The Top Ten Best SNL Cold Opens

The Top Ten Best SNL Cold Opens

A definitive ranking of the best openings the show has ever had.
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Well, everyone, it’s 2017 and our president-elect shows no signs of calling for a truce in his war with Saturday Night Live. Despite the fact that Donald Trump hosted last season, he has now proclaimed the show overrated and unfunny. Whether or not he’s correct in that assessment is another matter entirely, but no matter the answer, the fact remains that SNL is a popular culture staple and it is here to stay. Since 1975, Saturday Night Live has been poking fun and politicians and common folk alike, often times pervading our culture so deeply we forget what’s SNL and what’s real life. One of the greatest and most enduring aspects of the show is its cold open, which always comes out of the gate with uproarious antics and quotable lines. As a self-proclaimed SNL expert, I thought it would be appropriate to compile a list of the greatest SNL cold opens of all time:

10. Silent Film (Art Garfunkel, season three)




A classic spoof of the silent film genre featuring John Belushi, Danny Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, this cold open is simple but genius. With a Weekend at Bernie’s trope and a surprising twist, this sketch is guaranteed to make you chuckle. Interestingly, this may be the only SNL episode to ever start without someone screaming, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” since true to the silent film theme, Gilda only mouths these words.




9. I Can’t Make You Love Me (Melissa McCarthy, season forty-one)



An ensemble piece with a true theme that ended up being more true than anyone anticipated, this sketch made me actually laugh out loud the first time I saw it. A group of millennial friends each confide that they are secretly planning to vote for Bernie Sanders while Hillary serenades them nearby with Bill accompanying her on piano. The surprise appearance of Jeb Bush just makes it even better, and extra points for the inclusion of the “Bernie’s an outsider who’s only been in congress for like thirty years!” line.




8. Bush v Gore (Rob Lowe, season twenty-six)




One word: strategery. This is the sketch that forever cemented Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush in the hearts and minds of most Americans. It’s a sad fact that most people probably remember this sketch better than the actual presidential debates of the 2000 election. Oh, well… They were entertaining and extremely smart gems of comedy.


7. 2016 Democratic Debate (Tracy Morgan, season forty-one)




Season forty-one had some great cold opens thanks to Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. This particular outing featured Alec Baldwin as his best ever political impression, Jim Webb. It also marked the debut of Larry David’s Bernie Sanders, which was perhaps the brightest spot in the election coverage.


6. Bush Twins (Paul Giamatti, season thirty)




While Will Ferrell is the most beloved W. impersonator, I have a major soft spot for Will Forte’s incarnation of the president. The stars of this cold open, however, are undoubtedly Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, with both Forte and Darrell Hammond’s amazingly terrifying Dick Cheney as background players. The idea that the Bush twins communicated with a secret language by just adding the letter “b” to everything is an easy type of funny that just works. Seeing the twins’ early 2000s posters adorning the walls of the White House is a nice touch, and “B-live b-from b-New b-York!” was hilarious to hear.


5. Gilda Fielding Audience Questions (O.J. Simpson, season three)




Season three was just a winning year for the show in every way. The premise of this cold open was that Gilda would walk out on stage and answer questions written by the audience off the top of her head. But then every question is posed by a “Kevin,” and Kevin is obviously the writers of the show. It’s an easy joke, but with Gilda’s sincerity and the wit of the writers, it works splendidly.


4. Sarah Palin and Katie Couric (Anna Faris, season thirty-four)




No SNL listicle is complete without some mention of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Though not the first use of that impression or the sketch that gave us “I can see Russia from my house,” this is the best Fey/Palin cold open. There’s just something especially rewarding about watching an eight-and-a-half-month-pregnant Amy Poehler blink incredulously at Fey’s zany antics. The real Katie Couric won numerous awards for conducting this interview, while SNL swayed an election by using the actual transcript as punchlines in this sketch.


