Saturday Night Live (SNL) is inarguably one of the greatest American institutions of all time. Across a remarkable 44 seasons, its varying cast members and writers have provided the world with a multitude of quality sketch comedy. Compiling the crème de la crème is no easy feat, but here is my attempt.
Parodying a real variety show from the 1950s, Lawrence Welk introduces a group of singing sisters from the Finger Lakes. With a gigantic forehead, tiny baby-doll hands and some interesting mannerisms, one sister – Dooneese – really stands out in the performance. Kristen Wiig played some amazing characters on SNL, but there is simply no one who can sing about eating roadkill quite like Dooneese.
U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi, you ugly! Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri portray some spirited cheerleaders who may have a little too much pep for a chess tournament. Maybe it’s the stunning size difference between Ferrell and Oteri or the ridiculous nature of the cheers themselves, but this duo has become something of SNL legend.
3. Lazy Sunday
This sketch is the Andy Samberg digital short that started it all. This gem of a rap about eating cupcakes and watching “The Chronicles of Narnia” led to hits like “D*** in a Box,” “I’m on a Boat” and “Jack Sparrow.”
Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon star as awkward NPR hosts with guest Pete Schweddy (Alec Baldwin) who promotes his special holiday confectionery – Schweddy balls. What results is some classic euphemistic humor.
While he does not appear in a sketch of his own, Stefon is a recurring character that truly shows off Bill Hader’s impression chops. Since Hader has such a hard time keeping it together, Stefon regularly covers his face while spilling the details on New York’s hottest clubs.
This soap opera focused around the lives of a group of your average Californians is hilarious for its accurate stereotypes. The characters are all blonde, speak with classic surfer accents, are obsessed with driving directions and like to look in the same mirror at the same time.
8. More Cowbell
Will Ferrell’s shirt is so tight that I forgot Christopher Walken was ever in this glorious sketch.
The late Chris Farley plays a motivational speaker who has a strong message for teenagers who do drugs.
If the world gained anything from the 2016 presidential election, it was SNL’s political commentary. Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon are the perfect Clinton and Trump, but Melissa McCarthy also deserves an honorable mention for her impersonation of Sean Spicer.