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!

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