“I’ve got to get on myself to be sharp, funny and loose.” – David Spade
Known for his quick-fire insults and sharp wit, comedian David Spade is sarcastic, observant and unrelenting in his approach. His humour is sardonic and laced with insults being hurled at someone and, of course, not everyone’s cup of tea. While his career is in a period of flux right now, it is needless to say that Spade has lived every rookie comedian’s dream when he was drafted in as a writer and cast member on Saturday Night Live in 1990.
Spade had ventured into stand-up right after his graduation and started out at SNL in 1990, where he co-starred alongside the greats and close friends in the shape of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Mike Meyers and Rob Schneider, who were the comedic geniuses of his time. From playing obnoxious and pretentious characters, to being luminous even in side roles, Spade quickly rose to fame with his mere stage presence and became a household name. After Spade left SNL in 1996, he starred in films such as Black Sheep, Joe Dirt and many other TV shows.
Spade had initially starred in Tommy Boy with his best buddy Chris Farley. Together, the iconic duo had left behind a legacy of unique sketches and skits on SNL that were both hilarious and thought-provoking in equal measure. Silly and goofy, the pair were major pranksters yet had a falling out owing to the friction caused by Farley’s unruly, drug and alcohol-fuelled lifestyle. Spade’s notable absence at Farley’s funeral was later confirmed by the comedian who said that “it was just too emotional and I wouldn’t be able to handle it”.
Spade’s mantra is simple: “You can either look at things in a brutal, truthful way that’s depressing, or you can screw around and have fun.” His attacks and jokes are often aimed at an interpersonal level, a style which has seen him involved in a number of well-documented feuds with various famous faces. However, the truth prevails in the end as Spade. With a smug smile on his face, he returns yet again to make other jokes that leaves his fans and viewers in splits. Having lived a fascinating and magnificent life, he has also faced a lot of hardships, yet his talent and comedic genius have shone through.
Spade, who turns 57 today and is still the same sharp, quirky comic who indulges in self-deprecating comments once in a while. His take on success is indeed intriguing: “Success? You can’t get a big head about it”, he says, “When people stare at me, they could be whispering to their friend, ‘That guy sucks! Have you seen him before? He’s horrible.” Self-aware, Spade still basks in the glory of his golden days at SNL, where he was successful at brainstorming ideas with some of the best figures in comedy, aiding that time to become the golden era of the show.
Here are the ten best David Spade moments on SNL.
The 10 best David Spade SNL moments
10. David Spade Therapy Cold Opening, 1998
David Spade is the patient undergoing therapy where Brad Pitt is his therapist. Spade rambles about his difficult life as an “international superstar”. He talks about how Tommy Boy changed his life and how one does not understand how difficult his life is after starring in a “worldwide hit”. He feels crippled by the show business and keeps ranting about it to Brad Pitt in an ironic speech, and he curses the tabloids even though he is not in any of them.
Fun and light-hearted, it is amusing to see Spade and Pitt converse about the showbiz. As Spade talks about himself being a “sex symbol”, in a drawling voice, ranting about his excellent game with girls, Pitt’s expressions are hilariously calm and collected. He is probably restraining himself from squealing being the brilliant actor that he is. Spade’s act as a patient is just a cherry on top, and his long, blonde hair and enviable confidence is terrific to witness.
“I am huge in Finland, I can’t step foot in Peru. I want to. I can’t.”
9. High School Liars Club, 1993
High School Liars Club is a reality TV show hosted by Phil Hartman in which teenagers are supposed to get away with obnoxious lies. Adam Sandler, David Spade and Luke Perry are the three teenage contestants. They earn points by convincingly lying about their older brother’s benchpress capacities, beer-drinking prowess and wild partying habits.
While Sandler is a bit of a dunderhead and Perry, with his cool glasses, is charming as ever, Spade looks like the ultimate crook who has the empower to manipulate the judges into believing his lies about him partying with van Halen. Chris Farley’s appearance at the end is a bonus reward in this episode which was a somewhat satirical take on reality TV show games.
