Insider Says SNL Is Resurrecting Another Classic Recurring Character Tonight—But Which One?

Hot on the heels of an episode that saw host Kristen Wiig and a cadre of guest stars participate in a series of warmly received recurring sketches, Saturday Night Live looks to be at it again.

According to a show insider, another classic recurring character is set to return tonight—and it won’t be played by host Ryan Gosling or anyone on the show’s current cast.

With that tantalizing tip, it’s on to the speculation portion of this post. Between the news of the week, characters Ryan Gosling interacted with in his first two hosting stints, and one other interesting breadcrumb left by the show, which characters seem most likely to make an appearance? 

One obvious but somewhat probably unlikely possibility is an appearance from Tim Meadows as O.J. Simpson. Meadows played Simpson throughout the show’s 20th season when Simpson’s trial was a recurring sketch. (Finesse Mitchell and Kenan Thompson would play Simpson in later sketches.) Meadows was an SNL cast member from 1991-200. He cameo’d on the show twice after leaving (in 2000 and 2005), and last appeared on SNL’s 40th anniversary special.

As for Gosling’s links to other recurring characters, he appeared in the show’s very first “Close Encounter” sketch in 2015, where he barely kept it together opposite Kate McKinnon’s Miss Rafferty.

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When he returned to host the show again in 2017, he again appeared with McKinnon in a new version of the sketch, aptly titled “Another Close Encounter.” McKinnon’s Miss Rafferty went on to recur in five other sketches over the years. Her last appearance (coinciding with McKinnon’s last episode as a cast member in 2022) saw Miss Rafferty choosing to leave with her alien abductors.

Unusually, Gosling has appeared as a Weekend Update character both times he’s hosted the show. First alongside Bobby Moynihan’s secondhand news correspondent Anthony Crispino (as third-hand news guy Angelo Skaggs) and then as “Guy Who Just Joined Soho House” alongside Alex Moffat’s “Guy Who Just Bought a Boat.”  

Gosling also appeared alongside Aidy Bryant’s recurring teenage character Melanie, who creeped out her friends (again) as she made her feelings toward a friend’s dad (Gosling) very clear. Bryant hasn’t appeared on the show since her final episode as cast member, which coincided with McKinnon’s, in 2022.

Another memorable Gosling sketch featuring a character who would later recur was 2017’s “Italian Restaurant,” which saw Gosling and Cecily Strong play a husband and wife who react angrily when they realize that their favorite Italian restaurant has replaced their food with Pizza Hut’s new menu as part of a marketing stunt. Strong would appear as the same character in a similar sketch alongside Adam Driver a year later.

Last but not least, tantalizingly, Saturday Night Live unusually  uploaded two vintage sketches to their YouTube account on Friday, both featuring Tom Hanks playing Uri Shulenson, a Middle-Eastern electronics salesman from 47th Street in New York City. The character only appeared twice, but is famous for claiming that off-brand electronics contain “Sony guts.”

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Might this be a sign that Hanks is resurrecting Shulenson tonight, a character that last appeared on the show in 1992? We’ll have to tune in to find out.

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