Spotlight on: Will Forte

Lately when speaking of Saturday Night Live most critics and viewers tend to complain that the long-running sketch show has seen better days – save for occasional bright spots that win favor and gain permanent placement in pop culture such as the most recent stellar-from-beginning-to-end episode hosted by Betty White, the whole of 2008’s political coverage and 2007’s Justin Timberlake-conceived, Emmy-winning digital short “D*ck in a Box.”

Feeling like one of the few out there who continues to watch entire episodes of SNL, albeit never L on S but rather Sundays with a morning coffee, I find myself happy with at least one skit every episode and am consistently impressed by several cast members including Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader. However the one actor who always delivers, feeds my love of the absurd and is hands down most deserving of the next “Best of” compilation is Will Forte. In honor of his recent leading man status upgrade thanks to this weekend’s addition to the cineplex and latest SNL-to-big screen adaptation, Macgruber, I now present my own collection of his greatest hits.


This skit completely encompasses everything I love about Forte – right down to his floppy hair wig and faux ‘stache – as a coach trying to fire up his downtrodden basketball team at halftime by joyfully dancing along with the brassy Burt Bacharach theme to 1967’s Casino Royale. Notice how all the background players and episode host Payton Manning relish having prop towels on hand to hide behind when they can’t keep a straight face.


Paired with Sudeikis on this recurring Weekend Update bit, the mere sight of his outfit in the opposite tribute band Jon Bovi along with the repeated “Whaaaaaat?!” is enough to put me in hysterics. Add in ridiculous lyrics like “I’m an Indian, on a cotton horse I do not ride” and this will always have a place in my heart.


Most might not remember that Will Forte had the briefest of stints as one of the four SNL actors who’ve played George W. Bush in the post- Will Ferrell years, a tough act to follow. His was a more zany version of 43, naturally, but he’s also played a couple of other odd politicos over the years. The first clip below is his take on former Democratic senator from Georgia, Zell Miller, who grabbed the media spotlight after backing a Republican candidate for his old seat and caught even more attention for his use of antiquated verbiage.

Next is the more subdued, but truly odd and thankfully fictional, perpetual write-in candidate Tim Calhoun.


And finally, a truly monumental recurring sketch if only for the fact that the humor rests solely on the manipulation of a stuffed falcon on strings it’s also, in my opinion, Forte’s landmark character on SNL. His delivery of “Oh, Donald” never ceases to elicit a good chuckle.

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