Saturday Night Live (Season 34)

Saturday Night Live Season 34
File:SNL Title Card.png
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the 34th season.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Original channel NBC
Original run September 13, 2008 – May 16, 2009
Season chronology
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List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The thirty-fourth season of the variety series Saturday Night Live began airing in 2008 and concluded in 2009 on NBC. This season of Saturday Night Live consisted of 22 episodes, in an attempt to compensate for episodes lost during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. This made it the longest season since the show's second season.

The season began on September 13, 2008 on NBC, with Olympic swimming gold medalist Michael Phelps as host and Tina Fey appearing as Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, alongside Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, and rapper Lil Wayne as the musical guest. The show scored its highest-rated premiere since September 2001 and is the second most-watched SNL ever. The season premiere date of September 13 was earlier than the premiere date for previous seasons, which typically have started during the final weekend of September or in early October. However, a month later, the show drew its highest ratings in over 14 years when the real Sarah Palin appeared. SNL had 17 million viewers during its first half-hour.

Before the start of the season the cast remained mostly unchanged except for the addition of Bobby Moynihan. Moynihan (like Casey Wilson in the previous season) came to SNL as a performer with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater; in season 33, Moynihan and Wilson were among the group of Upright Citizens Brigade performers SNL auditioned mid-season while the show was looking for a new cast member to join after the writers' strike in early 2008. Moynihan did not make the cut in his season 33 audition, but instead ended up being invited back for another audition shortly before this season started. Wilson remained a featured player.

Midway through the season, cast member Amy Poehler went on maternity leave after giving birth to her son hours before the October 25, 2008 episode, hosted by Jon Hamm. Poehler returned on December 6, 2008 in the John Malkovich hosted episode and made her final appearance as a cast member the following week on the Hugh Laurie hosted episode on December 13, 2008. She announced that it would be her final show at the end of Weekend Update.

Shortly after Poehler went on maternity leave, the show added two new female cast members to fill the void. Michaela Watkins (of The Groundlings in Los Angeles) and Abby Elliott (daughter of former SNL cast member Chris Elliott) joined the show as featured players on November 15, 2008.[1]

SNL received much media coverage for the show's take on the election, causing ratings to increase rapidly. The show was nominated for many awards including Emmy Awards, a Peabody award and nomination for Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) Series at the Writers Guild of America Awards 2009. After gaining so much media coverage and high seasonal ratings, its rival sketch show, MADtv, ended in 2009 after 14 years due to low ratings and a dip in quality brought on by budget constraints and mediocre writing.[2]

This season would also be the last for longtime cast member Darrell Hammond, the last remaining cast member from the 1990s, who had been on the show for a record 14 seasons. Featured players Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson were both let go after this season.


  • bold denotes Weekend Update anchor



Saturday Night Live season 34 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical Guest(s) Original airdate
6371 Michael Phelps Lil WayneSeptember 13, 2008

Tina Fey appeared as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler appeared as Hillary Clinton in A Nonpartisan Message from Governor Sarah Palin & Senator Hillary Clinton.

William Shatner, Michael Phelps' mother Debbie and Jared Fogle make cameo appearances.

Lil Wayne performed "Got Money" and "Lollipop."

Bobby Moynihan's first episode as a cast member.

At the end of the episode, before the goodnights, a dedication screen was put up for producer/agent Bernie Brillstein, who died a month before this episode aired. Brillstein helped in getting Saturday Night Live picked up as a TV series.

Senator Barack Obama was scheduled to make a second cameo appearance in this episode.[3] However, due to the results of Hurricane Ike, Obama pulled out.[4][5] Chuck Norris was also scheduled to make a cameo appearance, but pulled out for the same reason.[6] 
6382 James Franco Kings of LeonSeptember 20, 2008

Cameron Diaz makes a guest appearance, reprising her role as Kiki Deamore in the recurring sketch "The Cougar Den".

Gossip Girl's Blake Lively made a cameo appearance in the SNL Digital Short.[7]

Kings of Leon performed "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody." 
6393 Anna Faris DuffySeptember 27, 2008

Tina Fey returned as Gov. Sarah Palin in the cold open being interviewed by Katie Couric, played by Amy Poehler.

