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Live From New York, It’s Third Party SNL!

Third party and independent candidates have occasionally been featured on Saturday Night Live over the years, most notably during the 1992 and 1996 elections when Dana Carvey appeared numerous time as Ross Perot.

Just for fun, I’ve compiled a collection of some of the more notable sketches that I thought might be of interest to IPR readers.

The real Ralph Nader chats up Lorne Michaels and host Rob Lowe on the October 7, 2000 episode, just a few weeks before election day…

This sketch from 1996 reflects the fact that Ross Perot was kept out of the presidential debates and did much of his campaigning on cable news. Aired on October 26, 1996 it features Perot, Mark McKinney as Harry Browne, and several fictionalized minor party candidates. I’m not certain of this, but I believe McKinney’s brief appearance as Browne is very likely the only time a Libertarian has been impersonated on SNL…

Dennis Miller interviewed presidential candidate “Lyndon LaRouche” (played by future U.S. Senator Al Franken) on the October 22, 1988 edition of Weekend Update…

One of the more memorable Dana Carvey as Ross Perot appearances was when “Perot” had the show’s opening sketch to pitch his message on the October 3, 1992 episode…

In this 1999 Weekend Update, ex-wife Marla Maples comes on to “expose” Reform Party presidential hopeful Donald Trump…

In this 1992 sketch Carvey’s Ross Perot addresses the Republican “dirty tricks” that caused him to suspend his campaign for several months…

The above is an incomplete collection of sketches featuring third party and independent candidates from over the years.

Several notable sketches are missing, including a fairly mean-spirited 1992 cold open that featured Ross Perot (Carvey) attempting to drive running-mate James Stockdale (Phil Hartman) into the woods and leave him for dead following the Vice-Presidential Debate.

Called “Stockdale’s Joyride” it appears to have been scrubbed from YouTube and the NBC site for obvious reasons, but is available as part of the full October 24, 1992 episode on Peacock. Stockdale is portrayed as completely senile in the bit, randomly shouting things like “GRIDLOCK!” and “I’m hungry!”

Debate ’92…

For some reason the classic 1992 debate in which Dana Carvey appears as both President Bush and Ross Perot is also not available on YouTube. This October 10, 1992 sketch is still quite funny and really should be more widely available. You can see it on Peacock.

Perhaps the folks at NBC are afraid of offending their Arkansas viewers, as the first question in the debate from Kevin Nealon’s Sam Donaldson is: “Governor Clinton, let’s be frank. You’re running for president, yet your only experience has been as the governor of a small, backward state with a population of drunken hillbillies riding around in pickup trucks. The main streets of your capital city, Little Rock, are something out of L’il Abner, with buxom underage girls in their cutoff denims prancing around in front of Jethro and Billy Bob, while corncob-pipe-smoking, shotgun-toting grannies fire indiscriminately at runaway hogs.”

A later question about Kitty Dukakis (a callback to 1988) draws this elaborate response from Perot: “I was hoping we’d get into the issues, but if this is the way the game is played – fine. So, if somebody were to lay a finger on Kitty Dukakis, I wouldn’t kill him right away. That’d be too easy. I’d wait for a hot Texas day, see? Tie him to a stake, get an ant trail going. You know, Texas red ants, inch long! Just love to bite into human flesh, catch what I’m saying here? See, they’re eating him alive, nice and slow like. And I’d sit with him in the shade under an umbrella, maybe with a lemonade, sit back and say to the fella, ‘How do you like them apples?’ And he’ll be screaming, ‘When am I gonna die?’ and I’d say, ‘I don’t know exactly, and frankly, I resent your question.’ Catch my drift?”

This is one worth checking out on Peacock if you are so inclined. Not only is the debate sketch probably their best of the ’92 campaign, it’s immediately followed by a bizarre monologue from host Joe Pesci. He spends most of his time awkwardly addressing the fact that Sinéad O’Connor had torn up a picture of the Pope on the previous week’s episode, saying she’s lucky he wasn’t there because he would have smacked her.

He also presents the actual photo sloppily taped back together.

It’s a weird time capsule.

Reform Party Headquarters…

The very first cold opening sketch of the 1999-2000 season (SNL’s 25th) was called Reform Party Headquarters and featured a meeting between Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, Jesse Ventura and Donald Trump to decide the future of the party. It’s not on SNL’s YouTube, but the full episode is available on Peacock.