3. John Promoted Through NBC Ranks (Christopher Lee, season three)




I’ll always have a place in my heart for SNL cold opens within which the cast members play themselves. In the early days, many shows started with the cast in a locker room getting ready for the show. In this particular cold open, Gilda is informing Billy about John’s new promotion, claiming that every time someone in NBC gets promoted, everyone else moves up a rung as well. Since Tom Brokaw moved up, everyone else would follow suit, meaning John would be leaving for Hollywood since he was the highest ranking SNL cast member, and he would be becoming the new Grizzly Adams. John enters the locker room and Bill tries to congratulate him, but John assures him that the bear has final approval before his promotion is legitimate. John then goes on to comment on how he’ll miss everyone, though he hilariously forgets Jane in his list and Gilda must remind him. Since it could be his last show, John says he’ll miss saying “Live from New York…” and he fumbles the line in the most funny way possible. To this day I still cannot tell if it was an intentional flub or if Belushi just misread the line, but live TV is live for a reason, and now his gaffe is forever.




2. Steve and Gilda (Steve Martin, season two)




Yet another extremely simple premise with a hilarious execution, this cold open features the host of the episode, the incomparably funny Steve Martin. Gilda approaches Steve’s dressing room intent on asking him why he never called her after their date the last time he hosted the show, to which Steve replies that she knew what lifestyle he led before getting involved with him. Watching Steve Martin trying to play it cool is funny enough, but watching the guys of the cast fall into the roles of protective big brothers ready to defend Gilda’s honor takes this sketch to an entirely new level. It’s classic SNL, and it’s a beautiful thing.




1. Phasing Gilda Out (Jodie Foster, season two)



Without a doubt, my all-time favorite SNL cold open is this masterpiece from season two. Often in the early days, scrawling words that were unbeknownst to the players would accompany their acting and add humor to otherwise drab or unfunny pieces. This piece was funny on its own merits, with Gilda lamenting the fact that there isn’t much for her to do in that particular broadcast, but the subtitles which inform the viewer that Gilda is in fact getting phased out of the cast add another dimension to the humor. The dramatic irony is made even better by smaller jokes within the sketch, like the band starting to play the credits when Gilda says, “They told me I could come out here and say, ‘Live from New York…’” and then of course she yells at everyone to stop. She informs her mother that she can go on to bed since she won’t be in the episode much, grounding the sketch in reality just the right amount. Her bitterness is infectiously hysterical when she takes a jab at Jane for getting so much screen time thanks to Update (“Sure… Anyone can read.”), and her joy is apparent when she finally gets to scream the real intro. This cold open can’t be beat.


Cover Image Credit: NBC Studios

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50 Quotes from the Best Vines

If you're picturing the vines in your head, you're doing it right
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In 2017 we had to say goodbye to one of the best websites to ever roam the internet: Vine. In case you have been living under a rock since 2013, Vine was -(sad face)- a website and app that took the internet and the app store by storm in Winter 2013. It contained 6-second videos that were mostly comedy- but there were other genres including music, sports, cool tricks and different trends. Vine stars would get together and plan out a vine and film it till they got it right.

It was owned by Twitter and it was shut down because of so many reasons; the viners were leaving and making money from Youtube, there was simply no money in it and Twitter wanted us to suffer.

There's been a ton of threads on Twitter of everyone's favorite vines so I thought I'd jump in and share some of my favorites. So without further ado, here are some quotes of vines that most vine fanatics would know.

1. "AHH...Stahhp. I coulda dropped mah croissant"

2. "Nate how are those chicken strips?" "F%#K YA CHICKEN STRIPS.....F%#K ya chicken strips!"

3. "Road work ahead? Uh Yea, I sure hope it does"

4. "Happy Crimus...." "It's crismun..." "Merry crisis" "Merry chrysler"

5. "...Hi Welcome to Chili's"

6. "HoW dO yOu kNoW wHaT's gOoD fOr mE?" "THAT'S MY OPINIONNN!!!.."