Chris Parnell makes a guest appearance in a debate sketch as Jim Lehrer.

Duffy performed "Mercy" and "Stepping Stone." 
6404 Anne Hathaway The KillersOctober 4, 2008

Queen Latifah appeared as Gwen Ifill and Tina Fey returned as Sarah Palin in a parody of the Vice Presidential Debate.

The Killers performed "Human" and "Spaceman."

An edited version of the sketch parodying the economic bailout was posted on, removing references to Herbert and Marion Sandler's (played by Darrell Hammond and Casey Wilson, respectively) corrupt activities and removing the graphic labeling the couple as "people who should be shot." Lorne Michaels admitted he did not know the Sandlers were a real couple, and that he believed they were simply characters written for the sketch.[8]

Andy Samberg plays Mark Wahlberg in a sketch where Wahlberg talks to animals, which is referenced by Wahlberg in the following episode. 
6415 Josh Brolin AdeleOctober 18, 2008

Tina Fey returned again as Sarah Palin, and was joined by Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin and the real Sarah Palin making guest appearances in the cold opening. Wahlberg also appeared in a brief sketch making amends with Andy Samberg, referring to a sketch from the previous episode. Sarah Palin also appeared on Weekend Update.

Oliver Stone makes a cameo in the opening monologue, impersonating George W. Bush.

Adele performed "Chasing Pavements" and "Cold Shoulder".

The New York Underground short film was directed by Noah Baumbach
6426 Jon Hamm ColdplayOctober 25, 2008

Coldplay performed "Viva La Vida", "Lost!", "Yellow", and "Lovers in Japan" which was cut off.

Co-stars Elisabeth Moss and John Slattery appeared in the "Ad Agency" sketch as their Mad Men characters Peggy Olson and Roger Sterling, respectively.

Amy Poehler did not appear due to giving birth hours before this episode aired.

Maya Rudolph appears as Michelle Obama in the Obama Variety Hour sketch. 
6437 Ben Affleck David CookNovember 1, 2008

John and Cindy McCain appeared as themselves and Tina Fey made an appearance as Sarah Palin in the cold opening. The episode aired only three days before the 2008 presidential election. This was the last time Fey impersonated Palin as a guest on the show, although she would resume the character on the episodes she hosted in the two next seasons. McCain also appeared in Weekend Update.

David Cook performed "Light On" and "Declaration."

This episode marks the first appearance of Bill Hader's Stefon character, though not on Weekend Update. 
6448 Paul Rudd BeyoncéNovember 15, 2008

Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins' first episode as cast members.

Beyoncé Knowles performed "If I Were a Boy" and "Single Ladies", and appeared in a sketch about a music video of the latter.

Justin Timberlake made a cameo during Weekend Update and in the "Single Ladies" sketch as one of the three backup dancers. 
6459 Tim McGraw Ludacris & T-PainNovember 22, 2008
Ludacris and T-Pain performed "One More Drink" and "Chopped & Skrewed." Both Ludacris and T-Pain appeared in the "Blizzard Man Replaces T-Pain" sketch. 
64610 John Malkovich T.I.December 6, 2008

Amy Poehler returned as Hillary Clinton in the cold opening and co-anchored Weekend Update with Seth Meyers after four weeks of being absent due to the birth of her son, Archie.

T.I. performed "Whatever You Like" and "Swing Ya Rag" with Swizz Beatz.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Molly Sims, and Justin Timberlake appeared in the "Jizz in My Pants" digital short along with Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, and Andy Samberg
64711 Hugh Laurie Kanye WestDecember 13, 2008

Amy Poehler's final episode as a castmember.

Maya Rudolph returned to perform in a "Bronx Beat" sketch with Amy Poehler.

Kanye West performed "Love Lockdown" and a medley including "Heartless" and "Pinocchio Story."

Shortly after this broadcast, New York governor David Paterson openly complained about Fred Armisen's portrayal of him, stating that his impression was insensitive to the blind and visually impaired (Paterson would later appear with Armisen on the premiere episode of season 36)[9] 
64812 Neil Patrick Harris Taylor SwiftJanuary 10, 2009

Liza Minnelli appeared in a sketch.

