Yesterday was the ten-year anniversary of the seminal teen comedy Mean Girls. Or hadn't you noticed? Here, let me show you something called the internet. But let's all take that trip down memory lane a few steps further. The day after Mean Girls opened, Lindsay Lohan took her first trip to Studio 8H to host Saturday Night Live, and it was on that very show that sketch comedy history was made.
That's right: today marks the ten-year anniversary of the first, and easily greatest, appearance of Debbie Downer.
SNL makes regular hay out of its performers breaking character to laugh, but few sketches went so catastrophically and brilliantly haywire as this one. As played by Rachel Dratch, Debbie's premise is embarrassingly simple: she's just a lady who constantly references depressing topics while hanging out with her friends. But the "wah-wah" sad trombone sound that comes with every miserable factoid caught the cast by surprise and led to one of the most memorable and tear-inducingly funny trainwrecks in the show's history. Watch the sketch here and relive every hysterical minute below.
0:15: We're at Mickey's breakfast jamboree at Disney World! Kenan Thompson (in his first season on the show) is our server, "Billiam." Gathered around the table, from left to right: Jimmy Fallon, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Lindsay Lohan and Horatio Sanz. Literally within the first seconds of this sketch, you can tell that half the cast is trying not to laugh. Dratch is fighting back a smile as she looks at the camera, and Poehler is looking at her feet.
0:39: Debbie speaks for the first time. "Ever since they found Mad Cow disease in the U.S., I'm not taking any chances. It can live in your body for years before it ravages your brain." The wah-wah trombone, which the cast was reportedly not really prepared for, drops in, and we cut to the Debbie Downer theme tune. By the time we cut back, everyone has regained their composure.
1:23: Lindsay tells us this is her "dream come true" because Tigger hugged her in a doorway. Okay, Linds. This sets up Debbie to talk about Roy of Siegfried and Roy, he of the infamous tiger mauling. Her upper lip quivers manfully as the camera zooms in. Fallon, true to his reputation as a crack-up, begins to grin like an idiot, and goes to hold Dratch's hand with nervous glee.
2:10: Talking about North Korea, Debbie says "the media is so sensitive there," meaning to say "secretive." The wheels are already coming off the bus. She visibly breaks as the camera zooms in on her, causing screams of delight from the audience.
2:50: Lindsay is REALLY excited to see Pluto. She's trying so hard!
3:16: My personal favorite line, as Debbie tells Pluto, "It must be fun to work here! Although the biggest drawback to working in a theme park is that you must live under constant fear of deadly terrorist attacks."
3:40: Dratch cradles her face in her hands, shaking with laughter, after loudly wondering if Pluto is suffering from heatstroke. She shoots Poehler a look, and Poehler begins playing with her prop waffles, doing her best not to completely break. Sanz appears to be using his prop pancake to wipe tears from his eyes.
3:58: Dratch attempts, "Speaking of...speaking of..." before cracking up again.
4:16: We cut to Sanz stooped over the table, laughing. Fallon is trying to shake things off when Dratch launches the most devastating, incredible, brilliant stringer (through quakes of laughter):
"By the way, it's official...I can't have children!"
Fallon buries his face in his hands with hysteria.
4:58: Lohan makes a valiant attempt to salvage things by sticking to the script: she stands up and chides Debbie for ruining her trip to Disneyworld. She breaks with laughter twice before fleeing the stage at the feline AIDS line.
5:28: Fallon is furiously cutting his pancakes like a man trying to ignore a loud breakup happening at the table next to him.
5:42: Everyone flees the table. It should be noted that through this entire ordeal, Armisen never broke (although he also had very few lines to deliver).
5:48: "You guys go ahead! I'll meet you at my favorite ride, the Hall of Presidents."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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