Season 40 of “Saturday Night Live” has gotten off to a rather mediocre start. The hosts haven’t been a problem, but a lot of the writing has underwhelmed. It also says a lot about the state of “SNL” that most of the show’s most memorable bits this fall have been pre-taped, and the best sketch was cut at dress. The ratio of pre-taped bits to live sketches even has me changing the way I refer to any one particular clip, which for the purposes of this listicle, I’m referring to both pre-taped bits and live sketches as ‘segments’.
Without further ado, here are the 10 best segments from this fall’s episodes.
BACK HOME BALLERS
A great follow-up to “(Do It On My) Twin Bed.” The bit about the wifi password is pure gold.
CHARLIE ROSE COLD OPEN
Good cold opens have been hard to come by, especially during the Obama administration. But this sketch, in response to the recent CIA torture reports, only got better when the psychologists got into what other tortuous ventures they’ve been responsible for, such as Time Warner Cable customer service, self check-out, and iPhone autocorrect.
SAM SMITH/DR. EVIL COLD OPEN
An entire Sam Smith sketch would have worked, thanks on part to Taran Killam’s uncanny impersonation. Mike Myers’ cameo was the cherry on top, and took the final cold open of 2014 to unexpected heights. It wasn’t going to be easy to find a way to address the Sony leak in a broad enough way to garner laughs, but this cold open did just that. Sony hasn’t had a hit since the Walkman, and Myers hasn’t had a hit since god knows when. It was nice to see him in something genuinely funny, and not “The Love Guru.”
I have a confession to make: I haven’t seen any of the Marvel movies. I would, however, pay to see “Marvel’s Winter Pam.”
Beck Bennett as ‘guy who laughs quietly at the priest’s joke’ is damn near perfect, as is just about everything else about this.
Though Bill Hader is probably one of the show’s all-time great performers, it’s the newer cast members that steal this sketch, and one of the best things Leslie Jones has done so far.
Jim Carrey is a fantastic “SNL” host, and a great live performer, but this pre-taped runner mocking the Matthew McConaughey car ads is damn near perfect. The reveal that his kids are in the car is just gut-bustingly funny.
Every once in a while, a supremely absurd sketch comes along that: a) somehow makes it to air, and b) makes me laugh more than any other sketch of the night. Woody Harrelson’s episode was among the best of the fall, and this sketch was among the best this fall had to offer. “Apples in the usual way!”
If you aren’t familiar with this sketch, it’s probably because it never made it to air. It was done at dress, but allegedly cut for time. That’s a shame. “SNL” commented briefly on the events in Ferguson with a toothless Al Sharpton sketch, but this cringe-worthy morning show sketch might be the single best live sketch, top to bottom, of the first 10 episodes of the season. And it didn’t even make it to air!
My love of this pre-taped bit needs no explanation. Give Kenan a song and dance, and he’ll knock it out of the park 99.9% of the time. This goes right up there with Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song as one of the show’s all-time great holiday segments. Happy holidays, all!