TV Funhouse

Saturday TV Funhouse is the title of a recurring skit on NBC's Saturday Night Live featuring cartoons created by SNL writer Robert Smigel.[1]

It was also a spinoff series, TV Funhouse, that ran on Comedy Central. "TV Funhouse" frequently satirizes public figures and corporations, as well as featuring some cartoons exclusive to this skit. When featured in an episode of Saturday Night Live, it was listed in the theme song as "A Cartoon by Robert Smigel."


In between the host segments, TV Funhouse would show parodies of either 1950s educational films or cartoons most frequently drawn in the flat, limited-animation style of Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera/Filmation cartoons of the 1970s and 1980s. Another frequent target is the classic 1960s "Animagic" stop motion animated holiday specials of Rankin/Bass.

The animation was originally produced by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions for three seasons until Wachtenheim/Marianetti Animation, in association with Tapehouse Toons, took over primary animation production duties. If TV Funhouse is featured in an episode of Saturday Night Live, it is mentioned in the opening narration as "a cartoon by Robert Smigel." When featured on Saturday Night Live, the opening features an SNL bumper featuring the host of that week's show) being torn by a small white dog revealing the TV Funhouse screen underneath. A caricature of executive producer Lorne Michaels appears, sees the dog, and yells "Come back here with my show!" before going after the dog. The closing features Lorne Michaels still grappling with the dog over the torn piece of the bumper.

Saturday TV Funhouse

Recurring SNL TV Funhouse skits

Disney parodies

The February 10, 2001 episode, "Ray of Light," parodies the controversy over Ray Lewis's involvement in an Atlanta homicide. Although Lewis went on to become the Super Bowl XXXV MVP, he was unable to utter the famous line, "I'm going to Disney World!" The skit was involved with Disney "making it up" to Lewis by placing him in various Disney animated movies. Lewis would often be shown fleeing the scene of classic Disney character death scenes, frequently uttering "I didn't see nothin'!"

"Bambi 2002," another poke at Disney, imagines a sequel to the original movie where Bambi's mother turns up alive. The title character fights stylized terrorist types and performs a rap music number in the forest. Also in the sketch are moments involving some of Disney's darker issues, as well as some pornographic humor.

On April 15, 2006, Robert Smigel again parodied Disney's practice of supposedly "vaulting" their films, as well as their alleged past racism and anti-Semitism. When some kids helping Mickey Mouse clean out the Disney vault find Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog bound and gagged in a chair, Mickey Mouse broke down and quotes "He wouldn't sell! He wouldn't sell...!" (a reference to a broken deal between The Jim Henson Company and The Walt Disney Company circa 1990).

NBC special

On April 29, 2006, NBC aired a full-length, 90-minute SNL "best of" special for TV Funhouse. The special was hosted by The Ambiguously Gay Duo interacting with the current SNL cast with a cameo from Jimmy Fallon.[2]

The special was released on DVD October 24, 2006.

Comedy Central series

TV Funhouse

The TV Funhouse Panel at Comic-Con in 2008. L to R: Robert Smigel (with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog), Dino Stamatopoulos, Bob Odenkirk and Tommy Blacha with Doug Dale on laptop screen
Also known as Saturday TV Funhouse
Created by Robert Smigel
Dana Carvey
Starring Doug Dale
Robert Smigel
Jon Glaser
Dino Stamatopoulos
David Juskow
Tommy Blacha
Frank Simms
Theme music composer Steven Gold
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 8
Executive producer(s) Robert Smigel
Dino Stamatopoulos
Lou Wallach
Producer(s) Samantha Scharff
Tanya Ryno, for SNL
Running time 22 Minutes
Original network Comedy Central
Picture format NTSC 480i
Audio format Monaural
Original release December 6, 2000 (2000-12-06) – January 24, 2001 (2001-01-24)
Related shows Saturday Night Live
External links

The spinoff series was somewhat of a twisted Pee-Wee's Playhouse-style kiddie show, hosted by Doug Dale and his "Anipals" puppet animal friends.


Every episode had a different theme to it (e.g., "Hawaiian Day" or "Astronaut Day") and saw the Anipals usually getting into some sort of trouble, not wanting to do whatever their happy-go-lucky host had in mind for the day. The Comedy Central version of TV Funhouse premiered in December 2000 and was not picked up for a second season. Interviews with Smigel indicate that Comedy Central believed in the show but was disappointed in how it went over budget every episode. Smigel has also expressed how difficult the show was and how tedious the puppet-live animal segments were to shoot. The show was released on DVD July 22, 2008 under the title Comedy Central's TV Funhouse.

Recurring skits


  1. "Western Day" (December 6, 2000)—Doug must wrangle up his own fun when the Anipals ditch him to head for high times south of the border in Tijuana.
  2. "Hawaiian Day" (December 13, 2000)—Doug and Rocky the Fish have a luau all by themselves while the Anipals help Chickie rescue his 95th son, Jason, from a cult.
  3. "Christmas Day" (December 20, 2000)—The Anipals tap Doug's spine to extract his Christmas cheer. After one of Chickie's sons helps to turn the cheer into powder, the Anipals snort it and get addicted to powdered Christmas cheer.
  4. "Mexican Day" (December 27, 2000)—The Anipals appear on the Sally Jessy Raphael show to help an endangered lizard get laid, leaving Doug to celebrate Mexican Day with a tequila worm and a Puerto Rican Mexican-food deliverer.
  5. "Caveman Day" (January 3, 2001)—The Anipals compare New Year's resolutions: Hojo wants to learn to play the saxophone, Chickie hangs out with his brother with Tourette syndrome, and Fogey must resist eating his own poop. Meanwhile, Doug builds a dinosaur skeleton out of baby back ribs, and Rocky the Fish takes a group of kids to visit a cookie factory.
  6. "Safari Day" (January 10, 2001) Part 1 of 2—The Anipals travel to Atlantic City to visit Fogey's old friend, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, where Chickie falls in love with a chimp-stitute.
  7. "Astronaut Day" (January 17, 2001) Part 2 of 2—Still in Atlantic City, the Anipals attempt to "unstick" Triumph before his big show. Meanwhile, Doug tries to achieve weightlessness.
  8. "Chinese New Year's Day" (January 24, 2001)—The Anipals ditch the Funhouse to enter the lucrative, glamorous world of lab animals, as Doug celebrates Chinese New Year's Day and makes fireworks with a panda. This being the final episode, the set was struck by detonating a puppet panda (full of innards for realism) on the set, splattering everywhere. Staged as a satirical accident, Doug replied after with resignation: "Cut."


Anipal Voices

Cartoon Voices


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