SNL: The 10 Best Sketches of the Past Season

During the regular TV season, I spend many a Sunday morning recapping the previous evening’s Saturday Night Live. With the show in hibernation till fall, I thought this weekend I’d take a trip down Recent Memory Lane and count down the 10 best sketches of Season 37. From a Kermit the Frog encounter to an all-star Weekend Update, here are my picks:

10. Arlene” (Oct. 1, 2011) | Melissa McCarthy as a frumpy office worker sexually harassing Jason Sudeikis’s mortified married man wasn’t the world’s freshest concept, but the guest host’s commitment to the comedic cause — and her outrageous use of a horse balloon — had me howling in spite of myself.

9. Really!?! With Seth and Kermit 
(Nov. 19, 2011) | Bask in Kermit’s outrage about Congress labeling Twizzlers and a grape soda as fruit salad.

8. Get in the Cage (Feb. 11, 2012)
 | Honestly, I don’t know how the real Nicolas Cage managed to keep a straight face during a bit that explained the two-step formula for his most successful movies: “All the dialog is either whispered or screamed.” And “everything in the movie is on fire.” Amazing stuff.

7. Bein’ Quirky With Zooey Deschanel 
(Feb. 11, 2012) | The actual Deschanel proved her gameness as a host by playing opposite Abby Elliott’s version of herself — a wide-eyed, twee actress extolling the virtues of Blossom, yarn (which got a genius one-word theme song), and bringing home garbage. Deschanel’s Mary Kate Olsen blew in on a breeze to make a cozy for her Starbucks cup, but Taran Killam’s Cera (a giggling, mealy-mouthed delight) and Kristen Wiig’s Bjork (“if you like screaming, make it music!”) scored plenty of laughs, too.

6. Lazy Sunday 2
 (May 19, 2012) | A terrific sequel to Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell’s genius rap collaboration. A laugh riot throughout, with doubly big guffaws at references to John Wilkes Booth, Raven Symone, and Channing Tatum. An instant classic? Yes!

5. James Carville on Weekend Update 
(March 3, 2012) | Marvel at Bill Hader’s scathingly funny and wonderfully absurdist take on the Democratic political adviser. I laughed from the beginning (Carville’s childhood game of The Patchelor featuring a bunch of kids hoping to marry a gussied-up watermelon) to that amazingly insane tale of luring Newt Gingrich into an affair with a personal ad (“I love it when a guy is just a big blob of gray”), dressing up as a woman, taking him for a Paddleboat ride, and then shocking him with a reveal of his “Harry Connick Jr.” (which looks exactly like Carville’s face — without glasses).

4. Kim’s Fairytale Divorce 
(Nov. 5, 2011) | Everything you hate about the Kardashians, but in a form designed to make you roar with laughter, instead of vomit in agony. (Apologies to Bruce Jenner’s face included.)

3. Bronx Beat
 (Feb. 18, 2012) | Amy Poehler joined guest host and fellow SNL alum Maya Rudolph for a brilliant revival of gum-snapping talk hosts Betty and Jodi, dishing everything from Jennifer Lopez’s young new beau (“why don’t you smoke a doobie spliff with your hip-hop boy-toy?”) to their own sex lives to episodes of Hoarders (where people find “open cans of Dinty Moore beef stew under a blanket of adult diapers”). The insanity got cranked up to 11 when Andy Samberg and a “hirsute” Timberlake went from camera guy and boom operator to Betty and Jodi’s amorous guests.

2. Stefon 
(Dec. 10, 2011) | I could barely breathe during the season’s best Stefon, from the punch line about a bulldog who looks like Wilford Brimley (“the password is dia-beatus”) to Menorah the Explorer and all the way to that genius/random mention of a CVS employee (“don’t bother her, because she is on break!”). Bonus: Hader almost losing it on the second mention of “Spud Webb.”

1. Weekend Update Joke-Off 
(Dec. 17, 2011) | In a stroke of comic genius, Poehler, Tina Fey, and guest host Jimmy Fallon got behind the anchor’s desk with Seth Meyers and lobbed punch line after punch line about a strip club offering free lap dances to patrons who donate gifts for needy children. (The buzzer sound-effects were pretty amazing, too.) SNL should be required to wrangle guests for a joke-off every single week, no? My personal fave (from Fallon): “Unlike the strippers, the toys must not be damaged.”

What were your favorite sketches from SNL‘s latest season? Did I miss any of your personal picks? Or did I include anything that made you roll your eyes? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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98 Comments
  1. I agree with most of it, but I’d put The Real Housewives of Disney in there as well. :D

    • Carrie says:

      Me, too. That’s the first thing I thought of. There were some other fun skits this season with the cast doing celebrity impressions, like Maya Rudolph as Beyonce and everyone visiting her new baby, and the Michael Buble (sp?) Christmas album. Those were my favorites.

