Saturday Night Live Season 41 Awards

snl41awards

What was Saturday Night Live’s best skit, show, host, and cameo from the recently concluded 41st season? Check in with Laser Time’s resident SNL fanatics as we break down the best stuff from the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players!

LIVE from Laser Time, it’s Saturday Night… Live’s Season 41 Awards! WIth another season in the book, now is the time to look back and reflect upon the biggest comedy institution in the world and how it performed over the last eight months. After a landmark 40th season with little turnover in the cast, 41 was destined to be a bit of a letdown, but there were still many things worth celebrating. The Weekend Update combo of Colin Jost and Michael Che finally gelled, we got landmark hosts like a rare team-up gig in the form of Sisters stars/SNL alums Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and we all survived watching Donald Trump attempt comedy for 90 minutes. But enough about that, we’re here to celebrate SNL and the highlights of the year. Okay, maybe we’ll joke a tad more about Trump, but only a little.

As we did last year (check out our SNL Season 40 Awards), we’ll be going through several notable categories to determine the best of SNL over the last season. From performers to hosts to skit types, we’ve broken down the last 21 episodes of live comedy. Your award-givers for this year are Tony Wilson (Laser Time’s SNL Viewers Club author) and Dave Rudden (Cheap Popcast host and self-professed Saturday Night Live superfan who has watched every SNL episode from the early 1980s to today). Each dude submits his own awards, and since the best skit of the year would obviously repeat in another category, we’ll name a runner up for that specific sketch type later in the list. Alright, onto the awards!

BEST EPISODE


DAVE’S CHOICE: Larry David & The 1975
In terms of episodes that entertained me, SNL doesn’t come much better than LD’s episode, which included so many of my favorite skits this year, and a top-notch cameo from Bernie Sanders. We may be years away from David’s return to HBO, but Bern Your Enthusiasm is a nice stopgap.

TONY’S CHOICE: Tracy Morgan & Demi Lovato
I’ll talk about why Tracy rules for the next award, but let’s just break this episode down for sec. It has the debut of Larry David as Bernie Sanders, the resurgence of some recurring sketches from a decade ago, a phenomenal guest bit from Tina Fey on Weekend Update, a sing-songy sketch that’s actually funny, and the best-titled sketch of the whole season with “Yo! Where Jackie Chan at Right Now?”

BEST HOST


TONY’S CHOICE: Tracy Morgan
Was his episode good? Yes. But that doesn’t even factor into my choice here. For anybody to go through a terrible accident, hospitalization, and recovery like Tracy did, then get back to even a fraction of where they were before, is a miracle. I honestly teared up when he first took the stage, and thinking back on that moment still makes me warm and fuzzy.

DAVE’S CHOICE: Peter Dinklage
As great as Larry David’s episode was, I prefer a host who can stretch their muscles with weird characters and LD’s characters are all variations on “cranky guy”. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Dinklage’s range, with a variety of eccentric characters like a gloryhole restaurant goer, a boss who denies his ownership of dirty underwear, and in one of the most bizarre sketches of the year, the singer/songwriter of Space Pants.

BEST OVERALL SKIT


DAVE’S CHOICE: Farewell, Mr. Bunting
Call it recency bias, but nothing this year has made me laugh as much as “Farewell, Mr. Bunting.” Even before the shocking ending occurs, it’s a pitch-perfect parody of “school teacher inspires students” movies, and I can’t help but chuckle at Bobby Moynihan’s strict principle and Beck Bennett’s hesitant reading of poetry’s uselessness.

TONY’S CHOICE: Porn Teacher
Have I admitted my bias toward Amy Schumer recently? Well don’t let that cloud your judgment here, because this sketch is ace. This would have been funny enough with Amy and Kyle Mooney hamming it up on their own, but the twist of this porn set being Aidy Bryant’s actual school is one of the best hard left turns of the season.

BEST CAST MEMBER


TONY’S CHOICE: Pete Davidson
Last year I gave Pete Davidson the “Best New Cast Member” award, and he’s continued to grow and flourish on the since. Whether it’s doing his almost-standup routines on Weekend Update or playing the world’s most meat-headed pool boy, Pete demonstrates that a sketch show’s youngest star can often be its brightest.

DAVE’S CHOICE: Kate McKinnon
A repeat win! Kate McKinnon has already made a strong case for the best all-time woman SNL castmember, and every season she stays, she makes the case for being one of the all-time greats. Her Hillary Clinton is the best the show’s ever seen (sorry, Amy Poehler), and her reoccuring characters (like Weekend Update’s Olya Povlatsky, the Whiskers R We owner, and the desperate late night barfly) never get old. The only problem I have with the new Ghostbusters trailers is that KMK doesn’t have any lines!

BEST COLD OPEN


DAVE’S CHOICE: Brooklyn Democratic Debate
SNL has run soooo many political openers this year that they all seem to blend together (prepare for even more as the elections run up in the first few weeks of season 42). That’s why my favorite political skits are ones that focus more on goofiness than modern political satire. I don’t remember much of what jabs were thrown at Bernie and Hillary in this skit, but I was definitely entertained by Elaine Benes and Rachel Greene making appearances.

TONY’S CHOICE: Church Lady
Trying to find a non-political opener from this season is liking trying to find a Republican on Tumblr. But I don’t quite have to settle, because Dana Carvey’s out-of-the-blue return as his second-most iconic character was awesome. And this sort of framing is exactly how SNL should be spicing up its by-the-numbers political stuff every time.

BEST MONOLOGUE


TONY’S CHOICE: Larry David
SNL is largely hosted by trained actors, but Larry David is one those guys who can just be funny. Self-deprecation is always funny too, and the barbs seemed to have been written by Larry himself.

DAVE’S CHOICE: Fred Armisen
Trying to find a non-political opener from this season is liking trying to find a Republican on Tumblr. But I don’t quite have to settle, because Dana Carvey’s out-of-the-blue return as his second-most iconic character was awesome. And this sort of framing is exactly how SNL should be spicing up its by-the-numbers political stuff every time.

BEST LIVE SKETCH


DAVE’S CHOICE: Mermaids
Again, Kate McKinnon’s range manifested itself in this skit where KMK played a malformed Mermaid. In what’s probably the best costume/makeup job of the year, McKinnon pulled off the blobfish-woman hybrid. It’s one thing to look like the grossest creature in the sea, but Shud brought the comedy. Bonus points to Beck Bennet, SNL’s current-day successor to Phil Hartman. He can do weird stuff with Kyle Mooney, and play the straightman in a skit like this.

TONY’S CHOICE: Movie Night (Runner-up to Porn Teacher)
I already awarded Porn Teach “Best Overall Sketch,” so I’ll take this moment to highlight a different live one. I’ve already applauded Pete Davidson too, so let this be another example of how well he’s doing. It’s easily the best sketch from Melissa McCarthy’s episode too.

The best digital skit, Weekend Update guest, cameo, and musical performer await you on the next page!

5 thoughts on “Saturday Night Live Season 41 Awards

  1. Pretty good season! I’d give it an 8/10. This cast has gelled nicely. The only dead weight seems to be Rudnisky (sp?) and to a certain extent the underutilized Sasheer Zamata.

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