As Saturday Night Live prepares to wrap up its 34th season this weekend with host Will Ferrell and musical guest Green Day, it’s time to look back at what can only be described as a landmark season for Lorne Michaels’ creation. This year, the show managed to avoid what had become an annual onslaught of “Saturday Night Dead” stories and not only make people laugh, but also affect the 2008 presidential election. With the possible exception of Chevy Chase’s devastating impression of Gerald Ford in 1976, Tina Fey’s take on Sarah Palin had more political impact than any other skit in the history of the program. Sure, Palin didn’t need much help tarnishing her image, but the instrumental role Fey played in turning the McCain/Palin ticket into an international joke cannot be overlooked.
Just as important, this was the year that the show proved itself to be a driving force behind NBC/Universal’s digital media unit. Digital shorts like “Jizz In My Pants” and “I’m on a Boat” drove tremendous traffic to both Hulu and NBC.com (these two videos alone have been viewed well over 65 million times). And from a creative perspective, the show was able to successfully rebound from the mid-season loss of longtime vet Amy Poehler. The current cast of both featured and repertory players is among the steadiest in the show’s history (they also personify Michaels’s original idea for casting the show with “Not Ready For Primetime Players”). Finally, the show managed to expand its footprint with Weekend Update Thursdays. This move was so successful (and cost-efficient) that NBC had no choice but to renew it for next fall, even though there won’t be an election to capture national attention.
And oh yeah, they made some fart jokes, too! Here are our ten favorite moments from the season, painfully whittled down from an original shortlist of over 30 sketches. As always, your favorites are not only welcomed, but encouraged.