    • xwiseguyx says:

      100% agree – I’d replace the Being Quirky sketch with this Real Housewives of Disney. as well as the Michael Buble Christmas album over the James Carville… which I must be missing something on what’s so funny about that…

    • Jess says:

      Nice to see this is the first comment. It was the one I immediately thought of as well.

  2. noa says:

    great choices! i love seeing Amy Poehler there twice (and in the 2 top spots) in a season she didn’t even get to host. says a lot :)

  3. Ross Bonaime says:

    My top 2 would easily be the 100th Digital Short and #1 hands down tis the goodbye to Kristen Wiig.

  4. o says:

    what about the Californians, Garth&Kat, Doonese, the Harry Potter skit….i could go on

    • Jaded77 says:

      The Californians was totally our favorite of the season! We still quote it all the time and watch it back too. I LOVED it!

      • zaza says:

        What are ooooyouuuu doing here?
        P.S. We all don’t talk like that, but it’s still funny!

      • Ckey says:

        I AGREE… The Californians would be at the TOP of the list as well as the 100th Digital short. You’ve just got to see the web Exclusive clip of the Dress Rehearsal for the Californians…no one could keep it together!!! Hilarious!!! (I think it’s on nbc.com)

  5. Juan says:

    the only weekend update moments i agree with are Stefon and Carville.
    The Muppet opening was much funnier than Really?! because Really?! is just out of Kermit’s character.
    Bronx Beat has never been funny to me.

    I would have included McCarthy’s Lulu Diamonds skit.
    Eli’s courtroom skit. (kewl)
    The Jeremy Lin cold open.
    and
    the LGBT Prom with Marty Culp and Bobbi Mohan-Culp

    I love Tina Fey, but that Joke-Off was nowhere near any of their best moments.
    Yet she was still the strongest in it.

  6. Me Talk Pretty says:

    No Beyonce & JayZ’s friends coming to visit the new baby? That was hilarious.

  7. Gilly says:

    Great choices, but this list is missing the Beyonce/Jay-Z baby skit from Maya’s episode, and Kristen Wiig’s goodbye.

  8. Mike says:

    My favorite (that didn’t make the list): Liza Minelli Tries To Turn Off A Lamp

  9. Sourabh says:

    Real Housewives of Disney

  10. court says:

    thought it could’ve used more from the maya rudolph ep…though it was a trainwreck, that game show sketch was GOLD…and the beyonce sketch…i thought lazy sunday 2 was average at best, i would’ve included the 100th one instead probably..

  11. Roy_Munson says:

    Arlene was absolutely awful. Think about it — Would it be remotely funny, if it starred anyone but a fat lady?

    • Margaret says:

      Arlene was hilarious! Think about if Tina Fey starred in it. I would watch that

    • Lime says:

      It would be. It’s funny because Melissa TOTALLY committed to the role. Couldn’t you see Amy Poehler as Arlene? She would have killed it, as did Melissa. It’s the awkward/desperate vibe, not the size of the actress, that made it funny.

  12. DL says:

    For me I’d put the Maya Angelou prank show and the 100th Digital Short up there somewhere.

  13. Charnice says:

    I’m surprised that the “Someone Like You” sketch didn’t make the list (if only for Coldplay crying at the end.

  14. Alex says:

    There was definitely some good sketches this season…I was in the audience for Zooey Deschanel’s episode, and the “Get in the Cage” sketch was definitely the hilight!

  15. Clarissa says:

    The Jay-Z and Beyonce skit was amazing! I watched it so many times, its not even funny! That one definitely needed to be included and the Someone Like You skit had me rolling!! Amazing! I would have liked to see those included.

  16. Mark says:

    Are you kidding me? No Hidden Valley Ranch skit on this list? I’ve watched that skit numerous times and laughed hard each time. Such s great skit. Melissa committed to it (like she did the whole episode)

  17. Erin says:

    The Weekend Update with Bill Hader as drunk Rick Perry should be on this list. The part with the Hawaiian bobblehead kills me every time.

  18. Sal says:

    Man, it’s so difficult to find these videos if you aren’t in the US! Come on, Hulu!

  19. Justin says:

    I kept laughing at the drunk uncle skits on weekend update, bobbi monahan’s delivery still has me quoting it (is this gluten-free?)

  20. Bartleby says:

    Lord Wyndemere!

  21. Blue Ivy, the one with Lindsey Lohan and the phone calls and the Chantex commercial.

  22. what about Daniel Radcliffe as Casey Anthony’s Dog????? I thought that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life and know it word for word!

  23. guest says:

    How did Hidden Valley Ranch not make the cut? Melissa McCarthy’s best sketch and my favourite of the season. The Real Housewives of Disney was great as well. I don’t know if I’d agree with many of the Weekend Update sketches.

