The 12 Best 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches of Season 46

Theeeeere he iiiiiiis, my Tiny Horse!

john mulaney saturday night live
NBC

Saturday Night Live came back swinging in its 46th season. After struggling to end the previous season with socially distanced, all-virtual shows, SNL returned to in-person performances again at the end of 2020, and finished strong in spring of 2021 with many masks, many guests, and everyone in Studio 8H observing tight COVID protocols. Nature is healing, etc.

Like any comedy show, SNL has its share of hits and misses, and this season was no different. Today, we're focusing on the hits, rounding up the funniest, most memorable, and most rewatchable sketches of the season—from Philadelphia accent parodies to another John Mulaney musical banger to Timothée Chalamet pouring his soul out to a stop-motion tiny horse.

click to play video

12. Drivers License

Episode 13, with host Regé-Jean Page and musical guest Bad Bunny
A spiritual sequel to the very GIF-able sketch featuring Emma Stone sobbing to Adele's "Someone Like You," this entry from Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page's episode finds most of the male cast members as bar patrons getting all emotionally worked up about Olivia Rodrigo's single "Drivers License." And, really, who can blame them? It's a banger. As Kate McKinnon's old guy says, "I need to hear that freakin' bridge again."

click to play video

11. Pride Song

Episode 20, with host Anya-Taylor Joy and musical guest Lil Nas X
This extremely catchy tune about the ups and downs of Pride is notable, if nothing else for Lil Nas X telling the audience to "post hole." It's the kind of sketch you can't really imagine in the SNL of yore: It's a very funny but nuanced take on the kinds of debates that happen in queer communities: Is Pride too corporate? Do you actually read theory? It's also yet another showcase for Bowen Yang, who had a breakout year. He gets things going in a mesh top by having a breakdown when his crush doesn't text him back.

click to play video

10. Loco ft. Bad Bunny

Episode 13, with host Regé-Jean Page and musical guest Bad Bunny
How have you guys been feeling in quarantine for more than a year? Feeling a little weird? A little nuts? A little like you might accidentally start fantasizing over an actor from a sexy new drama show without realizing that the neon-lit club you're flirting with him in is just your tiny studio apartment and you haven't actually left your couch for a few days? Happens to the best of us. The Bad Bunny hook to this musical sketch will have you humming along about being mentally ill.

click to play video

9. New York PSA

Episode 5, with host John Mulaney and musical guest The Strokes
A moving tribute to the spirit of New York and all the people who kept it going throughout the pandemic—the frontline workers, the neighbors who pitched in, and that one crazy lady, who is just hanging around Central Park sunbathing topless, dancing, and sharing an ice cream cone with a dog that may or may not be hers. Kate McKinnon perfectly embodies this character who is "not not a professor at Columbia" and definitely has an apartment, but it's a 40-floor walk up so when she's out, she's out. If you've lived in New York, you have definitely seen her.

click to play video

8. The Christmas Conversation

Episode 7, with host Jason Bateman and (twice-canceled) musical guest Morgan Wallen
Are you going to revisit SNL's pandemic-related sketches about awkward Zoom interactions when you're looking for a laugh? Probably not. This year's sketches about vaccines, social distancing, and forgetting how to behave at parties will likely be more interesting to social historians than comedy fans. But this digital short from Jason Bateman's December 5 episode features some of the sweeter, funnier COVID-adjacent humor the show has done, with a series of wacky parents getting the heartbreaking news from their adult children that they won't be making it home for the holidays.

click to play video

7. Murdur Durdur

Episode 18, with host Elon Musk and musical guest Miley Cyrus
Over the span of a few weeks, HBO's Mare of Easttown went from being yet another crime show with a slightly inscrutable name to an old-fashioned prestige TV watercooler phenomenon. So, this SNL parody felt inevitable, but that didn't stop it from being funny, particularly the way it leaned hard on the regional accents and needled the conventions of the gritty dramas that offer a window into the lives of "very specific whites." Even if the cheesesteak jokes are obvious, the little touches, like the fawning quotes from reviews, are spot-on.

click to play video

6. U.S.O. Performance

Episode 9, with host Kristen Wiig and musical guest Dua Lipa
It's Christmas 1944, and the 171st Division is enthralled by an anachronistic performance courtesy of Kristen Wiig, Bowen Yang, and a surprise appearance by Dua Lipa, spinning a tale of love, betrayal, indecency, and dramatic confrontation featuring a troublesome pair of red silk underwear. Come for the aggressive singing, stay for Wiig's delightful mid-Atlantic Katharine Hepburn twang.

click to play video

5. New York Musical

Episode 5, with host John Mulaney and musical guest The Strokes
John Mulaney's return to the show meant only one thing: another Broadway-musical inspired song about some bizarre yet mundane thing. This time around, Mulaney plays a Times Square souvenir shop salesman obviously struggling to keep his business going during the pandemic, but even he is reluctant to sell "I Heart NY" underpants to a weirdo who wants to buy them, and enlists all of the denizens of Times Square to help explain why.

click to play video

4. The Last Dance: Extended Scene

Episode 19, with host Keegan-Michael Key and musical guest Olivia Rodrigo
Sure, this sketch felt kind of late. More than a year after The Last Dance started airing on ESPN, SNLoffered this take on one of the docuseries' most fascinating characters: John Michael Wozniak, the security guard who gambles with Michael Jordan. Host Keegan-Michael Key does a spot-on impression of the famously competitive basketball star, who also famously loves gambling. Here, Key's Jordan keeps taking things from Heidi Gardner's Wozniak until he's destitute both monetarily and emotionally.

click to play video

3. '70s Green Room

Episode 12, with host Regina King and musical guest Nathaniel Rateliff
Sometimes a successful SNL sketch hinges on the simple pleasure of listening to a bunch of performers listing off a bunch of goofy stuff. (That was essentially the appeal of Bill Hader's Stefon appearances on Weekend Update.) This backstage sketch finds host Regina King playing Fliona, a '70s disco singer with very specific expectations of what will be waiting for her in the green room. Did her manager (Bowen Yang) get everything ready? No, not all. Again, the premise here is incredibly stupid, but the goofy speed, the slapping sound effect, and quasi-screwball rhythm make it stand out.

click to play video

2. Stu

Episode 7, with host Jason Bateman and musical guest Morgan Wallen
Pete Davidson continues his tradition of playing wacked-out, scary looking individuals, and for this he takes on the persona of Stu, a riff on Eminem's iconic video for "Stan," as a Santa-obsessed adult man who sends jolly old Saint Nick (Jason Bateman) a series of increasingly troubling requests for a PS5. Dido (Kate McKinnon), Elton John (Bowen Yang), and Eminem (himself) provide the backing track.

click to play video

1. Tiny Horse

Episode 8, with host Timothée Chalamet and musical guest Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
"I said git!" shouts Timothée Chalamet's emotionally distraught farm boy to his beloved tiny horse. "Run if you know what's good for you." Like many of the best SNL sketches of the past, "Tiny Horse" resists easy categorization. It's not exactly a song parody or a satiric take on a specific genre. Instead, it takes the "boy yelling at an animal to leave" trope and quickly pushes it to an absurd realm. The song starts off in a funny, dry place, but really becomes something special as the tiny horse sets out on his own and starts to accomplish a wide range of unlikely feats (getting named "Secretary of Horse Affairs," going on Jimmy Fallon, marrying AOC). Also, (cowboy) hats off to the team that animated the tiny horse, which really sells all the surreal sight gags, like seeing a tiny horse ride off on the back of a big horse.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.