Arts & Entertainment | September 25, 2014 9:00 am

Prime Time

By The Editors

This Saturday, SNL turns 40.

Host: Chris Pratt.

Musical guest: Ariana Grande.

And, if the trusty formula holds, a wildly uneven melange of parodies, news satire, phony commercials and the occasional cowbell.

The comedic batting average: Ohhhh … .300?

So we took grand-slam favorites from each category, then stitched them together into what — we think — is the ideal episode.


1. Best Cold Open: The “live from New York” segment. Start with the first one ever: John Belushi with a horrible European accent (“I would like … to feed your fingertips … to the wolverines”).


2. Thigh-Slapping-est Monologue: Bill Murray after having done (apparently) enough coke to kill a small donkey.

3. Second-Best Game Show Skit: Celebrity Jeopardy with Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds and Jerry Lewis. Sadly, the best game show skit — Martin Short’s epic “Jackie Rogers Jr. $100,000 Jackpot Wad” — doesn’t exist on the Internet.

4. The Ultimate Political Sketch: Phil Hartman as a conniving, evil Ronald Reagan (“Jimmy, don’t make me have to kill you”).

5. Best Mankinis: Broad comedy + sly gender commentary. Nice work, Sandler/Farley.

6. Damn Tootingest Digital short: “Mother Lover.” Also would have accepted “D**k in a Box” or any of Robert Smigel’s TV Funhouse cartoons.

7. Hottest Musical Guest: Belushi promised to cameo on SNL in 1981 if they booked punk band Fear. And boy, did they leave a mark.

8. Best Celebrity Impression: Will Ferrell as anyone, really. But here: as Harry Caray, discussing astrophysics.

9. Most Excellent Recurring Characters: Tarzan, Tonto and Frankenstein. One joke, but they kept it short.

10. Wiliest Weekend Update: Once upon a time, Dennis Miller’s smug, pop-culture-savvy brand of Tourette’s was refreshing.

11. Most Epic Talk Show: Somehow, Jimmy Fallon keeps a straight face.

12. Best TV Parody: Eddie Murphy has a “helluva day in the neighborhood.”

13. Celebrity Impression Part Deux: “Mark Wahlberg” (Andy Samberg) talks to animals. “Hey, donkey, you eat apples, right? I produce Entourage.”

14. Best WTF Finale: They save the weirdest, and usually worst, for last. Not so with “Wayne’s World,” which got its SNL start as a final sketch in 1989.

Disagree? Send all complaints to @InsideHook.