Last night, NBC broadcast the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, a 3 1/2-hour program celebrating the 40-year anniversary of Saturday Night Live, to a whopping 23.1 million viewers (Variety), and brought out some of today’s biggest celebrities, past show hosts, past and present cast members, and musical guests.
Watch the full SNL 40 special here below down at the bottom; there’s also several highlighted clips embedded from the special.
Preceded by the best red carpet arrivals ever, the special was a mix of live sketches that were either new or redos of popular skits; live musical performances and squeal-worthy music moments (The Pauls!); and clips of old favorites. Check out our full SNL 40 coverage from last night.
There was so so much funny goodness! Here are just some of the highlights:
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s cold open rap showcased this dynamic duo’s awesome collaborative style. These guys need their own show (together I mean-Fallon is not allowed to leave The Tonight Show).
Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon kick off the SNL 40th anniversary special with a musical medley featuring catchphrases from the show’s 40-year history.
The star-studded monologue was like the “Royal Rumble” of monologues with the audience (and viewers like me) cheering with every new celebrity. Steve Martin was a show-off delivering quips and insults with a speed these young comedians could not possibly pull off with the panache of Martin.
Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, Chris Rock, Peyton Manning, Miley Cyrus, Billy Crystal, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon debate over whether comedians, actors, former cast members, athletes, musicians or guys named Paul make the best hosts.
We got to see audition videos from cast members and really famous rejects like Stephen Colbert and Jim Carrey, who didn’t make it onto Saturday Night Live, but sketch comedy was in Carrey’s future, as he rose to fame on In Living Color. Plus, Carrey did get to play Andy Kaufman in Man in the Moon, so he got to live it a little bit. Personal highlight – young Jimmy Fallon.
Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones introduce a supercut of auditions from former cast members like Gilda Radner, Bill Hader and Chevy Chase. Plus, see auditions from the stars that didn’t make the cut.
The Californians‘ family reunion had a steamy kiss (Go Betty!) and Taylor Swift rocked that freakin’ awesome accent! It ends surprisingly with, “Buh-bye!” The Californians (Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Laraine Newman, Kenan Thompson, Betty White, Taylor Swift) reunite and get some surprising news about their pool boy Craig (Bradley Cooper). Plus, David Spade and Cecily Strong bring the sketch to an abrupt end.
Weekend Update with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Jane Curtain was as delightful as you’d expect, and they welcomed Matt Foley (Melissa McCarthy channeling Chris Farley), two Stefon’s (Edward Norton and Bill Hadar breaking character – I love it!), and Emma Stone channeling Gilda Radner. There was also an introspective honoring the male Weekend Update hosts.
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin return to the Weekend Update desk and share the latest news on SNL’s viewership.
Emma Stone answers reader letters as Gilda Radner’s iconic character.
Melissa McCarthy plays the motivational speaker and reminds Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin that being a Weekend Update anchor will not bring you jack squat.
SNL remembers Weekend Update anchors Chevy Chase, Seth Meyers, Dan Aykroyd, Jimmy Fallon, Dennis Miller and more.
“That’s When You Break” digital short featuring Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler centers on the many, many times where cast members have broke on-screen and laughed, with Samberg and Sandler being repeat offenders.
Zach Galifianakis introduces a new Digital Short starring Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler.
Mike Myers and Dana Carvey reprised their New Wayne’s World characters.
SNL gave us quite a few montages from the 40-year history (a personal favorite – Swayze and Farley “Chippendales” auditions), and viewers experienced laughter tinged with bittersweetness that almost made us sadder than the “In Memoriam” portion.
From The Chris Farley Show to Bronx Beat, SNL recaps 40 years of unforgettable sketches.
Celebrity Jeopardy was played with everybody’s favorite contestant, Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), and a definite “too soon” Bill Cosby (Kenan Thompson) moment.
Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) tries his best to keep contestants Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon), Tony Bennett (Alec Baldwin), Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald), Christoph Waltz (Taran Killam), Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey) and Bill Cosby (Kenan Thompson) in line.
Bill Murray honors the dearly departed members of the SNL family.
Video: Full Episode
Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special – Part 1
S40 | Air Date: 02/15/15 | 1:04:55 | tv-14 | Available Until 03/12/15
Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special – Part 2
S40 | Air Date: 02/15/15 | 1:26:41 | tv-14 | Available Until 03/12/15
Comedy’s biggest stars return to Studio 8H and pay tribute to the series’ 40-year history, including past hosts, cast members and music legends.