After four decades of being the brunt of jokes, Saturday Night Live got its due accolades on Sunday with a staggeringly great list of participants including beloved cast members from all eras of the show (even Eddie Murphy!), as well as permanent hosting fixtures Justin Timberlake, Alec Baldwin and… Jesus Chris, who the hell invited Sarah Palin?!
The legendary sketch comedy show’s 40th anniversary was an all-pistons-firing celebration of sketches and one-off moments. The show also paid tribute to its achievements as one of the most important stages in music television. Kanye West, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and Miley Cyrus all delivered musical performances over the course of the show, with a hearty dose of musical sketch tomfoolery as well.
The show opened with a tremendously good medley featuring former SNL castmember Jimmy Fallon and recurring host Justin Timberlake rapping through the show’s history with references to a number of iconic sketches. A breath later, McCartney and Simon show up to offer a brief acoustic performance of the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” – immediately choking up the more romantic oldsters viewing at home (though Simon joked that they should’ve done “The Sound of Silence”). Both McCartney and Simon would return later for performances of their own, with McCartney offering up a version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” and Simon igniting an emotional show-closing “Still Crazy After All These Years”.