16 Best and Worst 'SNL' Sketches From Last Season That Never Made It On-Air
By Brock Wilbur
With the new season of Saturday Night Live coming tonight -- featuring double-hitting host and musical guest Miley Cyrus -- we were inspired to look back at SNL's best sketches that were "cut for time" last season.
As longtime SNL fans know, a few of the skits filmed in dress rehearsal end up getting replaced in the final airing. Notoriously, many of these leave viewers confused by their omission, as some are so bizarre that their removal makes sense, while others are clearly superior to sketches included in the final episode.
Here are the best and worst choices from last season's bunch that never made it on air:
1. "Morning News"
This is perhaps the season's best-known cut scene, and it is far and away the most upsetting omission on several levels. Despite their best efforts, two local TV morning show anchors find themselves unable to avoid referencing the protests in Ferguson. SNL seemed noticeably silent on the issue for several weeks, so to even acknowledge Ferguson was a progressive choice more reminiscent of the SNL of old than its modern game show, celebrity-imitation format. What makes the decision to axe this skit an even bigger letdown is that the same episode has a longer, disappointing sketch featuring James Franco as a bridge troll who has sex with his sister.
This is one of those SNL segments that should be on "Best Of" lists, not the cut for time rundown. This live musical number celebrates the "heroes" of social media for their "contribution" to society. Plus, we get bonus Edward Norton!
3. "Christmas Romance"
Amy Adams and Pete Davidson are treated to a satirical rom-com trope along the lines of Say Anything or Love Actually. As Davidson flips notecards for four minutes, we also get to enjoy the New York native's crushingly great reaction faces without having to listen to him talk.
Kyle Mooney's hack standup character, Bruce Chandling, had previously only been a guest character during "Weekend Update" sequences, but he finally got a feature in this bit. While the final result is more brutal, honest introspection than silly slapstick, the sketch takes its time and weaponizes the sadness of failure. It not only shows off intelligent writing, but it also proves that Kevin Hart can act when given the right material.
5. "100 Greatest Guys"
This is yet another sketch from the Franco episode that was mindbogglingly replaced by laughless junk, which is a shame, because the VH1 list show parody is much better than it has any right to be.
6. "The Gossipy Coal Miner"
Our first Bill Hader sketch on the list, of course, features the actor breaking character and laughing. For many SNL fans, this almost feels like a tribute, since the first cut for time sketch that was ever released featured Will Farrell in the same costume to play an old timey prospector -- and also attempting to conceal giggles.
Alan is the future of casual entertainment, in the form of a dancing robot. The setup doesn't really matter when you're given the unexpected gift of Hader dancing for five straight minutes inside a clear, giant box. While the sketch itself is a throwaway, this was a painful reminder of how much SNL lost when The Skeleton Twins star moved on from TV.
This was one of those weird moments that tested the waters to see where SNL could pursue new directions -- and bailed when they didn't believe an audience would come along for the ride. While this is one of Mike O'Brien's many short film contributions to season 40 that defined his work as alt-auteur, it's also most likely one of the reasons he won't be returning this year.
9. "Rooftop Party"
This soiree showcases Louis CK at a BBQ hijacked by a weird acquaintance. More importantly, it is one of the only examples of Jay Pharoah doing excellent character work that doesn't turn into a Jay Z imitation.
10. "Pentagon Presentation"
We'll admit, this is one of the inclusions on this list that deserved its edited fate, but that doesn't mean the world should be deprived of Woody Harrelson blowing government funds on a robot that dances. Honestly, all Harrelson-hosted episodes should be this weird from start to finish. Also, can we give Cecily Strong the props she deserves for imitating dead-eyed girls on par with the best work of Kristen Wiig?
Chris Pratt gets a bald wig slapped on his head as he's challenged to sell a celebrity branded Steakums product. The Jurassic World star's Statham voice sort of sounds like he has a head cold and accidentally becomes a pretty good Gordon Ramsay impression.
12. "Santa Traps"
This sketch blessed us with Martin Freeman guessing wildly as to what an American accent should sound like. The short ad features a brain damaged entrepreneur who wants to help consumers ensnare Santa Claus, but he keeps catching bears instead. Bonus points for Strong stealing scenes again, this time as the captive wife.
13. "New Playroom"
We finally have the answer to the big question of Dakota Johnson's episode: Where were all the 50 Shades jokes? Mooney's mega-douche Christian Grey drags his co-star into his secret sex room, only to find it overrun by a construction team who can't stop making jokes about the weird pieces of apparatus they're installing. This sketch isn't necessarily worse than any other one that aired in Johnson's episode, but the dress rehearsal audience absolutely hates it. The segment is worth the watch just to see how professionals deal with a suddenly hostile audience.
14. "Inner White Girl"
This is such a perfect marriage of concept and casting that it could easily become the first SNL character feature film in a decade -- as long as being cut from the final show doesn't effect that type of decision-making. Leslie Jones plays herself but with the gift of a Jiminy Cricket-esque magical life guide in the form of Reese Witherspoon.
Unfortunately, this is a reminder of the kind of dangerously cartoonish psychedelic nightmare that modern SNL so rarely attempts. Michael Keaton is living in a Pee Wee's Playhouse universe that is suddenly interrupted by bank foreclosure, and the reveal is that he takes sexual advantage of the anthropomorphic furniture on the children's show -- which may not even exist. The real shame here is that the sketch isn't funnier.
16. "Sporting Goods Commercial"
Aidy Bryant plays a talentless singer who marries her way into local jingle advertising fame. While Keaton's store owner is serviceable, there's never been a time where letting Bryant fire on all cylinders has backfired quite like this one.
While most of these cut sketches were fantastic, the rest give truly help you realize why a phrase like "you can't win them all" exists.
Cyrus isn't the only one people are excited to see kick off Saturday's season 41 premiere. Find out why Hilary Clinton told ET that she's also excited to appear on SNL again in the video below.