The Best of SNL Season 45

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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 Sketches of SNL Season 45

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshots

If you are a human being who watched every minute of Saturday Night Live Season 45 and didn’t laugh at least 15 times, I would be surprised. HERE ARE MY RANKINGS OF THE BEST SKETCHES OF THE SEASON! (All sketches from the 2019-20 season were eligible, whether they were from regular episodes, or from stay-at-home episodes, or posted online after being cut for time. New cut-for-time sketches have continued to steadily trickle in since the season finale; with that in mind, this list will be regularly updated accordingly if necessary.)

15. Food Dudes: Ingenuity can take people far if they’re sufficiently motivated.


The Best of SNL Season 44

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CREDIT: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Saturday Night Live Season 44 is over, and somehow we survived! I’ve got my rundown below of what I thought was the best in various categories. As for the top sketches, my in-depth ranking can be found here. If you have your own rankings or other SNL-related thoughts and concerns, please let me know!

Most Valuable Cast Member
The longest-tenured cast member of all time felt perhaps the most essential he ever has, and a trio of ladies consistently delivered lived-in character work.
Kenan Thompson
Cecily Strong
Heidi Gardner
Kate McKinnon

Best Hosts
What took so long for the Sandman to return? And for Dame Emma to debut for that matter?
1. Adam Sandler
2. Liev Schreiber
3. John Mulaney
4. Kit Harington
5. Emma Thompson

Best Monologues
SNL has almost completely given up on the monologue, so thank the comedy gods that stand-ups still sometimes stop by.
1. John Mulaney
2. Paul Rudd
3. Seth Meyers
4. Jonah Hill

Best Musical Guests
Guitar skills go a long way.
1. Gary Clark Jr.
2. Tame Impala
3. Paul Simon
4. Maggie Rogers

Best Weekend Update Segments
Drug culture never went away at SNL, it just got weirder.
1. Terry Fink
2. Colin and Michael Swap Jokes
3. Elizabeth Warren

Best Episodes
Early May is often a sweet spot.
1. Adam Sandler/Shawn Mendes
2. Kit Harington/Sara Bareilles
3. Liev Schreiber/Lil Wayne
4. John Mulaney/Thomas Rhett

Best Quotes
Both courtesy of Heidi Gardner.
1. “Pikachu can get it.”
2. “I’m so horny I could cry.”

Best Sketches of SNL Season 44

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CREDIT (Clockwise from Top Left): Rosalind O’Connor/NBC; Will Heath/NBC; Steve Molina Contreras/NBC; Rosalind O’Connor/NBC)

Was 2018-19 a great, or even good, SNL season? I’m inclined to say “not particularly,” but there’s almost always at least one moment per episode that really tickles my funny bone. Thus, it’s not hard to curate a list of the ten, or even twenty, best sketches of the season. So that’s what I’ve done below, with thoughts included on the top ten. (Note: sketches that were cut after dress rehearsal and then posted online were eligible, since they’re posted so frequently and quickly nowadays.)

20. Weezer Argument
19. Frank Sinatra Impersonator
18. A Frightening Tale
17. Colorectal Exam
16. Discover Card
15. Teacher Fell Down
14. Wedding Reception
13. What’s Wrong With This Picture?
12. The Unknown Caller
11. Retirement Party

10. Toilet Death Ejector

Passing away on the commode really speeds up the “Tragedy + Time = Comedy” equation.


The Best of SNL Season 43

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CREDIT: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Best Sketches
(For my detailed thoughts on the best sketches, click here.)
10. Za
9. Diner Lobster
8. Cookout
7. Undercover Office Potty
6. Hollywood Update
5. The Race
4. Jurassic World Trial
3. Raz P. Berry
2. Beers
1. Barbie Instagram

Most Valuable Cast Member
Cecily Strong
Kate McKinnon
Kenan Thompson

Rookie of the Year
Heidi Gardner (Best Debut Season Since Cecily’s)

Best Hosts
1. Donald Glover
2. John Mulaney
3. Will Ferrell

Best Monologues
1. Will Ferrell
2. John Mulaney
3. Kumail Nanjiani

Best Musical Guests
1. Childish Gambino
2. Troye Sivan
3. Jack White

Best Weekend Update Segments
1. Angel, Every Boxer’s Girlfriend From Every Movie Ever
2. Stefon
3. Jacob Silj
4. Kyle Mooney on the Oscars

Best Episodes
1. Donald Glover/Childish Gambino
2. John Mulaney/Jack White
3. Will Ferrell/Chris Stapleton

Best Sketches of SNL Season 43

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This post was originally published on News Cult in May 2018.

