My Favorite 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch

Will Ferrell, Al Franken, Kate McKinnon and more on the most memorable 'SNL' skits ever

"Beatnik" (Plato's Cave)

"Beatnik" (Plato's Cave)

Laraine Newman, cast member, 1975-1980: This was always an impossible question for me until I got a chance to watch the DVD collection of the first five years. There's a sketch written by Michael O'Donoghue that I knew as "Plato's Cave."

The setting is a beatnik coffee shop from the Fifties. Jane Curtin and Michael are on a date, and Michael is kind of Jane's tour guide, explaining the culture. This sketch was like a finely cut diamond. It's tight. Not a wasted word or trope. From Danny's Lord Buckley-style MC, Chevy's Spanish guitar player Juan Kutner, Garrett's blind Negro Jackson, Steve Martin's Beat poet Rodney, Belushi as a Lenny Bruce-style comedian who only gets laughs from the band – that's priceless – to me as a modern dancer/poet Isadora Schwartz and Gilda's sweet, victim-y waitress. It's so deeply funny. And how lucky we were to have Michael's National Lampoon poison pen.

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