The Best Saturday Night Live Sketches Of All Time

With 43 seasons underway, it’s hard to pick out just a few of the most iconic Saturday Night Live sketches. Some were made over 20 years ago and are still quoted today, whereas some were made just a few seasons ago and went completely viral.

With everything from totally made-up characters, famous political figures, spoofs of our favorite shows, and impersonations that are so spot-on it’s kind of scary — Saturday Night Live is constantly pushing the boundaries of comedy. While not every sketch can be a total hit (we’ve certainly had our fair share of duds throughout the years), there are certain ones that have (and will) remain with us for years. Here are the best Saturday Night Live sketches of all time:

“Schweddy balls”

If you’re gonna talk about iconic SNL sketches, you have to throw it all the way back to “Schweddy balls.” First introduced by Alec Baldwin, the Schweddy balls sketch is an Saturday Night Live classic. Baldwin plays the owner of a baked goods company, named Pete Schweddy. You can imagine why the whole “Schweddy balls” thing gets super out of hand and raunchy very quickly. Honestly though, the funniest part of this is Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon’s spot-on impersonation of NPR DJs. They speak unbelievably slowly and calmly, wear sweater vests and are total dorks. Basically, they sound just like real NPR hosts, minus all the talk about balls.

Watch it here.

“The Chanukah Song”

This is another of the seasonal Saturday Night Live sketches that will go down in history. Today, you may know Adam Sandler from his ridiculous movies, but he truly got his start on SNL. In fact, he’s responsible for one of the most popular Weekend Update features of all time, his pièce de resistance: “The Chanukah Song”. If you’re somehow not familiar, Sandler created his own Chanukah carol for all the jewish girls and boys who only ever got to sing Christmas songs. He basically lists a ton of Jewish celebrities and makes a bunch of ridiculous words that rhyme with “Chanukah.” The best line is probably: “Paul Newman’s half Jewish, Goldie Hawn’s half too, put them together, what a fine lookin’ Jew.”

Watch it here.

“Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult”

As far as vintage SNL sketches go, this one might be the most well-known. You may be more familiar with “Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult” by its most famous line: “more cowbell!”. In this one, Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken are recording with the band, Blue Oyster Cult. With Walken playing the producer, and Ferrell on cowbell, the entire sketch is basically just the band trying to play “Fear the Reaper,” with Walken constantly demanding more cowbell. The bset line? “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.”

Watch it here.

“D*ck in a box”

When it comes to Saturday Night Live sketches, no one kills it like The Lonely Island. The parody-band made up of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone came up with banger after banger of comedy cold. One of their most popular digital shorts was made in collaboration with Justin Timberlake. If you’re somehow not familiar with “D*ck In a Box,” it’s kind of exactly what it sounds like. The boys aren’t sure what to buy their girlfriends for Christmas, so they cut a hole in a box — and you can imagine the rest.

Watch it here.

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

Everyone knows that the SNL sketches during any presidential election are always the best. Lucky for us, the 2008 election provided Saturday Night Live with tons of material. Most notably, Sarah Palin, who was essentially a walking, talking caricature of herself. What was even better was her uncanny resemblance to Saturday Night Live alumn, Tina Fey.
Fey immediately filled the role of Palin and portrayed her to a tee. The most iconic lines probably came from the SNL spoof of her infamous Katie Couric interview, with lines like “I can see Russia from my house!” and when she was shocked at how many of the people working in the UN were “foreigners.”

Watch it here.

“The Californians”

This is one of those Saturday Night Live sketches that’s only made better by the fact that all of the actors are trying their hardest not to laugh. It’s so absurd and over-the-top that it’s hard to remember what the sketch is even about, but it’s still just as hilarious. Basically, the sketch parodies a soap opera set in California (hence, The Californians). The skit stars Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Kristen Wiig. They all have completely absurd California accents, but Armisen takes it to the next level. After he says his first line, you can tell that Wiig and Hader are trying super hard not to break.

