On Dec. 5, 2009, SNL aired a show, hosted by Blake Lively, that featured Andy Samberg’s Swedish Chef in the monologue and a sketch about Tiger Woods’ infidelity (which seems crazy that that was seven years ago). Then the last sketch of the night aired.
The last sketch of the night — often referred to as the “10 to one” sketch, signifying about the time it airs on the East Coast — can often be, well, odd. It’s where things are often slotted that the cast likes, but mainstream audiences might not appreciate closer to 11:30 p.m. The quintessential “10 to one” sketch, written by Will Forte and John Solomon, is “Potato Chip.”
The sketch opens with an establishing shot of NASA, which then fades into a sad-looking office where an older Foghorn Leghorn-sounding man, played by Jason Sudeikis, is being interviewed for a job as an astronaut by a high-pitched, raspy-voiced man, played by Will Forte, who has a large bowl of potato chips on his desk. (Forte is raspy-voiced in this sketch because he blew out his voice performing this sketch at dress rehearsal. I have seen the dress rehearsal version and I can describe it by imagining what Forte does here, only amped up by a few degrees.)
Forte’s character has one rule: Do not take his potato chips. When Forte leaves the room, Sudeikis takes a potato chip. When Forte returns, a non-stop yelling match between Forte, Lively (who plays his assistant) and Sudeikis commences, ending with Sudeikis regurgitating the potato chip into Forte’s hand.
Ahead, the creative forces behind this sketch — Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis, John Solomon, and head writer Seth Meyers — reflect on what they all feel is one of the strangest things they’ve ever put on the air… a sketch that was actually performed three times in front of an audience, as it had been cut at dress rehearsal a month earlier when Taylor Swift hosted the show. (And maybe strangest of all: Sudeikis reveals that his would-be NASA employee character lived on to see another day as the judge in “Maine Justice.”)