Yes, we really do have the 25 Best SNL sketches of all time! Even though you’ve seen it a thousand times, the best SNL sketches still find a way to make you laugh. Memorable and hilarious, they’re a cut above the rest, sticking in your head long after they’ve been off the air. It’s all in the writing, of course. The scripts are so well-written, finely crafted, and absolutely preposterous, that you can’t help but belly laugh.
At the same time, there’s no doubt the Saturday Night Live players bring the script to life. They’re so funny, it’s difficult to imagine anyone else pulling off the skit in their place. Saturday Night Live has been around for decades with a myriad of sketches to choose from. With that said, I realize it’s no small feat to try to pluck out a handful as the best, but I think many of these deserve high acclaim for their deft writing and hilarious performances. Here are 25 best SNL sketches of all time.
Let’s start out with “Evil Boss,” a skit that first premiered on Season 26 of Saturday Night Live in 2001. It stars Will Ferrell as a total lunatic boss who interviews Pierce Brosnan’s character, Kurt, for a job. As the interview degrades into madness, ending in Ferrell killing a man with a trident, Brosnan’s character understandably quits before he even begins.
Blizzard Man with Ludacris
Andy Samberg has so many great skits on SNL, it’s hard to pick just one, but “Blizzard Man with Ludacris” is so preposterous, it’s funny. The skit wisely sets up expectations that this legendary Blizzard Man (Samberg) will drop some sick lyrics, but instead of the usual rap everyone expects, he does something very different. Ludacris is thrilled; the other producers, not so much.
This skit was “cut for time” and that’s a downright travesty. It’s one of the most ridiculous and hilarious skit ideas SNL has ever come up with. In it, Ferrell plays an old prospector hired by the U.S. military to help their troops in Afghanistan. Ferrell absolutely kills it as the old prospector, making most of his co-stars laugh in the process. If you haven’t seen it, now’s the time.
This is a relatively new skit, but it still gets me every single time. In it, Steven (Ryan Gosling) is depressed, unable to get over how James Cameron used the Papyrus font in “Avatar.” It’s hilarious writing and Gosling sells the bit perfectly.
Adam Sandler Sings The Hanukkah Song
First aired in 1994, Sandler presented his “Hanukkah Song” because there were so few Hanukkah songs while Christmas had so many. The results are simply legendary with a silly song reverberating throughout history.
What happens when you combine Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell in the same skit? Pure, hilarious magic. While Ferrell’s character tries to relax in a jacuzzi, Carrey’s uptight lifeguard does everything possible to make sure that never happens. This isn’t the only time they’re in a skit together, so be prepared for another one coming up on this list.
What Up With That?
Kenan Thompson is arguably one of SNL’s greatest performers. In this recurring sketch, he plays Diondre Cole, the host of a talk show called “What’s Up With That?” During the show, he interrupts guests with jingles. Things only become more bombastic as the skit goes along, ending on Cole unable to interview the rest of his guests and always disappointing frequent guest, Lindsey Buckingham.
Wake Up and Smile
You might not recall this sketch starring Will Ferrell and Nancy Carell, but I think it deserves way more attention for its genius. Despite it’s obscurity, it has some of the funniest and clever writing on SNL. Setting up a standard daytime talk show, things quickly go awry when the teleprompter stops working. The descent into madness and the biting satire of daytime talk shows is hilarious.
Once you see the juxtaposition of Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze facing off in a Chippendales audition, it’s easy to see how funny it will turn out. Farely, though, knows how to kick things up a notch and make a skit like this work. It’s hard to imagine anyone else pulling it off the way he did.
First aired on Season 38 in 2012, there’s something hilariously unique about this sketch. Setup in a dirty apartment in New York, a puppet teacher played by Seth MacFarlane tries to teach three students the art of puppetry. Things turn to dark comedy when a veteran with PTSD (Bill Hader) keeps putting himself in his puppeteering.
Devil Can't Write No Love Song
Starring Garth Brooks and Will Ferrell, in this skit, Brooks plays a loser who makes a deal with the devil (Ferrell) for one hit song. Turns out, the devil isn’t that great of a songwriter. Brooks is a horrible actor, but Ferrell doesn’t let that get in the way and basically steals the show.
