Saturday Night Live

The Saturday Night Live Season 39 in Review Special

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Rob Cesternino and Rich Tackenberg get together to recap Season 39 of Saturday Night Live.

Who Had the Best and Worst Years in the SNL Cast?

Rob and Rich go through the Saturday Night Live cast and talk about which of the cast members excelled and struggled in Season 39.

Big Years:  Kate McKinnon, Keenan Thompson, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Jay Pharoah

Down Years:  Bobby Moynihan, Nasim Pedrad, Jon Milheiser, Noel Welles, Brooks Whelan

Check our Erik Voss breakdown of each cast member’s contributions to Season 39 at

Rich Tackenberg gives his Awards for Saturday Night Live Achievement in Season 39

Favorite live sketch: Mornin’ Miami – Miley Cyrus

Honorable Mentions: Scandal – Lena Dunham, Baby Boss – Louis C.K.


Best game show: New Cast Member Or Arcade Fire? – Tina Fey

Honorable Mentions:  Celebrity Family Feud – Jimmy Fallon


Best talk show: How’s He Doing? – Kerry Washington


Best music video: Let’s Do It In My Twin Bed – Jimmy Fallon

Honorable Mentions: What Does My Girl Say? – Kerry Washington, Boy Dance Party – Bruce Willis, We Did Stop – Miley Cyrus


Best commercial parody: 24-Hour Energy For Dating Actresses – Bruce Willis

Honorable Mentions: Some Dumb Little Thing From CVS – Melissa McCarthy, The Midnight Coterie Of Sinister Intruders – Edward Norton, Jos. A. Bank – Louis C.K.


Best Weekend Update Character: Jebediah Atkinson – Lady Gaga

Runners Up: Black Santa Claus – John Goodman, Drunk Uncle – John Goodman, Frank Medina (Cop who arrested Bieber) – Jonah Hill, Oy-la Poylotsky – Jonah Hill


Best cold open: Kerry Washington Plays All Black Women

Honorable Mentions: Gravity / Goverment Shutdown – Bruce Willis


Best monologue: Louis C.K.


Best last live sketch of the night: Baby It’s Cold Outside – Jimmy Fallon

Honorable Mentions: Donnellys – John Goodman, Lambor-tini (porn stars) – Jonah Hill


Best celebrity cameo: Leonardo DiCaprio – Jonah Hill Monologue


Show Links:

5 Ways to Fix SNL Season 40 – from Rich T’s blog

  • StephenDrabek

    Great job as usual. One thing I want to point out: the pie chart that you guys used to dissect each player’s contribution was not the percentage of sketches they were in (John Milhiser, despite his unfortunate luck of the draw, was certainly NOT in 1 out of every FORTY sketches). The sentence the writer used was, “I have tediously kept track of every on-air appearance and calculated —
    weighting major roles more than quick walk-ons — each cast member’s
    relative ‘share’ of screen time”. So it sounds like he added up the number of total parts/roles for the season, gave more weight to the lead characters, and divided after that. So I guess basically that means if you were to pick a random character that appeared at any point in the show, there is a (roughly) 2.61% chance it would be Milhiser. And the weighted-for-major-roles part is likely why Taran seems unusually high on the list – because when he did appear, it was often a big part. Anyway, that’s enough nerding for me tonight. Looking forward to your return this fall.

  • Brendan Noël

    Great recap of the season. Love Rich’s take on SNL even if I usually don’t agree with him. Louis CK is definitely one of the contenders for strongest overall show of the season, though I think I would have gone with Lady Gaga. It was in November so I think people have forgotten it, but that one had the great Blockbuster short film, the talent show sketch that was Milhiser’s only real breakout sketch this year (if you can even call it a breakout), the album of terrible cover songs, and the RoseZone commercial parody. Felt similar to the Christoph Waltz episode from last season – there might not have been one breakout, fall out of your chair laughing sketch, but the whole show was very solid with few real duds and as a result is much more memorable.

  • Matthew Gregg

    I guess I’m going to have to check this out because I really don’t like Aidy Bryant and want to hear what I’m missing that makes her so good and not just imo. a poor woman’s version of Melissa McCarthy.

  • jon dunn

    I agree with Rob – Kate McKinnon is outstanding. She was the star of the show this season as far as I’m concerned.

    • jon dunn

      I hope she doesn’t have a somewhat down year next year, like I thought Taran did this season. He should have been HUGE this year, but he really wasn’t

  • jon dunn

    Another great season of SNL recaps, Rich and Rob!

    NBC should thank you guys because these podcasts keep me interested in watching the show every week.

  • Mike Bloom

    Loved the recap! Though I’ll admit I would have loved to see a little bit of attention towards the not so good in the “Tacky’s”. I would definitely be game for seeing who Rich thought what was the worst episode, worst host, worst sketch, etc.

    I thought Rich’s list was great in looking back on sketches we probably forgot about (“What Does My Girl Say” is the one that completely slipped my mind until it was mentioned). However, I do think there were two noticeable snubs, interestingly enough both involving the minority cast members: 28 Reasons (the Black History Rap), and Black Jeopardy. I thought, like the “How’s He Doing?” sketch mentioned in the show, it was a fantastic way to showcase these cast members and their style of humor. While the song basically started right off the bat with a great twist, Louis CK was the perfect type for that guilty host in the game show.

  • Eart

    Great podcast. Agree with Louis CK as the best episode. I think for season 40’s premiere, they’re going to go with someone who’s hosted a bunch of times, like Tom Hanks or Steve Martin. Bill Murray would be great.

    Loved Zedediah RHAPkinson, especially when we was channeling Rich’s favorite recurring sketch of all time, The Californians.

    • RHAP Recapper

      The Californians’ part was my favorite as well! (and how often can you say that?)

  • Jeff Schwartz

    This season was the first time I won tickets to the studio for SNL and believe it or not, part of my excitement was hearing what you two would have to say about the episode I was actually there for…but I was at the taping of the Josh Hutcherson episode so I’ll just have to win tickets for another show!

    I enjoyed myself but I knew it wasn’t one of the better shows of the season (though Baby Boss KILLED me live) but it wasn’t long after the Kerry Washington episode, which was the best of the fall in my opinion. Louis CK was an excellent one too but I enjoyed Kerry Washington and her episode more.

    I thought Vanessa Bayer had a good season after a slow start (if I’m remembering correctly); she was barely mentioned in this podcast.

    Now I’m looking forward to reading Rich T’s blog.