Saturday Night Live (SNL) has been on the air for 44 years so far. And it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. The classic comedy sketch show attracts the best minds in comedy and has a way of sending them off into their own films, TV shows, or late night talk show careers.
With a rotating cast, the sketches can be hit or miss. They can’t always be bang on! But despite the sketches that don’t make it, SNL is one of the best comedy sketch shows ever. It’s a pivotal part of American life and culture. So to honor the show, we made a list of the best skits, ranked.
From fake commercials to digital shorts, to game shows and impression, musical parodies, celeb appearances, and breaking character, these sketches are sure to make you laugh and feel nostalgic at the same time. And it’s always fun to see which parts will make the actors break character, if at all!
And after we reveal the #1 best skit, there’s a playlist to the videos!
40. Church Chat (1987)
Dana Carvey’s Church Lady graced us with her presence many years ago with the iconic character who shares her thoughts on current political and cultural issues.
Carvey said he based the character on women he saw from the church he grew up going to. They would always keep track of his and others’ attendance. The recurring character has a few memorable and hilarious moments with different SNL hosts.
39. Papyrus (2017)
SNL took the impending release of three more Avatar sequels and ran with it. In this skit, Ryan Gosling is tormented by that “tribal yet futuristic” look of the movie’s title font – Papyrus. They are essentially parodying most thrillers.
The context is hilarious and Gosling does a great performance. He’s so good, that if this was a real 2-hour movie, people would probably go see it.
The next skit is one of the most iconic SNL sketches ever seen.
38. Spartans Cheerleaders (1995)
One of the most iconic recurring sketches on SNL is the perky and enthusiastic cheerleading duo Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri. They were the greatest thing to happen to school sports and everyone in high school wishes they had cheerleaders like these two.
Who else would show up to a chess tournament with cheers like “U.G.L.Y., you ain’t got no alibi, you ugly, hey hey, you ugly.” The two were perfectly hilarious when put together.
37. Point/Counterpoint (1978)
When we say best sketches of all time, it includes vintage SNL, too. Back in 1978, debates about gender equality and sexism were funny, or at least they were in this skit. Jane Curtin goes up against Dan Aykroyd.
It’s hard to imagine something like this being allowed on the air in today’s world. But hey, it’s fun to go back in time and have a laugh.
The next skit is something SNL does best – parodies!
36. Dear Sister (2007)
Anyone who watched The O.C. or knows of it, would appreciate the reference of this skit. And even if you don’t, it’s still funny. The inspiration: the season 2 finale of The O.C., when Marissa shot Ryan’s older brother Trey and Imogen Heap’s voice from her song “Hide and Seek” started playing.
Andy Samberg and friends created a hilarious parody of that O.C. scene, with the song’s iconic, melodramatic chorus which ends up becoming the punchline.
35. Stefon’s Halloween Tips (2012)
Bill Hader plays the strange and twitchy NYC club kid who comes on as a recurring character to give his insights as the city correspondent. The best part of this skit is that he constantly tries not to laugh. But he ends up breaking character and cracking up.
Turns out, the part that made Hader crack up was inserted into the teleprompter by friend and co-writer John Mulaney, without him knowing. “It’s like a whole country watching John and I laugh at our sense of humor,” Hader later said. Stuff like this makes us love the show even more!
34. Kimye Talk Show (2014)
It’s easy to find celebrities in Hollywood to mock and SNL does it best. They know who to poke fun at and when. Here we have the famous power couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
The impressions are hilarious and you’re guaranteed a good laugh.
The next skit is another hilarious one that you won’t regret watching!
33. What Up With That? (2010)
Kenan Thompson, one the best cast members, is in a recurring sketch where he plays Diondre Cole, the host of a talk show called “What’s Up With That?”
But throughout the whole show, he keeps interrupting guests with jingles. And things get progressively insane. If you notice, you’ll see the cast members smiling and trying not to laugh.
32. Puppet Class (2012)
Bill Hader is definitely one of the show’s greatest. This skit is definitely as unique as it is hilarious. The setup is in a dirty apartment in New York, and a puppet teacher played by Seth MacFarlane is teaching students the art of puppetry.
