'F--- that sketch.' The Better Call Saul star explains why he is critical of the legendary sketch in his new autobiography Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama.
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Saturday Night Live - Season 42

Bob Odenkirk does not dance around his dislike for the Saturday Night Live sketch "Chippendales Audition" in his just-published memoir Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama. Originally broadcast in 1990, the sketch found host Patrick Swayze and Odenkirk's friend Chris Farley playing characters who dance shirtless while auditioning as Chippendales dancers. Odenkirk and Farley had collaborated together as members of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe before SNL, where the Better Call Saul star was a writer between 1987 and 1991.

Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk
| Credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images

"The first breakout moment for Chris was the 'Chippendales Audition' sketch on the Patrick Swayze–hosted episode in season 16," Odenkirk writes in Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama of Farley, who died in 1997 as the result of a drug overdose at age 33. "It was a huge bummer to me to see that scene get on the air and get such attention. I know it confirmed Chris's worst instincts about being funny, which was how he proved his worth — that getting laughed at was as good as getting a laugh. Writers I knew and respected defended this sketch because it had a funnyish idea buried in it: the Chippendales judges prefer Swayze's dancing over Chris's but can't put a finger on why. But that idea is not what produced the gales of cackling (and gasps) from the live audience. Chris flopping his overstuffed body around did that. I feel like I can see it on his face in the moment when he rips his shirt off. Shame and laughter are synthesized in the worst way. F--- that sketch."

Odenkirk is not the only SNL alumni to criticize 'Chippendales Audition.' When Chris Rock appeared on The Howard Stern Show last year he too took issue with the sketch.

"Here's the thing: The sketch is funny. I'm not going to say Farley dancing as a Chippendales dancer isn't funny," said Rock, whose time on SNL overlapped with Farley's. "But at the end of the sketch, the guy comes up to Farley and goes, 'You're fat, disgusting.'"

"He felt ugly, he didn't feel attractive. He didn't feel like people really wanted to be around him and that sketch kind of fed into that," Rock claimed.

Another SNL writer, Odenkirk's friend Robert Smigel, did speak up for the sketch when he subsequently appeared on The Howard Stern Show.

"What was amazing about the sketch, and what people forget, is that Farley was incredibly nimble," Smigel told Stern. "He was an athlete, and he danced incredibly well in that sketch, actually, and he had this fantastic energy, and, like, in a way, it was a very empowering sketch, and I think that's what people felt the first time they watched it. Like, look at this guy go... He's an amazing physical comedian."

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Saturday Night Live - Season 42
Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

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  • 47
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  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
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