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100 best 'SNL' episodes

  • #30. Season 4, Episode 6 - Carrie Fisher/The Blues Brothers

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 96
    - Air date: Nov. 18, 1978

    As “Star Wars” was slowly taking over pop culture, a young Carrie Fisher showed flashes of the comic brilliance that would later define her career. She delivered the opening monologue in full Princess Leia gear, because who would recognize her otherwise, she mused.

  • #29. Season 1, Episode 19 - Madeline Kahn/Carly Simon

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 100
    - Air date: May 8, 1976

    The two biggest standouts in Madeline Kahn's episode came in the form of two completely different sketches. "Final Days" is “SNL” political commentary at its sharpest, while "Slumber Party" is an intimately funny ode to learning about the birds and the bees.

  • #28. Season 32, Episode 16 - Peyton Manning/Carrie Underwood

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 157
    - Air date: March 24, 2007

    “SNL” hosts from the world of sports are a rarity, but Peyton Manning delivered a serviceable performance in an episode that may have brought a few new eyes to the aging series. At one point in the episode, Manning plays an actor for the film “300,” in which he butts heads with the director because he doesn’t want to murder his co-star.

  • #27. Season 39, Episode 21 - Andy Samberg/St. Vincent

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 205
    - Air date: May 17, 2014

    Former regular Andy Samberg closed out the 39th season in outrageous fashion, starring in an ad for “Testicules,” a men’s perfume for “down there.” He’d also recorded a memorable digital short (“Hugs”) with Lonely Island and Pharrell to rap-explain to their female love interests they’re not “an item” just because they gave them hugs.

  • #26. Season 41, Episode 15 - Ariana Grande

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 281
    - Air date: March 12, 2016

    Ariana Grande, who's best known as a pop singer, surprised audiences by proving to be a funny host with a knack for impersonations—including ones of Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, and Shakira. Time writer Daniel D'Addario wrote, “Grande had never before had the occasion to reveal that she could do so much more than hit the right notes.”

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  • #25. Season 43, Episode 21 - Donald Glover/Childish Gambino

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 358
    - Air date: May 5, 2018

    Not only did Donald Glover blow fans away as a host, he also debuted his new single "This is America." The powerful anthem with messages about gun violence, consumerism, and Black America proved to be one of the most prominent songs of the year.

  • #24. Season 42, Episode 6 - Dave Chappelle/A Tribe Called Quest

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 489
    - Air date: Nov. 12, 2016

    In what was clearly a long overdue arrival, Dave Chappelle made his “SNL” debut in 2016. In the same episode, the famed rap group A Tribe Called Quest debuted their new song "We the People."

  • #23. Season 12, Episode 8 - William Shatner/Lone Justice

    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 55
    - Air date: Dec. 20, 1986

    William Shatner stepped on a few toes in his opening monologue when he discussed attending his first “Star Trek” convention, and then told Trekkies that they needed to get a life. His statement aside, the actor went on to parody the classic intergalactic series in the episode.

  • #22. Season 3, Episode 5 - Ray Charles

    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 62
    - Air date: Nov. 12, 1977

    Ray Charles was one of the first musicians to pull double-duty as the host and musical guest, and he set the bar high. Not only were his musical segments among the show's very best, he also played up his comedic talents in sketches such as "The Young Caucasians."

  • #21. Season 4, Episode 4 - Steve Martin/Van Morrison

    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 64
    - Air date: Nov. 4, 1978

    Dan Aykroyd continued to set the standard for presidential portrayals as Jimmy Carter. In the episode's early moments, he gives an impassioned speech about why inflation might not be so bad.

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