Oscar Isaac and Charli XCX dressed as meatballs.

Oscar Isaac’s Best ‘SNL’ Sketches, Ranked

We are little meatball men, snacking on our blocks of cheese.

Most of us know Oscar Isaac as hotshot pilot Poe Dameron from Star Wars Episodes 7–9, or the nefarious Nathan from Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, or more recently, as Duke Leto Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune. We’re also excited to see him debut as Marvel’s Moon Knight later this month! A graduate of Juilliard, Isaac has proven over the years that he has range to portray a wide range of dramatic characters, and in 2016 snagged the Golden Globe for best actor in a miniseries for his work in Show Me a Hero.

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It turns out he’s also really, really funny! Isaac hosted his very first Saturday Night Live in March 2022 and wowed us with a whole collection of hysterically funny new characters. During his opening monologue, Isaac also treated the audience to a screening of the first acting role he ever booked, which was in a movie he wrote and produced himself at the age of 10. “It’s important to encourage kids to be weirdos,” he said at the end of the monologue, “because every once in a while, one of those weirdos grows up to host SNL.” Then he licked a sword.

It was hard to rank some of his debut appearance’s sketches, because they’re all so delightfully weird in their own way. Plus, there were some really great performances by SNL cast members that aren’t included on this list because they didn’t have a lot of Isaac in them (major shout-out to Chloe Fineman’s spoof of Inventing Anna). Nevertheless, here are our top five Oscar Isaac sketches!

5. Fiction workshop

This sketch is for any writer who’s ever had to sit in a workshop with a guy who thinks he’s creating great literature by writing about his female characters breasting boobily. A fiction workshop is just wrapping up when the janitor comes in. The instructor sees some spark in him, some je ne sais quoi that makes her suspect that he, too, is an aspiring writer. Sure enough, he is, and he’s even got his latest project on him. She invites him to sit down and share his work. It turns out the men in workshop are really into erotic Dua Lipa fanfiction. The women? Not so much.

4. Paw Patrol

Adventure Bay is the size of San Diego, yet it has no police, fire department, or paramedics. It only has a group of six talking dogs led by a ten-year-old kid! And that’s not right! That’s why city councilman Herb Tangier urges you to vote out Mayor Goodway! Isaac’s Herb Tangier character is a hilarious mixture of deadpan and painfully earnest, and the writers are able to push the premise further than you’d think. As a bonus, Kate McKinnon plays a tightly wound disapproving citizen.

3. Workplace Harassment Seminar

You know those harassment trainings you have to take at work every year? The ones that all the worst offenders just seem to ignore? Well, Donald and Maria from HR are here to lead yet another one! They’ll take you through some fun scenarios to test your knowledge of what is and isn’t harassment. Also, all the scenarios focus on cartoon versions of them! And use some pretty explicit language! And I’m starting to think Donald and Maria aren’t from HR at all?

2. Meatballs

This sketch is a digital short instead of a live sketch, so I’m not sure if it’s canon in the SNL universe, but I love it so here it is! A couple is on a date, and the man finally works up the courage to ask why the woman always wears a green ribbon around her neck. She reluctantly agrees to take it off, revealing … Oscar Isaac as a singing meatball attached to her neck. Like the best digital shorts, “Meatballs” starts off bizarre enough, but then quickly spirals off into a fever dream of psychedelic weirdness.

1. Aidy’s Dream

This sketch had me gasping for breath, it was so aggressively funny. Veteran cast member Aidy Bryant is tired of being typecast as teachers and mothers, so she’s written her own sketch to showcase another side of her! Oops, turns out the sketch also just happens to feature heartthrob Oscar Isaac. Total coincidence, right? Come for the subtle commentary about which kinds of actresses are allowed to be sexual, stay for Isaac saying the word “seck-syoo-wul” and singing about the boner he gets when he really respects someone.

Would you rank these sketches differently? Would you include one that we left out? Let us know in the comments!

(image: NBC)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>