For almost 50 years now, Saturday Night Live has delivered audiences with many iconic comedy sketches. Coneheads, Stefon, Spartan Cheerleaders, and Mary Katherine Gallagher are only a few of the many classics this series has brought, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of it slowing down.
And with the show’s 50th anniversary around the corner, these 10 skits still rank as the best SNL has given (Weekend Update won’t be included on this list because it’s on a whole other level).
SNL has a long tradition of making satirical promos for fake products, and this sketch by Dan Aykroyd is the gold standard. Aykroyd stars as a salesman marketing a blender that uses “the whole bass” to make delicious seafood smoothies for the whole family.
It’s a simple but bizarre sketch that captures the audience’s attention thanks to Aykroyd’s magnetic performance as the fast-talking, energetic salesman one would see on a typical late-night infomercial.
This sketch series holds the basic premise of government agents interviewing a trio who had paranormal or supernatural encounters. While two subjects always marvel at what they went through, Kate McKinnon’s character, Miss Rafferty, can’t seem to get a break.
In every sketch, she claims to have had a rough time with whatever strange entity she met, talking about it like it was just a wild night of drinking. And the way she describes it with sexual innuendos and visual demonstrations makes her character stand out even more, especially when she motorboats Ryan Gosling’s rear end.
This sketch could only come from the minds of John Mulaney and Colin Jost. When a young man (Pete Davidson) orders lobster at a diner, his friend (Chris Redd) and the waiter (Mulaney) are baffled by his choice of cuisine. Things take an even more unexpected turn when a giant lobster (Kenan Thompson) comes out dressed like Jean Valjean, singing songs from Les Miserables.
This ridiculous skit achieves terrific deadpan humor, even while Pete Davidson is cracking wise and cracking up. Though SNL and Mulaney have since done similar Broadway spoofs, none of them could capture the unexpected magic of the original.
In this parody of National Public Radio, the show’s hosts (Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon) bring on humble baker Pete Schweddy (Alec Baldwin), owner of Season’s Eatings. When Pete discusses his favorite holiday treat, audiences are fed a buffet of hilarious double-entendres as he shares his now world-famous “Schweddy Balls” with his hosts. The fact that all three actors kept a straight face throughout this sketch is nothing short of a holiday miracle.
“Well, isn’t that special?” People who went to Sunday school growing up have likely met someone like the Church Lady. On this fake Christian talk show, Dana Carvey’s character interviews multiple celebrities she believes have sinned, including Madonna, O.J. Simpson, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump.
She may consider herself a holy woman, but the Church Lady proves herself a comedy fiend as she flaunts her superiority over her guests with her smug grin, sarcastic quips, and hilarious dance.
The Lonely Island gang ushered in a new era for SNL with their series of Digital Shorts. Filled to the brim with absurdist jokes, these videos never cease to surprise audiences with each sketch, many of which feature a surreal music number.
With outstanding hits such as Lazy Sunday, D*** in a Box, J*** in My Pants, Laser Cats!, and Jack Sparrow, these shorts broke new comedic ground as they ventured into new and unexpected territories.
In this instant classic, a motivational speaker is brought in to help two teenagers get their lives back on track. However, Matt Foley spends most of the skit ranting about his depressing life as a 35-year-old divorcee living in a van down by the river.
With Chris Farley screaming his head off while struggling to keep his pants up, it’s no wonder his castmates couldn’t keep a straight face. But when he falls through the table and hits the floor, he brings the whole house down.
“Wayne’s World! Wayne’s World! Party time! Excellent!” Mike Myers and Dana Carvey rocked SNL as Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, two slack-jawed metalheads who host their own public access show from Aurora, Illinois.
Famous for their top 10 lists, extreme close-ups, and memorable catchphrases, the duo was such a hit that they spawned two feature films and got to perform alongside Aerosmith. Truly excellent.
This spoof on the titular game show features Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek and multiple celebrity contestants who are unbelievably incompetent or disinterested in playing.
Despite many hilarious impressions, this skit is probably most famous for Trebek’s bitter feud with Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery, who spends the show either misreading the categories or mocking his frustrated host with jokes about his mother. Also, one can’t forget Norm MacDonald’s smug, gum-smacking take on Burt Reynolds (sorry, Turd Ferguson).
Written by Will Ferrell, this skit takes audiences back in time to 1976 when Blue Öyster Cult recorded their iconic song (Don’t Fear) The Reaper with producer Bruce Dickinson (Christopher Walken). Though the session seems normal at first, Dickinson comes in and demands the band use more cowbell, and a classic sketch is born.
From Ferrell dancing in a small shirt to Fallon and Sanz cracking up to Walken’s iconic performance, everything about this hilarious skit has given fans a fever that no amount of cowbell can cure.
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