ENTERTAINMENT
03/29/2017 12:43 pm ET Updated Mar 30, 2017

A Definitive Ranking Of 32 Trump-Related ‘SNL’ Sketches This Season

If we missed a sketch or two, please forgive us.
Season 42 of "Saturday Night Live" was filled with memorable sketches.
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Season 42 of "Saturday Night Live" was filled with memorable sketches.

Saturday Night Live” is currently enjoying its most successful season in decades, thanks in no small part to the the country’s ravenous appetite for political commentary in the lead up to and fallout from the president election. 

The show’s depictions of public figures like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer have helped many to digest the world in which we find ourselves. Some of the bits have become instant classics. Some never quite got the due they deserved. Some, frankly, weren’t that great.

So, since this is the internet, we decided to rank 32 Trump-related sketches this season. A few notes before we begin:

  1. I have made the executive choice not to include Weekend Update bits. That’s it’s own thing and it just didn’t feel right.
  2. If I missed a sketch, please forgive me.
  3. Please direct your hate mail to maxwell@huffingtonpost.com.
  4. I developed the rankings using an algorithm based on historical performance of “SNL” sketches over time. Each sketch is weighted not only according to how funny the sketch is today, but how funny it will become in the coming years.
  5. Just kidding, these rankings are entirely arbitrary. 

32. Aliens invade Trump’s America

Date: March 11, 2017

Views: 7+ million

Signature line: 

We are going to beat these aliens, because we have got the best military. But we don’t win anymore. And the aliens are laughing at us! They’re killing us, and they’re laughing at us.

Sorry to say, but this sketch immediately felt tired when it appeared earlier this month. Basically, President Donald Trump grapples with an alien invasion while misidentifying two black women, Leslie Jones and Sasheer Zamata, as “aliens.” After months of Baldwin’s spot-on impression, a lot of the jokes seemed like rehashes of ones from earlier in the season. Something had to be last.

31. Walter White is named the head of the DEA 

Date: Dec. 10, 2016

Views: 4+ million 

Signature line: 

Trust me: I know the DEA better than anyone, inside and out. 

Cool as it was to see Bryan Cranston resurrect Walter White for a brief moment, it felt as if the “SNL” writers relied too much on his presence to keep this sketch going. The jokes themselves landed flat.

30. Trump meets some potential cabinet picks during the holidays

Date: Dec. 17, 2016

Views: 8+ million

Signature line: None, really.

With apologies to John Goodman’s Rex Tillerson, this was a fine sketch, but a forgettable one as well. Let’s move on. 

29. Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin grow tired of being mean to one another 

Date: Nov. 5, 2016

Views: 10+ million

Signature line: 

Hey, Mark Burnett. Mark, my baby. I know you’re sitting on some pretty racist tapes of Donald on “The Apprentice,” so, uh, Mark, as they say on “Wheel of Fortune,” give me an “N”!

When this sketch aired just days before the election, there’s almost no doubt that Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin foresaw Clinton winning and Baldwin’s time with the show winding down. That explains why the end of this sketch has a finale-type air to it ― with the pair shedding their characters to run through Manhattan while Arcade Fire plays in the background. These sort of sentimental bits never quite do it for me. Also there is a big “whoops” factor here. 

28. Melania lets her anger show in “Melanianade”

Date: Oct. 15, 2016

Views: 6+ million

Signature line: 

Without us you wouldn’t be standing there, you’d just be that guy with the weird hair.

This digital short allowed the women around Trump to have a moment to go in on him to the tune of Beyoncé’s “Sorry.” While it’s hard not to get excited about anything related to the queen, little was uproarious here. 

27. Trump Googles “ISIS” inside Trump Tower

Date: Nov. 19, 2016

Views: 13+ million

Signature line: 

OK, right, here we go. Big plan. Big plan. Google, what is “ISIS”?

In the month after Trump’s inauguration, reports arose describing Trump as a nervous man who was starting to realize the weight of what it means to be U.S. president. That’s depicted well in this Trump Tower sketch, but the highlight is something much simpler: Trump and potential Secretary of State Mitt Romney (Jason Sudeikis) exchanging an awkwardly long handshake before Romney finally asks, “This isn’t going to work, is it?”

Bonus points for causing a Trump tweet!

26. Hillary Clinton sings “Hallelujah”

 Date: Nov. 12, 2016

Views: 9+ million

Signature line: 

I’m not giving up and neither should you.

Coming out of the presidential election, many were looking to “SNL” on Nov. 11 to make sense of what felt like a political sea-change. The show, hosted by Dave Chappelle, later would help do just that, but the cold open that week simultaneously felt too obvious and too random. Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton, singing “Hallelujah” by the recently deceased Leonard Cohen? It might have touched some of the most sensitive of us that night, but it felt like alike a forced mashup that wasn’t exactly poignant and certainly wasn’t funny. With some time having passed, hopefully you’ll be able to agree. 

