SNL Throwback: SNL's 10 Greatest Political Impressions
With this election rapidly approaching, and with SNL making its return, I thought it would be appropriate to count down my top 10 favorite political impressions from SNL. Note: Each politician will only be included once in the Top 10, even if two impressions are worthy (such as Amy Poehler's Hillary).
#10- Ronald Reagan (Phil Hartman)
Hartman did a great job playing the Gipper. The Hartman-era of SNL really brought SNL back to life, and this fantastic impression certainly helped. President Reagan, Mastermind was such an amazing sketch, and it's one of my favorites from Hartman's large catalogue of SNL sketches.
#9- George HW Bush (Dana Carvey)
"Not Gonna Do It" may go down as one of SNL's best catchphrases. Bush 41 was Dana Carvey's best impression, and one of SNL's best. I thoroughly enjoyed when the real HW Bush appeared on SNL to set the record straight: that he's never said "Not Gonna Do It". Man, I miss Dana Carvey on SNL. Last year's Church Chat wasn't enough.
#8- Mitt Romney (Jason Sudeikis)
Remember 2012? Ahh, that was heavenly. The two main candidates were both pretty decent choices. And, more importantly, it gave us Jason Sudeikis's wonderful Mitt Romney impression. Sudeikis did a great job portraying the former Massachusetts governor (and Kate McKinnon did a bang-up job as his wife, Ann, as well).
#7- Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Kate McKinnon)
We may not have seen much of RBG yet, but hopefully that will change. I love when she "Ginsburns" people, and this is one of the best Weekend Update characters of recent times. Kate McKinnon perfectly brings RBG to SNL, and is almost as sassy as the real-life RBG.
#6- Bill Clinton (Darrell Hammond)
Bill Clinton was such an interesting president. Love him or hate him, there was a lot to poke fun of when it came to President Clinton, particularly during the Lewinsky scandal, which brought us so many wonderful sketches. The presidential impressions are the most well-known of SNL's impressions, and Bill Clinton's impression was certainly memorable.
#5- George W. Bush (Will Ferrell)
SNL has long been fantastic at impersonating presidents, but they did it best with Dubya. Everything about Ferrell's impression was awesome. I fondly remember the Decision 2000 sketches, and the Bush/Gore sketches were particularly great. My favorite was the Presidential Odd Couple (I think that's what it was called) sketch.
#4- Donald Trump (Darrell Hammond)
This started out as a non-political impersonation, but when The Donald decided to throw his hat in the 2016 presidential race, we saw him become one of the better political impersonations on SNL. Unfortunately, Hammond no longer appears as our favorite tangerine, but we can forever cherish that precious season of almost weekly Donald Trump impersonations. (No shade, Taran Killam, but I'm so glad that Darrell took over the Trump role. Your Ted Cruz is much better.)
#3- Bernie Sanders (Larry David)
When Larry David first appeared as Bernie Sanders, I instantly knew it would become one of SNL's finest impressions. It helped that David's impression debuted as part of an excellent Cold Open. The impression was so good that it caused David to host SNL soon after its debut. Fortunately, SNL has found ways to bring back Bernie, even after his defeat in the Democratic primary.
#2- Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon)
Kate McKinnon's HRC is a strong second place finisher. Kate's impression of the former New York Senator (among other things) likely assisted in her Emmy win. Last season's Hillary Campaign Ad (which also featured McKinnon/Hillary morph into Bernie Sanders) was fantastic, and was a highlight of an excellent show. I need Hillary to become president just so I can see more of this impression. Because it's one of the best.
#1- Sarah Palin (Tina Fey)
Did you think this would be #1? Well, You Betcha! Of all of SNL's many, many impressions, this is the best. Tina Fey has practically morphed into Sarah Palin. Her appearance last season was one of the highlights of the season for me. The sketch with Fey's Palin and Poehler's Clinton is one of SNL's finest political sketches. And also, I can see Russia from my house.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Carter (Dan Aykroyd), Gerald Ford (Chevy Chase), Michael Dukakis (Jon Lovitz), Dick Cheney (Darrell Hammond), Chris Christie (Bobby Moynihan), Newt Gingrich (Chris Farley), Bob Dole (Norm MacDonald), Janet Reno (Will Ferrell), Chris Matthews (Darrell Hammond, Linda Tripp (John Goodman), Hillary Clinton (Amy Poehler), Barack Obama (Jay Pharaoh), Ted Cruz (Taran Killam), Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon)
And a special shoutout to Bill Hader's impression of my home state's Senator, Pat Toomey. You might have only appeared once, but I remember you.
Who are your favorite SNL political impressions? Tell me in the comments!