7."Welcome to Bible Study. We're all children of Jesus... Kumbaya my looordd"

8. Hi my name's Trey, I have a basketball game tomorrow. Well I'm a point guard, I got shoe game..."

9. "It's a avocadooo...thanks"

10. "Yo how much money do you have?" "69 cents" "AYE you know what that means?" "I don't have enough money for chicken nuggets"

11. "Hurricane Katrina? More like Hurricane Tortilla."

12. "Hey Tara you want some?" "This b*%th empty. YEET!"

13. "Get to Del Taco. They got a new thing called Freesha-- Free-- Freeshavaca do"

14. "Mothertrucker dude that hurt like a buttcheek on a stick"

15. "Two brooss chillin in a hot tub 5 feet apart cuz they're not gay"

16. "Jared can you read number 23 for the class?" "No I cannot.... What up I'm Jared, I'm 19 and I never f#@%in learned how to read."

17. "Not to be racist or anything but Asian people SSUUGHHH"

18. 18. "I wanna be a cowboy baby... I wanna be a cowboy baby"

19. "Hey, I'm lesbian" "I thought you were American"

20. "I spilled lipstick in your Valentino bag" "you spilled- whaghwhha- lipstick in my Valentino White bag?"

21. "What's better than this? Guys bein dudes"

22. "How'd you get these bumps? ya got eggzma?" "I got what?" "You got eggzma?"

23. "WHAT ARE THOSEEEEE?" "THEY are my crocs!"

24. "Can I get a waffle? Can I please get a waffle?"

25. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAVEN!" "I can't sweem"

26. "Say Coloradoo" "I'M A GIRAFFE!!"

27. "How much did you pay for that taco?" Aight yo you know this boys got his free tacoo"

28. *Birds chirping* "Tweekle Tweekle"

29. "Girl, you're thicker than a bowl of oatmeal"

30. "I brought you Frankincense" "Thank you" "I brought you Myrrh" "Thank you" "Mur-dur" "huh...Judas..no"

31. "Sleep? I don't know about sleep...it's summertime" "You ain't go to bed?" "Oh she caught me"

32. "All I wanna tell you is school's not important... Be whatever you wanna be. If you wanna be a dog...RUFF. You know?"33. "Oh I like ya accent where you from?" "I'm Liberian" "Oh, my bad *whispering* I like your accent..."

34. "Next Please" "Hello" "Sir, this is a mug shot" "A mug shot? I don't even drink coffee"


35. "Hey did you happen to go to class last week?" "I have never missed a class"

36. "Go ahead and introduce yourselves" "My name is Michael with a B and I've been afraid of insects my entire-" "Stop, stop, stop. Where?" "Hmm?" "Where's the B?" "There's a bee?"

37. "There's only one thing worse than a rapist...Boom" "A child" "No"

38. "Later mom. What's up me and my boys are going to see Uncle Kracker...GIVE ME MY HAT BACK JORDAN! DO YOU WANNA SEE UNCLE KRACKER OR NO?


39. "Dad look, it's the good kush." This is the dollar store, how good can it be?"

40. "Zach stop...Zach stop...You're gonna get in trouble. Zach"

41. "CHRIS! Is that a weed? "No this is a crayon-" I'm calling the police" *puts 911 into microwave* "911 what's your emergency"

42. "WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? "

43. *Blowing vape on table* * cameraman blows it away* "ADAM"

44. "Would you like the spider in your hand?" "Yea" "Say please" "Please" *puts spider in hand* *screams*

45. "Oh hi, thanks for checking in I'm still a piece of garrbaagge"

46. *girl blows vape* "...WoW"

47. *running* "...Daddy?" "Do I look like-?"

48. *Pours water onto girl's face" "Hello?"