“There was a big fire at the police station that burnt all the [criminal] records. Especially mine.”
8. Dick Clark Productions’ Receptionist, 1991
Dick Clarke is a busy man who is in high demand. His scrawny receptionist whistles and reads through the magazine, even when guests arrive to meet Clarke. He makes all of them take a seat, starting from a client to a popular rapper, the cleaning lady, as well as an alien who wants to communicate with Dick Clarke about the impending apocalypse that is about to plague the earth.
As the receptionist, Spade is absolutely oblivious to the world around him, as well as his duties. He has no regard for the situation’s urgency and wants them to wait for an indefinite period. Dressed in formal clothes with a microphone in his head, he is hilariously funny, even while communicating with the correspondent from Wiener Hut. Spade is effortlessly funny and obnoxious, something he is known for even now.
“If you could just have a seat.”
7. David Spade on Mother’s Day, 1992
David Spade is at his best when he maintains a straight face while spewing morbidly funny jokes. From talking about “that kind of a divorce” being the highlight of his childhood in which his father simply walked out of the family and returned with a football hoping to be his hero, to his mother asking him to “quit staring” at her. Spade pokes fun at his childhood and makes everyone laugh heartily while examining why Mother’s Day is much better than Father’s Day as the latter makes him uncomfortable as the father-son duo end up discussing his parent’s sex lives.
Spade talks about abandonment issues, the Oedipus complex, societal obligations and more without batting an eyelid. His jokes are funny, fast and one might miss them within the blink of an eye. He makes his dad sound like a freaky loser who talks about how his mother is “do-able” while his mother is bossy and stern and often asks him if he cannot get someone “else to stand there and wave goodnight” on behalf of him, referring to his job at SNL. Professionalism and charms galore, Spade’s comparative notes on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day bear witness to his effortless sardonic humour.
“She just puts her hair up in a rubber band and moves on. This is what I admire about her.”
6. Total Bastard Airlines, 1994
Davis Spade and Helen Hunts are bidding farewell to the passengers that just flew with them. They had been extremely rude to the travellers throughout the flight, quite contrary to the expectations from their profession as flight attendants. They refuse to answer questions regarding baggage claim or layover gates and simply shoo away the passengers with a brisk “Buh-bye”.
Before getting off the plane themselves, they request security to escort them out of the terminal, knowing how their life is at threat at the hands of the passengers they have just riled up with their intolerable and insufferable behaviour. Spade interjects every now and then with certain witty comebacks. He mocks an obese man as well as a man with a broken leg while his co-worker simply smiles with a sweet and salty “Buh-bye”. They are absolutely atrocious, and one cannot help but fathom how satisfying it would be to watch them getting punched in the face just like Sandler’s character promised.
“I wanna see motion, movement, Buh-bye! Sorry about the leg!”
5. Teen Band, 1993
Christian Slater, David Spade, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and Melanie Hutsell come together for a hilarious skit where they are teenagers trying to form a band. Slater’s Richard takes the lead role as he is the most collected out of them all and tries to come up with band names. Chris Farley naps in the corner, and he occasionally wakes up to suggest quirky names and ideas, while Spade, clad in a denim jacket and a beanie, is the one who rationalises writing songs about drugs.
On an average school night, this not-so-average cast meets up to brainstorm ideas. They are funny, loud and clumsy. Spade is amusing when he tries to prove how “every song from the ’70s is about drugs” by drawing a far-fetched interpretation of The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ as a song about not making “a bad batch of heroin” and how ‘Ticket to Ride’ refers to a “heroin trip”.
“Hey, you guys, we’ve gotta write songs about drugs!”