A lot of websites post their lists of the best SNL sketches of the season. What is unique about this particular list is that it is not the same as any of those other lists. If you love SNL, and you love reading about SNL, chances are this is not the only best sketch list you have read and are going to read, because you just love consuming a full range of opinions about a show that always inspires a full range of opinions. So without further ado, here is a thoughtful, passionate, well-researched ranking of the 10 best sketches of SNL Season 43, with honorable mentions of 20-11 as well. (Please note: dress rehearsal cuts that were posted online were considered alongside sketches that made it to air, in consideration of how much online viewing plays a part in this current SNL era.)

20. Family Dinner
19. The Dolphin Who Learned to Speak
18. New Wife
17. Fighter Pilots
16. Dying Mrs. Gomez
15. Ad Council Awards Dinner
14. James Madison High School Graduation
13. Black Jeopardy!
12. Office Break Room
11. The Last Fry

10. Za

A lawyer’s (James Franco) argument rests upon his insistence that nicknames are based on pronunciation, not spelling, and he has never been more convinced of anything in the world. The writing on this one is actually paper-thin, but Franco propels it to classic territory with his ferocious delivery of “lasagna: za, pizza: suh.”


The Best of SNL Season 42


So I’ve got the essential categories covered here. You can also head on over to NewsCult for my in-depth analysis of the best sketches. Enjoy!


The Best of SNL Season 41

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Most Valuable Cast Member
Kate McKinnon
Runner-Up: Cecily Strong
Honorable Mention: Larry David

Best Sketches
For my full thoughts on the best sketches, click here.
1. Yo, Where Jackie Chan At Right Now?
2. Mafia Meeting
3. FBI Simulator
4. bern your enthusiasm
5. Dead Bopz
6. Chad and Mrs. Douglas Show
7. Oprah Winfrey: A Life of Love
8. Screen Guild Awards
9. Close Encounter
10. Farewell, Mr. Bunting

Best Dress Rehearsal Cuts (AKA The “Kyle ‘Cut for Time’ Mooney” Award)
For my full thoughts on the best dress rehearsal cuts, click here.
1. Establishment Shuffle
2. New Studio
3. Not Scared
4. March Madness
5. Bieber Concert

Best 10-to-1 Sketches
1. Dead Bopz
2. Oprah Winfrey: A Life of Love
3. Miley Wedding Tape

Best Hosts
1. Larry David
2. Fred Armisen
3. Ariana Grande

Best Monologues
1. Fred Armisen
2. Elizabeth Banks
3. Tracy Morgan

Best Musical Guests
1. Disclosure
2. Courtney Barnett
3. The 1975

Best Weekend Update Segments
1. Drunk Uncle
2. One-Dimensional Female Character From a Male-Driven Comedy
3. Bruce Chandling

Best Episodes
1. Tracy Morgan/Demi Lovato
2. Fred Armisen/Courtney Barnett
3. Larry David/The 1975
4. Ariana Grande
5. Brie Larson/Alicia Keys

Best Lines
For my full thoughts on the best lines, click here.
13. “Why do we have to labia everything?” – The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party (Cecily Strong), on Weekend Update
12. “Happy Birthday to Mitt Romney who today turns 69. Which for Mormons is a sin.” – Colin Jost, on Weekend Update
11. “We’re at the point where we’re-” “finishing each other’s sente-” “pedes. Human” ““centipedes. Favorite Christmas movie!”” – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, in their monologue
10. “Am I dating a girl, or am I dating … a pop quiz?” – Bruce Chandling (Kyle Mooney), on Weekend Update
9. “How far along are you, Theresa? You look like you’re about to pop.” “We think 2 months, we haven’t been keeping count.” “What?” “We don’t really know how it works, and we don’t believe in doctors. We’re just kinda winging it.” – Baby shower guest (Sasheer Zamata) and Theresa (Vanessa Bayer), in Baby Shower
8. “Jackie Chan was in movies as well as karate.” – Kenan Thompson, in Yo, Where Jackie Chan At Right Now?
7. “My tongue’s not as long as Gene Simmons, but my penis is even shorter.” – Ace Chuggins (Larry David), in Last Call
6. “All of you knuckleheads are getting cars.” – Oprah (Mike O’Brien), in Oprah Winfrey: A Life of Love
5. “God bless you.” “He never has and he never will.” – Colin Jost and Olya Povlatsky (Kate McKinnon), on Weekend Update
4. “Quick, somebody give that hologram a Holo-Grammy. Not my joke, guys, I’m just laser beams.” –Bing Crosby hologram (Beck Bennett), in Dead Bopz
3. “Paul Robeson of Porgy and Bess fame was one of the great singers and civil rights leaders of his day. We used a computer to make him sing ‘Trap Queen.’” –Bing Crosby hologram (Beck Bennett), in Dead Bopz
2. “Poetry should not be fun. It should be oppressive and the reader should hate it. Poems are from a hundred years ago. They were written by a bunch of dead men to punish children. The arts in general are for women and homosexuals. When you read a poem you should never feel emotion. In summary, poems stink.” – Mr. Kellogg (Beck Bennett), in Farewell, Mr. Bunting
1. “Can a bitch get a donut?!” – Kevin Roberts (Larry David), in FBI Simulator

SNL Season 40 (2014-2015) Recap

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I will be posting a more in-depth analysis of the best of SNL Season 40 later in the summer, but for some now, here are some rankings.

