Last night's star-studded reunion special, "SNL40," was an entrancing trip down memory lane. The 3-and-a-half-hour show reminded viewers of the characters, catch-phrases, and iconic moments that have made Saturday Night Live a comedic institution for 40 years. It was a long show and we're all still reeling from catching up with our favorite sketches, but here are the moments you definitely need to see…
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's musical intro
Everyone loves it when Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake rap and perform together. This medley of some of their favorite moments spanning 4 decades had a lot of heart. Plus, Justin Timberlake is super cute as always.
The auditions reel
Every comedian dreams of SNL, if even just for a day. The auditioning process is so secret and sacred that you never know when it may happen for you. It just sort of does. This reel of some of the most renowned comedians ever auditioning for the show (and some who didn't even make it, but maybe should have), is sweet and refreshing. To think they all started in the same place, and had explosive careers after. Truly awe-inspiring.
We got to see so many of our favorite sketches and characters again. Celebrity Jeopardy with Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery was classic and a great choice for the reunion. Other highlights included Maya Rudolph as Beyoncé, Jim Carrey as Matthew McConaughey, Kate McKinnon's Bieber, and a slew of other cast members rehashing their incredible characters.
Comedians doing impressions of other comedians
But additionally, newer celebs with an appreciation for the show took a stab at their favorite characters:
Melissa McCarthy gave us an uproarious rendition of Chris Farley's Matt Foley the motivational speaker hellbent on convincing people that they may end up "living in a van down by the river" if they don't change their act.
Emma Stone gave a spot-on impression of the late Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna.
The Californians (possibly the 2010s most recognizable sketch) had a star-studded line up featuring Betty White, Kerry Washington and Bradley Cooper. Taylor Swift even took a stab at comedy (but perhaps she shouldn't quit her day job).
Innovative musical acts
The musical numbers for the night were true to SNL fashion, with unexpected covers and unique stage setups.
Miley Cyrus covered Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," while Kanye debuted his new song, "Wolves" with Sia and Vic Mensa. Other acts included Paul Simon and Paul McCartney, both of whom did delightful renditions of their own hit songs from decades past.
"That's When You Break"
Breaking is an art form, for better or worse, that SNL has perfected. The funniest moments of any sketch are when the talent cannot help but chuckle at the absurdity of it all. Jimmy Fallon was known to break and look at the camera in so many of his sketches. Same with Bill Hader as Stefon. This awesome short featuring Andy Samberg (who really brought SNL to the internet generation with his digital shorts) and Adam Sandler shows some of the expertly executed breaks throughout the show's history.
The show's love letter to New York City
New York has been a cast member on Saturday Night Live since the very first episode. The city produced the backdrop for these comedians to get noticed, and also provided fodder for the writers' room every week. In this touching tribute to NYC, we get to remember the first episode after 9/11, and how much it meant to continue being funny in a time so rife with fear and sadness. Famed TriBeCa-lover Robert DeNiro gave beautiful tribute before this epic montage. It's said that if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere, and the same goes for Saturday Night Live. Much ❤️ for NYC.
Images via NBC
Akilah Hughes is a comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion's culture section. You can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. 🍕