In its 46th season, Saturday Night Live kept audiences laughing through a pandemic, a seemingly never-ending presidential election and an insurrection. It also boasted a huge cast — 15 repertory and five featured players — which has audiences wondering if the next season will launch without many returning favorites. Among the NBC sketch comedy series’ 21 Emmy nominations, five castmembers scored noms in supporting categories. THR rounds up the best moments from their submitted episodes
In a cold open sketch, Britney Spears (Chloe Fineman) invites scandal-ridden stars to apologize on a talk show called “Oops, You Did It Again.” Bryant gives a showstopping performance as Ted Cruz, fresh from his Cancún vacation while his snow-pummeled home state suffers mass power outages. The Shrill star’s weaselly take on the Texas senator puts her physical comedy chops on full display.
McKinnon impersonated Dr. Anthony Fauci this season, but she also gave a memorable performance as the fictional Dr. Wayne Wenowdis on “Weekend Update.” It’s precisely the type of off-kilter character work (punctuated by the actress breaking character in existential dread) that has made the two-time Emmy-winning McKinnon one of SNL‘s brightest stars during her 10-year run.
Strong raised suspicions she’s leaving SNL when she reprised her signature character Judge Jeanine Pirro in the season finale. What begins as a rant about the U.S.-Mexico border becomes a mission to drench Colin Jost in as much red wine as possible. Strong tops off her performance by singing “My Way” from a dunk-tank-sized box of wine. If she’s indeed leaving, it was as great a sendoff as they come.
In the sketch “Hailstorm,” SNL‘s longest-tenured castmember and co-star McKinnon play elderly co-workers who appear on the local news to discuss a storm and instead end up dishing about their love affair. His character delivers the sketch’s funniest line when a news anchor (Alex Moffat) informs him that his wife is missing and he cheerfully replies, “Is that right? Probably dead, though.”
Anyone wondering how Yang became the first featured player in SNL history to score an Emmy nom should look no further than his portrayal of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. In a “Weekend Update” segment, Yang plays the ice chunk as a prototypically self-involved millennial looking to promote his “hyperpop EDM new disco fantasia” album, inexplicably (yet hilariously) titled Music.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.