Inside SNL: Breaking Down Sir Charles' Performance

Charles Barkley

AP Photo/Nevada Appeal, Brad Horn

Charles' golf skit was as bad as his golf swing. Which is saying something.

Sir Charles usually spends his times analyzing NBA teams and players. But he decided to go on Saturday Night Live this weekend, which means we get to flip the script and analyze him.

So we picked some of his most memorable skits and broke them down, Charles style, by comparing them to the various teams and players in the NBA.

“Honest Monologue”

In his opening sketch, Charles came out of the gate strong. Mostly because he was making fun of himself, and nothing’s funnier than someone making fun of himself on national TV when he has a lot of reasons to make fun of himself. For example, Barkley’s quote on the difference between him now and when he hosted SNL 16 years ago: “Now I play bad golf, drink and sometimes I get arrested." However, much like the Detroit Pistons, who started the season OK and are now in the midst of a crushing 12-game skid, things went horribly wrong horribly fast. Namely, Charles started “acting” and involving members of the studio audience.

“Barkley’s Bank”

Much like the Lakers of Los Angeles, there were high expectations for this quick fake commercial sketch, and with good reason: anything with Barkley and money is bound to be funny. And, wouldn’t you know it, Sir Charles delivered on this one with lines like, “You give me your money and I’ll either double it, or lose it all." And just like the defending champs, a team with only three losses in first 21 games, Charles came out of the box strong on this one and delivered all the way through.

“Basketball Commentators”

This skit was the Greg Oden of Barkley’s SNL visit. We had really high hopes, with Charles seemingly in his element as a basketball commentator, but after the imaginary (and metaphorical) tip-off, bad things just started happening. This sketch opened with the cringe-worthy premise of a terminally ill kid helping Charles call a basketball game as his last wish. It then started pounded the same joke relentlessly and got less funny from there. Like poor Greg, this skit probably should have sat out another season.

“Barkley Golf”

Barkley Golf, otherwise known as the New Jersey Nets. It started bad – with long awkward pauses and teleprompter checks – and got worse with the same tired shtick (making fun of Charles’ bad golf swing) over and over again. From the moment this one started we knew there was no hope and we’d just have to sit back, wait for it to be over and start again next sketch. At least the Nets can look forward to whatever theatrics come with having an owner who's a Russian billionaire.


Charles adding his two cents to a classic skit like MacGruber was a pleasant surprise, sort of like the Atlanta Hawks this year. We thought it'd be good, but we didn't expect this good. To be honest, we didn’t have a lot of hope when we saw what was coming – it's always scary to add a non-actor to a successful running gag – but "Darrell" kept getting it done by doing what worked and not trying to get too fancy.

“Ski Retreat”

Call her LeBron, because an MVP performance from SNL vet Kristen Wig saved Charles on this one, making an otherwise awkward performance from Shaq Barkley (a cable knit ski sweater is not a good look on him) into a fun-to-watch, solid sketch.

Overall, we'd say the show pretty much followed Barkley's career: it didn't produce any championships but there were some solid runs along the way. That's okay, though. Chuck's not an actor and he knows it. He is, however, still one of sports' best personalities.