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‘Deep Thoughts’ Were Hilarious Tweets Before Twitter Existed

Deep Thoughts Jack Handey SNL

The NY Times has an excellent profile of Jack Handey, the former ‘SNL‘ writer who created the absurdly hilarious ‘Deep Thoughts’ series. Anyone who watched ‘SNL’ during the ’90s will remember these brief non-sequiturs that aired between sketches. Unlike most of what’s on ‘SNL,’ ‘Deep Thoughts’ didn’t rely on topical references and therefore doesn’t feel dated decades later. 

The lack of a face attached to the words, and the fact that his name sounds made up to begin with, led many to believe that Jack Handey was a character created by the ‘SNL’ writing staff. The truth is Handey is a real person who wrote for ‘SNL’ from 1985 to 2002. (He had previously written for Lorne Michaels’ short-lived sketch show ‘The New Show’ and for pal Steve Martin’s TV specials.) During his time at ‘SNL,’ Handey also created such memorable sketches as ‘Toones, the Cat Who Could Drive a Car‘ and the brilliant ‘Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer’ played by Phil Hartman. (The latter is a perfect example of Handey’s knack for mixing the absurd with the mundane.) He’s also an author, having penned several ‘Deep Thoughts’ collections and the new novel ‘The Stench of Honolulu.’

While the ‘Deep Thoughts’ books are a bit tough to track down these days, we thankfully have Hulu to remind us of Handey’s genius. The site has compiled a playlist of 50 ‘Deep Thoughts’ along with a few of Handey’s lesser known ‘Fuzzy Memories.’ Watching ‘Deep Thoughts’ today, it’s interesting how Handey’s offbeat one-liners predicted everything from Twitter to the bizarre anti-humor of Adult Swim. It’s not hard to imagine a joke like “If God dwells inside us, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting!” being retweeted multiple times. Some of the best minds on Twitter, like Julieanne Smolinski and Megan Amram, carry on Handey’s tradition of creating perfectly crafted, often absurdist one-liners. It’s too bad Handey (who is 64 for any children of the ’90s who want to feel old) isn’t Tweeting out new ‘Deep Thoughts’ for a generation who thinks quick, random humor on ‘SNL’ begins and ends with the digital shorts.

Check out 10 of the funniest ‘Deep Thoughts’ below.

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