Watch it here.

“Target Lady”

“WELCOME TO TAARGET!” This is honestly one of Kristen Wiig’s most underrated Saturday Night Live sketches. If you’ve ever been to Target, you know that the cashiers are ridiculously friendly. K.W.’s character, a target cashier, takes it to the next level by shouting inappropriate things, totally over-sharing, and making all of her customers seriously uncomfortable. Probably one of the best lines actually comes from Keenan Thompson when he describes the Target Lady as having a haircut that looks like “she has bangs that go all the way around her head,” and a voice that sounds like “her voice box is covered in egg.”

Watch it here.

Stefon on Weekend Update

Okay, this is probably the best of the sketches, if we’re being completely honest. If you’re not familiar, in this sketch, Bill Hader plays city correspondent, Stefon. He gives tourists tips on the absolute best sights, parties, and events to explore in New York. They’re all completely ridiculous and inappropriate, and the descriptions are only made better by Stefon’s bizarre personality and mannerisms. He always starts his descriptions by revealing “New York’s hottest club.”
For example, in his debut on Weekend Update, he describes “New York’s hottest club, ‘Crease.’” The club has “everything: lights, psychos, furbies, screaming babies in Mozart wigs, sunburned drifters with soap sud beards.” This is another sketch where 50% of it is just Hader trying his hardest not to break and we loved it.

Watch it here.

Kat and Garth on Weekend Update

In another Weekend Update signature guest-spot, we have Kat and Garth, coming all the way from Colonial Williamsburg. Kat and Garth are musical guests, who are consistently invited on the show to sing about whatever that week’s theme may be. The joke is that they’re never prepared, so the entire sketch is just Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig trying to improvise a song (sung in unison) on the spot.
What makes this sketch side-splittingly funny is the chemistry between Armisen and Wiig. Not only do they play their characters extremely well, they crack each other up throughout the whole sketch. Another great part of this sketch is their matching bowl cuts and sweater vests.

Watch it here.


Gilly is one of Kristen Wiig’s earlier and more absurd SNL sketches. She pretty much only has one line, but it’s somehow the most hilarious thing in the world. The sketch features Kristen Wiig wearing a giant brown wig, wearing schoolgirl clothes and speaking with an absurd overbite. She’s always causing some sort of destruction or problem and the entire joke is pretty much just that a teacher is questioning her saying: “Gilly…” to which she replies “what,” “yeah,” or “uh-huh.” This goes on a few times until she finally says “sorry,” then her theme song plays. Honestly, the funniest part of this is Gilly’s bizarre dance moves while the song comes on.

Watch it here.

“I’m On a Boat”

Ah yes, another Lonely Island banger for the ages. “I’m On a Boat” featuring T-Pain is not only a hilarious digital short, it’s honestly kind of a great song. The entire song is pretty much about exactly what it sounds like; a bunch of regular guys living in the lap of luxury after one wins a trip for a boat ride. It’s basically a parody of every “hard” rap song with excessive F-bombs, fancy suits and tons of expensive alcohol. The best line is probably “I got my swim trunks, and my flippy-floppies” or “I’m on a boat motherf****r don’t you ever forget.”

Watch it here.

“The Lawrence Welk Show”

This one just might be the weirdest sketch ever seen on the show. That’s saying something. TBH, younger audiences may not have known that The Lawrence Welk Show was a real thing, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. While Fred Armisen plays Lawrence Welk, the real star of this sketch is Kristen Wiig. Kristen plays Dooneese, one of the Maharelle Sisters — a group of singers from the Finger Lakes who are regular performers. Bear with us, but the reason this sketch is so funny is because Dooneese has a giant forehead/receding hairline and tiny, baby hands. You honestly have to watch it to get it.

Watch it here.

