What was the best SNL episode of the season? Who was the best new castmember? Dave Rudden and Tony Wilson (LaserTime’s two biggest SNL superfans) weigh in with their awards for these categories and much more!
The 40th season of Saturday Night Live was a landmark one, and not just because of the big anniversary. After a rough 39th season that saw record cast departures from single-season flops, the 40th season brought a batch of new talent, almost all of whom seem destined for long careers at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The new Weekend Update team was a dud, but the show seems to be firing on all cylinders with a bright future ahead. But before that happens, let’s look back and highlight the best of season 40.
To celebrate the recently concluded season, SNL Viewer’s Club author Tony Wilson and Cheap Popcast host/LaserTime regular/SNL fanatic/yours truly Dave Rudden each weighed in with awards for pretty much every SNL superlative one could think of. We start below with Tony’s picks. After reading those, click over to the next page to see Dave’s faves!
TONY WILSON’S BEST OF SNL’S 40TH SEASON AWARDS
BEST EPISODE: Sarah Silverman with Maroon 5
It’s no secret that comedians tend to make good hosts. The monologue killed because they let Silverman do her thing, and the majority of sketches that week weren’t afraid to take on some touchy societal issues.
BEST HOST: Kevin Hart
One word: energy. Say what you will about his comedy, but Kevin Hart commits to everything he does with fire. There’s a reason Get On Up is my favorite sketch of the year.
BEST CAST MEMBER: Kyle Mooney
While not considered a powerhouse like Taran Killam or Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney still finds himself in most of the must-see sketches. He’s opposite Sasheer Zamata in the recurring Vlog sketch, and half the brainpower behind any Good Neighbor bit with Beck Bennett. And I can’t get over his pre-SNL stuff. Brilliant.
BEST NEW CAST MEMBER: Pete Davidson
Davidson is the first cast member younger than me, and he came from several MTV comedies – that bothered me at first. After his Weekend Update bits and great delivery in the Teacher Trial sketch, I’m on board.
BEST WEEKEND UPDATE GUEST: Riblet
He’s the closest thing to Bobby Moynihan’s Mark Payne we’ll ever get, and his rapport with Michael Che is hilarious every time.
BEST CAMEO: Everyone’s mom in the Mother’s Day episode
This was the most heart-warming sketch all year. Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for this stuff since I was raised by a single mom.
BEST LIVE SKETCH: Get on Up
This was hands down my favorite sketch of the season, but it’s hard to put my finger on why. Maybe it’s the brief, repeating guitar chord. Maybe it’s the look on the horn section’s faces. Maybe it’s the idea of this conversation actually happening in the middle of a concert. All I can say for sure is that it had me laughing the whole time. Great James Brown from Hart too.
BEST COLD OPEN: Giuliani
A spot-on Birdman spoof with a perfect performance from Taran Killam. Props to the writers for taking an actual spin on the typical political opener.
BEST MONOLOGUE: J.K. Simmons
Though probably not surprising, the Whiplash spoofing was hilarious. This monologue was exactly my tempo, with great zingers and a well-placed cameo.
BEST 10-TO-1 FINAL SKETCH: Women in the Workplace
A perfect satire of 80s/90s workplace training videos. The delivery from Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon was spot on, and the workplace cutaways were hilariously awkward.
BEST PRERECORDED “DIGITAL” SKETCH: The Jay Z Story
I love Mike O’Brien’s work, and this is why. Perfect casting, great and subtle performances, and strong jokes throughout. Makes me want to get into the rap game myself.
BEST MUSICAL GUEST: Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
“Uptown Funk” still gets everybody moving, and we’re already in season for the next big summer song. “Feel Right” is just a mountain of funk-rap, and reintroduced the world to Mystikal.
Click through to the next page for Dave’s picks!