“Saturday Night Live” is like a comedy fire hose. Some “SNL” sketches are hilarious and memorable; others don’t really land. And still others get overshadowed, with audiences not realizing how great a sketch was until later, or maybe never. With plenty more “SNL” 42 to go, we’ve compiled the very best sketches of the season so far, and we’ll keep it updated from week to week.
25. “Jingle Barack” (Host: Casey Affleck, Dec. 17, 2016)
Invoking Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis,” this wound up being a pretty catchy song about the possibility of this being the last Christmas ever. The song celebrates (kind of) Barack Obama during his last Christmas in office, but the person who really gets honored is Joe Biden, thanks to Leslie Jones’ verse about how attracted to him she is. Watch it here.
24. “Rap Song” (Host: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, May 20)
What started out as a goofy premise for a sketch — Keenan Thompson is a rapper introducing guest acts for his latest track, but the cast list gets out of control — turned into a stealth return of fan-favorite Tom Hanks character David S. Pumpkins. It was weird in a perfect way, and just enough Pumpkins to make the joke work without overselling it. Watch the sketch here.
23. “Walking Dead Chappelle’s Show” (Host: Dave Chappelle, Nov. 12, 2016)
It’s just a series of callbacks to “Chappelle’s Show” characters who were funny a decade ago. Still, Chappelle playing almost every role in this “Walking Dead” send-up is a good reminder of how funny that show was. Watch the sketch here.
22. “Shud the Mermaid” (Host: Scarlett Johansson, March 11)
This one is mostly makeup and gross innuendo, as Kate McKinnon and Scarlett Johansson play mermaids who are more fish than maiden. McKinnon and Johansson’s commitment to being totally nasty really sells the joke though. Watch the sketch here.
21. “Trump People’s Court” (Host: Alec Baldwin, Feb. 11)
“SNL” made good on Trump’s all-caps “SEE YOU IN COURT” tweet by taking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to “The People’s Court.” But Judge Milian hassling Trump about his travel ban was a bit too short to really take off. Watch the sketch here.
20. “Stranger Things” (Host: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Oct. 8)
“SNL” answers a very important question of “Where is Lucas’ family in ‘Stranger Things?’” When they show up looking for their son, they turn out to be the only sane people in the whole supernatural Midwestern story. The standout of this one is Melissa Villaseñor’s Winona Ryder impression. You can watch the sketch here.
19. “Haunted Elevator (featuring David S. Pumpkins)” (Host: Tom Hanks, Oct. 22)
Of everything that aired during Tom Hanks’ ninth episode hosting “SNL,” his David S. Pumpkins character resonated the most for some reason. The dancing skeletons gag can’t sustain laughs for as long as it’s dragged out, until the final punchline redeems the whole thing. You can watch the sketch here.
18. “The Librarian” (Host: Margot Robbie, Oct. 1)
Margot Robbie is Ms. Dalton, the sexy librarian all the high school guys oogle. And then Yello’s “Oh Yeah” kicks on and you think it’s going to be some crazy adolescent fantasy — except it becomes horrifying. Robbie as the gross, hairless, murdering librarian continually tops herself as the sketch goes on. You can watch the sketch here.
17. “Live Report” (Host: Margot Robbie, Oct. 1)
At first, a newscast where Kenan Thompson can’t believe Mikey Day’s nerdy guy is married to Margot Robbie draws a light chuckle. Then Leslie Jones gets in on the act and suddenly it’s a multi-pronged conspiracy like investigation. And then Thompson drives it home when he realizes Matt Shatt is wearing crocks with socks. You can watch the sketch here.
16. “Jeff Sessions Gump” (Host: Octavia Spencer, March 4)
Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions tells random strangers on a park bench about the rough week he’s been having. McKinnon slays the impression of both Sessions and Forrest Gump, and her reference to Kellyanne Conway’s #Couchgate gaff through the lens of Gump was a standout moment. Watch the sketch here.
15. “Whiskers R’ We with Kristen Wiig” (Host: Kristen Wiig, Nov. 19)
It’s the Thanksgiving for “Whiskers R’ We,” so Kate McKinnon’s “SNL” cat lady Barbara DeDrew is joined by Furonica — a cat-lover more intense than she is. Kristen Wiig and McKinnon are hilarious together here. It would be worth it for the descriptions of the cats, but Barbara and Furonica’s implied attraction adds its own great layer. You can watch the sketch here.
14. “Trump vs. Clinton: Round 2” (Host: Emily Blunt, Oct. 15)
The weirdest debate made for the funniest “SNL” debate sketch. Moments like Alec Baldwin’s Trump fidgeting in the background and his scary flyby when Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) has her back turned perfectly capture the actual event. It’s been tough to make election jokes that were funnier than what actually happened in real life, but this sketch manages. You can watch the sketch here.
