The ‘SNL’ Sketch Kirstie Alley Called Her ‘Most Fun’ Acting Scene
On Oct. 12, 1991, Kirstie Alley hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time. The experience included a sketch she’d later describe as the “most fun that I’ve ever had acting.”
Alley’s star was soaring at the time. She’d joined the cast of the hit sitcom Cheers in 1987, playing Rebecca Howe, the foil to Ted Danson’s Sam Malone. Her 1989 film Look Who’s Talking was a massive box office success, cementing Alley as a Hollywood A-lister. The actress’ SNL hosting duties got off to a strong start. The opening monologue featured surprise appearances by Cheers castmates Danson, Woody Harrelson, George Wendt and Kelsey Grammer, all of whom joined Alley in singing the sitcom’s beloved theme song. Still, the highlight of the night was yet to come.
After a fake commercial for Lonely Choice frozen dinners, the second sketch of the show was “Il Cantore.” In the scene, Alley and Kevin Nealon play a couple enjoying a night out at an Italian restaurant. The waitstaff - played by Dana Carvey, Rob Schneider, Chris Farley and Adam Sandler - are increasingly over-amorous with Alley, kissing, rubbing and even licking her.
“This is ridiculous. They’re groping all over you,” Nealon says at one point. “Oh, honey. It’s just their custom,” Alley responds. “People in Europe are just a lot more open than we are.”
The restaurant workers continue fawning over Alley, eventually serving food while wearing almost nothing. At this point, Nealon finally has enough and storms out, pulling his date along with him.
Watch the 'SNL' 'Il Cantore' Sketch
Throughout the increasingly ridiculous sketch, Alley managed to keep a straight face, impressive considering the absurdity of what was happening to her.
Decades after it aired, the actress tweeted that “Il Cantore” "was very fun to do, but I must say that probably the only person in the world that I would’ve let lick my face like that was either one of my children or Dana Carvey.” In a separate tweet, Alley referred to the sketch as the “‘most fun that I’ve ever had acting.”
Following Alley’s death on Monday, several of her “Il Cantore” castmates honored the departed star.
Schneider remembered the sketch as his “fondest memory of my time on Saturday Night Live,” describing Alley as having “natural timing and a bawdy sense of humor.” Meanwhile, Sandler described Alley as an “absolutely funny, sweet human being.”