10 Best ‘Saturday Night Live’ Sketches From Season 41 – Rolling Stone
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10 Best ‘Saturday Night Live’ Sketches From Season 41

From Presidential impersonations to one masterpiece of a game-show sketch, our top ‘SNL’ picks from last season

larry david

Larry David as Bernie Sanders during the "Brooklyn Democratic Debate Cold Open" sketch on April 16th, 2016.

Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

It began with Miley Cyrus singing about the summer scandals of 2015 and ended with Fred Armisen doing a scathing, straight-faced piss-take on performers' one-man shows. In between, Saturday Night Live's 41st season gave us Larry David as a dead-on Bernie Sanders, both Trump avatars and actual Trumpfoolery, a bunch of unforgettable musical performances, loads of cameos from alumni (Maya Rudolph, your drunk take on "12 Days of Christmas" is worth its weight in two toodle-toos) and a handful of genuinely wonderful sketches. If you've been tuning into Ryan McGee's "3 Sketches You Have to See" posts every week, you've had the chance to catch up with the show's best every Sunday. Now here are the season's best, from Presidential impersonations to an oh-my-god game show skit that belongs in the SNL hall of fame.

larry david

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Julia Louis-Dreyfus" Episode 1701 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Larry David as Bernie Sanders during the "Brooklyn Democratic Debate Cold Open" sketch on April 16, 2016 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

5

‘Farewell, Mr. Bunting’

Our SNL recapper Ryan McGee singled this out as one of the entire season's laugh-out-loud highlights, much less one of the finale's best moments, and we're not inclined to disagree with him. It's best if you know as little as possible about this Pythonesque sketch going into it — only that it takes place within an oppressive prep school, complete with a fascist headmaster (way to sell the old-school dickishness, Bobby Moynihan), a beloved teacher on the way out and the students he inspired. And then just when you wonder where this Dead Poets Society parody is going, it drops its bombshell. Bravo, good sirs. Bravo.

larry david

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Julia Louis-Dreyfus" Episode 1701 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Larry David as Bernie Sanders during the "Brooklyn Democratic Debate Cold Open" sketch on April 16, 2016 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

4

‘The Day Beyonce Turned Black’

"Maybe that song isn't for us…"

"But usually everything is!"

For those of us — Beyoncé fans, people who aren't idiots — who had to suffer through the headscratching over the artist's incredible "Formation" video and the handwringing over her Super Bowl halftime performance, this was the "no, you are not crazy" sketch we needed. The show can do send-up of horror-movie trailers in its sleep at this point (even ones regarding Queen B; see their Beygency skit) but this sort of sharp little take just beautifully cut through the crap regarding all the Bey-related brouhaha. All those folks who think "I mean, I love black artists/actors/writers, but do they have to be so, you know, like black black?" SNL and someone who has hot sauce in her bag swag would like a quick word with you.

larry david

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Julia Louis-Dreyfus" Episode 1701 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Larry David as Bernie Sanders during the "Brooklyn Democratic Debate Cold Open" sketch on April 16, 2016 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

3

‘Bern Your Enthusiasm’

It took exactly one guest appearance from the Seinfeld co-creator as the good senator from Vermont to forever meld the performer and the politician together in the public's mind — at this point, Larry David's recurring Bernie Sanders impersonation has become as iconic as Tina Fey's devastating Sarah Palin. Though his first drop-in (pictured at the top of this list) gave viewers that glorious "oh my god, yes!" moment and David's cranky jousting with Kate McKinnon's Machiavellian Hilary Clinton in the season finale were indeed stand-outs moments, we're going with this bit as David's ultimate Feel His Signature Bern moment. It's the perfect seamless melding of Greatest Larry Hits and the closest we may ever get to a new Curb episode. Also, Cecily Strong's foul-mouthed Susie Greene deserves her own show opposite the actual Susie Essman. Call it Going Greene. Make it happen, you %$#@&!

larry david

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Julia Louis-Dreyfus" Episode 1701 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Larry David as Bernie Sanders during the "Brooklyn Democratic Debate Cold Open" sketch on April 16, 2016 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

2

‘Racists for Trump’

SNL's fake ads were on fire this season — remember that jaw-dropping Guns bit from the Amy Schumer episode, or the premiere's "Abilify" drug commercial for hopeless presidential candidates? This political spot, however, was the year's MVP, as well as one of the show's few Trump-related skits with teeth. Look, it's no secret that the likely Republican party's nominee has been tapping into a collective sense of hate as campaign fuel, which has resulted in some straight-up racist bullshit at his rallies. (That doesn't even take into account some of his questionable associations, either.) But the manner in which this ad calls all this out while deftly sending up the "morning in America" style of most campaign ads is, in a word, brilliant. That moment when Taran Killiam lifts his arm and the swastika armband comes into view still makes us gasp, even after two dozen viewings.

larry david

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Julia Louis-Dreyfus" Episode 1701 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Larry David as Bernie Sanders during the "Brooklyn Democratic Debate Cold Open" sketch on April 16, 2016 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

1

‘Meet Your Second Wife’

There are SNL game show send-ups, and then there's this sketch: a hilarious, jaw-dropping, yes-we're-going-there bit that felt instantly canon-worthy. We knew that the Christmas episode would be top-notch once we heard Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hosting, but we didn't expect something that would hold up with the best of the Fey-run writers' room from back in the day. The premise is simple: Contestants (all male, all unsuspecting) get a chance to meet their future second wife. The joke, of course, is that the new spouses are all still young … uncomfortably so, in fact. "I thought this was a home makeover show," one of the current wives say. "In a way, it is," Fey cheerily replies. From the delivery of the lines to the gasps in the audience, everything about this is perfect. It's angry without being righteous, and it's genius without skimping on the laughs. It is Saturday Night Live sketch-comedy at its best.