Top 10 SNL Sketches of 2015
2015 was a little bit of a bumpy year for SNL, with some near-perfect episodes and a few…well, not-so-perfect episodes. But there were a lot of great sketches and shorts overall — so much so that it made it a bit difficult to narrow it down to just 10. SNL currently boasts a great cast, and even with the loss of the insanely good, insanely weird Mike O’Brien, the Studio 8H crew was still able to churn out some hilarious and often strange content this year. We’ve selected the top 10 SNL sketches of 2015 for your viewing (or re-viewing) pleasure.
10. “Avengers News Report”
Chris Hemsworth hosted twice this year, but it was his first outing that yielded the best sketches — so many that almost three made the cut for this list (two still did). The Marvel star dons his Thor costume for an imagined news report in which he does some real heavy bro-celebrating after the Avengers defeat Ultron and his army of robots. Pete Davidson’s take on a disillusioned and confused Bruce Bannerr post-Hulk-out is fantastic.
9. “High School Theatre Show With Elizabeth Banks”
The High School Theatre sketches have sneakily become one of the best things on SNL, perfectly emulating narcissistic, melodramatic and pretentious little drama club kids — it’s like watching an entire flock of mini-Anne Hathaways and Eddie Redmaynes. This one with Elizabeth Banks is peak High School Theatre Show, worth it not only for the actual “performance art,” but for Leslie Jones’ hilariously early exit.
8. “Father and Daughter Ad”
SNL got a little brazen with politics this year, dipping their toes into topics like ISIS and gun control (more on that later). While it’s not nearly as subversive and irreverent as it could be, the few times SNL did step outside of their political safe zone yielded a few brilliant highlights, like this bittersweet ad in which Taran Killam’s dad is tearfully sending his young daughter off to embark on the first phase of her adult life…joining ISIS. Dakota Johnson plays the daughter, effectively proving her effortless comedic skills.
7. “Neurotology Music Video”
If you missed Alex Gibney’s doc Going Clear, or if you’ve never seen the hilariously bizarre Scientology music video featured in that doc, then this sketch might not be as funny to you — though I think it still works, either way. “Neurotology Music Video” so accurately parodies that Scientology music video that it’s almost not even a spoof. The eccentric, enraptured acting makes the entire ensemble look like they’re mimicking praise hands emoji.
Another sketch from Hemsworth’s consistently great debut episode in Season 40 sees the actor manning a Star Trek-esque spaceship where he gets hysterically friendly with a chicken. It is utterly wacky and completely absurd and yet…it’s one of the best things SNL has done all year.
5. “First Got Horny 2 U”
I cannot speak to how or if men relate to this video, which explores that special moment of self-love awakening experienced by young women — which is almost always inspired by a very weird first crush, like Carson Daly, or the Hanson boys, or the teenage kid from Dinosaurs. For young men, it’s always some super model or beautiful actress, but girls are a little more odd, as beautifully, hilariously reflected in this great riff on ‘90s music videos with Elizabeth Banks. For me? My “moment” was watching Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. See? It’s weird.
4. “Prom Queen”
Mike O’Brien may have left the cast of SNL, but he still occasionally provides one of his remarkable, idiosyncratic and often strangely heartwarming shorts — like this one, based on late ’90s – early ’00s teen rom coms, starring Michael Keaton in a subversive role as the lovable teacher who also happens to be the object of affection for the most popular boy in school.
3. “Black Widow Trailer”
Black Widow fans have been clamoring for Marvel to give Scarlett Johansson’s badass character her very own solo film, but this fake trailer might be the closest we ever get. Johansson herself reprises the role of Natasha Romanoff in the trailer for Black Widow: Age of Me, which delivers every fan’s nightmare version of a Black Widow movie with a stereotypical, tear-jerking rom-com about a clumsy leading lady who has it all…except for the perfect guy.
2. “Special Offer”
This one may have just aired during the 2015 finale, but it immediately became one of the absolute best things SNL did this year. Featuring guest hosts and SNL vets Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (and very special guest Maya Rudolph), “Special Offer” sees a pair of former ’70s variety show hosts promoting a Christmas compilation with their more memorably wacky music guests. Rudolph plays a familiar drunken diva who absentmindedly hurls gifts at children and Poehler plays a coked-out disco queen, but it’s the final segment that will blow your mind — and proves that Fey and Poehler were the masterminds behind this totally ballsy sketch, which ends with the most memorable impression and punchline of the year.
1. “Star Wars Toy Commercial”
Star Wars is everything this year — and especially this past week, as The Force Awakens finally hit theaters. Regardless of how you feel about the new installment in the franchise, this toy ad (from Chris Hemsworth’s second hosting gig of the year, though he doesn’t appear here) is impeccable in its satire of grown-up Star Wars fans. We all know that the new Star Wars toys are really for middle-aged dudes who regard them as “collectibles” that should never leave the box. “Does your wife like toys, too?” is a killer line, overshadowed only by Taran Killam’s sad — so sad — face.
I told you it was difficult to narrow it down to 10, so here are two more great sketches that deserve recognition.
For the first time in maybe ever, SNL tackled the gun control issue with this faux ad with guest host Amy Schumer. A riff on sappy commercials for utilitarian products like phones or insurance, “Guns” turns firearms into a reliable product, given as a gift to a loved one, or shared among friends — always there when you need it most, like during the birth of your child, or a morning jog. SNL accurately depicts the senselessness of our attachment to guns with humor…and a little love?
“A Thanksgiving Miracle”
With all the political and social turmoil in the world, going home for the holidays can be a nightmare, particularly when your family members are oblivious, narrow-minded conservatives. Thanks to Adele’s irresistible hit single “Hello,” we now have something that can bring us all together around the dinner table. The power of Adele is strong in this short featuring guest host Matthew McConaughey — and if you’ve ever wanted to see him dressed as the beloved pop icon, now’s your chance.