What is the joke in ‘Sidney Applebaum’ on SNL?

Sidney Applebaum

What is the joke in ‘Sidney Applebaum’ on SNL?

It’s funny for the reasons mentioned, about the inside joke between Hader and John Mulaney, but the the audience is not laughing at that right? They have no clue about the back story.

The reason the joke works is two fold.

  1. Irony: the audience is set up by the Blackula comment, so they are ready for the Jewish Dracula to have, possibly, a cool sounding name, but it turns out to be a totally lame, unmistakable and ordinary sounding Jewish name. Also people tend to stereotype Jewish people as being very conservative and sensible. This also makes the joke funny, at least in my mind.
  2. Also the crowd absolutely loves it when Bill Hader breaks character and starts laughing uncontrollably. Hader has a reputation on the show for being fairly easy to break.

Regardless Hader and Mulaney are comedic geniuses and had a great run with this character Stefon. Hopefully, they don’t ruin it by trying to make a Stefon movie.

Its based off a line from the old Woody Allen comedy “Love and Death” where a french general is talking about how his victory will cause the whole world to remember his name “Sidney Applebaum.”

Sidney Applebaum
Sidney Applebaum

It’s just one of those wonderful nonsequiturs that make Allen’s movies great. As for Stefan, Bill Hader only knows a chunk of the script going into it, and the rest is a surprise (as seen by his frequent chuckle breaks.)

As a comedian, undoubtedly this would have struck him as hilarious, and as for the audience, they are just laughing either because some of them know the movie line and they get it or because they know they are supposed to.

What is the joke in ‘Sidney Applebaum’ on SNL?

Sidney Applebaum is a character from the Woody Allen movie, ‘Love and Death‘. In the movie, the character says:

They call me mad, but one day when the history of France is written, they will mark my name well… Sidney Applebaum!


The humour in this comes from the incongruity between a person history will remember and the lameness of the name.

As explained in this Daily Beast interview:

Bill Hader Is Sad to Leave ‘Saturday Night Live’ (and Stefon) Behind

The Jewish Dracula named Sidney Applebaum made me laugh really hard, not because that’s such a funny joke of that name, but that name is from one of our favorite jokes in the Woody Allen movie Love and Death, where a guy is talking about how history will mark his name, Sidney Applebaum, and it’s just the latest name. It just made us laugh. So it was all very personal.

What is the joke in ‘Sidney Applebaum’ on SNL?

It’s just one of those wonderful nonsequiturs that make Allen’s movies great.

As for Stefan, Bill Hader only knows a chunk of the script going into it, and the rest is a surprise (as seen by his frequent chuckle breaks.)

As a comedian, undoubtedly this would have struck him as hilarious, and as for the audience, they are just laughing either because some of them know the movie line and they get it or because they know they are supposed to.

Sidney Applebaum

The reason the joke works is two-fold.

Irony : the audience is set up by the Blackula comment, so they are ready for the Jewish Dracula to have, possibly, a cool sounding name, but it turns out to be a totally lame, unmistakable and ordinary sounding Jewish name. Also, people tend to stereotype Jewish people as being very conservative and sensible. This also makes the joke funny, at least in my mind.

Also, the crowd absolutely loves it when Bill Hader breaks character and starts laughing uncontrollably. Hader has a reputation on the show for being fairly easy to break.

Regardless Hader and Mulaney are comedic geniuses and had a great run with this character Stefon. Hopefully, they don’t ruin it by trying to make a Stefon movie.

The joke in ‘Sidney Applebaum’ on SNL?

When we learned of Bill Hader’s departure from Saturday Night Live last May, we mourned the loss of Hader classics like Herb Welch, James Carville, and of course, a little New York club-hopping aficionado named Stefon. And we’ll only continue to mourn his exit as SNL comes back on the air.

But in the meantime, we can accompany Hader on his trip down memory lane in his latest Q&A with The Daily Beast. In it, the SNL veteran shares some of his favorite moments from his eight years on the show, from meeting Kanye West after his first show to rehearsing late into the night on Fridays.

Here are our top 10 revelations from the interview:

  1. He submitted the season premiere for this year’s Emmys (Hader’s nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy) because Lorne Michaels told him, “I think you had a perfect episode.” Later, he realized Stefon wasn’t even in the episode.
  2. But Hader admits he probably got the nomination because of Stefon’s popularity. “I think everyone knows someone like that in real life,” he says.
  3. He never watches the show, so when fans quote sketches to him, he usually has no idea what they’re talking about. In fact, he has never seen his Stefon sketches except in short clips before talk shows. “I don’t watch them,” he says. “My wife does, and I’ll hear them in the other room. And I’m just like, can we just fast-forward, please?”
  4. Hader is terrified of clubs. (Insert Stefon gasping in shock here.) When he was 21, he went to one in a basement in Mexico while shooting Collateral Damage and was “terrified.” “I thought I was going to die,” he says. “I stood in the corner like the kid at the end of The Blair With Project, just terrified.”
  5. He also hid in the corner during a visit to the Playboy Mansion, “drinking coffee and talking to Akiva Schaffer [of The Lonely Island] about what aspect ratio he was going to shoot Hot Rod in.”
  6. He always cracked up during Stefon sketches, not because of the jokes, but because of he and writer John Mulaney’s “super-inside jokes.” For example, the Jewish Dracula named Sidney Applebaum line broke Hader easily on air because “that name is from one of our favorite jokes in the Woody Allen movie Love and Death, where a guy is talking about how history will mark his name, Sidney Applebaum, and it’s just the latest name. It just made us laugh.”
  7. He’s going to miss rehearsing for SNL the most, and particularly during what he and Kristen Wiig liked to call the “Friday Night Crazy,” when the cast and writers would work well past midnight and “just go crazy and get really punchy.”
  8. On the other hand, he won’t be missing pitch meetings, because he says he “was not very good at it.” “Some people have really funny, inventive pitches and mine are just like, ‘Uhh…so we go to Starbucks together…” he says. “My pitches always brought the room down.”
  9. Steve Carell was the host and Kanye West was the musical guest on his first show. West congratulated him after the show, which threw Hader off guard because “he was so normal. I was like, oh, this is Kanye West here congratulating me. It was great.”
  10. His favorite memory isn’t Stefon or his celebrity impressions–or any of his sketches, for that matter. Instead, he chooses ice skating with the cast for the Christmas show as his most cherished moment. “It was very special, to be there with those people you genuinely cared about and who always made you laugh,” he says. “That’s one of those moments when it really hit home: ‘I really luck I’m here.’”

So, PopWatchers, what’s your favorite Bill Hader sketch? Not that he’d remember what you’re quoting, of course, but feel free to share below.

Elisa Gayle Ritter

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