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100 best 'SNL' episodes

  • #70. Season 38, Episode 5 - Bruno Mars

    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 192
    - Air date: Oct. 20, 2012

    While Bruno Mars was upfront about not being a comedian, he more than delivered during the night's several musical sketches. It's Tom Hanks that really stood out as an undecided voter during the episode's cold open debate between Barack Obama, played by Jay Pharoah, and Mitt Romney, played by Jason Sudeikis.

  • #69. Season 39, Episode 17 - Anna Kendrick/Pharrell Williams

    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 193
    - Air date: April 5, 2014

    In an episode overflowing with musical numbers, the fizzy joy of modern-day “SNL” was on full display, and yet it's Kate McKinnon's performance as the powerful German Chancellor Angela Merkel that made headlines.

  • #68. Season 41, Episode 21 - Fred Armisen/Courtney Barnett

    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 200
    - Air date: May 21, 2016

    Former cast member Fred Armisen returned to host the 21st season finale. He was joined by another alum, Andy Samberg, who produced a brand new digital short for the outing. The “Farewell Mr. Bunting” sketch, which is described as having a “Pythonesque” quality, gave one reviewer the “biggest, most thoroughly earned laugh” the show had prompted in years.

  • #67. Season 39, Episode 5 - Kerry Washington/Eminem

    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 205
    - Air date: Nov. 2, 2013

    In 2013, the show was facing criticism for a lack of diversity in the cast—namely that it had no Black female cast members. In the opening monologue, the show answered the criticism by having host Kerry Washington play numerous famous black women who worked in media.

  • #66. Season 40, Episode 4 - Jim Carrey/Iggy Azalea

    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 316
    - Air date: Oct. 25, 2014

    Jim Carrey went for broke in a Halloween outing during which he parodied Matthew McConaughey's intense car commercials and dressed up as Sia in a nude leotard for a costume contest. A particularly strange but delightful scene was Carrey and Kate McKinnon in a “Chandelier”-inspired dance-off.

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  • #65. Season 3, Episode 8 - Miskel Spillman/Elvis Costello

    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 55
    - Air date: Dec. 17, 1977

    One sketch—or maybe not a sketch—involved Belushi and Miskel Spillman having smoked one of the former’s joints prior to the latter’s opening monologue. Spillman also plays an 80-year-old girlfriend of a college student, meeting his parents, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions played “Watching the Detectives” and “Radio, Radio.”

  • #64. Season 12, Episode 1 - Sigourney Weaver/Buster Poindexter

    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 58
    - Air date: Oct. 11, 1986

    The premiere of season 12 followed a disastrous, nearly show-ending season 11, driving “SNL” into “a new golden age.” This season’s cast included first-timers that would eventually become long-standing members, including Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, and Kevin Nealon.

  • #63. Season 3, Episode 9 - Steve Martin/Randy Newman, Dirt Band

    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 63
    - Air date: Jan. 21, 1978

    Any episode that featured both an appearance from the Coneheads and an expert parody of President Jimmy Carter's State of the Union address was sure to be a winner. Steve Martin’s monologue was all over the place, and included electrocuting himself, accusing John Belushi of stealing $59 from him, and offering financial tips to the audience.

  • #62. Season 3, Episode 10 - Robert Klein/Bonnie Raitt

    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 66
    - Air date: Jan. 28, 1978

    Monster lobsters, anyone? By 1978, “SNL” had perfected the art of balancing absurd sketches with sharp takes on the news. Having Bill Murray on hand as the “X-Police” added an extra layer of excitement to this outing.

  • #61. Season 4, Episode 8 - Eric Idle/Kate Bush

    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 75
    - Air date: Dec. 9, 1978

    Influential singer Kate Bush made her stateside television debut on “SNL” in 1978. Her live performances of "The Man With the Child in His Eyes” and "Them Heavy People" marked her arrival in the American music market.

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