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Top 5 moments of 'Saturday Night Live's' 40th Anniversary show

Some of the most prominent names in comedy filled the halls of Studio 8H on a Sunday night in New York City to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live." The three-and-a-half-hour tribute show celebrated the show's four decades of success by bringing back classic cast members and former not-ready-for-prime-time-players who have gone on to have great careers, as well as featuring numerous celebrity guest appearances and cameos.

While the final result of the program was a mixed-bag of successful throwbacks that got wrapped up in an unnecessarily long running time, there were certainly some great moments that will continue to be talked about as the show continues for years to come. Here are my top five moments from last night’s anniversary show.

5. The “In Memoriam” Montage

Introduced by an incredibly somber Bill Murray, the "In Memoriam" montage was one of the sadder, but more touching parts of Sunday night’s broadcast. It was touching to see such iconic cast members as Gilda Radner, John Belushi and Chris Farley included. It was even nicer to see that the show went the extra length to recognize all of the people who worked behind the scenes such as talent manager Bernie Brillstein, camera operator Al Camoin, prop master Willie Day and more. Fortunately, the tribute managed not to get too somber, with the montage ending with a picture of the still very much alive Jon Lovitz, who was in attendance at the show.

4. The Audition Montage Thinking about all of the big names that “Saturday Night Live” has brought into comedy is extraordinary. However, it’s also interesting to think that these comics would never be where they are today had they not auditioned for the show. In an interesting yet enjoyable move in the broadcast, a montage featuring audition footage from iconic players' first tryouts to for the show was included. While it may have felt a bit out of place, the montage was certainly a fascinating look into how talented the comics were before they made their debut. Also interesting was the decision to include the auditions of comedians such as Zach Galifianakis, who made the show as a writer, but only lasted two weeks, as well as Kevin Hart, who auditioned but never made the cut. Including these was, to me, an interesting choice that felt a bit out of place, but was enjoyable nonetheless. On a night where the show was supposed to be celebrating all of the success it has had, it was interesting to me that Lorne Michaels decided to take a step back and admit that maybe he should have chosen to cast some of the people he previously had disregarded.

3. Nick Ocean Returns

In what was one of many great moments in the broadcast, Bill Murray reprised his role as lounge singer Nick Ocean, who appeared to sing his lyricized version of the theme song to Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws.” While the appearance was brief, it was good fun to see Murray back in the tacky blue suede jacket, belting out goofy lyrics and seemingly having a good time. It may have been a fairly minute portion of a show jam-packed with exciting moments, but seeing Bill Murray back in his element was an absolute joy; one that younger fans of Saturday Night Live may have never experienced before. Even if it wasn’t in the biggest of ways, it was still great to see Murray back on stage at 30 Rock.

2. Celebrity Jeopardy

Seeing Will Ferrell play Alex Trebek again was great, but seeing all of the other classic impersonations paired with some of the ones from today’s cast was even better. Darrell Hammond was once again perfect as Sean Connery. Seeing Norm MacDonald reprise his incredibly obnoxious and unapologetic Burt Reynolds was also hilarious. Kate McKinnon’s fantastic and over-the-top Justin Bieber impersonation and Taran Killam’s Christoph Waltz were highlights as well. While it would have been nice to see Ben Stiller back as Tom Cruise, to me this sketch was a perfect blend of the old and the new SNL.

1. Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler’s Digital Short

Seeing Samberg and Sandler perform together is always a treat, but seeing Sandler in a Lonely Island-esque ballad about cast members breaking character was an absolute delight. In typical Lonely Island fashion, the song was just goofy enough to laugh at but just catchy enough to make you want to sing along. It also featured what I found to be one of the funniest moments of the night, in which Samberg essentially apologized blatantly for the disaster that was “That’s My Boy.” In a night filled with many great and talented comedians, seeing two of my favorites work together was the most memorable part of the entire evening.


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