"Happy Fun Ball"
Michael Schur, writer, 1997-2004: "Happy Fun Ball" was a commercial parody that Jack Handey wrote. It's very simple and so perfectly executed. It's just a commercial for a small red rubber ball. In the beginning, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey and Jan Hooks say, "It's happy, it's fun, it's happy fun ball," and that's it. That's the ad, and it's really cheesy, but then there's a series of warnings about Happy Fun Ball – "Don't use Happy Fun Ball on concrete; Happy Fun Ball will often accelerate unexpectedly to very high speeds. If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head." And so on.
What's amazing is that it completely presaged the era that we're in now, where prescription-drug ads will start with something like, "Do you have arthritis? Take this pill!" Then it's followed by 65 seconds that tell you the 10,000 things that might go wrong with you if you take the pill.
"Happy Fun Ball" just gets more and more absurd, as the best SNL sketches always do. It has everything that really good SNL writing has: It's short, it's succinct and it has really low production values. (Sometimes SNL sketches, especially commercial parodies, can almost be harmed if they look too good.) It probably cost $40 to make.
There were so many times when I would have an idea and I would think, "Oh, this is great, I'm totally gonna score with this." And then I'd realize I was just ripping off "Happy Fun Ball."