Taylor Swift appeared in a sketch as Annie, and performed "Love Story" and "Forever & Always".

Host Neil Patrick Harris appeared in the "Save Broadway" sketch as Mark Cohen from RENT. Harris played the same character in the Los Angeles production of RENT in 1997. In the same sketch Fred Armisen, a former drummer for the Blue Man Group, plays the center blue man. 
64913 Rosario Dawson Fleet FoxesJanuary 17, 2009
Fleet Foxes performed "Mykonos" and "Blue Ridge Mountains". 
65014 Steve Martin Jason MrazJanuary 31, 2009

Jason Mraz performed "I'm Yours" and "Lucky" with Colbie Caillat.

During the original broadcast Richard Dean Anderson who played MacGyver on the TV series reprised his role in three MacGruber Pepsi ads as a helper to MacGruber.

Steve Martin performed "Late for School" on his banjo from his new album "The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo". 
65115 Bradley Cooper TV on the RadioFebruary 7, 2009

James Lipton makes a cameo during the monologue.

TV on the Radio performed "Golden Age" and "Dancing Choose".

The Lonely Island and T-Pain premiered "I'm on a Boat" from the Lonely Island's Incredibad album in the SNL Digital Short.

Drew Barrymore appeared during the closing credits. 
65216 Alec Baldwin Jonas BrothersFebruary 14, 2009

Former castmember Dan Aykroyd appeared as John Boehner in the cold opening.[10]

Jack McBrayer makes a guest appearance in the opening monologue.

Cameron Diaz once again reprises her role as Kiki Deamore in the recurring sketch "The Cougar Den".

The Jonas Brothers performed "Tonight" and "Video Girl". They also appeared in a sketch and an SNL Digital Short.[11]

Alec Baldwin's nieces made a cameo introducing The Jonas Brothers' second song.[12] 
65317 Dwayne Johnson Ray LaMontagneMarch 7, 2009

Richard Dean Anderson returned as MacGyver for three more MacGruber shorts.

Ray LaMontagne performed "You Are the Best Thing" and "Trouble".

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel appeared as Irving Hillman and Jessica Rabbit in Weekend Update. 
65418 Tracy Morgan Kelly ClarksonMarch 14, 2009

Kelly Clarkson performed "My Life Would Suck Without You" and "I Do Not Hook Up".

Tina Fey and John Cena made cameo appearances in the cold open.

Tracy Morgan reprised his roles as Brian Fellow in Brian Fellow's Safari Planet and as Astronaut Jones. 
65519 Seth Rogen PhoenixApril 4, 2009

Phoenix performed "Lisztomania," "1901" and "Too Young", which was cut off.

Seth Rogen reprised his impression of Rowlf the Dog from his first appearance on SNL.

Rogen appeared in the SNL Digital Short for the music video of The Lonely Island's "Like a Boss". Rogen replaced Akiva Schaffer's vocals; however, Akiva Schaffer did make an appearance as the gun dealer. Fellow Lonely Island member, Jorma Taccone also makes an appearance in the video delivering a harassment lawsuit to Andy Samberg
65620 Zac Efron Yeah Yeah YeahsApril 11, 2009
Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed "Zero" and "Maps". 
65721 Justin Timberlake CiaraMay 9, 2009

Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson made guest appearances during the Digital Short.

Ciara performed "Love Sex Magic" with Justin Timberlake and "Never Ever".

Jessica Biel introduced "Love Sex Magic."

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy cameoed on Weekend Update in a commentary on Star Trek.

Jimmy Fallon reprised his role as Barry Gibb for another installment of "The Barry Gibb Talk Show".

Justin Timberlake won an Emmy for hosting this episode.[13] 
65822 Will Ferrell Green DayMay 16, 2009

Darrell Hammond, Michaela Watkins, and Casey Wilson's final episode as castmembers.

Green Day performed "Know Your Enemy", "21 Guns" and, in a cut performance, "East Jesus Nowhere", during which Will Ferrell played cowbell. The band also appeared in Goodnight Saigon.

Tom Hanks played himself in Celebrity Jeopardy!, and in "Goodnight Saigon".

Norm Macdonald appeared in Celebrity Jeopardy! as Burt Reynolds, and in "Goodnight Saigon."

