Top 10 Sketches from Season 39 of ‘Saturday Night Live’

By May 21, 2014
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With the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” behind us (read my review here), all we can do is look forward to what the 40th season might bring in the fall. There are likely going to be some cuts made to the incredibly large cast (mostly in the featured player department), but until then, let’s look back on the ten best sketches of the 39th season. There were a lot of truly great pieces of comedy, and while most of them were pre-recorded sketches, there are a couple of good live ones, too. So here we go:

Black Jeopardy (host Louis C.K.) – In the absence of Celebrity Jeopardy since Will Ferrell left the show, there have been plenty of other game shows, but this iteration of Jeopardy saw Louis C.K. taking a contestant role in a version meant specifically for black people. This was a perfect blend of racial humor and witty writing that probably wouldn’t have worked so well if featured player Sasheer Zamata hadn’t been hired on the show at the beginning of 2014.

We Did Stop (host Miley Cyrus) – Going back to the time of the government shutdown near the beginning of the season, and this was a timely sketch. Now about 8 months later, the sketch still packs a hilarious punch. Miley Cyrus is just being herself dressed as Michelle Bachmann but Taran Killam as John Boehner is what seals the deal for greatness.

Girls (host Tina Fey) – It’s a simple premise, but all the spot-on impressions of the main cast members of the HBO series “Girls” combined with Tina Fey’s sad Albanian woman absolutely cracked me up. The rough-around-the-edges refugee was able to mock the characters of the HBO show and the promo looked and sounded just like a real episode of “Girls.”

Saturday Night Live - Josh Hutcherson - Your Love

Your Love (host Josh Hutcherson) – Maybe it’s just my affinity for this classic pop rock song, but this sketch has stuck with me over the months. Josh Hutcherson could have lip-synced a little better, but the premise of this sketch was just so fun, that I wish it would recur with other ’80s songs and scenarios. Pure fun. (Editor’s Note: this video isn’t officially online due to music rights because of the usage of The Outfield’s song, but you can find the sketch here.)

 

Bird Bible – Such a deliciously awkward commercial, clearly from the mind of Mike O’Brien, and made all the better by Kate McKinnon. The crazy thing is there are actually weird Biblical products like this that are sold just as earnestly. As I pointed out in my initial reaction to this sketch, the best part is O’Brien getting visually annoyed at his son and saying, “Let’s just enjoy it for what it is.”

 

Chris for President – Kyle Mooney turned into more of a breakout star than we expected him to this year, and that’s mostly thanks to his spectacular pre-recorded sketches. While Mike O’Brien has a little more quirky and peculiar sense of humor, Mooney still goes for the weird, but with a much less polished, guerilla comedic style. This is the epitome of his work this season, a sketch that feels honest and hilarious, perfectly poking fun at this kid that we all knew in high school.

Boy Dance Party (host Bruce Willis) – It doesn’t get much better than Bruce Willis having a dance party with the guys of “Saturday Night Live.” In addition to having some great writers at “SNL,” there’s also some talented people who create the catchy music and tunes that make these kind of sketches such a success. This is actually a song I would listen to in my car like a track that The Lonely Island would have produced.

 

Monster Pals (host Seth Rogen) – Every now and then you’ll see a clip from the decades of “SNL”s past that will feature a sketch that isn’t laugh out loud hilarious, but is still funny and has a lot of heart and artistic merit. This is one of those sketches. In what feels like a genuine short film with a comedic edge, this was something special to behold on “SNL” this season, and really helped me become fond of Mike O’Brien towards the end of this season.

New Horror Trailer (host Edward Norton) – In a sketch that was done so well that Wes Anderson could have directed it himself and we would have believed it, we get an idea of what a horror film in the hands of the signature auteur filmmaker would feel like. With nods to The Royal Tenenbaums and more, this looked, felt and sounds just like a Wes Anderson movie, and we’re actually a little bummed that there’s no feature length version, especially with Edward Norton’s killer impression of Owen Wilson.

(Do It On My) Twin Bed (host Jimmy Fallon) – This was hands down my favorite sketch of the season, and I knew it was going to be hard to beat as soon as it aired. This is a sketch that I watched several times on my DVR, and got really excited when they made the track available on iTunes for purchase. Like any good comedy song, it’s catchy musically and hilarious lyrically. This is even better than some of The Lonely Island music videos that played when Andy Samberg was still a cast member.

So there you have it. Now before anyone goes complaining or pointing out that most of these are pre-recorded sketches, keep in mind that these aren’t any easier to pull off than the live show; they come together just as quickly as the sketches that aren’t taped. This is especially true for the ones that feature the host in a prominent role as several of the above videos do. That being said, there were still a lot of strong live sketches this season. For anyone that says “Saturday Night Live” isn’t funny anymore, you couldn’t be more wrong.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.