More Cowbell (2000)
One of the most iconic SNL sketches of all time, “More Cowbell” parodies the recording of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult. The clip has guest host Christopher Walken (who portrays a music producer) encouraging Will Ferrell (who takes on the role of an overeager band member) to play the cowbell aggressively during their studio session. The final result? The fictionalized band members finally accept the underappreciated instrument, and the “more cowbell” catchphrase became immortalized in pop culture history.
‘Grease’ Sing-Along (2004)
Jimmy Fallon’s ’04 SNL departure sketch saw him and fellow cast member Tina Fey dramatically parodying Grease’s “Summer Nights.” They sing about their feelings for each other, her girlfriends and his guy friends backing up their excitement. Fallon gets a little handsy as they finally come together, leaving the rest of the cast to join them, raise their arms and belt out the musical’s “tell me more” line in conclusion.
Watch the sketch here.
Natalie Raps (2006)
The Lonely Island teamed up with Natalie Portman to rip down her good-girl image in this short. Castmember Chris Parnell asks, “What’s a day in the life of Natalie Portman like?” What follows is a black-and-white, expletive-filled music video starring an enraged Portman. Her secret “badass bitch” image is fueled by talk of drug use and cheating through school -- something the Harvard grad isn’t actually known for in real life -- which helped secure this memorable skit a 2018 sequel.
Single Ladies (2008)
In this sketch, Justin Timberlake joined castmembers Andy Samberg and Bobby Moynihan to re-create the fictional making of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” music video. Donning black leotards and heels, the guys set out to join the Queen B herself as her backup dancers -- but despite their intense hand flashing and hip swinging, she’s just not feeling it.
Hamm & Buble (2010)
Jon Hamm strong-arms Michael Bublé into opening an upscale pork and champagne restaurant called Hamm & Bublé (pronounced bubbly) in this quirky sketch. He tells viewers in his commercial that every fine-dining experience comes with either a ventriloquy performance or one-man-show on William Faulkner put on by Bublé. The jazz crooner admits that, in actuality, he’s been kidnapped.
What’s That Name (2011)
This sketch sees Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake competing on a fictional game show entitled What’s That Name? After skirting through some easy $10 questions, they’re presented with people they’ve encountered in real life. While Timberlake is unable to recall the name of a girl he slept with, Gaga’s instantly able to recognize a fan, explaining, “He said he loved my music. You don’t forget something like that,” teasing the idea that Timberlake is a player while Gaga passionately cares about everyone she meets.
Watch the sketch here.
Michael Bublé Christmas Duets (2011)
Michael Bublé starred as himself in this SNL clip advertising his new fictional Christmas album collaborations. The sketch sees the cast taking on exaggerated versions of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, M.I.A., Kesha, Scotty McCreery, Thom Yorke, Kanye West and more to chime along to Bublé’s jazzy holiday classics.
C U When U Get There (2012)
In this sketch, Jonah Hill portrays a man who wants to wish his wife (Kristen Wiig) a happy anniversary with a romantic song: “C U When U Get There” by Coolio. While Wiig first believes the orchestra downstairs is playing the 17th century composition Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major, they are instead playing the ‘90s hip-hop song, which heavily samples the original piece. She learns this as additional musicians come out to groove and women come out to grind. Discovering that it was the song her husband was listening to when she met him on Match.com, she ultimately decides to join in on the action.
Celebrities Visit Jay-Z & Beyoncé to See Their New Baby (2012)
This sketch depicts the fictional parade of visitors who came to visit Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby girl following her birth. Prince (Fred Armisen), Taylor Swift (Kristen Wiig) and Angelina Jolie (Abby Elliott) are among the guests, and even Bon Iver (Justin Timberlake) manages to put himself to sleep with a song intended for the new child. “I asked my doctor, ‘Did I have a boy?'” sings Maya Rudolph as Beyoncé to her tune of “If I Were a Boy.” She continues, “And he said, ‘No, you had a single lady.'”
Calvin Klein Ad (2015)
Kate McKinnon portrays a wimpy Justin Bieber who’s convinced he’s tough and sexy in a spoofed version of his Calvin Klein underwear adds. The sketch has her asking, “Are my muscles cute?” and bursting out of a stroller to proclaim, “Hey girl. Miss me? I just had a nappy, yo.” Accompanying Bieber is Lara Stone (Cecily Strong), who ends up flat-out annoyed by the pop singer's stupid remarks. “Well played. Lol," responded the real Bieber via Twitter.
We Did Stop (2013)
This risqué SNL sketch had Miley Cyrus parodying the music video for her own song “We Can’t Stop” while bragging about the government shutdown. Portraying former U.S. House of Representatives member Michele Bachmann and joined by castmember Taran Killam as then House Speaker John Boehner (dressed in a white sports bra and pants), the video had the pair paralleling Cyrus’ don’t-care attitude with that of the government’s. “If you’re not ready for health care, can I get a ‘hell no!'” sings Cyrus, the words “out of twerk” soon floating by on a spoonful of soup.
Tidal Music Streaming (2016)
Starring Ariana Grande, this sketch saw Billboard’s Woman of the Year as an intern at Tidal Music Streaming. After a power-outage causes some malfunctions, the intern’s boss sends her to imitate the vocals on Britney Spears’ “Oops!...I Did It Again,” Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You.” Her character chooses to skip over the Ariana Grande channel because she’s “not a big fan.”
Friendship Song (2018)
The lady SNL castmembers parodied sister pop-rock girl group Haim in a skit in which they rush to each other’s aid by coming up with shade songs about their enemies on the spot. “When my sister has been burned, no burn goes too far,” they chime in a nightclub, soon being joined by Nicki Minaj for a classic throw-down rap bridge. They continually stay on point, mimicking the girl band’s soft sound and iconic “huhs” all while standing up for the fam.
The most recent music-centric clip sees a group of neighbors arguing over the relevance of Weezer after the rock band’s cover of “Africa” plays in the background at a holiday dinner. “I understand Rivers better than he understands himself!” screams cast member Leslie Jones, soon attempting crawl across the table after host Matt Damon continues to insist that Weezer’s good music years outlast ’96’s Pinkerton. Frontman Rivers Cuomo was amused by the joshing. "THEY HAD A WHOLE ASS SKIT ABOUT WEEZER AND ME ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE AND IM ACTUALLY CRYING AAAGGGGHHHHHHH,” he shared via Twitter on Sunday morning (Dec. 16) following the premiere of the sketch.