Even though he claims to be mystified about what works on “SNL”, let’s face it: Lorne Michaels clearly knows what he’s doing. In it’s 36th and 37th seasons, “Saturday Night Live” continued to deliver steady ratings, push boundaries, and most of all – make us laugh. As 2011 draws to a close, we’re taking a look back at the 11 funniest sketches of the calendar year.
HOST: Charlie Day
SKETCH “Kardashian Divorce Special” — During a week where countless jokes and jabs were aimed at Kim Kardashian and her 72-day marriage debacle, SNL set a new standard in mockery – and viral video views – with this taped piece. Below, Nasim Pedrad, Abby Elliott and Vanessa Bayer reprise their roles as the hilariously vapid Kim, Khloe and Kourtney, while Kristen Wiig nails it as a spotlight-hungry Kris Jenner.
HOST: Justin Timberlake
SKETCH: “Barry Gibb Talk Show” — Jimmy Fallon returns to the role of “Barry effing Gibb” wilder and hairier than ever. Following a particularly stellar meltdown (and subsequent revival), we learn the real reason for his outrageous antics: he survived the Rapture.
HOST: Ben Stiller
SKETCH: “Weekend Update” — After years in retirement, Derek Zoolander resurfaces in a “Weekend Update” bit as Stefon’s dim-witted Halloween date. But forget “Blue Steel” – this time Derek is perfecting “Cold Coffee.”
HOST: Melissa McCarthy
SKETCH: “Arlene” — If McCarthy’s turn in “Bridesmaids” didn’t convince you of her physical comedy skills, then this insane piece featuring the “Mike and Molly” star as a bespectacled, gyrating, horse balloon-rubbing, sex-crazed office worker should do the trick.
HOST: Jason Segel
SKETCH: “Regis Philbin Auditions” — Sometimes the success of an SNL sketch rests simply on the cast’s ability to expertly mimic celebrities. No sketch illustrated this point better than “Regis Philbin Auditions,” with Taran Killam as Ashton Kutcher, Bill Hader as Garrison Keillor, Bobby Moynihan as Rosie O’Donnell (“I will absorb you”), Jason Segel as Antonio Banderas, Abby Elliott as Zooey Deschanel, Jay Pharoah as Denzel Washington, Jason Sudeikis as Ricky Gervais and Kristen Wiig as a Rascal-riding Kathie Lee Gifford.
HOST: Alec Baldwin
SKETCH: “Top Gun 25th Anniversary” — Watch for Hader’s Alda. Stay for Baldwin’s Pacino.
HOST: Ed Helms
SKETCH: “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” — Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon make surprise appearances as Ace and Gary in the the first ever live-action version of this Smigel fave. The animated superheroes – regularly voiced by Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert – are transformed into Hamm and Fallon after a “flesh ray” goes haywire.
HOST: Tina Fey
SKETCH: “Captain Jack Sparrow” — Ever dream you’d live to see the day where Michael Bolton dons a Jack Sparrow costume and croons about his love of “Pirates of the Caribbean?”
HOST: Miley Cyrus
SKETCH: “The Miley Cyrus Show” — Real Miley goes up against Vanessa Bayer’s fake Miley. The result? It’s… uh…pretty cool.
HOST: Russell Brand
SKETCH: “British Movie” — You know when you watch British films and can’t understand a word any of the actors are saying? Well, try ‘Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun To Re Ro’ on for size.
HOST: Jesse Eisenberg
SKETCH: “Monologue” — Three Zuckerbergs. Andy, Jesse and Mark. Which one is real?