Natalie Portman Raps

This is another iconic Saturday Night Live digital short by The Lonely Island, but Natalie Portman did the unexpected. You may know her as a timid, well-established and serious actress, but in this sketch she turns into a hardcore rapper. The entire rap is filled with curse words and other obscene language. Pretty much the main reason this is so funny is because it was such a shock. The best part of the rap is probably this exchange: “Damn Natalie, you a crazy chick,” “Yo shut the f*ck up and suck my d*ck.” Poetry.

Watch it here.

“Girlfriends Talk Show”

“Girlfriends Talk Show” is always a classic. While Cecily Strong (who plays Kyra) is great in this sketch, it’s always the one-liners from Morgan (played by Aidy Briant) that are the best part. The one with Camden, the school prom queen (played by Scarlett Johansson), is definitely one of the best. Morgan is always shamelessly dorky and a little sad (mostly because her BFF is walking all over her!), which makes the character so loveable. This sketch especially plays it up when we learn that Morgan took her mom’s divorced friend to prom the year prior. Plus, Morgan is completely personality-less and pretty much only says “awesome!” and “totally!”, but it’s totally hilarious compared to Morgan’s constant emotional turmoil.

Watch it here.


Okay, just pretty much every single one of the SNL sketches we’ve mentioned includes Kristen Wiig, but can you blame us? This is a great sketch because it’s just so over-the-top and somehow relatable. If you’re not familiar, Sue plays a woman who basically ruins every party and surprise she’s included in. For example, she gets to a friend’s house only to learn there’s going to be a surprise party. She immediately begins panicking that she’s gonna spill the secret, has a freak-out that ends in her shoving an entire cheese ball into her mouth, and then jumps out a window.

Watch it here.

“Debbie Downer”

TBH, this skit would be just okay if it weren’t for the fact that pretty much every actor is in tears of laughter by the end of the sketch. Of course, Jimmy Fallon is the first to break character, and it’s all downhill from there. Debbie (played by Rachel Dratch) continuously ruins the gang’s good time at Disney World by sharing upsetting facts and news of the world. The best part is that every time she says something sad, the camera does an extreme closeup of her while sad trombone music plays, which only emphasizes how hard Dratch is laughing throughout the entire thing.

Watch it here.

“Sean Spicer Returns”

Pretty much everyone can agree that seeing Melissa McCarthy in a bald cap and ridiculous wig is guaranteed to be hilarious. This is another example of how Saturday Night Live sketches around elections are always gems. If you’re not familiar, Spicer was the White House Communications Director for a while and made the comment that the crowd for Trump’s inauguration was huge and that the media lied. Yeah, that dude.
Melissa McCarthy pretty much just roasts him during the entire sketch and nails his aggressive behavior and outlandish comments. The best part is when, upon learning that Trump may fire him, Spicer rides his podium to New York to talk to him while Simon & Garfunkel‘s “Only Living Boy in New York” plays.

Watch it here.

“The Day Beyoncé Turned Black”

This is one of the more political SNL sketches that made a pretty serious statement. After Beyoncé’s “Formation” video, the public freaked out, because everyone was super-concerned she made it in support of #BlackLivesMatter, to which SNL said: duh. The whole point of the sketch was that white people all over the world were freaking out about the fact that Beyoncé was “suddenly” political and not catering to the white, mainstream media. It was hilarious and super well done.

Watch it here.

“Ariana Grande on Celebrity Family Feud

With her success as one of pop’s most talented vocalist, it’s easy to forget the Ariana Grande got her start as an actress. In this SNL sketch, she plays Jennifer Lawrence on a “actors vs. directors” episode of family feud. Her impression of J-Law is freaky-good. Not only does she sound exactly like her, the things she says are textbook Jennifer Lawrence. AKA, she tries to sound as “relatable” and “real” as possible. When Steve Harvey (played by Keenan Thompson) says “You say you’re a ‘regular person’ more than any regular person I know,” he pretty much summed up J-Law’s entire gimmick in one sentence.

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