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‘Saturday Night Live’: The Most Memorable Moments This Season

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The Second Debate

Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton Town Hall Debate Cold Open – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

“Saturday Night Live” spoofs of presidential debates have typically become instant classics, but the second general election debate in particular received outsize attention. The debate lampooned Mrs. Clinton’s perceived rigidity and Mr. Trump’s reaction to the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, while also making light of memorable surprises like the audience member Ken Bone.


Melanianade – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

The “S.N.L.” writers combined two pop culture forces here: Mr. Trump and Beyoncé. This was a parody of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” film, but through the eyes of the women closest to Mr. Trump, like Melania Trump (played by Cecily Strong), Ivanka Trump (Emily Blunt) and Tiffany Trump (Vanessa Bayer).

Tom Hanks in ‘Black Jeopardy’

Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

Less than a month before Mr. Trump won the election, Tom Hanks appeared as a Trump supporter in the recurring sketch “Black Jeopardy.” It turned out that Mr. Hanks’s character, wearing a red Make America Great Again hat and with a thick Southern drawl, had way more in common with his fellow African-American contestants than anyone expected. That is, until the very end of the sketch.

Kate McKinnon Sings ‘Hallelujah’

Election Week Cold Open – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

Many wondered how “Saturday Night Live” would tackle a Trump presidency in the immediate aftermath of the results. Its very first sketch was full of sadness, not humor. Ms. McKinnon, outfitted like Mrs. Clinton, performed a somber cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Mr. Cohen had died that week, so the performance also served as a tribute.

‘I Told You So’

Election Night – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

In the first episode of season after the election, Dave Chappelle guest-hosted and took part in a sketch featuring passionate supporters of Hillary Clinton watching election returns. As the night continued, their jubilance shifted to worry and then dismay. Mr. Chappelle and Chris Rock, making a guest appearance, dryly mocked everyone in the room for failing to recognize the extent of racism in America.

Aziz Ansari Gets Serious

Aziz Ansari Stand-Up Monologue – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

Aziz Ansari made history as the show’s first host of South Asian descent in its four-decade history. He appeared on the first episode after Mr. Trump was inaugurated. Mr. Ansari’s monologue was mostly serious, calling on Mr. Trump to take on the “new, lowercase K.K.K. movement” in America, while also referring to him as the “Chris Brown of politics.” He also spoke in deeply personal terms about his family’s move to South Carolina in the 1980s and about the depictions of Muslims on television and in the news.

Guilty of Not Liking ‘La La Land’

La La Land Interrogation – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

In this sketch, Mr. Ansari faces charges for the ultimate offense: He didn’t think “La La Land” was a great movie. While he is being interrogated, one of the detectives asks — no, screams — “Now tell me, why would a bad movie win seven of these?” angrily pointing to a picture of a Golden Globe statue.

Melissa McCarthy Debuts as Sean Spicer

Sean Spicer Press Conference (Melissa McCarthy) – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

Ms. McCarthy surprised many when she emerged in the Feb. 4 episode to play an outrageous, gum-chewing and hyperbolized version of the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer. The impersonation became a hit, and she returned to the show to perform it. Mr. Spicer, for his part, called the impression “cute.”

The Conway ‘Fatal Attraction’ Parody

Jake Tapper – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

This sketch received a torrent of criticism for the way it portrayed Ms. Conway, one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers. It was a parody of the movie “Fatal Attraction,” and it depicted Jake Tapper, played by Beck Bennett, being startled by Ms. Conway (Ms. McKinnon) awaiting him at home after she was not allowed on the air at CNN because of the perception of credibility issues. Critics argued that Ms. Conway was painted as hypersexual (part of the sketch focused on Ms. Conway’s trying to seduce Mr. Tapper) and then mentally unbalanced (after the seduction attempt failed, Ms. Conway threatened to kill Mr. Tapper).

Louis C.K.’s Accent

Tenement Museum – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

No one is sure what the heck Louis C. K. was doing with his accent in a sketch called “Tenement Museum,” in which he and Ms. McKinnon play re-enactors showing students what life was like in the early 1900s. Louis C. K.’s accent is a hodgepodge of something. And it forced the normally unflappable Ms. McKinnon to break character, as did Louis C. K., much to the delight of the crowd.

‘Nothing Matters’

Lester Holt Cold Open – SNL Video by Saturday Night Live

As controversies have mounted, Mr. Trump’s poll numbers have shown that his base of support is still with him, as the NBC anchor Lester Holt (played by Michael Che) noted in this sketch that lampooned a recent interview. But the moment that drew the most attention came when Mr. Holt pressed Mr. Trump over the firing of the F.B.I. director James B. Comey — and ever-so-briefly believed that the president had implicated himself in wrongdoing.

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