There’s no bigger taboo in live sketch comedy than “breaking,” which improv actors view as a cardinal sin, but audiences can’t help but find infectious and adorable. (Saturday Night Live bossman Lorne Michaels is famously opposed to it.) There are also plenty of breaking moderates—those whose care enough about the sketch comedy craft to prefer seeing it played straight, but understand how much fun it can be when the performers are just as tickled as the viewers are. Saturday Night Live offers the best examples of breaking, with the title of history’s worst offender going to Bill Hader, who literally never made it through one of his Stefon segments on “Weekend Update” without melting into a giggly puddle.
Thanks to these handy supercuts, you can relive Hader’s many fourth-wall demolitions, as well as classic breaking moments like Rachel Dratch laughing so hard during one of her “Debbie Downer” sketches that she was no longer convincing as the world’s most depressing person. Dratch had the entire cast—including guest host Lindsay Lohan—doubled over with laughter, and cast contagion is the most delightful effect of breaking. A great recent example comes in Ryan Gosling’s December 2015 episode, when an especially inspired Kate McKinnon demolishes everyone on stage. Michaels’ pain is our pleasure.