Since Saturday Night Live first aired 40 years ago, the sketch-comedy show has seen its fair share of politicians. On Nov. 7, Donald Trump will host SNL, but he isn’t the first candidate to do so—Ralph Nader first hosted in 1977—but no host has gone on to win the presidency. Already, the show has featured numerous spoofs of the 2016 presidential campaigns, and Hillary Clinton has made a guest appearance.
The show is so entrenched in politics, presidential elections in particular, that academic institutions have studied what they call the “SNL effect.”
One 2012 study published by East Carolina University found that after being exposed to a sketch of Tina Fey impersonating former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, viewers’ approval of Palin declined.
From political impersonations to guest appearances from presidents and presidential hopefuls, these are SNL’s best political moments.
A full collection of political sketches can be found on SNL’s YouTube channel.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton
Chevy Chase as President Gerald Ford
Dan Aykroyd as President Jimmy Carter
Jason Sudeikus and Terran Killen as Joe Biden and Paul Ryan
Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner
Darrell Hammond as Dick Cheney
Fred Armisen as President Obama
School House Rock explains President Obama's executive action on immigration.
Will Ferrel and Darrell Hammond as George W. Bush and Al Gore
Larry David as Bernie Sanders
Hillary Clinton plays a bartender.
Phil Hartman as President Ronald Reagan
Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton
Dana Carvey as George H. W. Bush
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
Sarah Gibbens is a producer on National Journal's audience development team. She previously worked as a digital media fellow at The Podesta Group and as a writer for San Antonio-based newspaper The Rivard Report. Sarah graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio where she was the editor-in-chief of the independent student newspaper, The Paisano.
Rebecca Velez is the operations coordinator at National Journal, and executive producer of the TwentySixteen podcast. She has previously worked as a paralegal at Proskauer Rose LLP. Rebecca graduated with degrees in English and Philosophy from Cornell University, where she was a staff writer for the Daily Sun.