Ryan Gosling — and Beavis and Butt-Head — Lift ‘SNL’ to Its Most-Watched Episode Since 2021

Ryan Gosling is not a dumbass; heh heh, heh, heh heh heh, heh! Thanks in large part to a “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch that went viral, Gosling’s “Saturday Night Live” episode is the most-watched “SNL” since late 2021.

Counting one week’s worth of delayed viewing (which is fine and normal but really helps when something goes viral) and all platforms, the April 13, 2024 telecast of “SNL” drew 8.9 million total viewers, according to NBC. That’s the most since Billie Eilish hosted the program on December 11, 2021.

The Gosling episode, for which he was promoting film “The Fall Guy,” is the most-watched “SNL” episode ever on Peacock. Gosling’s musical guest was Chris Stapleton.

On YouTube, 46 million users have “viewed a portion of the episode,” NBC said, the most since 2020. That’s an important specificity given the viral nature of the “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch. In all, there were 170 million social-video views (including YouTube).

As of this writing, the “Beavis and Butt-Head” skit had more than 12 million views over 10 days (so, two more days than NBC’s measurement). The sketch broke out in large part because of how much the cast (and Gosling) broke during the live telecast. Even the reliable Heidi Gardner, who played a NewsNation Town Hall host, couldn’t even keep it together.

The sketch’s conceit is that an AI critic (Kenan Thompson) can’t concentrate during an interview after he spots “a gentleman in the audience who looks strikingly similar to Beavis from the cartoon ‘Beavis and Butt-Head.’” That was Gosling. He’s such a distraction that he’s asked to move seats, which results in Butt-Head (Mikey Day) taking a load off in the same chair.

Heidi had no chance.

“Beavis and Butt-Head” was a popular mid-90s Mike Judge adult animated series on MTV. It centered on two teenagers who loved heavy metal and did dumb things for excitement. The series spawned the 1996 Paramount Pictures film “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America,” which at the time made more than $60 million domestically. The boys came back in 2022 for both a new series and a movie on streaming service (and Peacock rival) Paramount+.

“SNL” is in reruns this weekend but returns to originals on May 4 with host and musical guest Dua Lipa. Good luck topping this one, Dua. (Given her status among the youngs, she actually might.)

“Saturday Night Live” is produced in association with Broadway Video. The creator and executive producer is Lorne Michaels. 

Watch the “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch below.

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