Paul McCartney: "Maybe I'm Amazed" Miley Cyrus: "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" Kanye West: Medley of "Jesus Walks", "Only One", and "Wolves" (the latter with Sia and Vic Mensa Paul Simon: "Still Crazy After All These Years"
The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special broadcast live in primetime on Sunday, February 15, 2015. It ran from 8:00 PM-11:30 PM, with an hour of Red Carpet coverage preceding it. The night before, the series premier with George Carlin broadcasted in the normal SNL timeslot.
The special include a wide array of former cast members and guests. Most notable was Eddie Murphy, who had previously distanced himself from SNL and hadn't participated in any events for thirty years.
Two weeks before the special, channel
VH1 played every single episode of Saturday Night Live beginning with the most recent one and ending with the series premier at 7pm February 15.
The evening before, NBC broadcasted Saturday Night Live Valentines Special at 9pm, followed by the series premier in the "SNL At 11:30" timeslot. At 7pm on Sunday, NBC ran the Red Carpet Special, hosted by Today's Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie. The special interviewed some of the 80 performers and 132 house guests, all celebrities, for the night.
The show was hosted by Steve Martin, who provided the opening monologue and the Goodnights.
The broadcast went on two hours overshy from it's normal 90 minutes broadcast. Sketches for the night spanned several generations, including "Supe Bass-O-Matic 2150" (1970s), "Celebrity Jeopardy!" (late 1990s/early 2000s), the Californians (late 2000s/early 2010s), as well as the ever-living "Weekend Update", anchored by 2000s cast members Tina Fey & Amy Poehler and original cast member Jane Curtin.
The night also delivered tributes to cast members, such as Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, and Tracy Morgan (who didn't make the show). It also featured a compilation of pre-recorded clips after each tier, showing how SNL was portrayed by each generation. Some compilations included Auditions and a tribute to the late cast members.
Cold Open Sketch Pre-recorded Weekend Update Music Performance Other
Jimmy & Justin Cold Open
Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon kick off the SNL 40th anniversary special with a musical medley featuring catchphrases from the show's 40-year history.
Imaginary Forces put together the montage, mashing up every SNL generation opening. 80 performers were credited (including Darrell Hammond, who read his own name) as repertory (including current featured players Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones).
Monologue by Steve Martin
Steve Martin performed the opening monologue, with featured appearances from Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, Chris Rock, Peyton Manning, Miley Cyrus, Billy Crystal, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, with the latter two briefly performing a duet of "I've Just Seen a Face."
Super Bass-O-Matic 2051
Dan Aykroyd and Laraine Newman remake the original sketch
A new version of the old sketch, with Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber, Alec Baldwin as Tony Bennett, Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds (as Turd Ferguson), Taran Killam as Cristoph Waltz, Jim Carrey as Matthew McConaughey, and Kenan Thompson as Bill Cosby. Eddie Murphy had been tapped to play Cosby, but had refused, saying he wouldn't mock Cosby given the allegations against him.
Included auditions from several celebrities who were not accepted on the show, including Stephen Colbert, Kevin Hart, and an unrecognizable Zach Galifinakis.
New York highlight reel
Paul McCartney performs "Maybe I'm Amazed
Sketch regulars Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Vanessa Bayer are joined by Laraine Newman, Bradley Cooper, and Betty White.
David Spade revives his character with Cecily Strong, standing at the edge of the set and ushering away the actors from the previous sketch.
Weekend Update with Jane Curtin, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler
Featured actors portraying their favorite characters, including Emma Stone as Roseanne Rosannadanna, Edward Norton as Stefon, and Melissa McCarthy as Matt Foley. Also featured the Land Shark (Chevy Chase).
Weekend Update reel
Monologue by Chevy Chase
Garrett Morris joined for the hard of hearing
Repeat of the Phil Hartman faux-commercial
Chris Rock introduces Eddie Murphy
Monologue by Eddie Murphy
Sports sketch highlight reel
Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte reprise their roles
Miley Cyrus performs "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover"
Repeat of the sketch featuring Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Kristen Wiig
Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey discuss Tracy Morgan
Both costarred with Morgan in "30 Rock"; Morgan was unable to attend due to injuries he'd sustained in a horrific traffic accident the previous year.
Kanye West performs
West's inclusion was highly unpopular on social media. The anniversary special came only shortly after the 2015 Grammy Awards, during which West stormed the stage (the second time he'd done so) and spoke badly of Beck, the artist who'd won the award.
Short film highlight reel
An SNL Digital Short: That's When You Break
Andy Samberg delivers another installment in his series, with Adam Sandler
A memorial sketch for those involved with the show who had died. The segment was somewhat awkward as some people received little applause, such as Charles Rocket and several crew members. The segment omitted season 7 announcer Mel Brandt. Included was the very-much-alive Jon Lovitz, a gag carried over from Steve Martin's monologue.
Mike Myers and Dana Carvey reprise their characters. In an unplanned flub, a piece in the top-ten board becomes stuck, taking Carvey several seconds to remove it, and prompting Mike Myers to remind the audience that the show is live.
Paul Simon performs "Still Crazy After All These Years