Saturday Night Live Season 44 has already provided several hysterical sketches that will take their place among the unforgettable library of laughter the show has provided for decades.
The season's first 15 episodes feature guest hosts Adam Driver, Jonah Hill, Liev Schreiber, Awkwafina, Seth Meyers, Claire Foy, Jason Momoa, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Halsey, James McAvoy, Rachel Brosnahan and John Mulaney. Some of the episodes were better than others, but each of them provided at least one memorable sketch.
Since Saturday Night Live returned from a break on Jan. 19, here is a look back on the 14 best sketches of the season, including one from each episode.
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Idris Elba's episode was another disappointing show, especially after John Mulaney's episode the week before. However, it did gift us this brilliant gameshow sketch "Can I Play That?," in which the host (Kenan Thompson) asked three actors if they could play a role in an upcoming movie. The sketch skewered Twitter mobs who go after actors after they are cast in controversial roles.
"This game is produced by Twitter," Thompson announced. "One mistake and we'll kill you."
This was the best sketch featuring Elba, but the episode did include a cold open with a fantastic performance by Thompson as R. Kelly.
After several overall lackluster episodes, Saturday Night Live suddenly work up with an already-classic second hosting performance from former writer John Mulaney. The episode was almost perfect from start to finish, mostly thanks to "Bodega Bathroom," a spiritual sequel to last year's "Diner Lobster." If SNL was saving up its budget to go all out on this sketch, it was more than worth it.
Don Cheadle's episode was surprisingly disappointing, considering all the acclaimed actor could do. The best sketch of the night used the old reliable game show format to parody the 2019 Oscar nominees. Cheadle got to do a brief Spike Lee impersonation, but the real stand-outs were Melissa Villasenor doing her Lady Gaga impression and Kate McKinnon's perfect Glenn Close.
No disrespect to Halsey, but the best part of her first time as host was Melissa Villasenor's incredible Lady Gaga impression. The underused cast member came on "Weekend Update" to give her Grammy predictions, which provided her the perfect opportunity to sing "Shallow" from A Star Is Born. Watch for Kyle Mooney's brief appearance as Bradley Cooper.
The Saturday Night Live writers forced James McAvoy to use a different accent in each sketch, including the one he used while playing Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. While Steve Martin's appearance in the cold open as Roger Stone was hilarious, the Mr. Tumnus sketch brought memories of the 2005 movie flooding back. The sketch featured Cecil Strong, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon as women overwhelmed by meeting Mr. Tumnus in person.
The Saturday Night Live writers made the best use of their winter break, crafting a nearly perfect episode for host Rachel Brosnahan. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star fit right in with the cast, particularly in the brilliant "Earthquake News Report."
In the sketch, Mikey Day stars as an Action 9 reporter interviewing people who were trapped in the San Francisco Social Security Administration building while trying to get their names changed. The SNL writing team must have spent the entire week coming up with brilliant names for the earthquake victims, including "Holden Tudiks," "Bill Kosbie," "Morgan Mindy" and "Pete Ophelia." The kicker—Kate McKinnon's news anchor is named "Carol Kumdungeon."
Sadly, the best sketch Matt Damon starred in — his original Kavanaugh hearings cold open — was not part of the episode he hosted.
Political sketches have been hit or miss all season long, but the It's A Wonderful Life parody featuring Alec Baldwin's President Donald Trump turned out to be the best part of Damon's episode.
In the sketch, Kenan Thompson plays a version of the angel Clarence, who grants Trump's wish to see what life would be like for himself if he did not win the 2016 presidential election. The sketch features a long line of cameos, including Robert De Niro as special counsel Robert Mueller and Damon reprising his impression of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Aquaman star Jason Momoa proved to be game for anything the SNL crew came up with for the holiday-themed episode. And while the post-"Weekend Update" sketches are historically bad, Momoa's episode ended strong with "Rudolph's Big Night."
In this one, Pete Davidson as Rudolph getting back at all the other reindeer for bullying him. The sketch included some pretty good one-liners that progressively get meaner. Momoa's episode also included the priceless Elf on a Shelf sketch and a talk show featuring all dead Game of Thrones characters.
Claire Foy might be great in dramas, both on television and the small screen, but she seemed to struggle to fit in during her first SNL episode. The best sketch of her night was the pre-taped "Netflix Commercial," which poked fun at the massive library of original content the streamer has stockpiled. In the sketch, Netflix approved a show called Saved by the Crown, with Foy as Queen Elizabeth in a modern high school. "I'm in over my crown."
Steve Carell's episode included a mini The Office reunion during his monologue, which sadly turned out to be the biggest highlight of the episode. However, the best sketch he was involved in featured Carell playing Jeff Bezos in a pre-taped sketch about how everything the Amazon founder seems to do is a slight on President Donald Trump.
It definitely does make you wonder if Bezos really is going out of his way to make Trump angry.
Unfortunately for Liev Schreiber, the best sketch of his episode did not involve him. The episode featured a fantastic cold open, with Kate McKinnon possibly playing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions one final time.
In one scene, Sessions has a mug with the Confederate battle flag that reads, "It's not about hatred, it's about heritage." The kicker — inside is a little mug that says "J.K. It is about hatred."
Jonah Hill's episode featured several strong sketches, thanks to his experience on the show. One of the best was the return of his character Adam Grossman, a 6-year-old who knows way too much about life for a kid his age.
In the new sketch, Leslie Jones plays a baby sitter who takes Adam to Benihana, where he meets a couple played by Kenan Thompson and Mikey Day. After learning the two are engaged to each other, Adam calls it "genius" after hearing about best friends getting married to one another.
Anyone who misses sketches starring Kenan Thompson as a game show host, "Halloween Gig" from Seth Meyers' episode provided a little taste of those.
In the sketch, Thompson, Meyers and Kyle Mooney played a band at a Halloween party. Over time, Thompson's lyrics become complaints about Meyers' habits as his roommate.
In this sketch, Awkwafina played the leader of one squad going up against Kate McKinnon-led team to show off their dance moves. The kicker is that the songs Awkwafina's team picks to dance to are game show theme songs! First up was The Price Is Right, and then Family Feud.
Sure, Matt Damon's epic take on the Kavanaugh hearings was a priceless way to kick off the season, but the best sketch from the season premiere featuring host Adam Driver was the side-splitting Career Day. At first looking like yet another boring classroom sketch, we know we're in for something a little different the moment Driver saunters in as Abraham H. Parnassas and his son, played by Pete Davidson, breaks into laughter right after Driver starts talking.
"What does an oil baron do?" Abraham asked the children. "CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES! GRIND THEIR BONES INTO DIRT! MAKE THEM REGRET THEY WERE EVER BORN!"
"Oh sick!" Melissa Villansenor's student replied.
Photo Credit: NBC