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'Saturday Night Live' Celebrates 40 Years

by Photo of Theodore Liggians

Three and a half hours just wasn’t enough time to celebrate 40 years of Saturday Night Live!

'Saturday Night Live' Celebrates 40 Years

Strolling down the red carpet an hour before the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live began, former cast members Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Chris Rock, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell,Tina Fey and many others posed for amid a sea of photographers and fans. The level of star power present was enough to make giant awards ceremonies blush. Sunday night marked the celebration of a cultural institution, and as a whole, SNL 40 delivered in remembering and celebrating the ups and downs of Saturday Night Live.

The familiar faces of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake opened with a musical tribute to some of the best skits made over the years. Some these skits include classics from Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken's "More Cowbell," Alec Baldwin's "Shweddy balls," Rachel Dratch's "Debbie Downer," Mary Catherine Gallagher's "Catholic schoolgirl" and Timberlake's very own "Dick In A Box." Their opening performance did not fail to excite the live audience and viewers at home.

Their musical number was followed by a star-studded competition between Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Peyton Manning, Alec Baldwin, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and more actors, athletes, musicians and comedians during the monologue. The skits got underway when Dan Aykroyd followed the monologue by reprising the classic "Bass-O-Matic", including the same cameo from Laraine Newman.

The finest skit came early when Will Ferrell appeared as Alex Trebek for "Celebrity Jeopardy." Contestants included Darrell Hammond's hilarious Sean Connery, Kate McKinnon's Justin Bieber and Alec Baldwin's Tony Bennett. Jim Carrey soon came out for his cameo as Matthew McConaughey with his inner monologue, Taran Killam with a spot on impression of Christoph Waltz and the incomparable Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds, aka "Turd Ferguson."

Keeping the momentum going, SNL opened their vault to reveal 40-year-old audition tapes including footage of Phil Hartman, Ferrell, Gilda Radner and other iconic comedians that paved the way for the current stars on the show. After the commercial break the flashbacks resumed with Jack Nicholson introducing footage of the many political skits that have been created over the years, with impressions ranging Chevy Chase's Gerald Ford from Hammond's Bill Clinton to Jay Pharoah's current President Barack Obama.

The night would not be complete without SNL musical performances by, McCartney, Miley Cyrus, West featuring Vic Mensa and Sia and finally Paul Simon to draw things to an end. It was a fantastic way for SNL to bridge the eras of the past (Simon/McCartney) with the current era (West/Cyrus), and the execution was done quite excellently.

SNL trio Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen took the stage for "The Californians." While it stretched out far longer than it probably needed to, it included cameos from Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington, Betty White and Taylor Swift

Some of the best moments of the night included Edward Norton struggling not to laugh as he sat next to Hader in matching Stefon outfits, Maya Rudolph's impression of Beyoncé with her SNL 40 version of "Drunk In Love" and Beyoncé moves, Steve Martin's brief King-Tut appearance and Aykroyd and Jim Belushi coming together as the Blue's Brothers.

Closing the night with a bang, Michael Myers and Dana Carvey channeled their inner Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar for a special episode of Wayne's World to announce a 40th anniversary edition of "SNL's Top 10:"

10. Live Show
9. Satire
8. Saturday Night Dead
7. Catchphrases (SHWING!)
6. Musical Guests
5. Kanye Sit Down
4. Opening Credits
3. Aftershow Orgies...We mean wigs
2. Lorne Michaels
1. THE CREW!

At the end of the night, the three and a half hour special almost felt like it did not last long enough. The four-decade celebration managed to many memorable performances in to the ample late night time slot. In another decade SNL will hopefully have an even bigger celebration for it's 50th anniversary show and we can't wait to tune in.

Check Out These Musical Gems From SNL's 40th Anniversary:

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