While most TV shows have a limited run on TV, Saturday Night Live doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon and the best SNL skits of all time keep getting new contenders to the crown. The series has no doubt had its ups and downs, but after 48 seasons on the air, the late-night comedy show is still going strong on NBC. Comedians come and go from the show, many of them moving on to have lucrative acting careers. Since 1975, the series has provided hundreds of musical performances, skits, and a whole lot of laughs.
With every new season of Saturday Night Live, there are new skits to add to the show’s long legacy and challenge for the best SNL skits of all time. While not every skit is an instant classic, there are some that provide the laughs and unforgettable moments that live on through the years. And while the show has been a stable of television culture since 1975, there are endless great skits that fans can always look back on.
25 HBO Mario Kart Trailer
One thing about the best SNL skits is that the show is live, so the cast and crew can use current topics when creating its funnies moments. In season 48, The Last of Us was becoming one of the hottest HBO shows, a dark post-apocalyptic series based on a video game. The SNL sketch brought in Last of Us star Pedro Pascal as the host, and he spoofed his own show by creating a fake trailer for HBO’s next dark video game adaptation, Mario Kart. The idea of taking the bright, fun video game and giving it a dark real-world aesthetic was hilarious and one of the recent additions to the all time best SNL skits.
24 A Christmas Carol
Only Murders in the Building reminded the world of why Martin Short and Steve Martin are one of the best comedy duos in history. In this addition to the best SNL skits of all time, Short plays Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, after he wakes up from his ghostly visits. He wants nothing more than to do good, but when he tries to throw coins down to the people on the street, it has disastrous results. The skit just builds and builds, with the accidents becoming gorier and gorier until Martin’s ghost disappears and Short just slowly backs away from the carnage.
23 Simon: Summer Drawings
Mike Myers has some of the most iconic of the best SNL skits, from Wayne’s World to minimalist artist Dieter. However, one of his best is also one of the darkest characters ever to appear on Saturday Night Live. Myers plays Simon, a British child who sits in his bathtub and shares his drawings with the audience. There were five skits in this run, and he is often sharing things that are truly horrific, but at his age, he is too innocent to understand the trauma he lives through. With lines like “cheeky monkey,” it is memorable but is also disturbing in many ways.
22 The Blues Brothers
Most fans know The Blues Brothers from the movie that spun off of one of the best SNL skits of all time. In the skit, Dan Akyroyd and John Belushi were a little different than what fans saw in the movie. While the movie saw the two on an adventure to save the orphanage that raised them, the SNL skits were all about Akyroyd and Belushi performing their songs in their high-energy acts. The first-ever appearance was in 1978. Later, John Goodman joined up and there have been many appearances by the band with different real-life soul musicians since their first appearance.
21 The Church Lady
So many people just remember Dana Carvey from his role in Wayne’s World skits. However, he has another major addition to the best SNL skits of all time with his portrayal of The Church Lady in her show, Church Chat. In an era where televangelists ruled the airwaves, Carvey took on the role of preaching to the masses in the most condescending way possible. Between talking down to everyone to insulting fornicators and sinners in the world of entertainment and politics. With lines including “could it be Satan?” this was one of the most quotable skits ever to show up on SNL.
20 Farewell, Mr. Bunting
As a relatively new skit, “Farwell Mr. Bunting” is sure to go down as one of the biggest laughs in the best SNL skits in history. The skit initially feels like a rather faithful recreation of the iconic scene from Dead Poet’s Society where the inspiring teacher (played by Fred Armisen) is fired and the students all stand on their desks and pay tribute to him. The skit is very patient in making the audience wait for the big moment. Finally, one student stands up on the desk and is immediately decapitated by the ceiling fan. The shock of the moment mixed with the bloody chaos that follows is unforgettable.
19 The Roxbury Guys
Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan’s recurring skit as the Roxbury Guys was one of the best SNL skits that is so popular it was made into a movie. It is a fairly simple set up of these two obnoxious and oblivious guys going out to dance clubs and unsuccessfully trying to dance with girls. The skit was featured countless times but the most memorable was likely when Ferrell and Kattan were joined by Jim Carrey who fit into the absurdity of the skit perfectly.
18 Black Jeopardy
While there is another Jeopardy-themed skit on SNL that is likely more iconic to fans, “Black Jeopardy” has become one of the funniest and most clever recurring best SNL skits on the show in recent years. The skit depicts a game of Jeopardy aimed at Black American contestants with one of the contestants inevitably feeling out of place. Some of the highlights include Chadwick Boseman’s appearance as T’Challa and Tom Hanks playing a white conservative who does surprisingly well.
17 Debbie Downer
What is interesting about the Debbie Downer skit is that it became famous for how wrong it all went. Rachel Dratch stars in the skit as the titular character, a pessimistic woman who cannot help but bring down the mood of whatever happy occasion she is a part of. The first time the skit aired, showing Debbie ruining a family trip to Disneyworld, it devolved into the entire cast breaking character and unable to say their lines through all their laughter. Needless to say, the audience loved it.
16 Harry Caray
Will Ferrell is regarded as one of the best SNL cast members of all time and Harry Caray is surely one of his best characters. Based on the real-life baseball announcer, Ferrell does a ridiculous impression of the man and has him providing his perspectives on anything not baseball related. Harry’s disheveled appearance, his unique voice, and his general detachment from the world around him make it an endlessly enjoyable recurring bit that is simply a showcase for Ferrell’s comedic brilliance.
