There were a lot of great moments — and also a lot of self-congratulation and back-slapping — during the three-and-a-half-hour Saturday Night Live anniversary extravaganza Sunday night. Thanks to the inclusion of just about everyone who ever appeared on SNL (and a few homages to those who have passed on), the night was buzzing with potential. Here are 5 of the stand-out moments from the special, and be sure to add your own in the comments, as well as some of your favorite bits from SNL‘s 40 year history.
The Return of Celebrity Jeopardy
In addition to Will Ferrell‘s great, exasperated Alex Trebek, Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Justin Bieber, with Alec Baldwin as Tony Bennett and Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds. There were also some important lessons on how to pronounce “Who Reads” and “Let It Snow” from Darrell Hammond‘s Sean Connery, of course. Though Taran Killan‘s Christoph Waltz sounded a little bit like a leprechaun, Jim Carrey‘s Matthew McConaughey (the Lincoln commercial / Rust Cohle version) more than made up it. A Bill Cosby dig courtesy of Kenan Thompson rounded out a great skit.
Melissa McCarthy Pays Homage to Chris Farley
As part of a Weekend Update segment that was mostly about introducing other guests (even though the three women anchors were great to see), Melissa McCarthy livened things up by literally bursting onto the scene as Chris Farley‘s Matt Foley. The desk crash completely sealed the deal on one of the night’s best moments. (You can watch the whole skit here).
Bradley Cooper Makes Out with Betty White
Notable if only for the Harold and Maude of it all; though SNL won’t let “The Californians” die, this particular kiss gave it some new life.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) February 16, 2015
Martin Short and Maya Rudolph Remind Us How Funny SNL Can Be
Martin Short and Maya Rudolph were fantastic hosting a cavalcade of musical acts (some of which were more successful than others …) particularly when it came to Rudolph’s 100% on-point portrayal of Beyoncé. (Here’s the full video of their performance plus all of the music, but skip to our last entry for the very best clip from that segment):
Bill Murray’s Love Song to Jaws
It was great seeing so many familiar faces from Saturday Night Live‘s past, but Bill Murray was one of the few who really brought something fresh to the table in the 40th anniversary special by reprising his role as Nick Ocean, singing “Love Theme from Jaws,” with Paul Shaffer on piano. Pairing “You made me part of you — now Jaws, you’ve found someone new. Why? Jaws? Jaws, why? Wasn’t I enough for you?” with feature footage of the shark destroying Quint’s boat was absolutely perfect. (Video starts at the beginning of his sketch).