But it gets dark when we see a veteran with PTSD (Bill Hader) who keeps putting himself into the puppeteering. It’s impossible not to laugh at this one.
31. Celebrity Jeopardy (1999)
Another iconic SNL sketch is the recurring game show with host Will Ferrell who is supposed to portray Alex Trebek. Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery is one of the best impersonations, and his rivalry with Trebek always gets the audience.
It’s all about Trebek vs. Connery in the end. If only the real Jeopardy show was this entertaining.
Next, a Thanksgiving miracle! Or not…
30. A Thanksgiving Miracle (2016)
Remember Adele’s “Hello?” This skit shows a family of differing views who only find common ground when the song starts playing.
You get to see Jay Pharaoh and Matthew McConaughey in false lashes, painted nails, a blonde wig, and a faux fur coat. Just like Adele.
29. I’m On a Boat (2009)
The Lonely Island managed to bring an SNL bit to go platinum. Andy Samberg and the boys along with T-Pain’s made a nautical anthem. And it became the most-watched video on YouTube the month it aired. Not only that. It also topped the iTunes charts and got a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration!
Their music video about a three dudes who are ecstatic to win a free boat ride will go down in history as one of the best.
Next, Fred Armisen, as one of SNL’s best, pays a tribute to the late great Robin Williams.
28. Farewell, Mr. Bunting (2016)
Dead Poet’s Society which starred Robin Williams is a movie about the beauty of poetry and the need for good teachers. Farewell, Mr. Bunting is a mocking of Dead Poet’s Society until, it shows you how it actually has nothing to do with it.
We don’t want to ruin the twist, but we’ll tell you that there is a serious shock factor to this skit. And Fred Armisen’s deadpan look is perfect.
27. Katie Couric Interviews Sarah Palin (2008)
During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Governor from Alaska was chosen as John McCain’s running mate. And Tina Fey not only looks a lot like her. But she plays her so well.
Tina wasn’t even on SNL anymore when this was going on. But she came back from time to time just to portray the All-American Alaskan Governor. Her best performance as Palin was when she spoofed the infamous Katie Couric interview.
26. Dysfunctional Family Dinner (1998)
One thing Will Ferrell manages to do so well is tap into every character he plays and makes you really believe him. Here, he plays hanging on to his sanity by a thread.
Just waiting for Ferrell to freak out leaves the audience giddy with anticipation. And laughter of course.
Next, a fake commercial about a product that can actually be seen on the shelves today!
25. Mom Jeans (2003)
Some SNL sketches are timeless, like this commercial parody for Mom Jeans, denim pants that have a 9-inch zipper and casual front pleats.
The voice over says, “Cut generously to fit a mom’s body.” Funnily enough, stores today have jeans with the tag “Mom Jeans.” Some things just never go out of fashion.
24. Old Glory Insurance (1995)
Adam McKay used to be an SNL head writer (who also directed Anchorman and Talladega Nights) who named this commercial parody as his favorite contribution to the show.
And if this product really existed in real life, people would buy it.
The next skit stars another SNL cast member who pulled off his characters so well!
23. The Falconer (2002)
Will Forte played recurring character The Falconer who “was a rising star in the Baltimore advertising business” that received a mysterious package. He left his job and wife and entered the forest to meet a falcon named Donald.
He usually gets trapped in some way and asks the Falcon to get him out. The falcon always leaves and does something completely unrelated and for himself and then at the very end comes back with something for the Falconer to free himself with.
22. Debbie Downer (2004)
This classic skit shows the timeless character Debbie, who even at Disneyland finds things to be depressed about.
Rachel Dratch tells her friends about Mad Cow Disease among other depressing subjects. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon and the other cast members can’t hold back their laughter.
Next, one of the best skits with one of the best actors in Hollywood!
21. Haunted Elevator (2016)
Tom Hanks was reluctant to do this sketch at first. If you saw this sketch, you’ll know it makes no sense. But it’s comedy surrealism at its best. No one knows who David S. Pumpkins is and why he’s in 73 of the Haunted Elevator’s 100 floors.
