Last year, Tom Hanks' "Saturday Night Live" character David S. Pumpkins came out of nowhere to become a cultural sensation. His ridiculous Halloween suit, orange hair, and wild smile made him an instant icon, and "Saturday Night Live" brought him back in an animated special that aired Saturday night.
But David S. Pumpkins is only one of Hanks' many stand-out "SNL" creations, because as a nine-time host dating back to the mid-80s, Hanks has brought a whole bunch of ridiculous characters to life.
Here's a look at some of his most memorable — some of which were much funnier than others.
Hanks' first repeat character is a bit of a cultural and comedic relic. In 1988 and then 1990, Hanks and Jon Lovitz played a pair of dorky catcallers who get completely ignored by passing women, then "celebrate" and high five while making fun of themselves. It's a pretty one-note joke, and it's unclear why they brought it back three times. Guess you had to be there.
The Dad of Bad Decision Family
Another early, one-note sketch from 1990, the Bad Decision family was a family that — you guessed it — made bad decisions. It was a ridiculously dumb premise, but it's fun to watch Tom Hanks drink sour milk and sit on a nail, especially in early lovable goof mode.
This 2005 sketch was one-half satire of snooty WASPs, one-half exercise in extreme silliness. Wearing a wig and tennis whites, Hanks plays Richard, a rich amateur tennis player who compensates for losing his right arm in an accident by teaming up with a player (Bill Hader) who has seven arms. It's a short, pointless sketch, but hey, those are some of the best sketches.
This character was actually cut from Weekend Update during his show last year, which is a bummer, because it was definitely the best part of that week's desk segment. Here, Hanks plays a corny comedian brought on the show by Bruce Chandling, the awful wannabe stand-up who constantly fails at making anyone laugh. Cannon, meanwhile, gets a lot of chuckles from a surprised Michael Che, especially with this barn-burner: "Every girl wants to dress up like a witch. You can never tell which witch is actually a witch, which is why I'm asking, which witch is which?"
Cannon is really a corny pastiche of Jerry Seinfeld, an impression that Hanks has actually been doing since his first appearance on "SNL" in 1985.
David S. Pumpkins
No, he's not the best character, even though he's the most popular. Hanks gets credit for embracing such a ridiculous concept, and adding his own flourishes, like the finger wags and goofy voice; plus, no one else would have made that character so loveable. But comedically speaking, there are a few more that are just pound-for-pound funnier than David S. Pumpkins.
Jeff Morrow, Mr. Short-Term Memory
Hanks' first iconic "SNL" character, Mr. Short-Term Memory is both incredibly lovable and infuriating. A jolly, enthusiastic guy by nature, he's excited by everything new in life — which means pretty much everything, because he can't remember recent events. So when, say, he's on a game show, he winds up picking the same prize over and over again, and is delighted by it each and every time.
There are different kinds of great actors. Some, like Daniel Day-Lewis and Christian Bale, melt into their characters, to the point that you forget you're watching famous actors. Others give incredible performances, which are only aided by the fact that you know and love the person giving that performance. Tom Hanks falls into that latter category, and part of the reason we love him so much is that he's willing to make fun of himself. He's done so in all of his monologues, including his most recent, when he embraced the nickname given to him by the internet: America's Dad.