‘Saturday Night Live’ started 2014 as a show that was rebuilding; it ended the year in a noticeable groove that foreshadows, hopefully, many more great things to come. The following 10 sketches represent the calendar year of 2014—which includes the last half of the 39th season and the first half of this current 40th season. So, with that explanation out of the way, here are the 10 best ‘SNL’ sketches of 2014. Like all lists, you will like some choices and not like others.
Amy Adams and One Direction gave us a strong ‘SNL’ finish to cap off 2014, and while we’re not yet sure what the big 40th anniversary special next year will look like, we at least have our heading on the first new host. ‘Ride-Along’ star Kevin Hart will host the first new ‘SNL’ of 2015 on January 17, but who will join the two-time star as musical guest?
The narrative surrounding ‘SNL’ for the last year and a half is that it’s a show that’s “rebuilding.” And, yes, last season, that was true. But it’s weird: That narrative is still lingering even though, for people paying attention (I tend to pay attention), this 40th season has been very, very good. Last year, ‘SNL’ relied way too much on in-the-moment pop culture references (never a good sign). This season—including what we saw again during Saturday night’s Amy Adams-hosted episode—was all about great writing and great execution. It wasn’t quite as consistent as last week’s Martin Freeman-hosted show, but ‘SNL,’ right now, has a lot of momentum headed into its winter break. (When it returns with Kevin Hart, I really hope we see a sequel to ‘Z-Shirt.’ Please make this happen, Tim Robinson.)
The fake commercial on this week’s ‘SNL’ is a rare beast, a sketch that barely features any actual cast members and stars a bunch of little girls. And yet, it’s funny all the same, tackling a surprisingly touchy subject and getting juuust offensive enough with it. This is a commercial for “Asian American Doll” and the TV voice over goes above and beyond the call of duty to let us know just how inoffensive this product is.
Normally, an entire ‘SNL’ sketch built around a podcast would be a little too niche, but when that podcast is the massively popular, record-breaking ‘Serial,’ it makes total sense. Sarah Koenig’s show about murder and investigative journalism may have recently concluded its first season, but ‘SNL’ will help you get another quick hit before the show returns next year. In fact, for people familiar with the podcast, this is probably one of the funniest sketches the show has done in ages.
Last night’s ‘SNL’ opened with a strange treat, made all the more interesting because we had no idea we actually wanted it. For the first time in over a decade, Mike Myers returned to the character of Dr. Evil, using the stage to directly talk to North Korea and Kim Jong-un, from one supervillain to another.
After the infuriating events surrounding the Sony hack and the terrorist threat surrounding the now-cancelled release of ‘The Interview,’ it was incredibly satisfying to watch ‘SNL’ take on the whole controversy in the latest edition of Weekend Update. However, what begins as a pretty standard (and even deliberately lame) joke evolves into something far more surprising and funny.
Normally, when a guest host on ’SNL’ breaks into song during their opening monologue, it feels like a last resort, like no one in the writer’s room could come up with a better idea. And for a moment, it seems that way for Amy Adams, who talks about everyone really needing to enjoy their holiday season before the rest of the cast joins her to sing “We Need a Little Christmas.” But it’s all part of an elaborate set-up, since the great Kristen Wiig shows up to save the monologue and show Adams how to really celebrate the holidays.
Last weekend’s ‘SNL’ under ‘The Hobbit’ star Martin Freeman proved the best episode of the season by far, but will Amy Adams’ 2014 closer steal the title? Watch Amy and Taran Killam celebrate Christmas with computer snow and endless proposals in the first promos for ‘SNL’'s last episode of 2014!
It’s always an interesting thing when actors host ‘SNL.’ You know, actors in the sense that there’s just no way to know if his or her talent will translate to ‘SNL.’ They are true wild cards. Two years ago, Christoph Waltz hosted ‘SNL’ and it was one of the best shows of that season. Who knew? And now here comes Martin Freeman as yet another true wild card. No one knew what to expect—and, as it turns out, Freeman is so quirky as a host, sometimes he just felt like a member of the cast. These are the best kind of hosts. This might not have had an Internet friendly signature moment, but, top to bottom, this is one of the best ‘SNL’’s in the last five years. (Put it this way, there was only one sketch in the “bad” category and it’s the first time in the five years of ‘SNL’ Scorecard that there hasn’t been an “Ugly.” There just wasn’t one this show.) Here is your Scorecard...