Tonight, Alec Baldwin will host the premiere of the 37th season of Saturday Night Live, breaking the record (which he currently holds, tied with Steve Martin) for the most episodes hosted (tonight will be number 16!). We understand why SNL keeps bringing Baldwin back — he’s roundly awesome at it. He even has his own ‘Best Of’ DVD, even though he was never a cast member. We’re pretty confident that Baldwin will start off this season with a bang, but to gear us up for one of our all-time favorite hosts, we decided to take a look at a few of his funniest SNL skits of all time. Now, to be fair, some of our favorites — “The Mimic,” “Zinger vs. Burns,” and “French Class” in particular — aren’t available online, but rest assured that they definitely would have cleared the top ten. Click through to check out our favorites, and let us know if we’ve missed any of yours in the comments.
10. The Joe Pesci Show (Original Air Date 1/20/96)
This one makes the cut for Baldwin’s understated, on-the-money Deniro alone. That’s pure talent right there, folks.
9. Wii Guys (Original Air Date 2/14/09)
Oh, it’s low humor all right (like many of Baldwin’s most famous bits), but the man pulls it off with style.
8. Glengarry Glen Christmas (Original Air Date 12/10/05)
Baldwin shows off his talent for self-effacing humor, elf-izing his character Blake (a role that was written for him) from Glengarry Glen Ross in this holiday episode. Let’s just say he’s a little less intimidating with pointy ears on.
7. Prince Charles’ Secretary (Original Air Date 11/15/03)
What is it about British accents that makes thinly-veiled innuendos that much funnier?
6. Inside the Actors Studio (Original Air Date 4/7/01)
Baldwin kills as Charles Nelson Reilly on the notoriously stilted Inside the Actor’s Studio. Will Ferrell isn’t bad either.
5. Bill Brasky: Airport Bar (Original Air Date 1/20/96)
The obnoxiousness of drunk storytelling at its absolute peak. Did someone say Bill Brasky?
4. The Tony Bennett Show (Original Air Date 4/20/02)
It’s all in the jazzy accent. ��Why would you build your house in a cherry orchard when you dig bananas?”
3. Brenda the Waitress (Original Air Date 4/21/90)
This is the sort of absurdist, timing-based sketch that you don’t see too much on SNL these days. A drifter cowboy saunters into a David Lynch-style diner, complete with uniforms and simpering regulars and engages in a strange battle with the waitress. Lesson learned: pie is never free.
2. Canteen Boy and the Scoutmaster
Horrifying, and yet hilarious — still the single skit to have prompted the most angry letters to SNL. “My beard is scratchy, Canteen Boy, but it gives good back rubs.”
1. NPR’s Delicious Dish with Pete Schweddy
The unapproachable classic. Though this skit originally aired in December of 1998, it will never go out of style. Case in point: just this month, Ben & Jerry’s released their newest limited-batch flavor — you guessed it, Schweddy Balls. Though all in good fun, the ice cream flavor is taking heat from some groups, who are calling for consumers to boycott the product. We have long marveled at Baldwin’s ability to keep a straight face during the skit, and we hope Ben & Jerry’s remains similarly composed.