In a 2016 presidential race that at times felt more like parody than reality, "Saturday Night Live" managed to mine for laughs of its own and strike comedy gold.
Much of the credit for the iconic sketch comedy show's success this election season goes to fan favorite Kate McKinnon's take on Hillary Clinton and the casting coup of bringing frequent guest host Alec Baldwin on board to impersonate Donald Trump.
"SNL" will showcase some of its best political sketches of this election cycle in an hour-long clip show on Monday at 10 p.m. ET, but here are our picks for the show's nine best sketches parodying this crazy campaign season:
Trump and Clinton's Last Cold Open Before Election Day
The show's final political sketch before Election Day saw Baldwin and McKinnon breaking character after bickering as Trump and Clinton. The duo exited the studio to run through Times Square, holding hands and dancing in unity with crowds of people. The episode marked a welcome departure from the coldness that has hung over both candidates' campaigns.
Trump vs. Clinton Second Debate Cold Open
The real second presidential debate was full of jabs and surprises, and "SNL" honored this in its own version, featuring Baldwin's Trump lurking behind McKinnon's Clinton like a predatory shark. Trump tries to surprise Clinton by bringing four of Bill Clinton's mistresses along but the Democratic nominee shrugs it off, telling him, "I'm made of steel."
VP Debate Cold Open
While Mikey Day's Tim Kaine and Beck Benett's Mike Pence battle it out over Trump's leaked "Access Hollywood" tape, the GOP nominee makes an appearance on CNN to respond to his comments. When Trump is asked if he's apologizing, he quickly said, "No,I would never do that. I am not just apologizing to the people who were offended by my statements but mainly to the people who were turned on. I hear its 50-50."
But the real shocker of the show came when Baldwin's Trump uttered the infamous phrase on live network television that the real Trump had made headlines for.
Hillary Clinton Bar Talk - featuring the real Hillary Clinton
Last October, the real Clinton took time out from her campaign to play the role of amicable bartender Val in the show's 41st season opener. The show took the opportunity to poke fun of Clinton to her face, with
McKinnon's semi-drunk Clinton prodding the disguised candidate over her stances on gay marriage, the Keystone Pipeline and determination to oust Trump. The sketch's winning moment was the real Clinton taking a shot at imitating Trump.
Bern Your Enthusiasm
The show really shined by signing on Larry David to play Clinton's Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in a series of episodes. Most notably in a digital short in the style of David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The parody saw David's Sanders alienating voters by refusing to shake a woman's hand after she coughs into it, and refusing to pop another voter's dislocated shoulder back in.
After Melania Trump came out to defend her husband's lewd comments in the leaked "Access Hollywood" tape, "SNL" decided to portray the five most important women in the candidate's life — Melania, daughters Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, and Omarosa — being sick of his press
A Hillary Christmas
In this special Christmas episode, McKinnon's Clinton gets advice from her 2008 self — played by former cast member and Clinton-impersonator Amy Poehler — to not be overly confident of a presidential win, as Sarah Palin — played by Poehler's one-time cast mate Tina Fey — teases her for her loss to President Barack Obama in 2008.
George W. Bush Cold Open
Will Ferrell also returned to "SNL" to cameo as a dissatisfied George W. Bush, criticizing the Republican candidates vying to be the nominee. Bush tells Ben Carson the presidency isn't "brain surgery," calls Carly Fiorina out for being "gutsy" and says Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio sound like a "Miami law firm." But the best burn comes towards the end when Ferrell's Bush describes Trump as a "big, fat, orange Oompa Loompa face."
Hillary Clinton Election Video Cold Open
While filming a campaign video, McKinnon's Clinton faces difficulty trying not to come across as aggressive, rude and disinterested woman during the process. "And the vice president will of course be me, too," Clinton says after Bill Clinton — portrayed by former cast member-turned-announcer Darrell Hammond — tries to nominate himself as her her VP pick.