The 5 Best Episodes From Season 43 of SNL
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The 5 best episodes from Season 43 of 'sNL'

These episodes will keep you laughing all the way until school starts, with old favorites and new stars making their mark on America's most beloved stage.

The 5 best episodes from Season 43 of 'sNL'

1. John Mulaney (Episode 18)

A former writer for SNL and the co-creator of many memorable sketches, mainly Bill Hader's beloved Stefon, Mulaney has since made a name for himself in comedy with three outstanding stand-up specials and a hilarious Broadway show. It's not just Mulaney's once-in-a-generation gift for both observational humor and self-deprecation, but his personality and stage presence that make him shine. Both of these lend their hand to skills in sketch comedy, as Mulaney proves himself a dual threat, gifted in both writing and performing. His time as a writer allowed him mess with the system and poke a little fun at SNL, resulting in a quirkier, better show.
The best sketch of the night is arguably "Lobster Diner", the love child of Mulaney's tendencies for the outlandish and sophisticated, cultured humor. However, the eccentric "Drag Brunch" is a gift to this world, with beautiful, small comedic touches that would make a comedy nerd weep.
Check out the cut-for-time "Fish Dreams", which allows for some underused players to shine and where Adam Driver makes a cameo as Mulaney's husband. Regardless, you know it's a good episode when the Cold Open has Robert de Niro and Ben Stiller but is still considered the worst sketch of the night. Even if you've never heard of Mulaney, anyone can find something to love in this tall child's first hosting gig, the best of the season.

2. Bill Hader (Episode 16)

Much like John Mulaney, Bill Hader's previous experience with SNL (though as a performer, and a legendary one at that) allowed for Hader's unique comedic voice to come through. While Hader's insanely gifted at impersonations, it's his characters, infused with affection and played with die-hard dedication, that showcase his talents best.
Speaking of dedication, Hader's down-to-earth professionalism is on full display during the monologue (written by John Mulaney), with its brevity and on-screen wardrobe change endearing us even further to Hader. In terms of characters however, a notable one is Horace in the raunchy but hilarious "Girlfriends Game Night" sketch, where, and I'm serious here, he's an elderly man on a wheelchair who is trying to get Cecily Strong's character pregnant. He almost takes down a set wall and gets everyone to break, and it only gets better from there.
"CBC Report" is an excellent turn by Hader as a Canadian executive who gets fired for being too nice to a colleague, making the whole sketch so much better with his spot-on accent and wide-eyed innocence. But, everything pales in comparison to Stefon. Perhaps the most beloved character in recent memory, Hader brings his all to this unforgettable and almost sweetly funny club promoter. The audience goes insane when Colin Jost introduces him, but when John Mulaney comes out as Shy, his lawyer, the place erupts, and with good reason. The two, when side-by-side, almost physically radiate comedic genius, and it's just that much better when Mulaney whispers "My girlfriend works at Yoshinoya Beef Bowl," in Hader's ear, making him break yet again.
Even if this episode falls flat in some places, it still showcases Hader's legendary and unique talent and gifts us another Stefon. Make sure to check out what he was promoting: his excellen new show Barry, on HBO where he makes full use of all his entertainment intuition.

3. Donald Glover (Episode 19)

Interesting bit of information Glover reveals in his monologue: he auditioned for SNL, twice. It's further revealed later in the show though, that Glover's slick comedic skills and quick mind would have been relegated to elevating lesser sketches, and probably would have inhibited the freedom that has allowed him success in all forms of entertainment. However, his episode still showcases what Lorne Michaels missed out on, as Glover inhabits his characters with a zeal and lends his wry cleverness to much of the more political material. So much of Glover's persona involves his almost untouchable confidence, his aloof brilliance, but on SNL, he takes many of the sketches up into the rarefied air with him.

The "'80's Music Video" sketch showcases both Glover's comedic and musical talent, while the "A Kanye Place" tackles, with Kanye West's (most recent) infamous rant with grace and sly wit. The final sketch "Prison Job," is an excellent bit, allowing for each performer to shine while subtly addressing dark racial themes. All of this and Glover still manages to give an electrifying performance as the music guest under the name of Childish Gambino, singing new songs "Saturday" and "This is America," the latter having a video that instantly became an iconic work of art and social commentary.

Glover's just as good as a musical performer, and, almost jarringly, reminds us that his talent hasn't even reached its peak yet. In the end, Glover's ability to be both silly and stylish, both sketch comedian and singer, that has us starstruck.

4. Tiffany Haddish (Episode 5)

Haddish earned her spot on that stage, overcoming a difficult upbringing to become the first black female stand-up comedian to ever host SNL. She takes on the job with relish, addressing her background with both grace and humor in a typically brilliant monologue.

She starts off strong, with "Tournament Fighter" showing how effortlessly she can steal a spotlight, and "The Last Black Unicorn" further proves just how joyous Haddish can be, and how bright her comedic glow is even on such a hallowed stage. It should be mentioned that the Weekend Update this episode was perhaps the best this season, with the jokes landing every time and Jost and Che truly inhabiting their distinct styles. Cecily Strong's Claire from HR character is also a great watch, with some of the best one-liner the show's had to offer in recent memory.

Overall, though, it's when Haddish infectious enthusiasm and radiant spirit are allowed to come through that the episode really gets good, so when Haddish is inevitably invited to return, let's hope we'll get to see her perform, unrestricted, as the shining star she is.

5. Kumail Nanjiani (Episode 3)

If you haven't seen "The Big Sick," or any of this man's work, let me tell you: he's good. His monologue will tell you that right away- it's funny, effusive, and effortlessly charming, much like the man himself. His dry sense of humor gets to shine in sketches like "Hotel Check-In," while Nanjiani's likeability as a comedian and as a human being comes through in "The Bank Breakers."

The best bit of the night is a strangely touching pre-taped short called "Customer Service" that further proves how truly funny SNL can be when it veers into non-traditionalist humor, especially with a host as genuine as Nanjiani. Kate McKinnon further proves herself to be this generation's comedic icon in this episode with her horrifying but hilarious Kellywise, an IT-like version of Kellyanne Conway character in a sketch with the wonderful Beck Bennett. It's slimy but sharp, will probably remain in the national psyche for both it's hilarity and haunting nature.

"Film Panel," while not the strongest sketch, was an important one in that it legitimately addressed a relevant issue in show business in earnest, for once but still has room for laughter. On Weekend Update, the always incredible Cecily Strong delivers a knockout performance as Ivana Trump, speaking incoherently as she eats a Ferrero Rocher, with Colin Jost in stitches the last few minutes.

Overall, though, it's Nanjiani's hosting that truly brings this episode to the next level, with his generosity as a performer and innate skills as comedian enhancing every aspect of this particular episode.

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