It’s not a particularly strong sketch as Perot is played by Cheri Oteri and not Dana Carvey, but it does capture the broad strokes of the party’s factional struggle at the time.

By the end of the sketch, Pat Buchanan is in a Hitler mustache and Jesse Ventura has kicked the wall in and is threatening to put America in a “massive headlock.” Donald Trump, played by Darrell Hammond, is outlining his plans to turn the White House into a luxury casino and hotel.

There are numerous other SNL sketches where third party or independents are mentioned in passing or as part of the “news” on Weekend Update, but not as a particularly vital part of the comedy.

There’s this somewhat amusing 2020 sketch in which a Black panel discusses local elections, contorting themselves into supporting only black candidates including a billionaire Libertarian.

One clunker of a joke in this Celebrity Family Feud from 2016 featured Larry David’s Bernie Sanders being annoyed by constant phone calls from Jill Stein.

BONUS CLIP: By 1996 Dana Carvey had left Saturday Night Live and was hosting a prime-time ABC show called The Dana Carvey Show. In this March sketch Carvey re-teamed with Phil Hartman’s “Larry King” for a sketch in which Ross Perot denies (among other things) being a candidate for the Reform Party nomination…

About Post Author

Austin Cassidy


  1. Traditionalist Traditionalist January 17, 2022

    You were right the first time.I’m not doing comedy or satire of any kind. I wish I was, but the destruction of our civilization that I am pointing is a tragedy, and there is nothing comedic or funny about it. Please demonstrate anywhere that you think I got something wrong if you can.

  2. Sammy H Sammy H January 17, 2022

    Traditionalist is doing some Andy Kaufman level comedy on this site. I fell for it at first, taking his posts at face value. But now I see he’s actually a comic genius.

  3. Traditionalist Traditionalist January 17, 2022

    Andy, I’m glad we agree. While there has always been a great deal of immoral perversion in Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment business, which was not exactly a secret, making it an overt part of the entertainment itself was something the cultural Marxists did in their decade of destruction, the 1960s. It has been eating away at the foundations of our civilization ever since, along with their other attacks such as forced secularization, forced desegregation, feminism, third world immigration mudslide, earth worship, promotion of illegal drugs, and so on.

  4. Andy Andy January 17, 2022

    I did not attend the 2004 Libertarian National Convention in Atlanta, or the 2006 Libertarian National Convention in Portland, but I was a delegate to the 2008 Libertarian National Convention in Denver.

  5. George Whitfield George Whitfield January 16, 2022

    Thanks, Andy, for sharing your memory of meeting Harry Browne. Since I was living overseas I was not able to attend many LP events. But I happened to be in the US for business travel in November 2000 and was fortunate to meet he and Pamela in Atlanta. Subsequently, I attended the National Conventions as a delegate from Florida in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

  6. Ed Johnson Ed Johnson January 16, 2022

    My memory was wrong, the Kanye rant was before his Presidential campaign. However, his Presidential campaign was mentioned at the end of this clip:

  7. Andy Andy January 16, 2022

    “George Whitfield
    January 16, 2022 at 00:46
    This is the first time I had heard about Harry Browne impersonated on Saturday Night Live. Thank you for posting. I voted for Harry in 1996 and 2000 and had the honor of meeting him and his wife on Election Night in Atlanta in November 2000.”

    I also voted for Harry Browne for President in 1996 and in 2000.

    Interestingly, I joined the Libertarian Party after seeing Harry Browne speaking at the Libertarian National Convention on C-SPAN, and Harry Browne was actually the first Libertarian I met in person.

    I joined the LP in 1996, but I never attended any party meetings or conventions or events, up until 1999, I think it was in March, when I attended my first event. I had moved to California in 1998, and in 1999 I heard that Harry Browne was going to be speaking at a Radisson Hotel in Sherman Oaks, so I went to it. When I walked in the room, I had my copy of Harry Browne’s book from his 1996 campaign, “Why Government Doesn’t Work” with me, and the first person I met in the room, much to my surprise, was Harry Browne. I walked into the room, and he was literally standing right next to me. I got him to autography my book, and I got my picture taken with him. The 2nd Libertarian I met was also at that event, and it was Michael Cloud, who was working on Harry Browne’s campaign. I did talk to a few other people in the room, but the first two people I talked to were Harry Browne and Michael Cloud.

