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March Madness: SNL's "Outside the Lines" Sketch Is Melissa McCarthy at Her Funniest

The basketball sketch boasts an all-star lineup including Bill Hader, Tim Robinson, and Five Timer McCarthy.

By Samantha Vincenty

In her five stints as Host and headline-making cameos in between, Saturday Night Live has made great use of Melissa McCarthy's talent over the years. Particularly, her gift for physical comedy: Look no further than McCarthy's recurring turn as then-president Donald Trump's former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, complete with "his" moving podium.

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But that's not the only memorable SNL sketch in which McCarthy paired a blistering delivery with a performance that used her entire body. Whether you're a March Madness-obsessed basketball fan or not, SNL's "Outside the Lines" sketch is a hysterical watch, starring McCarthy as a...results-oriented women's college basketball coach whose reign of terror is investigated by a sports journalist (Bill Hader). 

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First aired during the April 6, 2013 episode in Season 38, SNL's pre-taped sketch was inspired by a real episode of ESPN's Outside the Lines, a series that ran from 1990 to 2022. After Outside the Lines aired footage that showed Rutgers Coach Mike Rice mistreating his players, the school subsequently fired Rice. 

The incident, and the notoriety it gained because of the program, became a springboard for the viral Saturday Night Live parody.

Melissa Mccarthy and Bill Hader during a sketch on Saturday Night Live Episode 1637

SNL's "Outside the Lines" sketch stars Melissa McCarthy, Bill Hader, and Tim Robinson

The Matt & Oz-directed short introduces Sheila Kelly (McCarthy), a coach at the fictional Middle Delaware State. Hader's voiceover explains what we see onscreen, as the pantsuited Kelly terrorizes the team, throwing basketballs, hurling threats to cut their ponytail off, and dishing out violent chest bumps.

Things escalate quickly. A group of young women cower at the top of bleachers as Hader fires a T-shirt gun at them while cursing; her training exercises involve throwing bricks and, inexplicably, shooting baskets on roller skates. 

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The sketch boasts an all-star lineup, as Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Vanessa Bayer, and Nasim Pedrad play some of the sad-eyed teammates. And in addition to Hader, the sketch also stars Tim Robinson, a Season 38 Featured Player who went on to create, star, and win three Emmys for the Netflix comedy series I Think You Should Leave. 

Then-cast member Jay Pharoah is also hilarious as a whistleblowing assistant coach who, in a later interview, changes his tune—when it's revealed that McCarthy's character is glaring and gesturing through the window behind Hader.

Melissa McCarthy during the monologue on Saturday Night Live.

"You're attacking me! It's not like I drove a golf cart through practice," Kelly tells Hader's character. "But she had," the voice-over chimes in, as we see the teammates scattering to avoid her driving.

Poor gameplay aside, the sketch itself is a winner. Watch SNL's "Outside the Lines" starring Melissa McCarthy and Bill Hader above, and watch sketches from all 49 seasons of Saturday Night Live on Peacock anytime