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Robin Williams and Joe Piscopo's SNL Hockey Sketch Is a Nostalgic Blast

Robin Williams' "Budd Light" ad co-starring Joe Piscopo finds the two fighting on the rink before becoming drinking buddies (also on the rink). 

By Samantha Vincenty

As the fans who watched the Florida Panthers beat the Edmonton Oilers to become Stanley Cup champions in 2024 will attest, hockey is about much more than the tussles that famously break out on the ice. Still, it's an entire YouTube sub-genre for a reason, and it's the joke in a classic Saturday Night Live sketch starring Robin Williams and Season 9 cast member Joe Piscopo: The commercial parody "Budd Light."

How to Watch

Watch Saturday Night Live Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC and next day on Peacock.  

"Budd Light" aired during Robin William's February 11, 1984 episode. The faux ad was based on Budweiser's sports-focused "Bring Out Your Best" ad campaign that was popular that same year, and it completely nailed the real commercials' golden-hued visuals.

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Split of Robin Williams and Joe Piscopo

Robin Williams and Joe Piscopo are hockey opponents in SNL's "Budd Light" ad

Saturday Night Live's parody of the real Budweiser campaign is so pitch-perfect its almost identical. The sketch begins with Piscopo's hockey player facing off against Williams.

"He's always the top scorer in the league. I know I can beat this guy," he says in a voiceover, as we see a frosty, red and white "Buddweiser Light" can in close-up and the "Bring Out Your Best" jingle kicks in.

"He's not so great," Piscopo's voiceover continues. "I can't believe my wife ran away with him!"

When he knocks Williams' character flat onto the ice, a good old fashioned hockey fight breaks out, with Williams socking Piscopo in the face. The fact that Williams was known for deeply silly roles at the time made his onscreen pivot to violence extra surprising. 

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Like any great ad spot, "Budd Light" tells a story in less than one minute, and the bloodstained, now-toothless hockey players ultimately connect over a couple of cold ones. 

How many times did Robin Williams host SNL?

Three times.

The "Budd Light" pretaped sketch aired during his Saturday Night Live debut on February 11, 1984. Williams returned in November 22, 1986, and hosted for his third time on January 23, 1988.

He also made several cameos, making his final SNL appearance on December 4, 2010 as a seated guest during Kenan Thompson's recurring "What Up with That?" sketch.

What Up With That?: Robert De Niro and Robin Williams

In an episode of Dana Carvey and David Spade's Fly on the Wall podcast, Thompson explained that Lorne Michaels suggested contacting the Mrs. Doubtfire star after another celebrity dropped out.

"He was like, 'You should ask Robin,'" Thompson recounted. "I was like, 'I should ask Robin? I should just go ask Robin Williams to just sit in my sketch and not say a word? Like, seriously?' And he was like, 'Yeah.' I was like, 'S---.'"

But Williams was happy to do it. "I went and talked — I didn't even finish my sentence — he was just like, 'Absolutely,' Thompson continued. "He was just an angel. That was crazy."