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
Runners-Up:
Kenan Thompson
Kate McKinnon

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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.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL at Home Review: Kristen Wiig/Boyz II Men

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

Whoa-whoa-whoa, Saturday Night Live Season 45 wrapped things up before the dates in May even hit double digits. Well, actually, while the finale began airing on May 9, most of it aired on May 10, as this late night sketch show typically airs most of its episodes in the early morning hours (which of course feel more like night).

But no matter what particular minutes this 18th episode of Season 45 aired, it was indeed the season finale. Kristen Wiig wasn’t officially announced as the host during the opening montage, but she certainly performed more hostly duties than any of the other stay-at-home guests, so we’ll call her the host. And as for the music, we’ll take it II Motownphilly with some Boyz II Men (featuring Babyface).

As for my state of mind while watching, I cooked up some scrambled eggs that I started chowing into right as I summoned up the cold opening. I considered just having a quick bowl of cereal, but since it’s Mother’s Day, I decided I must get eggy with it. I added some milk to make it fluffy. It spilled a little out of my teaspoon, but not enough so that the dish up didn’t end up sufficiently fluffy.

Note: in honor of the holiday, all of my grades for this episode will be mom-based.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL at Home Review: Brad Pitt/Miley Cyrus

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

The SNL at Home experiment continues onward! For #2, we don’t have a host or musical guest this time, at least none officially announced during the opening montage. Although, Brad Pitt and Miley Cyrus essentially fulfill the same duties that Tom Hanks and Chris Martin did last time. I’d like to say for the official record books that they were in fact the host and MG, but I generally go by what Darrell Hammond (previously Don Pardo) says. (Though, for what it’s worth, Season 45’s Wikipedia page currently does list them as the host and MG.)

In a similar state of confusion, I went to bed on Saturday night planning on making scrambled eggs in the morning, but when I woke up, I was more in the mood for cereal, but when I made it to the kitchen, I was back to being in the mood for eggs. So, the rumors are true, I did cook some eggs and toast. It was the right call.

(One quick note so that we’re all on the same page: for as long as new episodes remain at home, I’ll aim to make my grades for the sketches wackier than usual.)

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL at Home Review: Tom Hanks/Chris Martin

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

Saturday Night Live Season 45 wasn’t meant to end early, after all. Social distancing restrictions might make a live broadcast a little difficult right now, but they haven’t diminished our capacity to create and consume comedy. Thus, we have our first ever “SNL at Home” episode. It’s all pre-recorded, but so was a significant portion of the 1984-85 season, and that was a great year!

Tom Hanks and Chris Martin are officially announced as the host and musical guest, and I see no reason not to include this episode towards the official all-time ledger. Erg, Hanks has now entered diamond status as a ten-time host!

On to the show, which begins with the cast quickly saying hi via Zoom and then goes into an at-home-ified opening montage. Meanwhile, I prepared for the show by running about 12 miles on Saturday morning, going to bed early, getting plenty of z’s, and then watching the sketches early on Sunday (as per usual). Bananas seem important in this era (and all the time), so I had one with my cereal for breakfast.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Daniel Craig/The Weeknd

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CREDIT: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

History shall remember that on March 7, 2020 (and in the wee hours of March 8), Daniel Craig hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time and The Weeknd performed as the musical guest for the third time. The last time March 7 fell on a Saturday, in 2015, Chris Hemsworth hosted and Zac Brown Band were the musical guest. And the last March 7 Saturday before that was in 2009, during which Dwayne Johnson hosted and Ray LaMontagne was the musical guest. (I was studying abroad in Australia at the time.) An encore presentation of that episode aired in the SNL Vintage time slot last night. Interestingly enough, Dwayne Johnson hosted once again on March 28, 2015, the very next episode after the Hemsworth/Zac Brown one. But right now, we’re here to discuss the Craig/Weeknd show. Let’s get to it!

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: John Mulaney/David Byrne

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

Hey, remember the ’90s? That was the decade when John Goodman hosted EVERY SINGLE SEASON of Saturday Night Live. Will the 2020s be the same deal for John Mulaney? His name is also John, after all, and he’s got a three-year streak going currently. It may have started in the 2010s, but maybe that will give him the momentum he needs to carry himself through another nine years. One of the musical guests during Goodman’s run was the legendary classic rock group Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and now Mulaney is being paired up with someone from the same well, as he’s joined by his Sack Lunch Bunch buddy, David Byrne.

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