This weekend put wrap on Season 41 of Saturday Night Live. After a major anniversary, we got ourselves a cast that went through some major overhaul and finally began to gel on many fronts. Lorne Michaels made no major cast shakeups during the off season, promoting Beck Bennett, Colin Jost, Kyle Mooney, and Sasheer Zamata to repertory status. Michael Che, Pete Davidson, and Leslie Jones remained featured players and were joined by Jon Rudnitsky.
It was also a big one for alumni as Darrell Hammond – who recently took over after the death of Don Pardo as announcer – saw a lot of screen time as he revived Donald Trump. Tracy Morgan made a return to stage and comedy after a major car accident kept him sidelined for over a year. However, they didn’t stop there because Larry David, a one time writer on the show (for just a season) came back in a big way and mined his likeness to Bernie Sanders with great effect. However, it wasn’t the season of alums as the current players did major lifting. Anchored by heavyweights like Kate McKinnon, who might be a bonafide movie star by season 42, Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, Bobby Moynihan, and Cecily Strong.
With that being said, now is a good time to pull some of our favorite sketches from season 41.
“Farewell, Mr Bunting” – Episode 21 hosted by Fred Armisen
Yes, this sketch has the least amount of haze on it but it was easily one of the best of the year as an homage to Dead Poets Society but with a surprise twist that nobody saw coming and holds up to repeated views.
“Close Encounter” – Episode 7 hosted by Ryan Gosling
Kate McKinnon delivered one of her best new characters this season. A woman who had a very different alien encounter than the other two people in the room. Her performance cracked everyone in the sketch, including herself (which she doesn’t usually do). She even got host Ryan Gosling as the line, “coot coot and prune shoot!” became one for the ages.
“Bern Your Enthusiasm” – Episode 12 hosted by Larry David
When it was announced that Larry David was going to host SNL excitement was high. David’s episode was one of the best of the season and produced two terrific sketches that rank among the best of the season. In this sketch, the marriage of Bernie Sanders and Curb Your Enthusiasm hit critical mass in this perfectly crafted sketch.
“Hotline Bling” – Episode 4 hosted by Donald Trump
The Donald Trump episode of SNL might’ve been the worst of the season. Yet it had one redeeming factor and that we got this spot on spoof of Drake’s song, “Hotline Bling” chock full with Ed Grimley and terrible Trump dancing.
“A Thanksgiving Miracle” – Episode 6 hosted by Matthew McConnahey
With Adele at her peak from the fall, SNL decided to make sure we all know that we all need a little Adele in our lives.