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100 best 'SNL' episodes

  • #20. Season 40, Episode 16 - Dwayne Johnson/George Ezra

    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 213
    - Air date: March 28, 2015

    Dwayne Johnson introduced yet another iteration of President Obama—The Rock Obama, a Hulk-ish version of the former president that no one wants to get angry. A.V. Club reviewer Dennis Perkins called Johnson’s fourth time hosting and specifically his restaurant sketch the “brightest hosting moment” in a future “Best Of Dwayne Johnson” program.

  • #19. Season 43, Episode 18 - Bill Hader/Arcade Fire

    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 293
    - Air date: March 17, 2018

    Bill Hader returned for his second time hosting, and he brought along a friend: Fred Armisen. Together, these two alums added a bit of old-school fun to the latest season, with Hader performing multiple impressions in a “Jurassic Park” audition sketch, including the likes of Alan Alda, Al Pacino, and Clint Eastwood.

  • #18. Season 42, Episode 4 - Tom Hanks/Lady Gaga

    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 402
    - Air date: Oct. 22, 2016

    What could have been a standard Halloween episode became legendary thanks to one perfect sketch. In his ninth turn hosting, Tom Hanks starred as David Simon Pumpkins, sparking an internet obsession. 

  • #17. Season 42, Episode 13 - Kristen Stewart/Alessia Cara

    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 408
    - Air date: Feb. 4, 2017

    Melissa McCarthy's Sean Spicer arrives on the scene in all of his glory, becoming a recurring political sketch. The same episode also included a surprising turn with Alec Baldwin taking on the role of President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

  • #16. Season 37, Episode 15 - Maya Rudolph/Sleigh Bells

    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Votes: 186
    - Air date: Feb. 18, 2012

    Maya Rudolph returned to her old stomping ground to remind everyone what the show was missing without her, and in the process, she starred in "Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Laughs," a sketch that displayed her talents to the absolute fullest. The monologue Rudolph opened with for her first time hosting “SNL” highlighted her stage presence with a performance of “Do Ya Wanna Funk?”

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  • #15. Season 34, Episode 21 - Justin Timberlake/Ciara

    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Votes: 194
    - Air date: May 9, 2009

    Justin Timberlake is a perennial favorite on “SNL,” and for good reason—the former boy band heartthrob displays his comedic skills once again when he teams up with Kristen Wiig for a "Target Lady" sketch. Timberlake also performed “Love Sex Magic” with musical guest Ciara.

  • #14. Season 41, Episode 12 - Larry David/The 1975

    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Votes: 274
    - Air date: Feb. 6, 2016

    It seems baffling that Larry David didn't make his guest host debut until 2016, but the comic did not disappoint. His take on Bernie Sanders is particularly memorable, one reviewer even saying David took it “beyond impersonation…into something of a whimsical caricature.”

  • #13. Season 44, Episode 14 - John Mulaney/Thomas Rhett

    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Votes: 300
    - Air date: March 2, 2019

    Former show writer John Mulaney’s return meant a heavyweight cameo lineup, as Ben Stiller plays Michael Cohen in the cold open, and Bill Hader hosts game show “What’s that Name?” (in which Mulaney and Cecily Strong let down their closest friends). Later, Mulaney, Strong, Pete Davidson, and Kate McKinnon are lawyers on the legal edition of “Shark Tank,” where celebrities make their case to find help.

  • #12. Season 40, Episode 3 - Bill Hader/Hozier

    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Votes: 317
    - Air date: Oct. 11, 2014

    Bill Hader brought back a number of his classic characters for this hosting gig, and, yes, that includes the infamous Stefon. He also offers a new impression of a heartbroken Cat in the Hat in a sitcom-style sketch with Cecily Strong as Linda, his lost love.

  • #11. Season 21, Episode 20 - Jim Carrey/Soundgarden

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Votes: 150
    - Air date: May 18, 1996

    In this 1996 episode, “SNL” saw another major cast turnover—this marked the final episode for David Spade, David Koechner, and Nancy Walls. In this episode, Jim Carrey plays an unusual spaceman in his monologue, and later an overprotective lifeguard watching out for Will Ferrell’s character, who is in an indoor whirlpool bath.

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