Tonight marks Saturday Night Live‘s 37th season. The show, as always, has been hit-or-miss, but I feel like the show has been getting a better grasp on the audience landscape over the past few years. It still has a lot to work out to produce an entire 90 minutes without reaching for the remote (May’s season finale with Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga came closest), but this list represents the best of what the show had to offer.
But first, here’s the most cringe-worthy skit they did last season. It’s bad, like 1980-81 season bad.
Poor Bryan Cranston. The unfortunate dark spot on his otherwise sterling late career.
Anyway, as my No. 3 choice would say, “Now back to the good part!”
· Vincent Price’s Halloween Special 1960
Basically the exact same sketch they did in 2008 with Jon Hamm, but it still leaves me in stitches. Liberace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
10. i-Sleep PRO
Like the best fake commercials, this one is short and funny and makes you a little uncomfortable. If only they would have replayed this more often than Nelson’s Baby Toupees or that gross Bosley pube transplant ad.
9. Rescue Dogs 911 app
A Digital Short with a plot?! Yes, and it perfectly sends up our app overload culture. Plus, you know you’d see Rescue Dogs 3D if Helen Mirren was in it.
8. Ground Zero Mosque
This is the sole political sketch that worked the entire season, which is a shame considering how sharp the show was in fall 2008. Maybe this year, Bill Hader will do a killer Rick Perry impression.
7. Black Friday at Mega Mart
It doesn’t get more spot-on than this parody of Black Friday deals, sponsored by Four Loko!
6. High Fructose Corn Syrup
An ad that cuts both ways. First it seems to mock the self-righteous suburban moms who think they’re better parents by eliminating “fun” snacks. But then Bobby Moynihan shows up as Nasim Pedrad’s kid, hopped up on HFCS-filled punch and wearing a top a few sizes too small. Yikes.
Just marvelous, if only to be awed by Taran Killam and Jim Carrey’s insane physicality. Creepy, but at least it sticks with you.
4. Unstoppable trailer
All season it felt like the producers and writers never gave Jay Pharaoh anything to do, other than show up and do impressions. Luckily, he’s incredible at them, and this is an actual sketch where he’s playing Denzel Washington, as opposed to sticking Will Smith in a sketch where he doesn’t belong.
3. “Jack Sparrow”
The best of last year’s Digital Shorts (though Pee-Wee’s night of debauchery and “I Just Had Sex” came close), the Lonely Island resurrected Michael Bolton’s career, transforming him into a game comedian as opposed to a walking punchline.
2. Stefon’s Valentine’s Day
Easily my favorite recurring character, Stefon cracks me (and himself) up every time he’s onscreen. Turns out he can’t keep a straight face because John Mulaney writes the lines, then switches them out for something more ludicrous during the live broadcast. Sneaky, but hilarious.
1. What’s That Name? – Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga
Season 36’s best sketch pulled off a rare trifecta (it usually is lucky to get two out of the three): it roped in big celebrities, got them to poke fun at themselves, and managed to be hilarious.