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The Best of Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live

Why it’s past time the SNL Five-Timer made a return engagement.
  • Photos: NBC
    Photos: NBC

    Easily one of Saturday Night Live’s all-time greatest guests, Justin Timberlake made a whopping 13 appearances on the show over a ten year period. He’s a member of the show’s vaunted Five Timer's Club, and won four Emmys for his appearances on the show.

    Yet it’s now been nearly nine years since he last hosted the show (and six since he last stepped foot in Studio 8H for the SNL 40th Anniversary Special). Sure, he's a frequent guest on his buddy Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, but we miss seeing the triple threat back at home base. In case you’ve forgotten what made him such a show favorite, consider the following sketches a reminder, and then be sure to send your cards and letters to one Lorne Michaels at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It’s past time JT returned to SNL.

    Bring It on Down to Wrappinville
    Episode Date: December 21, 2013

    This recurring sketch saw Timberlake dressed as an overly enthusiastic store mascot who pulls out all the stops to attract customers and drive attention away from the rival business' far less compelling attention-getter. The topper came in December 2013 when he paired with Jimmy Fallon to play a life-sized roll of wrapping paper and a gift bag, respectively.

    At the center of each sketch are hilarious parody song and dance routines, like a reworded version of Ludacris' "Roll Out" to promote gift wrap and remixes like "We Found Love in a Meatless Place" (to the tune of Rihanna's "We Found Love") for a vegan restaurant, each ending the line "bring it on down to [insert "-ville" store name]." It's not so much how these hit songs are re-worded as it is Timberlake's commitment to delivering in the ridiculous oversized costumes that make this recurring sketch among his very best.

    D*** in a Box
    Episode Date: December 16, 2006

    Timberlake teamed up with Andy Samberg for this recurring digital short that roasted every popular boy band of the '90s with the lyrical styling, pacing, loud outfits, mannerisms, and cheesy music video performances of the era. That alone was enough to garner laughs. But when the holiday gift they were singing about presenting to their partners was revealed to be, well, their private parts, a phenomenon was born.

    Timberlake later revealed that the catchy song almost didn't make it past NBC’s censors, but they managed to sneak it through thanks to sixteen strategically placed bleeps. The parody music video became so popular that it spawned a second (and equally disturbing) in-character tune called "Motherlover." In this one, the two sang about arranging to sleep with one another's moms, played by Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson.

    Single Ladies
    Episode Date: November 15, 2008

    The gusto that Timberlake, Samberg, and Bobby Moynihan put into this sketch is what truly gives it life, not to mention the presence of one Beyonce Knowles. The setting is the black and white video shoot for the hit song "Single Ladies," featuring Beyonce and her new trio of back-up dancers.

    At first all seems to be going well, with the dancers performing the choreography perfectly. But a verse or two into the song, they start to go rogue, creating their own spastic moves, crowding Beyonce, and even pushing her out of the way, leaving the pop superstar bewildered and annoyed. Seeing the trio in tight black bodysuits and heels, and Timberlake's actual dance skills put to ultimate use made this one a particularly memorable sketch.

    The Barry Gibb Talk Show
    Episode Date: October 11, 2003

    Another recurring sketch saw Timberlake again teamed up with Fallon, who does a spot-on and heavily exaggerated temperamental and high-pitched impression of Barry Gibb front the Bee Gees. Timberlake, meanwhile, sits quietly beside him as his brother Robin. While the spotlight is mainly on Fallon, it's the chemistry between these two and how they feed off one another when insulting their celebrity guests, or delivering a short musical interlude, that makes the sketch so funny.

    Celebrity Family Feud
    Episode Date:
    December 21, 2013

    Fans love it when celebrities impersonate one another, especially when they do it in front of each other; it’s certainly what made this Celebrity Family Feud sketch — featuring yet another Timberlake and Fallon pairing — so great.

    Fallon played actor Jim Parsons on one team, while Timberlake played Fallon on the other. His interpretation of Fallon's always enthusiastic and upbeat nature, manic excitement, and constant hand gestures in response to even the most mundane things was so on-the-nose that Fallon ended up hiding his face because he couldn't stop laughing.

    At Home With Beyonce And Jay-Z
    Episode Date: February 18, 2012

    While Timberlake's presence in this sketch is brief, it’s oh, so sweet. The setting is the home of Jay-Z and Beyonce, played by Jay Pharoah and Maya Rudolph, as they welcome celebrity guests bearing gifts and well wishes on the birth of their new child.

    Timberlake surprised in a cameo appearance as Bon Iver, fresh from "wandering barefoot through the wood," but just as he’s about to start strumming on the homemade guitar he fashioned out of a canoe to sing a sweet song, Rudolph suggests his timing is bad, as they were just about to put the baby down for a nap. Timberlake (as Iver) replies in a quiet, monotone voice, "don't worry, this will help."

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    Christine Persaud has been writing for close to two decades and freelancing for the last eight, with her entertainment work featured in Digital Trends, Screen Rant, Reviewed Canada, and others. Follow her on Twitter @christineTechCA.

    TOPICS: Justin Timberlake, NBC, Saturday Night Live, Andy Samberg, Barry Gibb, Beyonce, Bobby Moynihan, Bon Iver, Jay Pharoah, Jay-Z, Jimmy Fallon, Maya Rudolph, The Bee Gees, The Lonely Island