25. Kellyanne Conway goes full-on “Chicago”

Date: Jan. 21, 2017

Views: 4+ million

Signature line: 

When the world goes up in flames, at least I’ll know they knew my name.

This is a well-done bit, which imagines Kellyanne as something akin to Chicago’s Roxie Hart, hungry for fame and willing to do whatever it takes to get it. But is it funny? Not really. 

24. Trump gets caught in yet another hot mic moment

Date: Oct. 8, 2016

Views: 10+ million

Signature line: 

I wish that I was that hurricane, tearing through all of that hot Miami p***y. I would just destroy it. 

After audio of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault to Billy Bush leaked last year, it was a matter of how, not if, “SNL” would address it. They went with another hot mic moment live on CNN, followed by Hillary Clinton celebrating with champagne and music. Watching it now, you can remember how inevitable Clinton’s victory once felt to almost everyone.

23. A movie trailer about a brave Republican who is TBD 

Date: March 4, 2017 

Views: 2+ million

Signature line: 

“... it’s definitely not about Paul Ryan.”

Who, exactly, will be the Republican that finally stands up to Donald Trump? As this mock trailer argues, the answer is “TBD.” By no means a classic, but a good digital short that didn’t get enough love. 

22. Turns out all the CNN guests are just “Westworld” bots

Date: Nov. 19, 2016

Views: 350,000+ (Note: This was re-uploaded in February)

Signature line: 

The one in the glasses has stepped out of his loop. He was starting to remember.

“SNL” takes the cultural zeitgeist of the moment, HBO’s “Westworld,” and combines it here with the political zeitgeist to create a sketch about CNN analysts who live in a constant loop of talking points before malfunctioning on air. Not pee-your-pants funny, but a good enough social critique to let it jump a few spots.

21. See the world through Donald’s eyes

Date: Dec. 10, 2016

Views: 2+ million

Signature line:  

Calm! Calm! Kellyanne will fix it. 

The sketch is simple and solid: We get to imagine the world through the president’s eyes: His hands are huge, and sometimes so are his promises. It is a world of ego and insecurity, and it’s just as scary as you’d think it would be.

20. The judge on “People’s Court” lets Trump know he’s freaking everyone out  

Date: Feb. 11, 2017

Views: 11+ million

Signature line: 

And let me just say, you are doing too much, OK!? I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me. I just want to relax and watch the Grammys, all right? And no one has ever said that.

Bringing Donald Trump to the People’s Court was a fine idea. As Trump joked at the beginning of the sketch, he is “a TV president,” after all. But it’s Cecily Strong as the judge who not only controlled the bit, but channelled the feelings of the country in early February when she begged the president to just take a day off so people didn’t have to sent into a complete panic for one 24-hour period.  

19. Kellyanne tries in vain to take a day off

Date: Oct. 8, 2016

Views: 3+ million

Signature line: 

Of course black people don’t have one less toe than white people!

At the moment this digital short aired in October, Kellyanne Conway had only been famous for a few months, but already, she had become a near-ubiquitous part of American life. It felt as if any time you turned on the television, Kellyanne was there. How could one woman do so much? Hence, McKinnon’s hilarious rendition of what “a day off” must feel like for an exhausted-looking Kellyanne, which is not much time off at all. The critique of this sketch, however, is that it painted Kellyanne as a good person who hates Trump more than anyone else ― something that has become harder and harder to believe.

18. A new U.S. welcome video for a new America

Date: Feb. 4, 2017

Views: 3+ million

Signature line: 

You’ll also need a valid passport from your country of origin. NOT INCLUDING IRAQ, IRAN, SYRIA, LIBYA, SOMALIA, SUDEN AND YEMEN, AND MAYBE AUSTRALIA, WE’LL SEE. 

The days following the introduction of Trump’s travel ban were chaotic. Protests erupted and tears were shed. So “SNL” gets some kudos for producing an organized digital short that envisions the calm U.S. customs welcome video in Trump’s America. It showed just how ridiculous the situation was getting.

17. “Hillary Actually”

Date: Dec. 17, 2016

Views: 6+ million

Signature line: 

Anyway, enjoy your holidays. But keep in mind, if Donald Trump becomes president, he will kill us all.

If you like “Love Actually,” you probably loved this holiday mashup, in which Hillary Clinton begs an Electoral College voter not to go with Trump in the same way Andrew Lincoln’s character once revealed his feelings for Keira Knightley’s. But the truth is, that scene in the original movie was kind of weird if you think about it, and these are my arbitrary rankings, so I’m docking it a bit for that. 

16. Leslie tries out to become the next Trump  

Date: Feb. 11, 2017

Views: 2+ million

Signature line: 

Is it like a “Hamilton” thing where you’re making a comment on race and politics?