Most Valuable Cast Members
1. Kate McKinnon
2. Cecily Strong

Best Sketches
1. Bad Boys
2. Graveyard Song
3. Anniversary Dinner
4. Grow-a-Guy
5. Woodbridge High School Theatre Showcase
6. Tad Rankin
7. Dinosaur Museum
8. Mr. Riot Films
9. Blazer
10. Bambi

Best Dress Cuts
1. Kyle 40
2. Inner White Girl
3. Bruce Chandling and Kevin Hart
4. Pentagon Presentation
5. 40 Greatest Guys

Best Hosts
1. Dwayne Johnson
2. Michael Keaton
3. Jim Carrey

Best Monologues
1. Reese Witherspoon
2. Louis C.K.
3. Chris Rock

Best Musical Guests
1. D’Angelo
2. Alabama Shakes
3. Florence + the Machine
4. Prince
5. Kendrick Lamar

Best Weekend Update Segments
1. Pete Davidson
2. Al Sharpton
3. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
4. One-Dimensional Female Character From a Male-Driven Comedy

Best Episodes
1. Dwayne Johnson/George Ezra
2. Reese Witherspoon/Florence + the Machine
3. Chris Pratt/Ariana Grande
4. Jim Carrey/Iggy Azalea
5. Michael Keaton/Carly Rae Jepsen

Best Lines
1. “Daddy needs his chocolate. He need it, need it, need it. Chocolate in the morning, chocolate in the evening, chocolate at suppertime, thank you.”
2. “Thank you, thank you, Colin Jost. Who tells the jokes? Excuse me. Colin Jost, who tells the jokes.”
3. “I called the park. They’ve been closed for two hours.”
4. “I float like a butterfly, I sting like a bee, I clean myself like a fly.”
5. “I haven’t crapped my pants all year!”
6. “If you don’t have a boner right now, you should just kill yourself.”
7. “If we want to treat women as equals, we shouldn’t put them on money. We should pay them an equal amount of money. And Michael Che shouldn’t be paid at all!”
8. “The fact that you would even ask me that makes you a spigot, and no, I’m not Jewish.”
9. “So next time you’re at Starbucks, why not order a double shot, of compassion?”
10. “Houston, we have a boner.”
11. “This is a fight.”
12. “The places in America with the worst bedbug problems are Chicago, Detroit, and yo’ mama.”
13. “If you C-section, say something.”

SNL Season 39 (2013-2014) Recap

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Saturday Night Live Season 40 has already begun, but let’s not forget about the best of last season.  The full breakdown of my SNL Season 39 recap can be found at the following links:

Most Valuable Cast Members
1. Aidy Bryant
2. Kate McKinnon
Rookies of the Year:
1. Kyle Mooney
2. Beck Bennett

Best Sketches
1. We Did Stop (the Government)
2. Super Champions with Kyle
3. The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders
4. Hip Hop Classics: Before They Were Stars
5. Guess That Phrase
6. (Do It on My) Twin Bed
7. Ice Cream
8. Blue River Dog Food
9. Josie
T10. (TIE) Flirty/dancing/A Very Smoky 420/Chris Fitzpatrick for President

Best 10-to-1 Sketches
1. Super Champions
2. Tourists
3. Herman & Sons Sperm
4. Halloween Candy

Best Host
1. Drake
2. Louis C.K.
3. Charlize Theron

Best Monologue
1. Anna Kendrick
2. Louis C.K.
3. Andy Samberg

Best Musical Guests
1. The Black Keys
2. Sam Smith
3. St. Vincent

Best Commercial Parody
The Bird Bible

Best Weekend Update Segment
1. Jebediah Atkinson
2. Olya Povlatsky
3. Drunk Uncle and Drunker Uncle

Every Good Neighbor Short Ranked
1. Wing
2. Super Champions with Kyle
3. Ice Cream
4. Flirty
5. Dancing
6. A Very Smoky 420
7. Chris Fitzpatrick
8. Tourists
9. Miley Sex Tape
10. Inside SoCal
11. Sigma
12. Will Smith Concert
13. i know

Best Episode
1. Miley Cyrus (10/5/13)
2. Jonah Hill/Bastille (1/25/14)
3. Drake (1/18/14)
4. Melissa McCarthy/Imagine Dragons (2/1/14)
5. Louis C.K./Sam Smith (3/29/14)

Best Dress Rehearsal Cuts That Were Posted Online
1. Wing
2. Viper

Best Quote
“If someone was like, ‘Hey, come live in this house, there’s only nine of us,’ I would say, ‘You got it dude!'” – Olya Pavlotsky (Kate McKinnon), on Weekend Update

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