As years go, 2017 was in many ways basically one big ol’ garbage fire. That’s not to say, though, that the year was without a few defining merits. And arguably the biggest highlight in the TV realm was the reemergence of Saturday Night Live as must-watch comedic programming.
It wasn’t just SNL’s political parodies that brought the show back from the brink of irrelevance. Although to be fair, sketches like Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer, Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon’s ~everyone~ certainly garnered some serious buzz for the long-running show.
But, in general, the series simply seems sharper than ever. Pulling from political fodder, pop-culture events and everything in between, the SNL of today has its finger on the pulse of what’s funny. To prove it, here are some of the year’s best skits — rewatch and close the year out with laughter.
1. “Welcome to Hell”
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein fallout, SNL said to hell with it — like, seriously, they said “Welcome to Hell,” or as women know it, the often scary, almost always misogynistic world in which we live. In typical SNL fashion, they served up the pointed lesson with a side of sarcasm, Katy Perry pop anthem-style.
2. Tiffany Haddish’s opening monologue
Tiffany Haddish’s star is on the rise, and the Girls’ Trip star proved a breath of fresh air when she hosted SNL. Her take on sexual harassment and re-wearing designer dresses? Spot on. I wonder if it’s too early to start running “Haddish & McKinnon 2020” bumper stickers.
3. “Trump’s People”
While not every one of Alec Baldwin’s Trump skits is a homerun, he really hit it out of the park with this one. Trump stops in Boone County, Kentucky, to answer the questions of the people who helped get him elected, and when he can’t come up with any real answers, hilarity ensues.
4. “Pizza Town”
In January, when post-presidential election confusion peaked, SNL delivered the comic relief we all needed. Who knew all it took to make us laugh again was an animatronic band with extra cheesy performances from Aziz Ansari and Bobby Moynihan?
Make no mistake; the new It movie was terrifying. But some would argue Kellyanne Conway’s treatment of the truth is just as scary (if not more so) than Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Ryan Gosling losing his mind over the Avatar logo is all of us. It’s not tribal yet futuristic, James Cameron… IT’S PAPYRUS.
7. “Sean Spicer Press Conference”
Wielding a podium like a political gladiator, Melissa McCarthy won the internet as former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Trump may not have thought it was very funny, but everyone else surely did.
8. “Jeff Sessions Gump”
2017 was officially Kate McKinnon’s year to shine on SNL. In this spoof on Forrest Gump, she nails it as Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Of course, she gets an assist from Leslie Jones and other cast members as the poor, unsuspecting people who sit beside Sessions on a park bench.
9. “Another Close Encounter”
Ryan Gosling and Kate McKinnon are comedy magic, and this clip is a perfect example of their out-of-this-world chemistry. If you can keep your composure when McKinnon shoves her face into Gosling’s ass crack, well, you’re stronger than the rest of the cast.
10. “Couples Game Night”
If you’ve never gotten entirely too carried away during a couples game night, are you really doing life right? Cecily Strong and Chris Pine are couple competition goals in this laugh-out-loud skit.
Styled as a perfume commercial, this jab at the Trump family was aimed squarely at Ivanka. The new fragrance was designed solely for the woman who is “a feminist, a champion or women, but, like, how?”
12. “Basketball Scene”
‘Sup? Jimmy Fallon and Mikey Day destroying a movie scene with their hilariously awful background basketball shenanigans. That’s what’s up.
13. “Kellyanne Conway”
Is it possible that Kate McKinnon does Kellyanne Conway better than Kellyanne Conway? Why, yes. Yes, it is. Exhibits A through Z? McKinnon’s 2017 spoofs satirizing Trump’s critic-turned-consigliere, particularly the biting riff of “Roxie” from Chicago.
14. “Zoo Pornographer”
Scarlett Johansson shines in a skit that goes to show just how important copy editors really are. Poor “Danny Bangs” receives an unwanted career transition when a typo transforms him from zoo photographer into zoo pornographer.