Nope, it’s about giving America what it wants. 

For a brief moment in early February, a movement started online to have women play a signifiant number of the men in the Trump administration. We never got that, but we did get this fantastic little bit by Leslie Jones, who reveals her secret urge to one day President Donald Trump. 

15. Kate McKinnon as some combo of Jeff Sessions and Forrest Gump  

Date: Mar. 4, 2017

Views: 6+ million

Signature line: 

The president made a great speech. Folks were thrilled on account of it was real words in a row for a whole hour. We was all as happy as a monkey with a peanut machine. Then I want to bed. I got 800 messages and phone alerts, saying I was a sneaky little liar. I didn’t know what to do. So my lawyer said: Run, Jeffrey, run! I started running and running. I ended all the way sitting at this bus stop with you.

This sketch ran a bit long, and it dipped at points as a result, but Kate McKinnon simultaneously impersonating some combination of the U.S. attorney general and Forrest Gump is good enough to let it sneak into the top half of these rankings. Especially considering Jeff Sessions had recused himself from any investigation into the 2016 general election just days before, it was easy to see how he would want to be on the  run.

14. Vladimir Putin addresses the American people after Trump’s inauguration 

Date: Jan. 21, 2017

Views: 5+ million

Signature line: 

Today, many of you are scared and marching in the strets. You are worried that your country is in the hands of this unpredictable man. But don’t worry, it’s not. Relax, I got this. Putin’s going to make everything OK.

For most of the season, Beck Bennett’s rendition of Vladimir Putin has been a bit of a side-piece, always hilarious but rarely the center of a sketch. But one day after Trump’s inauguration, it was Putin alone who was center stage. Let’s just say that the jokes about the country being in his hands have held up quite nicely so far.   

13. Kellyanne Conway stalks Jake Tapper in search of some sweet, sweet airtime 

Date: Feb. 11, 2017

Views: 4+ million

Signature line: 

I just want to be part of the news, Jake. 

Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway took on many forms over the season, but it was probably at its best when she was seen not as a nervous, tired wreck, but as a woman who so desperately wanted to remain a part of the mainstream news cycle that she’s willing to go full “Fatal Attraction” on Jake Tapper to do so. 

12. “If he wasn’t divesting, how could there be so many damn papers?”

Date: Jan. 14, 2017

Views: 12+ million

Signature line:  

I’m his lawyer, and this right here is all the papers that prove that Mr. Trump is really divesting. I mean, look at all these papers. If he wasn’t divesting, how could there be so many damn papers? There’s papers here. There’s papers here. It’s like help, help, lifeguard, I’m practically drowning in papers! 

The highlight of this sketch, which parodied the president-elect’s press conference just days before his inauguration, wasn’t anything related to Alec Baldwin. It was Cecily Trump’s brief moment on stage as Trump’s tax lawyer. In a thick New York accent, she makes a great point: There were certainly a lot of papers on that desk. 

Bonus points for causing a Trump tweet!

11. “The Bubble,” a new sort of town

Date: Nov. 19, 2016

Views: 4+ million

Signature line: 

Coming in January 2017, The Bubble is a planned community of like-minded free thinkers, and no one else.

Following the presidential election, the left-leaning metropolitan pockets of the country started to have earnest conversations about what they could do to reach outside of their bubble. To which “SNL” asked: Why not reach inside? “The Bubble,” an infomercial for an insular planned community that sure looks a lot like Brooklyn, made fun of like-minded rich people who enjoy reading clever stories on McSweeney’s at internet cafes. Who can’t get behind that?

10. Hillary Clinton wins Trump Bingo during the final debate

Date: Oct. 22, 2016

Views: 19+ million

Signature line: 

I’ve said this before and Ill say it again: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. [UPROARIOUS LAUGHTER]

The third and final presidential debate wasn’t the best ― in fact, it might have been the least memorable of the three. But by way of the sheer comedic force provided by the real-life Trump, it still provided some memorable moments, even if they weren’t as eye-popping as what transpired at the actual debate. Bad hombres and nasty women, anyone? That’s a-bingo. 

9. Trump retweets a 16-year-old named Seth

Date: Dec. 3, 2016

Views: 9+ million

Signature line: 

It was from a young man named Seth. He’s 16. He’s in high school. And I really did retweet him. Seriously, this is real.

There were times this season when the real world was so absurd that the best thing “SNL” writers could do was sit back and embrace the fact that nothing could be weirder than what Trump actually did. So it was with this skit about the president’s continuing desire to retweet people like a 16-year-old boy named Seth. Yes, McKinnon and Baldwin had to clarify, this happened in real life too.

Bonus points for causing a Trump tweet!

8. “Complicit,” Ivanka’s very own scent

Date: March 11, 2017

Views: 7+ million

Signature line:

“Complicit,” the fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.

