Clocking in at three and a half hours, and featuring iconic figures from comedy, music, sports and Hollywood– the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special was something to behold. How do you begin to recap forty years of a comedy institution? The truth is, you can’t. Even while picking my favorite moments from the special, I realize that I have favorite moments in every single segment that they did. Truthfully, if you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live, or comedy in general, SNL 40 is worth watching from start to finish.
In our attempt to recap what was essentially their recap, here are our six favorite moments from the star-studded special.
Saturday Night Live has lasted forty years for a reason. In this segment, watch some of the most memorable moments from the seminal late night sketch show including comedy, cameos, music, and more.
Celebrity Jeopardy was one of the most crowd pleasing sketches to come out of the last twenty years. For no reason, Darrell Hammond’s pervy Sean Connery taunted Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek, as other dumb celebrities attempted to play the iconic game show. The favorites reunited last night with Ferrell at the helm, and still killing it as the straight man, by the way, with appearances by Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber, Alec Baldwin as Tony Bennett, Jim Carrey as Matthew McConaughey and Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds… Er, I mean, Turd Ferguson.
There are legendary stories about our favorite comedians auditioning for Saturday Night Live. In this retrospective, it was such a treat to watch original cast members Gilda Radner and Dan Aykroyd alongside Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and others in their auditions– which were probably some of the most nerve wracking moments of their lives. It was also fun to recognize bits that the comedians auditioned with become some of their most iconic characters. Plus, catch clips of some famous people you know and love auditioning for SNL and not making the cut.
The Californians/ Buh-Bye
I’ll admit, The Californians sketch has seen better days… But come on! Any excuse to reunite the vapid blondes, add original cast member and comedy icon Laraine Newman, and a Bradley Cooper and Betty White make out session is worth watching. Plus, there was a totally weird cameo from David Spade and Cecily Strong as the flight attendants ready to end the sketch with a mean “buh-bye.”
Weekend Update with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler & Jane Curtin
Because of my age, I started watching SNL during what I would argue has been one of the strongest stretches at the Update desk. I remember Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon, then Tina and Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers and Amy, and finally, Meyers on his own. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler anchoring the desk will always have a special place in my heart, so it was a real thrill to see the dream team together again alongside pioneer Jane Curtin.
In addition to Fey, Poehler, and Curtin, it was especially fun was seeing famous faces we all know and love pay tribute to beloved SNL characters of the past. Watch as Emma Stone recreates Roseanne Roseannadanna, Edward Norton slips into Stefon’s t-shirt and Melissa McCarthy warns kids to stay away from drugs or end up in a van down by the river.
Digital Short: That’s When You Break
Saturday Night Live has a long history of impressive video content. After a montage introduced by Louis CK, Zach Galifianakis was on hand to throw to a brand new digital short starring Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler. Look, I know it may be easy to write Samberg and The Lonely Island crew off, but the importance of their body of work on the show, which helped boost SNL‘s relevance and introduce the show in a new way to the YouTube audience, deserves some serious praise. Whether you love it or hate it when it happens, Samberg and Sandler teamed up to sing a song about when the players break and it certainly gave me a case of the giggles.
I have to give a special shout out to Bill Murray singing the love theme from Jaws. That needs to happen more frequently. What were some of your favorite moments of the comedy special?