Live from New York it’s… Saturday Night Live‘s 40th anniversary!
The television institution celebrated four decades of the sketches and digital shorts that have made viewers (and their parents) laugh for generations with a live special on Sunday night in New York City. In fitting tribute to a show that kick-started the careers of numerous household names, spawned catch phrases, and even launched a few film franchises, the telecast was an incredibly star-studded affair, featuring the likes of Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, and Louis C.K. (to name just a few).
With so many years of cutting-edge comedy to cover (SNL launched in 1975!) and so many appearances by current and former cast-members to squeeze in, the three-and-a half-hour episode was packed full of great moments.
To help you relive the them — and to make sure you didn’t miss out on any great cameos — we’ve rounded up eight of the most spectacular celebrity moments from Saturday Night Live‘s 40th anniversary special. Party on, everyone!
1. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon’s Musical Monologue
Though rumors of an *NSYNC reunion turned out to be unfounded (the guys only walked the carpet), it was hard to be disappointed once Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon hit the stage at the top of the show. Re-purposing their signature Late Night bit, “The History of Rap,” to chronicle all of the best characters and catchphrases from the last 40 years, the pair hilariously summed up everything that’s made SNL a comedy institution. Not even Debbie Downer herself could bring the mood down.
2. The Californians hold a family reunion.
SNL‘s soap opera parody about a dramatic family whose conversations tend to revolve around giving each other driving directions is one of its more divisive franchises. But it was impossible not to love the latest installment of The Californians, which had — to quote Stefon — everything: a surprise pregnancy, Bradley Cooper as a pool boy/hot air balloon pilot, Kerry Washington as a frazzled doctor, Taylor Swift as aspiring actress cousin Allison, and Betty White as, well, Betty White. Whaaaat?
3. Jane Curtin, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler wish you a pleasant tomorrow.
Though there have been many iconic Weekend Update hosts over the years, few have commanded the desk better than Curtin, Fey, and Poehler. In honor of the anniversary special, the three ladies banned together and broke out their funniest fake news items for a masterclass in anchoring. And as if that wasn’t incredible enough, they even got an extra dose of girl power thanks to Emma Stone, who paid tribute to Gilda Radner with her version of Roseanne Roseannnadanna, and Melissa McCarthy, who brought the house down — literally — thanks to a pitch-perfect Matt Foley.
4. Maya Rudolph breaks out her best Beyoncé.
The only person who could ever equal the fierceness of the Queen B is Maya Rudolph, who brought a little bit of swagger to the show with a musical segment that blew everyone in the studio — Martin Short especially — away. Bill Murray, Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer might have revived some of their catchiest musical personas, but in this sketch, as in life, nobody could hold a candle to Beyoncé. She even brought her own wind machine!
Kanye West, Jerry Seinfeld, and more after the jump!
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