20 Times We Totally Lost Our Minds During the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special

Eddie Murphy, Show, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationDana Edelson/NBC

That. Was. Amazing.

For some of us, SNL is just a reliably chuckle-worthy comedy show that airs almost every Saturday night and occasionally produces viral videos for us to watch on Youtube on Sunday morning. For others of us, SNL changed our lives when we realized it was a thing in middle school, and literally haven’t missed an episode since. It opened up a whole new world of comedy and people – women, in particular – who were making careers out of making people laugh, smile, or think really hard every week with jokes and moments that might have been written three days ago or three minutes ago or made up on the spot. We may not have become comedians (yet) but we suddenly believed in a world where that was possible, and that was everything to us.

However you feel about the show, you can’t deny that it’s created some iconic moments in American pop culture, and tonight they all came hurtling back at us like we were being hypnotized with joy. It must have worked on us, because Saturday Night Live is the greatest institution in the history of television, and we will fight you if you try to tell us otherwise.

Anyway, here are the top 40 times we were made incredibly happy tonight, ranked in chronological order, but also consequently by our levels of coherence in the midst of three and a half hours of SNL

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1. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s History of SNL rap, with guest appearances by Debbie Downer (Rachel Dratch) and Mary Katherine Gallagher (Molly Shannon), indicating that this was about to be one seriously epic night of comedy and nostalgia.

2. Steve Martin appears on stage, and our hearts can’t help but soar. We’ve loved Steve Martin since we were small children, and to us he can do no wrong. He’s soon accompanied by Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, Miley Cyrus, Peyton Manning, Billy Crystal, Paul McCartney, and Paul Simon. The Pauls are singing and we are already crying, for some strange reason.

Steve Martin, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationChris Haston/NBC

3. The first of many, many, many montages begins with the very first SNL sketch ever, in which John Belushi gets an English lesson involving wolverines from Michael O’Donoghue and continues with pretty much every iconic moment the show’s ever had.

4. It’s a live redo of the Bass-O-Matic sketch with Dan Akroyd! It’s still disgusting!

5. Celebrity Jeopardy gives us “whore ads” and “le tits now” thanks to Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery. Kate McKinnon’s Justin Bieber is also there to be perfect as always, along with Christoph Waltz (Taran Killam), Burt Reynolds/Turd Ferguson (Norm MacDonald), Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey), and more.

CLICK: Check out the insane list of guest stars from tonight’s anniversary special

Celebrity Jeopardy, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationDana Edelson/NBC

6. Clips of classic auditions of people who did and didn’t make the show. Tears are happening, mostly at Gilda Radner being confused. Best montage of the night.

7. The Californians’ family reunion is just as weird and way-too-long as ever, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Vanessa Bayer, Larraine Newman, Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington, Taylor Swift, and Betty White looking in the mirror and making out, to then be ushered off the stage by David Spade and Cecily Strong as the rude flight attendants. Buh bye now!

The Californians, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationDana Edelson/NBC

8. Super meta Weekend Update with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jane Curtain, Emma Stone as Rosanne Rosannadanna, Melissa McCarthy as Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, Edward Norton AND Bill Hader as Stefon, Seth Meyers as Stefon’s jealous husband, and LANDSHARK! This is it. We’ve died and gone to heaven. (Also, what is Jane Curtain doing now? Is she free to host The Daily Show because we would be here for that.)

9. Chevy Chase being very Chevy Chase-like, with a little translation help from Garrett Morris

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Shark, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationDana Edelson/NBC

10. Martin Short and Maya Rudolph as Beyoncé make way for other classic SNL musical acts like Garth and Kat, Dana Carvey’s Chopping Broccoli, Adam Sandler’s Opera Man, Steve Martin as King Tut, Bill Murray singing the Jaws theme, Marty and Bobbi Culp, and THE BLUES BROTHERS WITH DAN AKROYD AND JIM BELUSHI.

11. Eddie Murphy on the SNL stage brings us great joy even if he gets a real weird ending.

12. Miley Cyrus singing Paul Simon. This has nothing to do with SNL, but we really liked having it in our lives, even though it was weird that Paul Simon wasn’t singing his own song. 

Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationChris Haston/NBC

13.  Jerry Seinfeld having a delightful chat with various people in the audience, including Sarah Palin, John Goodman, Larry David, Bob Odenkirk, Ellen Cleghorne (“Why aren’t there more black women, just in general?”), James Franco, Tim Meadows, and Dakota Johnson

14. The Mom Jeans commercial played, and we literally shouted “MOM JEANS!” Our roommates came to check on us. We promise we’re OK.

15. Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin being introduced as “Mr. and Mrs. Alec Baldwin” before giving a touching little tribute to Tracy Morgan, who couldn’t be at the show, but if he were, he’d want us to know that “he would like to get us all pregnant.” 

MORE: The ladies of SNL reunite and reveal all

Steve Martin, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationChris Haston/NBC

16. Kanye performing on the floor because of course he did.

17. New digital short starring Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler about breaking in sketches and how awesome Lorne Michaels is. The endless “Fallon and Sanz” references had us dying, as did Andy’s “we were in a movie that bombed!” We’re gonna need a download of this to sing on repeat forever (sorry, everyone we know).

18. Wayne’s World brought out the SNL top 10, including a tribute to the crew, Lorne, and aftershow orgies wigs, as well as the fact that once every season, someone titles a review “Saturday Night Dead.”

Dan Aykkroyd, SNL 40th Anniversary CelebrationDana Edelson/NBC

19. Bill Murray introducing the in memoriam montage We were horribly sad until the montage included Jon Lovitz, who was sitting alive and well in the audience, and then Bill explained that unfortunately, there was no time to include Generalissimo Francisco Franco, who is…still dead.

20. Paul Simon asks for a standing ovation for the band, and then performs “Still Crazy After All These Years.” There is literally no better song to end the show with.

All in all, that was everything we could have wanted and more, sped up by about 150%, shot at us like fireworks and spritzed into our tear ducts. We’ve already watched Weekend Update twice, and we will watch it at least three times more as we drift off to sleep tonight. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow. 

What was your favorite part of the celebration? Head to the comments and let us know!

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