No one expected Saturday Night Live to deliver another 2016-2017 season – a standout run in which the show suddenly surfed the pop-political zeitgeist in a way that it hadn’t done for decades. Yes, you still got Alec Baldwin’s Trump pursing his lips and perversely reflecting back the administration’s boiling-frog slow erosion of American democracy, but it felt a little less urgent this time around … even as our IRL state-of-emergency increased with every breaking-news alert.
Season 43 didn’t give us the scalpel-sharp satire we needed regarding our POTUS – but it did give us a Jost/Che “Weekend Update” that’s finally hitting its stride rapport-wise, some on-point #MeToo commentary and a handful of incredible digital shorts. (The show is beginning to rely on filmed bits the way it relies on movie-star drop-ins, which definitely hit peak quantity this year.) That, and a lot of tried-and-true surefire set-ups: Even the appearance of cast-members moms on the Mother’s Day episode meta-asked why the show relies on “talk shows and game shows” so much for sketch fodder.
Still, there were a ton of high points from the 2017-2018 SNL year; we could have filled most of this list with bits from the Will Ferrell episode alone. And once again, Kate McKinnon proves she is God. Here are our picks for the 10 Best Sketches from Season 43. (We’re leaving out monologues and “Weekend Update” character stuff, though a shout out to McKinnon’s sassy AF version of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cecily Strong’s Claire from H.R. and Heidi Gardner’s moody teen critic Bailey Gismert.)