Today Ben & Jerry’s announced their newest ice cream flavor—which might not immediately sound appealing. Schweddy Balls, an homage to Saturday Night Live, is vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and a huge scoop of cheekiness.
The name comes from a skit featuring regular host Alec Baldwin, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer. Baldwin plays Pete Schweddy, owner of a holiday bakery called Season’s Eatings. Shannon and Gasteyer play NPR radio hosts interviewing him for a culinary show. And the central joke of the bit goes like this:
“There are lots of great treats this time of year,” Schweddy says. “Zucchini bread. Fruitcake. But the thing I most like to bring out at this time of the year are my balls.”
He then explains that he sells popcorn balls, cheese balls, rum balls—balls for every taste—and the ball puns proceed, to the great joy of the crowd, for about four minutes. (Ben & Jerry’s chose to go with fudge-covered rum and malt balls for their flavor.) The skit culminates in Baldwin stating that “No one can resist my Schweddy Balls.” Hence, the lore that led to the ice cream.
Are they toeing a line with the title? “The name is irreverent,” says Ben & Jerry’s spokesman Sean Greenwood. “But we’ve always been about having some irreverence and having some fun … We’re not trying to offend people. Our fans get the humor.” The release of Schweddy Balls follows Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Snack, a flavor they released earlier this year. Other celebrity-related treats include Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream and, of course, Cherry Garcia.
Ben & Jerry’s has released controversial ice creams, like a special edition of Chubby Hubby called Hubby Hubby, which celebrated gay marriage. Still, it seems safe to say this is—and probably will remain—their ballsiest flavor of all time.
The ice cream is being released in a limited batch, which means it will be distributed nation-wide but only for three or four months. If it proves popular, another batch might be forthcoming.
UPDATE: Alec Baldwin, who will be hosting this year’s season premiere on Sept. 24, had this to say via a press release from Ben & Jerry’s: “For a long time, I thought that ‘Here Lies Pete Schweddy’ would end up on my tombstone. Now, thanks to Ben & Jerry’s, the goodness of the Schweddy family recipe won’t go with me to the great beyond. It is immortalized here, right now, and it’s an ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s and Schweddy. Two great names in American dessert, together at last.”
Ana Gasteyer also chimed in: “As a person and a performer, I am a sucker for holiday balls. And I have no doubt this ice cream will cause many to scream ‘Good Times.'”