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The ideal Saturday Night Live, in one episode

  • 25 September 2014

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.

Enjoy. 


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”).

SNL Wolverine

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

SNL Bill Murray

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.

SNL Celebrity Jeopardy

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

SNL Reagan

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

Sandler Farley SNL

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.

SNL Mother Lover

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.

SNL Fear

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

SNL Harry Caray

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

SNL Tonto

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

Dennis Miller SNL

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

SNL Gibb

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

SNL Murphy

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

SNL Wahlberg

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.

Wayne's World SNL

Disagree? Send all complaints to @InsideHook.

The Specifics

Saturday Night Live

Begins Sept. 27

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