The Top 12 ‘SNL’ Thanksgiving Sketches, Ranked

Kieran Culkin as a Thanksgiving turkey for 'Saturday Night Live'

There are a few things you could always count on every year during Thanksgiving, one of which was to be enveloped in laughter over Saturday Night Live‘s holiday-themed sketches. From Adam Sandler‘s quirky songs to Kristen Wiig‘s memorable characters, there is no time like turkey time to get the SNL cast into the holiday spirit.

During the show’s 49-season run, there have been so many great Thanksgiving sketches, so we’ve selected some of the best and ranked them based on their laugh factor, check it out.

12. Thanksgiving Week Airport Parade

Nothing is more chaotic than traveling at Thanksgiving, and SNL decided to embrace that chaos with their own airport parade featuring guest host Jason Momoa as a drunken airline pilot serving as a correspondent to TSA-worker hosts (Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang). Needless to say, the shenanigans are both silly and a little too close to home as the show calls out the very specific kind of travelers you’re most likely to encounter at the airport during this busy time of year.

11. Thanksgiving Baking Championship

In the true holiday spirit, this newer sketch featuring guest host Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), sees him compete in a Thanksgiving baking competition. The catch? Something’s gone horribly wrong with the cakes he’s made. Barely keeping it together on the sidelines as a judge is Pete Davidson who has to wolf down bites of cake to keep from laughing. It’s a sketch format that’s been done before, but this Thanksgiving version is certainly a standout.

10. A ‘Thanksgiving Parade’ to Remember

An innocent gathering in a New York City apartment is interrupted when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons begin acting up. While Kristen Wiig’s Madeline, Mikey Day’s Woody and Bobby Moynihan‘s clown are meant to terrify, we can’t help but laugh.

9. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has ‘A Dysfunctional Thanksgiving’

In this sketch, a pre-Seinfeld/Veep Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Katie, a character who joins her mother and father for her first Thanksgiving home from college. As the title suggests, the family’s discord is at an all time high, especially when Katie announces she doesn’t eat meat anymore. While Katie’s mother, played by Mary Gross is all too ready to keep the peace, her father (Jim Belushi) isn’t about to make any compromises.

8. Kristen Wiig’s ‘Penelope’ feeds the less fortunate

Penelope is hands down one of the most iconic SNL characters of all time, so what would Thanksgiving be without her one-upping? During this particular sketch it is Anne Hathaway‘s character Mary, who falls victim to Penelope’s unbelievable musings while volunteering to feed the homeless for the holiday. Some of Penelope’s highlights include having a chocolate chip cookie for a father, and the ability to shrink so that she can float in soup. Just like always, Penelope proves that even the craziest facts about her have a ring of truth to them.

7. Kieran Culkin’s a Festive ‘Weatherman’

This sketch from 2021 sees Succession star Kieran Culkin take on the role of a weatherman who is hard at work, but his focus is just in the wrong place. Trying to be festive for the season, he dons a turkey costume and tries serenading his colleagues with a Thanksgiving rap. The only problem? A devastating storm has moved into the area, and weatherman Riley was entirely unprepared because of the time he spent polishing his performance. Much to viewers’ amusement, innocent bystanders experience the brunt of his inaction, making for a comical scene as he scrambles to find answers he doesn’t have while wearing a turkey on his head.

6. Josh Hutcherson brings a ‘Thanksgiving Guest’ home

The star of Hulu’s Future Man comes home to his family and brings his girlfriend along, it just so happens that she’s also the same species as the main entrée. Sure, it is a far fetched idea, but watching Vanessa Bayer play a turkey who is contemplating cannibalism is worth more than a few laughs.

5. ‘Thanksgiving Dinner’ brings out the child in Bill Murray

In this sketch from 1979, Golden Girl Bea Arthur exiles her son, nieces and nephew (Paul Shaffer, Laraine Newman, Jane Curtin and Bill Murray) to the children’s table in the basement. Murray’s character notes that he had been promised exemption from the table when he reached the age of 15, then again at the age of 21, yet at 26 he still has a spot at the anything but coveted reject table. When his sisters and cousin begin to object to his negativity, a spat of most childish proportions ensues, leaving viewers to question if the place you sit has any impact on your behavior.

4. A very ‘Debbie Downer’ Thanksgiving

Much like Wiig’s Penelope, Rachel Dratch‘s Debbie Downer will forever be remembered as the character who embodies the traits of a friend or family member that everyone knows. As in every Debbie Downer sketch, Dratch repels the people around her like a superpower, if that power included depressing facts like the danger cat AIDS poses to domestic felines. If anything Debbie proves that no matter how depressing your real-life version can be, they will never be as bad as Dratch’s.

3. Jason Segel introduces his girlfriend to a ‘Kissing Family’

When Jacob, played by the How I Met Your Mother alum, brings his girlfriend home for the holiday, she soon discovers that the Vogelchecks have a potential deal-breaker quirk. Things start off weird when she notices that Jacob and his parents are extremely affectionate, but red flags only continue to raise as the sketch progresses. The kissing doesn’t end with mom and dad though, things only get weirder when Segel engages in some smooching with his brothers (including Paul Rudd who makes a cameo) and a homeless man. The shocking nature of this sketch only elevates the laugh-factor.

2. Adam Sandler shares his ‘Thanksgiving’ Song

Okay, so this isn’t the “Chanukah Song,” but Adam Sandler knows how to get into the holiday spirit with this Weekend Update sketch alongside Kevin Nealon. Much like Sandler’s songs, this Thanksgiving version includes a catchy chorus intermingled with random rhyming verses. If this song doesn’t put you in the mood for turkey then there isn’t much else that will.

1. Adele gives everyone ‘A Thanksgiving Miracle’

Originally airing in 2015, this sketch is pure comic gold, featuring a family of differing views who only find common ground the minute Adele‘s “Hello” starts playing. This can definitely be considered one of the most relatable Thanksgiving sketches in SNL history, because regardless of opposing views almost everyone can agree that Adele’s music is amazing. The real highlight of this sketch though is when everyone starts turning into the “Hello” music video version of the British songstress, including excessive wind, furry coats, and manicured nails.

What are your favorite Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving sketches? Let us know in the comments below!

Saturday Night Live, Saturdays, 11:30/10:30c, NBC