One of the better Trump-related digital shorts of the year, “Complicit” was a sharp and layered attack on a woman who has quietly pushed herself as a woman who will defend women, but who has remained, well, complicit thus far. Who knew a parody ad for a fragrance could be so devastating?

7. Trump sits at a tiny desk next to President Steve Bannon

Date: Feb. 4, 2017

Views: 12+ million

Signature line: 

OK, Donald, that’s enough fun for tonight. Can I have my desk back?

Yes, of course, Mr. President. I’ll go sit at my desk. 

I’m a simple man. Depict Steve Bannon as a walking skeleton in a black cloak and put Donald Trump at a small desk with a giant toy, and I’m happy. 

6. Melissa McCarthy returns as Sean Spicer

Date: Feb. 11, 2017

Views: 15+ million

Signature line: 

The Bowling Green massacre — not the Kellyanne one, the real one. The Horror at Six Flags. The Slaughter at Fraggle Rock. The night they drove Old Dixie down. OK?! And then there is the light terrorism this week when Nordstrom’s decided to stop selling Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories. That’s Nordstrom’s loss, because these are high, high quality products. In fact, I am wearing one of her bangles right now.

McCarthy’s return as Sean Spicer felt almost inevitable, but that didn’t make it any less exciting when it actually happened. Just as she was the first time, McCarthy came out as a full-on comedic force for more than eight minutes, subsidized by Kate McKinnon revealing her Jeff Sessions impression. And then, to top is all off, Spicey started driving his lectern straight at the press. 

5. Alec Baldwin debuts his Trump impression

Date: Oct. 1, 2016

Views: 23+ million

Signature line: 

The thing about the blacks is that they’re killing each other. All the blacks live on one street in Chicago. All on one street. I just read it this morning. It’s called Hell Street, and they’re on Hell Street, and they’re all just killing each other, just like I am killing this debate.

Alec Baldwin debuted his Trump impression to widespread acclaim. Later on in the season, it would get harder to get laughs from more or less repeating Trump’s claims, but for at least that one night, nothing was better, and Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton was more than willing to let him do the talking.

4. Hillary Clinton tries to act like a human in the second presidential debate

Date: Oct. 15, 2016

Views: 21+ million

Signature line: 

Hi Patrice, let me start by walking over to you just as I practiced. Right, left, right, left, right, left. 

Donald Trump made for the easiest comedic fodder throughout the season. But when Kate McKinnon was at her best as Hillary Clinton, she might have been even funnier. At no point was that more clear than when “SNL” parodied the second presidential debate.“I’d like to begin tonight by attempting a casual lean,” she said at the start of the debate. In retrospect, of course, McKinnon’s depiction of a powerful woman who wants so desperately to be seen as normal proved to be more than a little spot-on. 

Bonus points for causing a Trump tweet!

3. White liberals finally realize America is racist in “Election Night” skit

Date: Nov. 12, 2016

Views: 14+ million

Signature line: 

Oh my god. I think ... America is racist. 

Dave Chappelle’s turn as “SNL” host gave us a couple memorable moments, including his heartfelt monologue just days after Donald Trump’s victory and a great performance by A Tribe Called Quest. But here, white liberal America got its mirror. The sketch juxtaposed their shock and horror upon realizing their country is still racist against the reaction of Chappelle and Chris Rock, who quite literally reacted in the exact opposite way. It was a sketch that captured a particular moment in time, and did so perfectly. 

2. Black Americans and a Trump supporter find common ground on “Black Jeopardy”

Date: Oct. 22, 2016

Views: 19+ million

Signature line: 

OK, the answer there: “They out here saying that every vote counts.” Oh, Doug again. 

What is, “Come on, they already decided who wins even ’fore it happens.”

When “Black Jeopardy” popped up last October, it did something that few journalists had been able to do in years prior by tying black Americans’ concerns about the country together with the most unlikely of people: rural Trump voters. The lack of trust in powerful institutions had bottomed out, and “SNL,” of all places, was the place that zeroed in on it.  Slate called the sketch “The Most Astute Analysis of American Politics in 2016.” But just as importantly, it was funny. 

1. Melissa McCarthy debuts her Sean Spicer impression 

Date: Feb. 4, 2017

Views: 25+ million

Signature line: 

I’d like to begin today by apologizing on behalf of you to me!

With apologies to Alec Baldwin and the entire “SNL” cast, there is really no other choice here. In 20 years, Melissa McCarthy’s thunderous impression of the White House press secretary ― which was so devastating that it even bothered Trump himself ― will be the moment we remember above all others. It’s just too Spicey. 

Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Tracy Morgan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Moore, Padma Lakshmi and a whole host of other stars are teaming up for Stand for Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU. Donate now and join us at 7 p.m. Eastern on Friday, March 31 on Facebook Live. #standforrights2017 

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