On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Robert Downey Jr. recalled his very brief stint on Saturday Night Live.
It has been a year of homecomings and reunions on Saturday Night Live this season. That feeling has extended throughout the NBC halls as demonstrated on Wednesday night’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Robert Downey Jr. was on the show and looked back and the ups and (mostly downs) of his SNL career.
Downey’s career can be divided into “BIM” and “AIM” for “Before Iron Man” and “After Iron Man.” Kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe made RDJ one of the biggest movie stars on the planet and accelerated his career to a new level.
But before Iron Man was released in 2008, it would have been hard to imagine Downey would be such a bankable star for any film studio, let alone Disney. Personal problems derailed his career in the early 2000s, studios were hesitant to hire him and few of his films attracted mainstream attention despite finding admiration among some audiences.
Going even further back than that, Downey was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for one season. It was a challenging season both for Downey and the show itself. But that is ancient history at this point and the success of Downey’s career since Ironman makes it easier look back at the not-so-steller moments.
That was probably the thinking behind his Tonight Show appearance on Wednesday night as Downey willingly looked back at a failed Saturday Night Live sketch. Or maybe he knew that Jimmy Fallon had an even worse misfire to share.
“Suitcase Boy” did not make an impression when Downey introduced the character in 1985. Perhaps the absurd, bizarre character would have worked in a different era or with a different cast member. We’ll never know and Downey seems more than happy to keep it that way.
Downey also makes reference to a Rolling Stone article ranking 145 Saturday Night Live cast members to commemorate the 40th season. Downey was ranked 145th, the worst, in what may have been more of a publicity stunt for the magazine given Downey’s status at the time the article was released. Whoever was ranked last was going to be just as discussed as who finished first, so making it a household name ensured Rolling Stone would get even more attention.
It is clear that Downey disagrees with the assessment. His lack of success at the show is just as much a reflection of where SNL was at in 1985 as a commentary on Downey’s own comedic chops. Saturday Night Live even poked fun at the list and Downey during the “SNL40” celebration.
There was no clip of “Suitcase Boy” in action which makes it a little less embarrassing than “Plate Boy and Cup Boy.” Combined, the three aren’t exactly the Avengers of sketch comedy. But Jimmy Fallon’s dress rehearsal sketch featuring Alec Baldwin and Horatio Sanz was something that maybe sounded much better during a late night writing session than when it actual became reality.But like Downey, Fallon has earned enough success to look back at his SNL misfires somewhat fondly. Even it did bring back a little flop sweat.
Talking about failed or rejected SNL sketches has become a popular topic in late night with examples coming from Late Night with Seth Meyers and Conan O’Brien’s podcast. If Rolling Stone was to rank these ideas, then “Plate Boy and Cup Boy” would probably get the RDJ treatment.
Robert Downey Jr. hinted at the end of the clip that maybe he’d return to Saturday Night Live one day. They say there is no better time than the present. So with his Marvel career wrapped up and Doolittle hitting theaters soon, could we see the return of RDJ on SNL? What do you think of that idea? Let us know in the comments!