CREDIT: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

At the end of Season 45, we’ve got some seasoned veterans in this here SNL cast. Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant have all just completed their eighth full seasons, while Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney aren’t too far behind at seven each. Those are some healthy runs, and under normal circumstances, I would be encouraging them to look towards a future beyond Studio 8H. (Kenan Thompson, meanwhile, continues to defy all SNL tenure logic as he creeps ever closer to a previously-unheard of 20 seasons.)

But these aren’t normal circumstances, of course, as the last three episodes of this season weren’t exactly live. So if those veterans want to return for at least part of Season 46 for a proper send-off, they’d be justified in doing so. As for what they and their castmates accomplished in the past year, I would like to celebrate that, as I usually do. So here’s what happened on SNL between September 2019 and May 2020 that made me go, “Good, good.” (My thoughts on the best sketches of the season can be found here.)

Most Valuable Cast Member
The veterans delivered veteran-quality work. Cecily stands out on the very top for her consistently capable canine corralling.
Cecily Strong
Kenan Thompson
Kate McKinnon

Best Hosts
In the year of our Lord SNL Season 44, Adam Sandler did finally return, and lo it was glorious! And in hence the very next year of our Lord SNL, Mr. Eddie Murphy did also finally return, and lo, the glory shone once more!
1. Eddie Murphy
2. Will Ferrell
3. John Mulaney
4. Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Best Monologues
Mulaney stands up: we laugh. Ferrell deploys silly deconstruction: we laugh. Hanks assures everything will eventually be all right: we give T.Hanks.
1. John Mulaney
2. Will Ferrell
3. Tom Hanks (at Home)

Best Musical Guests
Once in a lifetime (and by “lifetime,” I mean “every five seasons or so”), we get a performance as inventive and transcendent as David Byrne’s February 2020 rendition of “Once in a Lifetime.” Meanwhile, Billie and Camila make great use of stagecraft and costumes, respectively.
1. David Byrne
2. Billie Eilish
3. Camila Cabello

Best Weekend Update Segments
There are few laughs as pure in this world as those that come out of my mouth when our Weekend Update anchors force each other to do their bidding.
1. Colin and Michael Swapping Jokes
2. Girl at a Party You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With
3. Gumby
4. Jules

Best Episodes
Merry Christmas from Eddie and Lizzo! Merry Leap Day from John and David! Many thanks given to Will and King Princess!
1. Eddie Murphy/Lizzo
2. John Mulaney/David Byrne
3. Will Ferrell/King Princess

Best Quotes
1. “Call me Pig Boy, ’cause you know I be squealin.'” – Jason (Harry Styles), in the Cut for Time “Jason” music video
2. “If everyone calls you trash, and everyone treats you like trash, why don’t you just become trash?” – Oscar (David Harbour), in the Grouch trailer
3. “This white teenage elf girl ran out here straight up to me, a black elf in sweatpants, and asked me to keep her safe. That’s how bad it is!” – Kiddle Diddles (Eddie Murphy), in North Pole News