40 Years of Funny Gets Replayed in New York

This was one of the most important weekends in television history as it marked 40 hysterically funny years of Saturday Night Live. With hundreds of former cast members, hosts, and writers returning for the 3 ½-hour special held last night, 15 February 2015. Fans from several generations tuned in to watch the return of some of their favorite sketches, including “What’s up with That?” “Wayne’s World” and of course, a veterans filled “Weekend Update”.

SNL 40

Former cast member Jimmy Fallon and close friend of the show Justin Timberlake were the first to perform. The duo took to the stage of Studio 8H where they performed one of the most creative cold openers in the shows run. Timberlake and Fallon showed their talent as rappers, highlighting several of the show’s most popular sketches, including Timberlake’s own “Dick in a Box.” Following the cold open, Martin Short took the stage to perform a musical opener beside several SNL greats: Maya Rudolph impersonating Beyoncé, Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen as Garth & Kat, Will Ferrell and Anna Gasteyer as Bobbi and Marty Culp, Opera Man Adam Sandler, Steve Martin channeling King Tut, and the always amazing Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as The Blues Brothers. This was only the beginning of the hilarious show that was going to follow.

Fallon Timberlake SNL

Other highlighted moments from the show included the return of Celebrity Jeopardy and despite being off the show for several years, Will Ferrell’s impersonation of Alex Trebek has not lost its touch. Contestants included a rather feisty Sean Connery impersonation by Darrell Hammond, Alec Baldwin reaching his inner Tony Bennett, Norm MacDonald as an out of control Burt Reynolds, and Kate McKinnon giving her consistently hilarious impersonation of Justin Bieber. Jim Carrey then surprised fans as he joined the show, poking fun at Matthew McConaughey and the latest string of commercials for Lincoln.

Ferrel SNL

It was also a 80s child’s dream come true when the always radical Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey returned as Wayne and Garth in a revamped “Wayne’s World”. There were plenty of “Sh’yeah”’s and “Schwing”’s to fill up the sketch as the comedy duo ranked the top 10 things about SNL. The list included musical guests, opening credits, catchphrases, and SNL’s creator and long-time producer Lorne Michaels. Helping out throughout the sketch was musician and boat rocker Kanye West, whom Wayne and Garth continuously warned to “stay seated” because they were performing, not him. The notoriously short-tempered rapper was quite playful and seemed to have no problem with the SNL vets making jokes at his expense, showing his rarely seen softer side.

Waynes World

Arguably, the most interesting fact about last night’s show did not come from the stage. The day that marked the 40th anniversary of SNL fell on the same day as what would have been Chris Farley’s 51st birthday. Farley became famous as one of the most intoxicating, influential cast members to have ever graced the SNL stage; unfortunately, like many talented actors and comedians, Farley lost his battle with drugs and alcohol in December of 1987. It was a tragic loss for all who loved the sketch comedy show and it seems only fitting that his birthday would fall on the same day as the show’s.

Farley

The 40th anniversary of SNL could not have been any better. Everyone saw the return of his or her favorite characters, sketches, and musical guests. It was a night that surpassed the bar previously set by SNL greats and fans can only hope for 40 more years that are just as fantastic.

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