49. "Wait oh yes wait a minute Mr. Postman" "HaaaAHH"

50. "...And they were roommates" "Mah God they were roommates"


I could literally go on forever because I just reference vines on a daily basis. Rest in peace Vine

Cover Image Credit: Vine

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Do not fear the subtitle, embrace it

Why you shouldn't let a fear of "reading" while watching stop you from amazing shows or films...why you should embrace the subtitle.

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I am a lover of all movies, encompassing drama, comedy, romance, action, adventure, etcetera, etcetera. Whether films have subtitles is of no consequence to me now, but it wasn't always like that. In my younger and more vulnerable years, I heavily feared and avoided the dreaded subtitles, pesky words that meant reading when all I wanted to do was mindlessly absorb whatever moving image was on the screen of choice in front of me. I consciously stayed away from foreign films where I would have to put subtitles on and read actual words instead of just being able to listen and absorb whatever the characters were saying. I would love to say that my eluding of foreign films went away with age and was replaced with an eclectic taste for all films subtitled with languages alien to my American ears. Alas, that would not be the truth.

In actuality, my venture into the world of foreign films was forced upon me by high school level French classes where the teachers thought all of us 15 year-olds would suddenly become half fluent in a language we spoke 40 minutes a day if we watched a movie in said language. Sadly, I did not become fluent in French thanks to those high school classes; they did, however, lay the groundwork for a foundation of appreciation for foreign films. And they erased my fear and avoidance of all movies subtitled, instead, the forced high school French films of my mid-teen years created an appreciation for subtitles.

Instead of avoiding movies where I had to read the dialogue at all costs I, cautiously at first, started watching movies where the language was not of my tongue. I started with French films considering I was taking the language, and have been for five years but somehow still do not know it very well, and was pleasantly surprised with how well I actually liked reading the subtitles. I know it sounds crazy, but I really did like it and I will tell you why. First, it immensely helps when the movie you are watching with subtitles is one that you actually picked out yourself with a plot that intrigues you. I think in high school when kids are forced to watch movies in a foreign language class they think it's the subtitles they hate when in actuality it is just the extremely boring or underwhelming plot of whatever "school appropriate" and approved movie the teacher lazily clicks play on. It is so much easier to lose yourself in the feelings of a film when you are the one who picks it, subtitles or no subtitles, and that's a fact.

Second, people's main problem with subtitles is that they have to "read" when all they want to do is mindlessly melt into the couch while numbly consuming the movie in front of them. Well, that is just not possible with subtitles...but, that's a good thing. For one, you literally can't go on your phone because then you will miss whatever is happening on screen due to the face that you actually have to be engaged to keep up with what is going on. And two, a certain feeling of achievement washes over you after finishing a film with subtitles (as silly as that sounds). For one, you feel that you not only just watched a movie but you were also reading at the same time. Ergo, that feeling of having actually read something replaces the feeling of guilt at having not left your house all day to watch television instead. Therefore, making watching a movie with subtitles a very "intellectual" activity.

Also, many people do not take into account the amount of American or English films that subtly use subtitles in the film. Most famously Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds" which switches from French to German to English and back again (I would say Italian but I do not think Brad Pitt's southern accent twanged "Buongiorno" counts). In cases such as those, yes you are watching a movie primarily in English but isn't there something unnameable and special when those scenes in an international tongue come on. Maybe you realize it and maybe you don't but I bet you're hanging on the edge of your seat just a little bit more or paying attention just a little bit harder because the characters on screen are speaking in a way your brain cannot translate so your eyes have to do it for you.

So, the next time you are scrolling through Netflix or Amazon Prime or any form of movie streaming services you prefer do not knock films with subtitles out of the waters right away. Take a minute, maybe two or even three, to see if there are any foreign movies that tickle your fancy whether they be dramas, comedies, romance, or anything else. Engage with movies and characters that may seem far removed from your life because they speak a language different than your own, but really they are just like you. Or maybe they're not, and that's why you love them. But, you will never know if you never try and read while you watch. Do not fear the subtitle, embrace it.

Cover Image Credit:

c1.staticflickr.com

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