Long before The Daily Show, long before The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live was making fun of the news in a way that no one had ever seen before. Suddenly, establishment journalists like Barbara Walters were fair game. Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd riffed on the seething hostility between co-anchors. Heck, they even took on the 70s trend of sign language interpreters popping up in newscasts.
Oprah, Dateline, Geraldo Rivera… SNL‘s had distinctive takes on almost every major media presence over the years. And SNL‘s news spoofs aren’t just entertainment: it’s arguable that more Americans made up their minds about Sarah Palin based on SNL‘s Katie Couric/Sarah Palin interview than on the original interview itself. Stephen Colbert and John Stewart have done a lot in the news satire biz, but they still have some catching up to do.
In honor of the premiere of season 35 of SNL, we’ve pulled together 35 of SNL‘s choicest news anchor spoofs and Weekend Updates, spanning all seasons. Shoot us a comment or a tip if you think we’ve missed a good one.
We’re seriously counting on a good Glenn Beck skit… Here it is.
Turning Barbara Walters into Elmer Fudd may have been one of the most dastardly stunts that SNL ever pulled off, but it was a game-changer for the show and for Walters. At one point, Walters personally confronted Gilda Radner and made her do the impression to her face. Presumably, the meeting involved wevewations, wapport, and wepartee.
The Today Show With Hoda and Kathy Lee
When it comes to the zaniness of Kathy Lee Gifford, the jokes write themselves. Still, Kristen Wiig’s command of Lee’s facial tics and body language, paired with Michaela Watkins’ portrayal of Hoda Kotb’s Today straight woman, result in pure absurdist joy.
Creepy, Creepy Dateline
Bill Hader really knows how to bring the creepy when he wants to, which is perfect for a Dateline sendup. No disrespect to actual Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison, but it takes a certain kind of nervous system to converse with murderers and victims of tragedy like you’re talking about the weather.
Gerald Ford was Eaten by Wolves
Carvey’s Tom Brokaw wants to vacation in Barbados for the winter, so he’s got to prerecord every possible way Gerald Ford could die, including gunshot, wolf attack, convenience store mountain lions, and Zimbabwean invasion. It’s funny cause it’s true?
Joe Wilson and Kanye: Really?
SNL spinoff Weekend Update Thursday started its second season with a bang last week, coming up with a “how the Joe Wilson thing happened” conspiracy theory involving restrooms and Michelle Bachman.
But the “Really?” segment was even better; there are few things more satisfying than hearing Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers repeatedly shouting “Really?” at notable shouters Kanye West and Joe Wilson.
Joe Coscarelli and Palika Makam contributed to the writing and compilation of this post.
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