15 Mister Robinsons Neighborhood
One of the most famous actors to come from Saturday Night Live is Eddie Murphy. The actor appeared in 65 episodes of SNL, but one of his best SNL skits was “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood.” The skit parodied the famous show Mister Roger’s Neighborhood starring Fred Rogers. Instead of teaching children life lessons, Mr. Robinson was a criminal who often taught children about illegal things like shoplifting. Mr. Robinson was a character that appeared several different times on the show, but the time he taught kids about nutrition was one of the best SNL skits of all time.
14 NPR’s Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls
Another thing SNL parodied was NPR (National Public Radio). In one episode, Jo McCullen (Ana Gasteyer) and Terry Rialto (Molly Shannon) hosted a segment on the air called Delicious Dish and had a guest star on the show named Pete Schweddy. Frequent SNL host Alec Baldwin played Mr. Schweddy the owner of a business called Seasons Eatings and his most famous product was a holiday dessert called Schweddy Balls. The skit was full of double entendres mainly about Pete’s balls. Many comedians today wouldn’t have been able to keep their composure, but all three of the actors in the skit did perfectly.
Will Forte appeared in 156 episodes starting in 2002 and MacGruber was one of his most famous characters. MacGruber was obviously a parody of the famous 80s show MacGyver. While MacGyver was always able to get himself out of a tight space due to his scientific resourcefulness, MacGruber always failed and often blew himself up. These best SNL skits were so well received that the character was given his own film in 2010, starring Forte and Kristen Wiig. While it is hard to pick the best MacGruber skit of them all, the one with Jonah Hill revolving around an embarrassing workplace rumor stands out.
12 Two Wild & Crazy Guys
Two of the most popular Saturday Night Live actors of the 70s were Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin. Both actors went on to have massively successful acting careers, but some of their funniest material came from SNL. One skit the two actors were in together was “Two Wild & Crazy Guys” which was about two Czech-born brothers named York and Georg Festrunk. The brothers were always looking to pick up some ladies, but the swingers weren’t always successful with women. The characters appeared multiple times on the show, most recently in 2013 when Justin Timberlake hosted the show.
11 Celebrity Jeopardy!
“Celebrity Jeopardy” is one Saturday Night Live skit that has appeared in several episodes. Jeopardy! is a perfect show for SNL to parody since it allows the cast members to impersonate several celebrities. The skit started in 1996, but one of the best SNL skits came in 1999 in the show’s 25th season. This skit included some of SNL‘s best celebrity impersonations including French Stewart (Jimmy Fallon), Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), and Burt Reynolds (Norm MacDonald). Will Ferrell also appears in the sketch as Alex Trebek and has returned to the role several times even after he moved on from SNL.
10 Kitty Cat On The Mars Mission
In 2013 when Daniel Craig hosted the show, a skit called “Kitty Cat on the Mars Mission” was released. The mission takes place in 2023, which at the time, was 10 years away. The astronauts, talk about all the things they miss about Earth, and Bobby Moynihan goes on and on about how much he misses his little kitty cat. Eventually, he reveals he snuck the kitten onto the spacecraft, before freaking out about his cat dying and shriveling up. Thankfully, it was just his neck pillow and Moynihan pulls out an adorable little kitten. He even named him Fuzz Aldrin.
9 Chippendale Audition
Chris Farley was one actor whose life was cut far too short. Given how popular he was on the show, it is shocking that he was fired from SNL. However, he was still able to deliver countless iconic moments with this being his most memorable of them all. The skit was called “Chippendales Audition” which saw Farley square off against Patrick Swayze for a spot as a Chippendale. Like a lot of Farley’s roles, his role as Barney was incredibly energetic and over the top, which is what makes the skit so funny.
8 Haunted Elevator (ft. David S. Pumpkins)
Tom Hanks is one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood, so of course he’s been on SNL a few times. In the “Haunted Elevator” skit, Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon’s characters go on a spooky ride with Kenan Thompson’s character as the elevator attendant. Hanks plays the character David S. Pumpkins, who isn’t exactly frightening like the other floors of fright. David S. Pumpkins is accompanied by two skeleton dancers, played by Bobby Moynihan and Mikey Day. The skit is relatively new compared to others, but it’s an unforgettably hilarious one with a character who has returned every Halloween since 2016.
7 Matt Foley: Van Down By The River
Chris Farley is often credited as being one of the funniest cast members in SNL’s history. One of his most famous skits includes his character Matt Foley. When Brian (David Spade) and Stacy’s (Christina Applegate) parents find a bag of marijuana, they bring in a motivational speaker to set them on the right path. Farley, being his energetic self, comes running up the stairs and introduces himself, telling the kids that he lives in a van down by the river. He is a hilariously aggressive motivational speaker and while he may not be the best motivator, the skit turned into one of the best SNL skits to date.
In season 43, Ryan Gosling hosted the show and starred in a skit called “Papyrus.” The character is hung up by the fact that the film Avatar used the Papyrus font for the movie title. It bothers Gosling’s character more than it would the average person, so much so that he has to go see a therapist, who informs him that the sequels seem to be using the same font. He even goes to stalk the person who designed the poster, just to get a glimpse at the man who made the atrocious decision. Funny enough, future Avatar movies have changed the font of the title, so Ryan Gosling can rest easy.