4. Karl’s Video: Jeff Goldblum and Steven Tyler, 1993
Video store owner Karl is frequented by celebrities, and he knows a lot about their numbers, addresses and porn preferences — especially Bob Saget’s ‘girl-girl action’. Jeff Goldblum visits his store, and his film experience is ruined when Karl gives away the ending of The Verdict. As Goldblum is about to rent porn, Karl annoys him by asking inappropriate questions, constantly nagging for a glossy headshot to adorn his store walls and also lets some random fans in on Goldblum’s secret addiction.
Spade is like every annoying shop owner that tries to influence customer decisions. Goldblum, with his soothing baritone, clad in a beige jacket, is appalled by Karl’s forward approach. Spade asks if Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer indulged in the nasty by making weird smacking noises and spills out secrets about Bob Saget’s porn preferences. He knows what his customers want, and Spade as Karl is offensive yet uproariously funny.
“Sure, pornos? Back corner. If you need any help, my name is Karl with a K.”
3. Gap Girls at Food Court, 1994
The Gap Girls were part of the recurring characters on SNL skits comprising David Spade, Chris Farley and Adam Sandler playing Christy Henderson, Cindy Crawford and Lucy Brawn. Ignorant and slacking at their job at Gap, the girls ignore customers and gossip. They never take anything seriously and discuss boys and their pathetic dating lives while at work. From appearing in celebrity guest shows to accidentally running into their rival girl groups, these girls are never up to any good.
At the food court, Chris Farley’s Cindy is revealed to be the leader who inhales french fries meant to be consumed by the other two. Farley devours fistfuls of fries from Spade, talking about how she would start her diet from Monday. When Spade dissuades her, Farley adopts a hoarse and demonic baritone, leaving both Spade and Sandler in splits who, despite their best efforts, broke character owing to Farley’s impromptu actions. Spade, clad in a red coat and a choker scarf with his obnoxious laugh, made quite the impression as the girl stuck on her “a-hole”, “loser” boyfriend, Paul.
“I’m definitely having some kind of syndrome.”
2. David Spade’s Hollywood Minute, 1992
Hollywood Minute was one of the recurrent segments on SNL hosted by Spade, whose humorous and sarcastic comments were mainly digs aimed at celebrities relevant to contemporary times. These attacks were often professional and personal, aimed at taking jabs on films, celebs and many more, including stars such as Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas and more. Serving the bitter truth, Spade left the audience in splits with his scathing one-liner commentaries.
Hollywood Minute got Spade and SNL into a bit of controversy when Eddie Murphy was particularly offended by Spade’s dig at the former’s low box office ratings. This led to a significant conflict between him and the show. Similarly, Steve Martin appeared on set while Spade was dissing him, scaring off the latter. Martin took over Spade’s role and aimed his roasts at the beloved host whose mouth was laced with sharp-witted humour and sarcasm. Often, Spade would replace himself with a puppet who took over his role of insulting the celebs.
“Look, children, it’s a falling star. Make a wish!”
1. Matt Foley: Van Down By The River, 1993
Motivational speeches often sound phoney, but when it is Chris Farley with ill-fitted clothes, greasy hair and a hoarse voice, “la-dee-frickin’-da”, they are pretty awesome! When David Spade and Christina Applegate get caught by their maid smoking pot, their parents hire Chris Farley’s Matt Foley to come to lecture the kids. The man, who is more concerned about finding himself a place to live, as he is 35, thrice-divorced and unfortunately lives in a van down by the river, unleashes havoc upon the household.
Farley’s unbridled enthusiasm and exuberance is the main highlight of the episode. His iconic statement goes down in history as one of SNL’s greatest speeches. Spade, clad in an oversized green T-shirt, aspires to be a writer but is dissuaded by Foley as he will only end up in a van down by the river. Spade tries hard to maintain character but ends up laughing at Farley’s over-the-top antics and covers his face to hide his smile. Although Farley takes away the spotlight, it is indeed one of the greatest episodes starring Spade.
“Actually Matt, I kind of want to be a writer.”