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Saturday Night Live has been a hallmark of American sketch comedy for over 40 years. It’s no exaggeration to say that the show jump-started the careers of the country’s favorite comedians, from Eddie Murphy to Tina Fey, Bill Murray to Jimmy Fallon. SNL has a way of attracting the best minds in comedy and propelling them from the show’s set and into their own storied film, television, or late night talk shows careers.
Remarkably, SNL’s format has remained the same for nearly the entirety of the show’s decades-long run (it’s also one of the longest-running network television program of all time). The show starts cold, with a sketch that always ends in that iconic, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” A celebrity guest hosts and kicks off the show by delivering a comedic monologue at the top of the hour, but the meat of SNL consists of a number of sketches, most of which are live and star the regular cast plus the celebrity host. The show is also punctuated by performances from that week’s musical guest.
That stable structure is the only stable thing about the show, though. The sketches can be hit or miss—you can’t expect a group of comedians to get it right every week. But SNL is not just one of the best comedy sketch shows. It’s a seminal part of American life and culture. As a weekly show, it needs, by definition, to stay very in tune with pop culture and politics in order to stay relevant. As a result, SNL tends to provide a sharper perspective on the country’s most pressing issues—whether that’s Trump or race issues or sexual harassment in the workplace—by satirizing the hell out of it.
In honor of the show, here is a list of the 35 best SNL skits that have ever aired. From fake commercials to digital shorts to impressions, game shows, musical parodies, political satires, and celeb appearances, something in this list is bound to crack you up.