Amy Poehler returned to co-anchor Weekend Update, and she accompanied Will Ferrell on a triangle for "Goodnight Saigon".

Maya Rudolph reprised her character Glenda Goodwin in the funeral sketch and sang with Will Ferrell for "Goodnight Saigon."

Paul Rudd, Artie Lange, Elisabeth Moss, and Anne Hathaway also appeared in "Goodnight Saigon".

Will Ferrell reprised his impersonations of George W. Bush, Alex Trebek, and Harry Caray


# Special Original airdate
1 "2008 Presidential Bash" November 3, 2008
The special was hosted by Amy Poehler while impersonating Hillary Clinton. Sketches included "There Can Be Only One," "CBS Evening News," "Ask President Carter," "Clinton's Qualities," "Reagan the Mastermind," "Weekend Update," "Stockdale's Joyride," "Bush's Endorsement," "Vice Presidential Debate 2008," "CNN Univision Democratic Debate 2008," "ABC Campaign '88," "2nd Presidential Debate 2008," "Debate '76," "Bush's Good Health," "The Bush Daughters," "Lip-Locked Gores," "Clinton Halloween Party," "The Democratics Candidates Debate 2008," "Clinton's Response," "First Presidential Debate 2000," a Weekend Update Political Commentary, and a special rap by Amy Poehler. This special featured cameos from Sen. John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. 
2 "Sports Extra 2009" January 4, 2009
Sketches included "Mangled National Anthem," "Schmitts' Gay," "United Way (II), "Read to Achieve," "Yankee Wives," "Daily Affirmation," "Locker Room Motivation," "Derek Jeter's Taco Hole," "AFC Championship," "Waikiki Hockey," "Big Bernard," "Sportscenter," "Fernando's Hideaway," "Touchdown," "Lillehammer '94," "The Charles Barkley Show," "Battle of the Sexes II," "Super Bowl Gambling Memories," "Sexual Harassment and You," "Church Chat," "Dole & Rodman in '96," "Little Chocolate Donuts," "Swim Team Motivation," and Weekend Update Commentaries. 
3 "Just Game Shows" March 8, 2009
SNL's latest collection of some of their best game show parodies. 
4 "Just Commercials" March 8, 2009
Another collection of some of SNL's greatest commercial parodies. 
5 "The Best of Amy Poehler" April 18, 2009
Sketches included: A Non-Partisan Message From Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton, Bronx Beat, Valtrex, Kaitlin and Rick Buy an Instrument, "Body Fuzion" (Digital Short), The Not So Great Adventures of the Down and Out Dollar, The Dakota Fanning Show, Weekend Update, Amy Loves Justin, Turlington's Lower Back Tattoo Remover, The Bush Daughters, I'm No Angel, Scarlett Johansson's monologue, Celebrity Jeopardy, Michael Jackson in a Roller Coaster, American Idol, The Democratic Candidates Debate, Rock of Love 2, plus clips from Walken Family Reunion, Avril Lavigne visits Weekend Update, Regis and Kelly, Barbie's Dream House, Senator Barbara Boxer, Hugo Chavez Political Roundup, Appalachian Emergency Room, Fierce: The Hot Mess Make-Over Show, Nancy Grace, Wizard of Oz, Anderson Cooper 360 and The Sarah Palin Rap. 
6 "Just Shorts" May 17, 2009
Andy Samberg hosted this 2-hour retrospective of some of SNL's best short films including "Lazy Sunday", "Dick in a Box", "White Like Me", "Synchronized Swimmers", "La Dolce Gilda", "Don't Look Back in Anger" and more. 

Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday

Saturday Night Live aired three special prime time half-hour episodes on Thursdays starting October 9. These specials, entitled Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday, focused on the United States presidential election.[14]

Episode Original airdate
"Episode 1" October 9, 2008
Bill Murray (as Himself) and Chris Parnell (as moderator Tom Brokaw) make guest appearances in the cold opening. 
"Episode 2" October 16, 2008
Chris Parnell guest appears, playing debate moderator Bob Schieffer
"Episode 3" October 23, 2008
Will Ferrell reprises his role as President George W. Bush and Tina Fey once again appeared as Gov. Sarah Palin in the cold opening. 


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