see two professionals like Baldwin and Bennett have fun.