The 40th season of Saturday Night Live may be marked by one key facet: that its best wasn’t necessarily live.
Not like it’s anything completely new. Since the first season of the long-running sketch comedy show, pre-taped segments have dotted its lineup, from Albert Brooks’ ’70s films to the Lonely Island’s digital shorts in the 2000s. But alongside those were the live sketches, that on which SNL made its name. The vast majority of the show’s greatest moments come from that end of the spectrum.
But in 2014 and 2015, many of the show’s top skits were shot before the audience arrived in Studio 8H, before Americans sat down at their television sets at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday.
Our favorites included the Digital Short equivalents, the tried-and-true commercial parodies, the short films. A few sketches made it into the running, too, but make no mistake: much of what you’re about to see could have easily been created and uploaded onto YouTube without first showing up on your TV.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. Funny is funny, and here are our favorites of SNL40.
Wearing a blonde goatee and a 10-gallon hat, Shelton sings, alongside two very Judd-like singers played by Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant, about the “Wishin’ Boot,” the little black boot that makes your dreams come true. This boot will be there when you need it, bringing you food when you’re hungry and getting you out of jail after you shoot a guy while hooking. Just watch out for that fake boot that tries to stab you. This song is clearly a joke, but we wish it was actually Shelton’s next single. Wishin’ boot, did you hear that? -Shannon Carlin
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Sia’s “Chandelier” was one of last year’s most watched and parodied videos, thanks to dancer Maggie Ziegler’s powerful, emotive performance. This skit, which begins innocently enough as an office Halloween party, soon evolves into guest host Jim Carrey and equally fearless (and physical) cast member Kate McKinnon launching into an outrageous “Chandelier” dance-off that encompassed most of the famed Studio 8H through a variety of set pieces and even involved the show’s musical guest Iggy Azalea. -Scott T. Sterling