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SNL's First Debbie Downer Sketch Trainwrecked 17 Years Ago Today

  • On May 1, 2004, Saturday Night Live attempted a new sketch called "Debbie Downer," in which Rachel Dratch ruined good times for her family at Disney World by saying increasingly depressing things. The simple idea quickly became a trainwreck where almost everyone in the sketch broke into uncontrollable laughter.

    Jimmy Fallon was the first to break, as was his well-earned reputation, but the "sad trombone" sound that punctuated everything Debbie says was reportedly a surprise addition that took the cast off guard, resulting in Dratch flubbing a line and causing her to crack, before breaking fully at the next "wah-waaah." Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz do their best to focus on waffles instead of breaking, but to no avail once Debbie announces "It's official, I can't have children." Lohan was supposed to get mad at Debbie but couldn't get through it either, until eventually everybody just fled the sketch entirely.

    Fortunately SNL audiences tend to love it when everybody breaks, and the sketch became legendary.

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    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: Saturday Night Live, NBC, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Dratch