Breaking up mid-sketch wasn't too common in the early days of SNL. One exception was Gilda Radner, who always seemed on the verge of laughing when paired with Bill Murray for her Lisa Loopner 'Nerd' sketches. Murray, as the frustrated boyfriend out for Lisa's affections, could usually get Radner to break character with an unexpected improv or, in one case, nearly drowning her by forcing a drink down her.
As an SNL player from 1999 to 2006, Dratch didn't always get to play the lead in sketches. Her most memorable character was Debbie Downer, a character who spoils every fun time with dark observations. In one of the worst train wreck sketches ever on SNL (and Debbie Downer's first appearance), Dratch can barely get the words out between inadvertent giggles. The rest of the cast, including Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, and host Lindsay Lohan, don't help the situation bit. An instance when the break-up was funnier than the actual sketch.
The droll comic wasn't a big laugher. But he was a big fan of his frequent comedy partner, Chris Farley. Spade couldn't stop laughing when Farley introduced his character of Matt Foley, a motivational speaker who lives 'in a van, down by the river'. Fortunately, Farley always just ignored the giggling Spade and kept going.
Hulk Hogan/Mr. T.
The guest hosts weren't immune to breaking up mid-sketch. When Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. appeared on SNL to promote Wrestlemania in 1985, they were interviewed by Billy Crystal who proceeded to admire and describe them as 'mahvelous'. The pair break up simultaneously when the SNL mainstay improved a line about Hulk's jiggling muscles.
Ferrell is notorious in Saturday Night Live lore for rarely breaking up in a sketch. Part of the reason may be that he was usually the one breaking everybody else up. Notable exceptions were the 'Love-Ah' sketches in which Farrell played a pretentious professor who eats lamb shanks while talking sex in a hot tub. When Rachel Dratch - playing his wife - breaks up, Farrell follows immediately. It doesn't take long for the giggles to spread throughout the hottub.
Bill Hader/Andy Samberg/Billy Moynihan
This 2012 Scared Straight parody featured a breaking-up three-shot. But don't blame Hader, Samberg or Moynihan entirely. It was cast member Jason Sudeikis - as a cop lecturing three delinquents - who caused all the comic chaos. Sudeikis decided to enliven the sketch by jumping up on a desk in increasingly odd ways - sending the threesome into hysterics. And good for him. The sketch wasn't working anyway.
Jimmy Fallon was the unquestioned king of SNL break-ups. Even in the worst, unfunniest sketches (like his Aquarium Repairman sketch with Horatio Sanz), he would collapse in fits of laughter. Easily his most famous break-up came in the Cowbell sketch with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken. Though he only had one line, Fallon couldn't even deliver it through the giggles. He said later that it was Will Ferrell's tiny shirt, which exposed his belly, that drove him nuts.
Some of the biggest break-ups came at SNL dress rehearsals, which are taped, but rarely broadcast. Maybe that's why Kristen Wiig -- who usually can keep a straight face -- broke up so spectacularly in a sketch called The Californians. Or maybe it was Bill Hader who infected her with his stifled laughs.
Adam Sandler kept his cool in most sketches, though sometimes it was hard to tell. Was that odd grin on his face in the Canteen Boy sketch him laughing at costar Alec Baldwin, or part of the sketch? The one guy who could always get Sandler to laugh was Chris Farley. Whether they were playing gossiping high school girls or an old couple, Sandler had trouble keeping a straight face around Farley's antics.
Hader gave Jimmy Fallon a run for his money when it came to breaking up in the middle of a sketch. He had particular trouble with his character Stefon, who appeared on Weekend Update. The problem stemmed from co-writer John Mulaney (of 'Mulaney' fame), who always changed Stefon's lines at the last minute without telling Hader. Like that nightclub that has everything including 'ghosts banjos, Carl Paladino, a stuck-up kitten who won't sign autographs and Furkels - Fat Urkels. After you>ve been with one of those guys, you>ll ask yourself 'Did I do thaaaat?'' When Hader broke up, it invariably caused Seth Meyers to bust a gut.