If you thought Grey’s Anatomy–which is currently in its 14th season–has been on air for a long time, then you might be surprised to find that that’s child’s play compared to Saturday Night Live. The uber-popular sketch comedy show that airs on Saturday nights (duh) just entered its 43rd season, having aired for the first time in 1975.
The show has been the breeding ground for a plethora of up-and-coming comedic actors who have transformed into household names, including Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler—just to name a few.
Saturday Night Live is a witty, fast-paced show that thrives on scripted sketches and timely jokes written based on current events and big news. Political satire is one of its strong suits, and much of the show’s popularity comes from the stellar impressions of prominent political figures, like Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin, Larry David’s Bernie Sanders, and, of course, Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump. Saturday Night Live is unique in its ability to consistently churn out new and outlandish jokes and skits, and its success is evident through its skyrocketed ratings and 64 Primetime Emmy Award wins.
VALLEY decided to pay tribute to the 43rd season of Saturday Night Live with a list of favorite sketches from seasons past.
Debbie Downer: Disney World
Debbie Downer skits almost guarantee a stomach hurt from laughing. They focus on a pessimistic woman who always has a negative comment to bring down spirits and suck the fun out of a situation. Rachel Dratch’s portrayal of Debbie Downer is so hilarious that the viewers aren’t the only ones cracking up throughout the sketch.
Oprah’s Favorite Things (Birthday Edition)
Though Oprah Winfrey’s talk show may not be on the air anymore, this SNL sketch is timeless. Maya Rudolph plays Oprah, who is giving gifts to her studio audience in honor of her birthday. The reactions of the audience in the skit are a heightened parody of the classic overzealous studio audience, and the chaos that ensues is enough to make you laugh long after the skit ends.
One of the more recent skits on this list, “Santa Baby” stars Ryan Gosling (who was the first to host during this 43rd season) and Vanessa Bayer as an odd couple attending a neighbor’s Christmas party. What starts out as a normal night quickly goes awry when the hosts discover that Ryan and Vanessa’s characters believe that Santa is real. The sketch is weird and uncomfortable, one of SNL‘s best brands of humor, and that’s what makes it funny beyond belief.
Weekend Update: Stefon on Summer’s Hottest Tips
The character of Stefon, played by Bill Hader, is one of the best weekend update guests SNL has ever produced. There are not quite words to describe the quirkiness of Stefon, the city correspondent with a wealth of knowledge on highly unusual New York City hotspots. Saturday Night Live writers really had the opportunity with Stefon to let loose with their randomness, and the result is pure genius and pure hilarity that often causes Bill Hader to break into laughter himself.
High School Theatre Show
VALLEY is sure that many of us college students can probably relate to this sketch, and that’s what makes it so great. “High School Theatre Show” is a recurring sketch about a high school acting troupe putting on a performance that makes almost no sense. It gives off the façade of making a social commentary, but what the actors are actually saying sends much more laughter to the audience than a poignant message.
What are your all-time favorite Saturday Night Live skits? Tweet us @ValleyMag!