The Five Best Moments from the Bill Hader SNL

Comedy Features Bill Hader
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The third installment of Saturday Night Live’s fortieth season marked the return of one of its many golden children, Bill Hader, as he lived the dream of every cast member and came back to the show as host. The Skeleton Twins co-star Kristin Wiig also popped up (along with Harvey Fierstein, why not) in an episode that was nostalgic in more than one way. Having Hader back served as a reminder of just how damn good he was during his eight season run; every sketch of the show was improved by his oddball characters and finely-honed comic timing.

In case you don’t have a full hour to spare, we’ve distilled Hader’s first hosting stint down to five highlights:

5. Herb Welch Hitting People in the Face with a Microphone

Hader shines brightest when he’s in the wrinkly skin of a gruff, grumpy codger—he admits as much in the opening monologue—and cantankerous news reporter Herb Welch is proof positive. Even more hilarious than his unmasked hatred for Taran Killam’s news anchor (“I don’t take orders from mannequins… I know you’re smooth down there.”) is the way that Welch smacks his interviewees with the mic while absolving himself of blame with a thousand-yard stare. Breakout cast member Pete Davidson has enjoyed success in his first season, but there’s nothing more humbling than a veteran pelting you with a foam prop.


4. The Trailer for the Young Adult Mega-Movie “The Group Hopper”

There have been entire films lampooning the teens-in-dystopia trend that don’t do it as well as this mock trailer. Centering on the recent Mazerunner, the slick send-up nails more than just the genre’s look, perfectly parroting the standard hammy dialogue between two-dimensional teens who want nothing more than to stand out. Bonus points for Hader’s immaculate Hunger Games-style dictator clown.

3. Charles Daniels Getting Called Out for Being a Charity Cheapskate

It’s not often that Hader gets to play the straight man, but it’s the perfect role for him in this commercial parody. This take on those gut-wrenching foreign charity ads rips on infomercial stars who casually stroll through poverty, talking about the ails of the downtrodden as if they’re not standing, like, right there. Leslie Jones, Kenan Thompson and Sasheer Zamata lead a group that has a few bones to pick with Hader’s Charles Daniels, especially concerning the low-ball suggested donation.

2. The Return of Stefon

Hader’s return to SNL wouldn’t be complete without another go-round with Weekend Update staple Stefon. The anti-hip socialite always has the hottest clubs to go to with specific, disturbing details that Hader is often reading for the first time. The teleprompter has broken Stefon on every Update that he has appeared, leading to the character’s trademark mouth-cupping quirk. Somehow, it’s still not old.

1. The Jan Hooks Tribute: “Love is a Dream”

After Jan Hooks passed away this week, the above short film made the rounds on the web before hitting SNL proper. Though not as obvious a pull as the legendary Tammy Faye Bakker Church Chat bit;, “Love is a Dream” was the definitely the right way to honor Hooks’ legacy. Co-starring the late Phil Hartman, what the Tom Schiller-directed piece lacks in outright laughs it more than makes up for in surreal nostalgia and genuine emotion. Prepare your excuses now, because something’s going to get in your eye.

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