With only a few short weeks until the return of that NBC staple, I thought we could just head this off at the pass.
“SNL hasn’t been funny in years.”
“Who cares? SNL is terrible.”
That’s my favorite. NO ONE THINKS YOU’RE FUCKING COOL, ASSHOLE WHO PRETENDS TO NEVER HAVE HEARD OF THINGS.
I loathe non-specific dismissals. If you’re going to dismiss, do like Backstreet and tell me why-y, but don’t fight the battle of who could care less in my comments thread. While I wait for your derision, I will share with you the goodness you’ve been missing while doing cool things like not owning a television and wearing scarves all summer. But, first, I’d like to blow your mind with some factual truth to repeat to yourself whilest repeating an additional chant of “it’s just a show; I should really just relax.”
SNL is as good as it’s ever been. As it’s always been. A smattering of decent, a couple terrible, a few bright burning lights of genius. And then we all change channels during the musical guest unless it’s someone really good.
I’m not going to be a complete and total Pollyanna here. Changes need to be made, namely in terms of cast member screentime. Let’s take a look at this pie chart, courtesy of SplitSider.
God, I hate Fred Armisen. He is laughter apartheid. And I’d love to see more of Nasim, Taran and Paul Brittain (I concur with Split Sider. Pharaoh is great when it comes to impressions, but dull the rest of the time). But, within the last three seasons of this television stalwart, it’s shown that it’s still relevant, it’s still funny and it’s still better than anything else on Saturday nights, so what else are you going to do?
The 15 Best SNL Sketches of the Past Three Years (2008-2011, Seasons 34-36)
15. Le Jeunes de Paris
I like weird. I like wordless dancing. I like French caricatures. Check, check, check and mate.
14. Vincent Price Halloween Special
HAMM. There’s a good reason there’s so much Hamm on this list, and I had to stop myself from adding more. He’s hands down my favorite host of the past ten years, and this sketch proves that, not unlike Timberlake, if he wasn’t Jon Fucking Hamm, he could easily have joined the cast.
13. Single Ladies Video
This video isn’t availble on SNL’s website. Know why? Because Diva Bitch Timberlake, master thespian, demanded performance residuals in order to do the sketch. That’s not typical. Stop making me hate you all the time, JT. Nevermind, debunked in the comments. Move on about your days.
12. Celebrity Jeopardy
I’m a sucker for when the alums come back to play, and this is no exception, plus bonus Hanks! I will, however, state that sketches like this are the reason it took me until Bridesmaids to have any appreciation for Kristen Wiig, and it comes and goes in waves on SNL.
11. Back to the Future Audition Videos
There’s a reason impressions tend to make the strongest…impression…on viewers. Celebrity impersonations, when done well (not necessarily the most accurately) can be incredibly entertaining. I would gladly watch an entire episode of Hader as Pacino.
10 [tie]. I’m On a Boat
10 [tie]. Just Had Sex
10 [tie]. Mother Lover
10 [tie]. Jizz In My Pants
I couldn’t pick a favorite Lonely Island song. So, I picked four. I’m really regretting not picking them all. If we were just looking at songs over videos, “Boombox” would get an honorable mention.
Epic sax, dancing Jenny Slate before she was unceremoniously shitcanned, and HAMM. Shirtless HAMM. This is possibly my favorite Digital Short.
5. Pageant Talk
I love Galifianakis’s uncomfortable, fey Southern characters (he’s done more than a few), and if he’d been a cast member before a host, this would have been a recurring character, the (good and decent) likes of which we haven’t seen in a while.
4. Classic Peg
Oh, Justin. I can’t stay mad at you.
3. Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals
I’m a simple girl with simple needs who appreciates a simple premise. The title says it all, and it’s stupid excellence.
2. Sarah Palin/Hilary Clinton
We all knew SNL would ridicule Palin within an inch of her shiny life, and I’m glad they started the slaughter with this sketch. It was so incredibly important to have two strong female performers, one portraying a strong, capable politician, taking this fool to task, completely eliminating any and all wayward “misogyny!” cries. Those were still present, largely yelled by people who don’t quite understand the term (like Palin herself) but the show handled it perfectly, and hilariously.
1. Sarah Palin Rap
The Sarah Palin rap was not merely notable for it’s burn-the-fucking-house-down performance by an about-to-pop Amy Poehler, nor its relentless (admittedly mild) teasing of Sarah Palin as she sits there dancing along. It’s notable for being the best sketch of an incredibly fertile election season. Cast members who leave and take the funny elsewhere may flicker and fade, but Poehler is special, and she will be long after Leslie Knope and company are off the air (may that day never arrive).