This sketch shows Hanks as at one of his weirder and hard to explain moments on TV. You can’t help but be amused by him and the utter strangeness of this sketch.
20. Dinner Discussion (2018)
This sketch nails how uncomfortable society can get with any sort of chance in tone. It’s not easy to talk about pertinent issues in today’s world.
But this well-timed sketch lets us explore that space while also letting us laugh along and breathe a little.
The next skit is so funny that everyone in the scene couldn’t stop from laughing.
19. The Californians (2012)
The Californians is another recurring sketch, and for a reason: it made people laugh non-stop. It’s a parody of a typical soap opera featuring rich blonde people with exaggerated Valley Girl accents.
Most of the dialogue consists of descriptions of driving routes, a jab at how people from the state always talk about driving. Aside from the actual hilarity of the sketch itself, the breaking of character is the best part.
18. Close Encounter (2015)
Ryan Gosling couldn’t make it through the whole skit without cracking up. Can you blame him? Kate McKinnon is as funny as can be and doesn’t break character! She’s basically the female version of Will Ferrell.
This was the first of a number of sketches, being tweaked each time. But the four SNL hosts subjected to these “encounters”; Ryan Gosling, Casey Affleck, Brie Larson, and Liev Schreiber all broke at some point. It has turned into a legendary sketch thanks to Kate’s comic genius.
17. Garth and Kat (2009)
The pair Kristen Wiig and Fred Armison have a certain chemistry and perfect when they are in skits together. And this is their best by far. They would show up on “Weekend Update” with their apparently “prepared” songs.
But it was obvious to everyone that they were ad-libbing on the spot. And their matching outfits always were spot-on. Try to watch the skit without laughing. We don’t think it’s possible.
The next SNL host from 1998 is now a recurring character on the show.
16. NPR’s “The Delicious Dish” with Pete Schweddy (1998)
Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon sit down with Alec Baldwin aka Pete Schweddy to discuss his famous “balls.” This sketch became so famous that there’s an ice cream flavor named after it.
Ben and Jerry’s Schweddy Balls is a vanilla ice cream with a “hint of rum and loaded with fudge-covered rum and malt balls.”
15. The Calvin Ads (2015) As SNL loves to do, they made fun of a commercial by Calvin Klein with Justin Bieber. And the great Kate McKinnon did an amazing job playing the buff and tatted singer.
Bieber was accused of obvious Photoshop overcompensation for his body in the underwear ads that showed enhancements to every muscle on his body (and his crotch). So clearly, SNL had to mock it, of course.
The next skit is one of the best parodies ever made!
14. The Real Housewives of Disney (2012)
This is a hysterical skit that is on one hand mocking the Real Housewives TV show as well as the classic Disney princesses. This is what happens when Cinderella, Rapunzel, Belle, and the rest of the Disney princesses have too much to drink and get on each other’s nerves.
Just as the Real Housewives is full of drama, so is the house of princesses. And Kristen Wiig goes down as one of the best cast members in SNL history. Period.
13. Daily Affirmation (1991)
Stuart Smalley (played by Al Franken) portrayed a soft-spoken man who was obsessed with daily affirmations. But his best and most shining moment was when Michael Jordan hosted the show.
He was able to get the superstar NBA legend to look in the mirror and say, “I don’t have to dribble the ball fast or throw the ball in the basket” without even cracking up.
Tracy Morgan fans will appreciate the next SNL skit.
12. Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet (2001)
Tracy Morgan‘s created this character who was based on a high school friend of his ex-wife. He was a “gay man who imagined stuff in his head and thought he knew everything,” Morgan said.
The host of the animal show and his knowledge of animals that’s only a bit above that of a 4 year old, is one that always makes audiences laugh. With observations like, “I once saw a video of a monkey washing a cat. That’s crazy!” and the way Morgan delivers them is nothing short of laughter.
11. Lazy Sunday (2005)
This digital short officially put Andy Samberg on the map and it was the beginning of rap comedy group The Lonely Island.
The whole rap is about what the two plan on doing on a Sunday afternoon.
The next skit is so funny, that you can’t help but laugh along with them!
