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100 best 'SNL' episodes

  • #40. Season 38, Episode 1 - Seth MacFarlane/Frank Ocean

    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 280
    - Air date: Sept. 15, 2012

    Jay Pharoah officially took over the role of President Obama from Fred Armisen in this premiere episode—news of which was leaked to the press by Lorne Michaels the week before. Seth MacFarlane “effortlessly” transformed into swimmer Ryan Lochte as a guest on “Weekend Update.”

  • #39. Season 17, Episode 17 - Sharon Stone/Pearl Jam

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 52
    - Air date: April 11, 1992

    Memorable sketches from Sharon Stone's 1992 episode include “Airport Security Check” and “The Porno Couple,” in which Stone’s husband confesses to acting in adult films—not just regular films—and she admits she is a “porn scientist.” Pearl Jam brought the house down with “Alive” and “Porch.”

  • #38. Season 18, Episode 14 - Bill Murray/Sting

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 53
    - Air date: Feb. 20, 1993

    The former cast regular returned to host this post-Valentine’s episode. In “Coffee Talk,” Mike Myers is talk show host Linda Richman, who interviews apartment 4C neighbor Claude Kaufman (Bill Murray), whom she’d just met in the laundry room. Kaufman is a casting agent for television testimonials.

  • #37. Season 4, Episode 20 - Buck Henry/Bette Midler

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 54
    - Air date: May 26, 1979

    Henry returned to host the final episode of cast regulars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Aykroyd portrays Richard Nixon in an attempt to justify the Watergate scandal.

  • #36. Season 17, Episode 9 - Steve Martin/James Taylor

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 55
    - Air date: Dec. 1991

    Steve Martin, who appeared in nearly 30 episodes and hosted over a dozen times, hysterically plays cat-owning Grandma Pugga who meets the girlfriend of Tim (Chris Farley). A star-studded duo (Rob Schneider, Kevin Nealon) shines as “The Doormen,” who tend to their NYC residents and discuss preferable undergarments and hospital gowns’ ideal airflow.

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  • #35. Season 16, Episode 4 - Patrick Swayze/Mariah Carey

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 71
    - Air date: Oct. 27, 1990

    Rob Schneider made his “SNL” debut while Patrick Swayze starred in a skit about a second “Ghost” movie and auditioned to be a Chippendales dancer alongside Chris Farley. This was also Mariah Carey’s first time appearing on the show, and it came shortly after releasing her self-titled studio album—the beginning of her superstardom.

  • #34. Season 2, Episode 15 - Steve Martin/The Kinks

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 77
    - Air date: Feb. 26, 1977

    Repeat host Steve Martin continued to deliver the goods in this 1977 episode that continued to pave the way for an eventual “Coneheads” movie. The episode also had Gilda Radner as Jackie Onassis in a weightlifting match with a Russian champion.

  • #33. Season 2, Episode 10 - Candice Bergen/Frank Zappa

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 77
    - Air date: Dec. 11, 1976

    The pairing of Candice Bergen and John Belushi always led to good things in the show's early history, and this episode was no different. From their “Casablanca” skit to the wonderful silliness of "Adopt Belushi For Christmas," the comedic pairing nailed every sketch they put on together.

  • #32. Season 1, Episode 22 - Elliott Gould/Leon Redbone, Harlan Collins & Joyce Everson

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 81
    - Air date: May 29, 1976

    In a 12-minute sketch that remains the gold standard of "SNL" comedy, the show lovingly skewered the endlessly hopeful “Star Trek” with "The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise." Earlier in the episode, Dan Aykroyd plays a character that is taken advantage of by Chevy Chase’s character—and his interpreter—in a poker game.

  • #31. Season 25, Episode 16 - Christopher Walken/Christina Aguilera

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 92
    - Air date: April 8, 2000

    In 2000, the “SNL” cast included Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, and Tracy Morgan—and joining those heavy hitters for the week was Christopher Walken. He took on a number of classic characters, but perhaps none quite as well-done as Fidel Castro. This is also the episode where Walken has "gotta have more cowbell" from the band. 

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