In his over 40 year career in film, Sylvester Stallone has earned many accomplishments from Oscar-nominated writer/actor, to action icon, to notable softcore porn star, and Boxing Hall of Famer; unfortunately comedic actor is definitely not one of them. Try as he might, his few forays into (intentional) comedies have been nothing short of disastrous. Thus, it comes as a bit of a surprise that his hosting of the premiere of the 23rd season of SNL in 1997 turned out (at least in my memory) to be a pretty solid episode and featured the above "Orange Julius" Sketch; one of my all time top ten favorite SNL sketches.
Everyone has different senses of humor, but my favorite types of SNL sketches are usually ones that end up surprising you with their direction. Often times I find too many lazy sketches where it's entirely reliant on a cheap sight/costume gags or just the irritating mannerisms of the main character (re:almost every Kristen Wiig sketch). I do like those types of sketches in moderation, and if done well, but often a good sketch for me is one that is more based on dialog and the interaction/give and take between the actors; plus a little dash of the absurd doesn't hurt either. I've previously written about this in my post about my all time favorite sketch "Census Taker".
As with the "Census Taker", the "Orange Julius" sketch for me really hits all the right notes for a great sketch. You gets a little suspicious if the sketch is just going to go for some cheap laughs when Stallone comes out with the shirt in the fly, but the sketch quickly devolves into a hilariously surreal exercise in futility with Stallone's Leon trapping Ferrell's pitch perfect computer purchasing straight man into an increasingly frustrating, almost Kafkaesque, episode where he ends up being pressured to buy a vending machine. It's Stallone's performance that really makes the whole thing work. I find his character to be one of the most fascinating one shot characters in memory with all his nuanced quirks from constantly referring to his supervisor by the wrong name or saying one computer is "boss" while the other is "for gays", his inability to pronounce Pentium Processor, to insisting the commander of the Enterprise was Cpt. Clark. You're not sure what exactly his deal is. Is he suppose just supposed to be a bad employee? Insane? Mentally challenged? Just really into Orange Juliuses? He manages to be both infuriatingly inept yet sympathetically earnest as a salesman; and his melodramatic, senseless, meandering speech at the end actually comes off a little bit genuinely sad. Fortunately he gets a happy conclusion that befits the insanity of the sketch.
I don't know, maybe I'm devoting way too much word count to a forgotten sketch that most likely bombed almost 14 years ago; but I can't deny it definitely left a last impression on me all these years later. Also, I never actually had one of those Orange Juliuses, from what I've read they sound pretty good.