13. “Pizza Town” (Host: Aziz Ansari, Jan. 21)
Cops discover a suspect in a closed kids pizza restaurant, where the animatronics keep switching on. Aziz Ansari absolutely kills as the Chuck E. Cheez-esque character, but everyone in the sketch is hilariously convincing as the stilted, incredibly unfun-looking robot band. You can watch the sketch here.
12. “Welcome Video” (Host: Kristen Stewart, Feb. 4)
“SNL” did a phenomenal job dismantling Trump’s first travel ban with this heavily edited US immigration video. Beck Bennett’s ruthless tone as the editor adds a particular level of hilarity. Watch the sketch here.
11. “Through Donald’s Eyes” (Host: John Cena, Dec. 10)
A first-person look at how Donald Trump sees the world is funny in a goofy way, as he watches super-simplified news reports or Kellyanne Conway runs in to calm him. But then it turns the corner into hilarious as Trump looks in a mirror — and what he sees is John Cena. You can watch the sketch here.
10. “A Day Off” (Host: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Oct. 8)
During the election, it seemed like Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway couldn’t catch a break. Even on her day off, Conway (Kate McKinnon) is explaining way the ridiculous things Trump has said. Everything here is great, from Conway’s increasingly care-free activities to the nonsense on-the-fly explanations she gives for Trump’s comments. You can watch the sketch here.
9. “Donald Trump Press Conference” (Host: Felicity Jones, Jan. 14)
Right after the infamous, unverified memo supposedly including compromising information about Trump from Russian intelligence, we get Trump’s first press conference. It was ridiculous in real life but insane with Alec Baldwin playing Trump and delivering a beautifully fast succession the repeated line “You’re in.” You can watch the sketch here.
8. “Trump sings ‘Hallelujah” (Host: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, May 20)
In a perfect callback to its post-election episode, in which Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” “SNL” gathered its whole Trump administration cast together for one last hurrah. Scarlett Johansson even returned as her “Complicit” sketch version of Ivanka Trump. It was a elegantly simple comment on the most scandal-filled week of the Trump presidency. Watch it here.
7. “Donald Trump Calls World Leaders” (Host: Kristen Stewart, Feb. 4)
With two weeks of executive actions and plenty of news, “SNL” channels everything (and animosity toward Steve Bannon) in one sketch. And it manages to exceed reality as Baldwin’s Trump goes off the rails calling world leaders, and even channeling Hitler. You can watch the sketch here.
6. “Five Stars” (Host: Aziz Ansari, Jan. 21)
Riffing on an episode of “Black Mirror,” Aziz Ansari and his Uber driver (Bobby Moynihan) are both struggling in increasingly ridiculous ways to impress the other to earn a five-star rating. The best “SNL” sketches are the ones that feel a shade away from real life and this one taps something fundamental about the social media-infused world. Also, Moynihan gives Ansari a foot rub on the highway. You can watch the sketch here.
5. “Lester Holt Cold Open” (Host: Melissa McCarthy, May 13)
Alec Baldwin let loose on Donald Trump with his funniest turn in the role as he gave an interview to Lester Holt. Highlights include explaining what “prime the pump” means and channeling Richard Nixon. Watch the sketch here.
4. “White House Press Briefing 2 (Host: Alec Baldwin, Feb. 11)
Returning for a second spin as Sean Spicer, Melissa McCarthy riffed on her own best moments from her first turn a week earlier. The sketch’s high point was when Spicer used a doll of Disney’s Moana as a visual aid, saying the Trump Administration would send her to Guantanamo Bay. That is, until McCarthy as Spicer started chasing the White House press corps around on a fully motorized podium. You can watch the sketch here.
3. “Black Jeopardy” (Host: Tom Hanks, Oct. 22)
In a charged national moment approaching the election, this sketch gets at an essential truth: We’re all a lot more similar than we are different. More than that, every answer in “Black Jeopardy” is hilarious and feels spot-on. Doug’s right, giving Apple your fingerprint is how they get you. You can watch the sketch here.
2. “Easter Message from Sean Spicer” (Host: Jimmy Fallon, April 15)
After White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made comments comparing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Hilter, Melissa McCarthy appeared on “SNL” as Sean Spicer to apologize. Donning an Easter Bunny costume, Spicer wrongly explained the story of Passover and made a few more Assad-related gaffes. Watch the sketch here.
1. “White House Press Briefing” (Host: Kristen Stewart, Feb. 4)
Melissa McCarthy made a surprise guest appearance as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and absolutely killed it. Yelling at reporters, spraying them with Super Soakers, pulling out stuffed animals as visual aids — it was all hilarious. And then Spicer rushed the press with the podium. You can watch it here.