  24. YowzaPowza says:

    Not necessarily the most creative, but the most hardcore straight up laughing fit I had on SNL this year was the Maya Rudolph hosted skit with she and Kristen Wiig as game show girls driving around in that cart knocking stuff over breaking character. To me, that’s number one.

  25. Casey akset says:

    Beyond sketch… Number one. Come on!!!

  26. Dan says:

    The reappearance of the ESPN feminine hygiene products sketch was a winner. Eli manning mo-cap for the video game was an old concept, but executed well. Sofia Vergara as the Hunger Games reporter was pretty good. And the (presumably) final Laurence Welk show was pretty good.

  27. Matt says:

    Nobody mentioned the football sketch with Steve Busemi? That was genius!

  28. T. says:

    Hidden valley ranch. Jack tastic!

  29. Musicfan5 says:

    The Real Housewives of Disney and Hidden Valley Ranch were my favorites, but the Joke Off was also great.

  30. Mel says:

    The one I watch over and over is the 10-to-1 skit with Jason Segal… The Blue Jean Committee & their song “Massachusetts Avenue.” Also the 10-to-1 with Steve Buscemi and the ornaments. The kinda of bizarre ones usually have a more lasting impression on me. Oh yes, and the Jay-Z/Beyonce skit, Justin Timberlake’s Justin Vernon is so right on.

    That Stefon skit WAS the best one of the season and I’m laughing just reading the line about the CVS employee.

  31. MLO says:

    Hello from Canada! Can’t watch the clips – not available in my location.

  32. Bob says:

    Wait a minute! Where are all the “SNL hasn’t been funny for 15 years” trolls? Seem to be an awful lot of “Where’s this sketch?” comments. Guess SNL really IS still funny (mostly) after all these years.

  33. WHERE IS THE BEYONCE SKIT!!! THAT WAS INSANE!!! the taylor swift part!!!! DYING STILL!!!!!!

  34. Ken Grundt says:

    Amazon.com “50 Shades of Gray” Mother’s Day Parody.

  35. Wids says:

    Michael Bolton Sings “Captain Jack Sparrow”

    • Mike says:

      Actually, that was last season. :-) But I think he may have sang a line of it in the 100th Digital Short this year. lol

  36. Aj Brown says:

    They should do snl weekend update all the time, thats the only reason i watch the show!

  37. hi over here venezuela! Can’t watch the clips either – not available in my location.some body can tell me why?

  38. pistolsmoke says:

    Drunk Uncle for sure and also the radio skit B108FM. “You know Eagle Creek Middle School gonna be closed!”

  39. Tommy says:

    this was an absolutely horrible list…although once I saw the very first entry being Arlene, one of the dumbest SNL sketches of all time, I didnt take it seriously

  40. devindini says:

    The Eli Manning courtroom sketch where he had to make the “LOL” face was hysterical!

  41. Taylor says:

    My favorite was The Californianssssss. :)

  42. brandon a says:

    So dumb, but the zooey and kristen sketch where they were hosting a crab party gets me every time. “A real lot of cray yub!” So good. Also, I love drunk uncle “immigrants!” I’m so sad to see kristen go, but so excited to see the younger players step up. Nassim pedrad is easily my favorite. I love her as the girl whose mother is her best friend or Kim k. And her niki manaj impression is gold! (Ps, sorry for all the spelling mistakes)

  43. Mel says:

    I’d include the sketch where Tim Tebow meets Jesus, We’re Going to Make Technology Hump, and the bridal shower sketch with Emma Stone.

  44. Mel says:

    And the Almost Pizza sketch!! That was hysterical!!

  45. Travis Kemp says:

    You made some really good choices. But, I’m afraid that you left out “The Real Housewives of Disney”, “Beyonce & Jay-Z’s Baby” & that sketch where everybody in the cast was crying to Adele’s “Someone Like You”. Another honorable mention is the “Les Jeunes de Paris” skit that featured Jean Dujardin from “The Artist”.

  46. jobaybe1961 says:

    Kristen Wiig as Paula Deen on Weekend Update…funniest skit EVER! :)

  47. joe says:

    Drunk uncle and Anthony crispino are hilliarious. But the eli court room was the best. “KEWL”

  48. Jeffrey Witte says:

    Agree…two words: Hetb Welch.

  49. R says:

    I personally think Taran Killam stole the show this season! should be promoted to regular!

    I also loved the Pantene commercial with Sofia Vergara – being Kate McKinnon’s first show, she kicked out of the park with her Penelope Cruz impersonation!

  50. Abe Froman says:

    I’m surprised you could actually find 10 good skits this season. How does Seth Meyers even show his face in public? He’s the head writer of the worst-written show on TV today.

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