Oh, church lady, long will you reign as one of the funniest characters on SNL. Dana Carvey’s “Church Chat” is a sharp, well-written parody that never ceases to get old. Plus, how could anyone forget the church lady’s famous catchphrase, “Well, isn’t that special.”
Stefon’s Halloween Tips
Any time city correspondant Stefon, played by Bill Hader, showed up on Weekend Update, you knew you were going to laugh. In this case, he shares really weird and bizarre tips about Halloween. The best part about these skits is that most of the time Hader didn’t know what would be on the cue cards. The surprise of what he had to say pulled a genuine laugh out of the actor himself.
Technically, this is a “Digital Short,” but it’s hard to imagine it not ending up on this list. It skyrocketed Samberg into SNL stardom and paved the way for tons of hilarious future digital shorts to come. Still, this is certainly one of his best.
A riff on the old television show MacGyver, Will Forte plays MacGruber, a man trying to disarm a bomb before it’s too late. He always fails. On paper, this idea sounds kind of stupid, but somehow Forte pulls it off. Everyone loved it so much, studios turned it into a movie.
Old Glory Insurance
In this amazing skit, Sam Waterston wants to sell your grandparents insurance to protect them in the event of a robot attack. Apparently, in some future, post-apocalyptic world, scientists make robots by the thousands and they occasionally attack old people. Thanks to Old Glory Insurance, old people can have peace of mind.
There’s no doubt that “Wayne’s World” is iconic SNL. Featuring Mike Myers as Wayne and Dana Carvey as Garth, pretty much all the Wayne’s World skits are excellent. In this particular skit, Wayne and Garth review movies of the time, including The Leprechaun. Wayne’s impression of the leprechaun and Garth’s reaction is priceless.
Space: The Infinite Frontier with Harry Caray
SNL only aired a few Harry Caray skits and I don’t understand why. They’re true gems, especially this one with Jeff Goldblum. Airing in 1994, Caray hosts a science show but he’s totally clueless about everything. It’s perfect.
Jimmy Tango’s FatBusters
Remember when I said Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell would return? Well, here it is – “Jimmy Tango’s FatBusters.” What really makes this skit isn’t so much Carrey, though he certainly puts on his A Game, but the writing. The writing is next level insane. The description and the beats are make this a fine tuned machine of lunacy. But it works beautifully.
A Holiday Wish From Steve Martin
In this skit, Steve Martin has some holiday wishes. The first is a nice wish of peace and harmony. The rest, well, not so much. As he starts to list off more wishes, he struggles with know how to prioritize them. The results are a hilarious satire of human nature.
How could I leave off “Point/Counterpoint”? It’s the skit on Weekend Update that famously introduced the phrase, “Jane, you ignorant slut.” This famous line by Dan Aykroyd after Jane Curtin’s opening introduction is perfectly timed and delivered.
This sketch easily goes into the annals of SNL history as one of the best of all time. Featuring Christopher Walken as the Bruce Dickinson, he’s got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell. Ferrell’s character, Gene Frenkle, plays his heart out of that cowbell, much to his bandmates dismay. The absurdity of the sketch, the writing, and Ferrell’s performance makes it a true legend of comedy.
Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood
If you didn’t know, at one time, Eddie Murphy pretty much ran SNL during the ’80s with some of the most hilarious skits ever written. His “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” skits are no exception. Riffing off of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Murphy teaches kids all the wrong things, and it’s hilarious.
Every single Celebrity Jeopardy skit lands and it’s all thanks to fantastic writing, Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds, and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery. Connery’s consistent mockery of Trebek makes no sense, but it still brings me to tears every time. These skits are easily rewatchable and still figure out a way to make me laugh.
A Van Down By The River
This SNL sketch is comedy gold. The idea is funny, the writing is clever, and Chris Farley breathes life into the irony of a washed up motivational speaker just trying to get by motivate a couple of kids to do better. And, let’s face it, the line “living in a van down by the river” is legendary at this point.
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