10. Super Showcase Spokesmodels (2012)
When it comes to hilariousness on screen, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph couldn’t be better together. They actually went on to make a movie together (Bridesmaids).
In this The Price Is Right parody, two incompetent spokesmodels have trouble presenting the “Super Showcase” prizes to the game show host (Bill Hader) and the contestant who isn’t winning them.
9. Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood (1981)
Eddie Murphy plays a much grimier version of the lovable Mr. Rogers. As you may recall, the real Mr. Rogers style was to wear the cardigan, open the door, change his shoes, and greet the boys and girls at home.
But no, not today. Mr. Robinson would school the children on other subjects, like the importance of a pair of disco shoes, and, of course, swear words. Thanks Mr. Robinson!
8. The Love-ahs (2001)
Jimmy Fallon is known for his constant breaking of character. And you can’t blame him when you’re surrounded by comic geniuses, such as Will Ferrell.
This skit is one of the best for the idea itself as well as the breaking of character. Even Will Ferrell cracks up at one point! You physically can’t keep a straight face when watching this one.
Next is another one of Will Ferrell’s best moments on the show.
7. Space, the Infinite Frontier with Harry Caray (1997)
Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray ended up doing a talk show about outer space. On SNL, at least. It’s best not to ask why. It’s best to just sit back and enjoy.
His line “That’s why my friends call me Whiskers” is iconic and the skit is one of the most memorable of all time. Not to mention that Ferrell’s mannerisms are on the ball.
6. Wild and Crazy Guys! (1977)
This is a vintage classic and deserves to be up there as one of the best. It’s a classic comedy sketch that introduces The Festrunk Brothers. Yortuk (Dan Aykroyd) and Georg (Steve Martin) are two immigrants looking for some “beautiful American foxes.”
According to Yortuk, “there are no other pair of Czech brothers who cruise and swing so successfully in tight slacks.” But we beg to differ.
The next skit goes down in history as one of the funniest and shocking!
5. Chippendales (1990)
Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze competing at a Chippendales audition? Only on SNL could such comedic gold happen. We can’t help but be majorly impressed by Farley’s bravery as well as surprising agility!
Farley’s butt crack next to Swayze’s rock-hard abs is a picture you’ll never see anywhere else. And if you can manage not to laugh while watching this skit, we would wonder if you’re a robot. RIP Chris Farley.
4. Wayne’s World (1990)
Many SNL kits end up becoming super famous and successful movies. This is the perfect example. This skit debuted two years before the movie came out. Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar became two of the most loveable heavy metal-ers on screen.
The two hosted their public access program from the basement of Wayne’s parents’ house. The question now is: what did you like better? The SNL skits or the movies?
Wanna know another SNL vintage classic? See the next photo.
3. Buh-Weet Sings (1981)
Eddie Murphy set the bar for SNL comedy. He stole the show with this skit that was based on Eddie Murphy’s memories of the Our Gang comedies. It turned into an infomercial for an imagined album of pop classics (“untz, tice, fee times a nady”).
Buckwheat became so popular and long-running that the staff got tired of the character and they wrote him off in the skit the “Assassination of Buckwheat.”
2. Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker (1993)
Here is another Chris Farley at his best moment. Cast members can barely hold it together when a motivational speaker comes to the house to talk some sense into them. David Spade and Christina Applegate are laughing the whole time.
He just keeps warning them to not end up living in a van down by the river. Apparently, it was an accident when Farley tripped and fell through the coffee table. Even Farley, who breaks character for a second, begins to crack up.
1. Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult (2000)
Ask any SNL fan to use more cowbell and they will appreciate your reference. This is by far the show’s best skits of all time. This is a parody of VH1’s Behind the Music, where we see Blue Öyster Cult’s fictional recording of their future hit “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”
Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken steal the show, but the rest of the band cracking up is nothing short of pure hilariousness. We promise you, if you haven’t seen this sketch, you have to and you will thank us. And we also promise you that once you do, you’ll never be able to hear the song without thinking of this skit.
And here is the list: PLAYLIST of the Top NSL Sketches