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A Hard Saturday’s Night: Paul McCartney’s ‘SNL’ Highlights

paul mccartney, saturday night live, chris farley, andy samberg

Paul McCartney, fresh off his 12-12-12 performance with the “reunited Nirvana,” will make another late-night television appearance this week when he plays Saturday Night Live tomorrow night (December 15). As previously reported, this will be the ex-Beatle’s fourth turn as a musical guest on SNL following his 2010 pairing with two-time host Paul Rudd. McCartney won’t be pulling double duty — former SNL cast member Martin Short will host the clearly, um, mature-leaning December 15 episode — but the former Beatle and Wingsman has tried out his comedy chops in several sketches over the years. To prepare for the “Helter Skelter” feller’s upcoming on-air stint, SPIN rounded up Macca’s best SNL appearances from over the years. Check them out below.

Sketch: “Weekend Update” (Bill Murray and Jane Curtin)
When: May 17, 1980
Four months after McCartney was busted for marijuana possession in Japan, “Weekend Update” dispatched Father Guido Sarducci (played by Don Novello) to ask the Wings leader about his drug use. Paul and his then-wife-cum-collaborator Linda talk up the video for McCartney II single “Coming Up” (which premiered during the broadcast), but Sarducci keeps steering the interview back to the pop legend’s pot habit. It’s an awkward sketch, but the exclusive reveals one interesting tidbit: If he could be any animal, McCartney would pick “koala bear.” Makes sense to Sarducci — those little guys love their Eucalyptus highs. The entire episode is available for streaming on Hulu Plus and Netflix.

Sketch: “Opening Monologue” (Alec Baldwin)
When: February 13, 1993
A post-Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin makes it rain in this opening monologue segment, greasing the palms of everyone from the cue card guy to a young Rob “Robbie” Schneider. Near the end of his backstage baller tour, Baldwin stuffs cash into the hands of SNL overlord Lorne Michaels and Sir Paul McCartney, who are caught in their own monetary dispute. Seems George Harrison cheated his ex-bandmates out of that $3,000 reunion check.

Sketch: “The Chris Farley Show”
When: February 13, 1993
In which Chris Farley asks Sir Paul, “You remember when you were with the Beatles and you were supposed to be dead and there’s all these clues that, like, you’d play some song backwards and it’d say, like, ‘Paul is dead,’ and everyone thought that you were dead or something? That was a hoax, right?”

Sketch: “Red Hooded Sweatshirt”
When: February 13, 1993
Forget his performance of “Hey Jude” — McCartney’s “dip dip dip” cameo on Adam Sandler’s classic “Red Hooded Sweatshirt” is this episode’s standout musical moment.

Sketch: “Platinum Lounge”
When: November 11, 2006
McCartney doesn’t have a speaking part in this hilarious skit about one-upmanship between (then) 14-time host Steve Martin and (then) 13-time host Alec Baldwin, but the wordless guest spot is worth it just to see the latter break character. The 30 Rock smooth-talker’s mouth drops open just before he bursts out laughing and Steve Martin exclaims, “It’s Paul Simon!” while pointing at McCartney. Bonus points for Martin Short’s cameo as a waiter for the Algonquin Club-esque parlor.