That ‘Beavis And Butt-Head’ Sketch On ‘SNL’ Was 6 Years In The Making

Making cartoon characters look like actual human beings is pretty... heh heh heh... hard.

At least, that’s according to “Saturday Night Live” hairstylist Jodi Mancuso and makeup artist Louie Zakarian ― who told People in an article published Tuesday that it took a bit of trial and error to make Mikey Day and Ryan Gosling look like “Beavis and Butt-Head” doppelgangers in the show’s now-iconic sketch that aired April 13.

In fact, Mancuso and Zakarian told the magazine that the idea to do the skit was first proposed and then tabled in 2018 when Jonah Hill hosted the show for the fifth time.

Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman and Ryan Gosling in the
Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman and Ryan Gosling in the "Beavis and Butt-Head" sketch in the April 13 episode of “Saturday Night Live.” NBC via Getty Images

“Even at that time it was late coming into the show, so there wasn’t a lot of prep time and I wasn’t fully happy with the wigs. Then I think we tried it again, and again I wasn’t happy with it,” Mancuso told People. “So we fully gave up on it, this is not going to happen.”

When the sketch was pitched again for Season 49, Mancuso and Zakarian said they got some pushback from Day and the sketch’s writer, Streeter Seidell. Apparently Day and Seidell wanted to reuse the wigs from the scrapped 2018 sketch, but Mancuso wanted to “make them a little more human.”

Zakarian said the original teeth they intended to use for Day’s Butt-Head in 2018 also needed an overhaul.

“I made this crazy little bridge that goes into his mouth and the first time it didn’t lift his lip up enough,” he explained. “This time I went in and redid it and made it a little more prominent and made it pop a little more. Just having his lip have those braces and those teeth exposed, it really did help.”

Certainly it did. The end result was so good that even cast member Heidi Gardner — who prides herself on rarely breaking — completely lost it the first time she saw Day in full Butt-Head getup during the sketch’s live airing. (For what it’s worth, Day is also visibly suppressing laughs in the sketch, and Gosling giggled his way through pretty much the whole episode, as he had done in previous appearances.)

In the sketch, Gardner plays a reporter hosting a town hall discussion about artificial intelligence with an MIT professor (Kenan Thompson). Thompson’s character keeps getting distracted by a man with a “blonde pompadour” sitting behind Gardner who looks exactly like the slacker Gen X cartoon character Beavis (played by Gosling) from MTV’s “Beavis and Butt-Head.”

Later in the sketch, Day’s Butt-Head is revealed, and the moment Gardner takes a look at him, she begins to uncontrollably laugh as the studio audience cheers wildly.

The moment, Mancuso pointed out, added to the sketch’s humor.

“People love when the [cast] breaks because it’s funny, right?” Mancuso said. “But when you have a moment like Heidi did, I mean, come on. It was funny, and it made everybody else enjoy that moment even more.”

The Emmy-winning duo also believe that their hard work led to Gardner cracking up, with Mancuso saying that Gardner “really didn’t get to fully see” the “full costume” until the live show.

“Mikey didn’t really have the bald cap on. She saw it, she kind of had an idea, but it wasn’t full,” she explained.

“Even at dress rehearsal, I think he was only like 85 percent there. I tweaked the makeup a little bit, I think Jodi moved the wig back a little bit on him,” Zakarian said. “For air, it was dead on.”

“It was golden,” Mancuso agreed.

The moment right before Heidi Gardner loses it during the “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch.
The moment right before Heidi Gardner loses it during the “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch. NBC via Getty Images

Gardner, however, told Vulture in April that what truly tickled her in that moment was her longtime friend, Day, knowing how to “mess” with her.

“Mikey and I sit next to each other during table reads, and he makes me laugh a lot,” Gardner, who has been on “SNL” for seven seasons, told the entertainment site. “It’s easy for us to mess with each other. Something in the way he moved on live television felt like when someone messes with you to make you laugh.”

She added that Day put a lot more emphasis into his performance during the live sketch than he did in rehearsal.

“Mikey does seem to turn his head just a little bit and bug out his eyes,” Gardner said, recalling the moment she lost it laughing. “It’s like he’s doing a subtle acknowledgment. That was new.”

Gardner also told Vulture that the “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch had been in the works for a long time, and that it “had been put up at table reads and rehearsals” for years but “never made it to a dress rehearsal.”

“It was a sketch that Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell kept on pitching, like, ‘Before the end of our time here, we have to do the Beavis and Butt-Head sketch.’ It was their white whale; they really wanted to do it,” she said. “Knowing Ryan is always so down for fun and playful things, my guess is they thought he would be into it.”