Before he started winning Emmys for murdering people on HBO’s Barry, Bill Hader established himself as one of the funniest, most versatile cast members in Saturday Night Live history. From impressions, both famous and obscure, to absurd original roles, he was always one of the best reasons to stay home on the weekend. Here are the ten best characters from his time on SNL.
Never has someone made us laugh more without actually getting to speak.
It was like national joke that Anthony Scaramucci was put on this planet just so Bill Hader could impersonate him.
Not exactly the hardest impression in the world, but few have ever done it with as much fury and hilarity as Bill Hader.
We honestly think this is how the Royal Family behaves behind closed doors.
Fred Armisen’s Ian Rubbish was the star of this amazing fictional punk band, but Hader was pitch perfect as Bizzaros member Derek Gash.
We didn’t always know what his traffic obsessed character Devin was saying in this Southern Californian-set soap opera, but it was always funny.
You know you’re pretty good at this whole “comedy” thing when even your game show host character makes us laugh.
Greg the Alien
We mean this as a huge compliment: we wouldn’t be stunned if it turned out Bill Hader really is an alien.
When those are your characters that didn’t make your top ten, you had a pretty amazing SNL career.
10. Alan Alda
What kind of mad genius even thinks of doing an Alan Alda impression in the first place? We’re glad he did, because this is still one of the most niche, most hilarious impressions we’ve ever seen. It’s just so great.
9. Vinny Vedecci
Anyone who has ever played Super Mario Bros. can do a silly Italian “impression,” but the authentic-feeling, barely bilingual talk show host Vinny Vedecci kills us because of how much personality—most of it condescending and unprofessional—Hader puts into him.
8. Clint Eastwood
Beloved actor, celebrated director, pants-hiking spokesman, and accidental political figure Clint Eastwood was ripe for parody in 2012, and thank goodness Bill Hader was around to do it.
7. Third Merryville Brother
This might be an ensemble piece, and he might have had the “smallest” part in it, but his triangle-playing Merryville Brother who popped up at the end of every song still cracks us up. Just the way his arm shakes after playing his note kills us… like these “robots” did to those riders.
6. James Carville
Some people are so ridiculous they almost seem beyond parody, like former political operative James Carville, the “Ragin’ Cajun.” Yet that’s exactly why we love this over-the-top impression full of both physical energy and a spot-on voice saying the most ridiculous pearls of Cajun “wisdom” possible.
5. Herb Welch
He might be old, he might be incompetent, he might not know how to hold a microphone, and he might be rude, but veteran newsman Herb Welch sure did make us laugh. There was no event too somber or serious he couldn’t make the funniest thing in the world, all while threatening to start a brawl.
4. Keith Morrison
Hader’s impression of Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison is so memorable that future historians will eventually think this way-too-excited, inappropriate, noise-making version was really the newsman himself. Especially since it will always live on thanks to the eager popcorn-eating GIF it gave us.
3. Vincent Price
Lots of people can do good impressions of easily spoofed figures, but only the truly great impressionist can turn the “easy” ones into something special. For instance, when he would do his “vintage” Vincent Price holiday specials. Hader’s Price could go from sincerely haunting to exhausting and exasperated in an instant, and it was funny every time.
2. Anthony Peter Coleman
The premise of this veteran-turned-puppet-enthusiast who is working through his personal issues in the most uncomfortable way possible is broad and overtly silly, but Hader’s brilliant performance is nuanced display of amazing comedic acting. And what makes it even more impressive is this is all done live, despite how difficult it is to pull off, period.
What else could be number one? This all-time great SNL character has everything: an absurd premise, inappropriate jokes, a perfect performance, and John Mulaney writing new jokes live and making Bill Hader crack up. What more could you want? Well, except maybe an actual recommendation on something to do in New York City.