As one of the longest running series in television history, each episode of the sketch comedy Saturday Night Live starts with a skit and a monologue from the host, but only a select few can be part of the best Saturday Night Live monologues of all time. To make this list, the SNL monologues have to be funny, memorable, or even so controversial that they prompted the host to be banned from the show for life.
What hosts have performed the best SNL monologues? It should be no surprise that Steve Martin, who has hosted the show 15 times over 39 seasons, comes in twice among the best SNL monologues. He however has some stiff competition in other great monologues from newer hosts such as notable performances in 2011 from Zach Galifianakis and Justin Timberlake.Do you have a favorite among these SNL opening monologues? Vote up the best ones here!
Steve Martin SNL Monologue 12/14/1991
Oddly reflecting on his previous appearances on Saturday Night Live, Steve Martin lead yet another hilarious monologue during his hosting gig on December 14, 1991. After being reminded of old skits like his "King Tut" routine by then-cast members Chris Farley and Victoria Jackson, Martin burst out in song about how he's "Not Gonna Phone it in Tonight" and finally take the show seriously.
Justin Timberlake SNL Monologue 5/21/2011
Notorious for popping in on random episodes for sketches, songs and digital shorts, Justin Timberlake hosted Saturday Night Live on May 21, 2011, for the season 39 finale and used his SNL monologue to poke fun of himself. In a song about not singing, Timberlake rattled off all the different types of singing he was not going to do, while doing them at the same time. Though the monologue was funny, it was far from his funniest moment on Saturday Night Live, which arguably was his December 2006 appearance in the "D*ck in a Box" digital short.
Norm MacDonald SNL Monologue 10/23/1999
After being fired as a cast member of the show just a year and a half earlier, Norm MacDonald was invited to return and host the show. His monologue is the opposite of grateful for the invitation to take the stage once again, and the product is comedy gold.
John Malkovich SNL Monologue 12/6/2008
Airing on December 6, 2008, actor John Malkovich provided some holiday cheer as part of his Saturday Night Live monologue. Donning an itchy Santa hat and inviting children on stage, Malkovich read "Twas the Night Before Christmas." All was well until Malkovich began adding his own depressing and violent commentary on the normally optimistic and cheery lines. Merry Christmas indeed!