    I had gotten stuff in the mail about Libertarian Party meetings and conventions and events since not too long after I joined the party, but I never went to anything untill that Harry Browne event, and the next thing I went to after that was the Libertarian National Convention in Anaheim, CA, which I commuted to every day. I did not know anything about the delegate process back then, so I just attended the convention, I did not vote on anything. I did not even know how to become a delegate. I think that convention did end up getting a full delegation, because I know for awhile it held a record as the largest LP National Convention, up until 2016 I believe. Since it was in California, I doubt I’d have gotten on as a California delegate, since I did not attend the LP of California Convention that year, but it is possible that I could have gotten seated in another state’s delegation on the first day or two of that convention, but I did not even know that was an option. So I just went there and observed and hung out. I was backing Harry Browne for the presidential nomination, and Art Olivier for the vice presidential nomination, and they both ended up winning anyway, without me voting. I did not follow the LNC that closely back then, so I knew little or nothing about the people running for the LNC positions, so I did not really care about voting in those races.

    I did obviously see Harry Browne at that convention, and I wanted to talk to him again, but he was either on stage, or had people surrounding him, every time I saw him, but then I saw him and his wife, Pamela, standing near an elevator. I was about to say something to him, but then I realized I did not have my camera with him, so I figured I should go to my car to get my camera, and then talk to him later. So he and Pamela got on the elevator, and I walked out to the parking lot to get my camera out of my car. I came back inside with my camera, but unfortunately, I never saw Harry Browne again at the convention, and that was the last time I ever saw him in person.

    That Libertarian National Convention was held in early July of 2000, and starting in September of 2000, I finally started to attend local Libertarian Party meetings.

  8. George Whitfield George Whitfield January 16, 2022

    This is the first time I had heard about Harry Browne impersonated on Saturday Night Live. Thank you for posting. I voted for Harry in 1996 and 2000 and had the honor of meeting him and his wife on Election Night in Atlanta in November 2000.

  9. Andy Andy January 15, 2022

    January 15, 2022 at 17:38

    That may be; I hadn’t heard it before but even if that’s true, at least it wasn’t part of his act.”

    Do some research into it. Some woman came forward and said that she was raped and abused by Bob Hope, among others.

    I don’t know for sure if it was true or not, but given what we know about the Hollywood crowd, there is a lot of sick stuff that goes on behind the scenes (see Harvey Weinstein for one example), so I would not be overly surprised if it was true.

    I do agree though that at least Bob Hope had a more wholesome public image, and he did not come off as an anti-American commie.

    I remember watching old Bob Hope stuff with my grandmother many years ago.

  10. Traditionalist Traditionalist January 15, 2022


    That may be; I hadn’t heard it before but even if that’s true, at least it wasn’t part of his act. Nowadays, it would no longer even be behind the scenes or something to hide, it would be front and center and proudly on display. I do not believe we are better off as a result, either.

  11. Andy Andy January 15, 2022

    Bob Hope was good as a comedian and an actor, but he was supposedly into the sex trafficking/sex slave thing, or at least some have accused him of that.

  12. Traditionalist Traditionalist January 15, 2022

    Entertainment has gone downhill precipitously. Compare Bob Hope or Lawrence Welk with this kind of filthy garbage. There’s really no comparison. This “SNL” is part and parcel of the cultural Marxism attack on the morals of this country and its post-war generations.

  13. Andy Andy January 15, 2022

    I don’t think Ross Perot ever appeared in any debates or forums or interviews with any other candidates except for when he got to debate George HW Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992, and when he debated Richard Lamm for the Reform Party’s presidential nomination in 1996.

  14. Andy Andy January 15, 2022

    I did not know that Harry Browne ever got lampooned on Saturday Night Live. That actually was somewhat of an honor, particularly since two of the other candidates in this skit are fictional. I am surprised they did not include then Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

    Dana Carvey did a great Ross Perot.

  15. Ed Johnson Ed Johnson January 15, 2022

    Kanye West dos an epic rant about among other things his campaign for President.

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