Legendary NBC variety show "Saturday Night Live" is celebrating its 40th anniversary milestone tonight (February 15) with a star-studded, talent-packed special episode. The guest list for the evening includes Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Eddie Murphy, Emma Stone, Tom Hanks, Steve Martin and much, much more. (And we wouldn't be the tiniest bit surprised if unannounced pals decide to pop by Studio 8H for a surprise visit, either.)
As lifelong fans of the show (you've never heard a toddler with a better Coneheads impression, back in the day), of course we couldn't just let the DVR handle this one. So go ahead, grab some couch and watch along with us. It's going to be a wild ride.
7:02: Alec Baldwin has been "partying all weekend" with Sarah Palin.
The first to crop up on the red carpet are Alec Baldwin, wife Hilaria Thomas Baldwin and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Baldwin insists they showed up together because, um, of course.
7:14: Lorne Michaels promises the performances are "all good"
Shockingly, the "SNL" boss predicts on the red carpet that the show tonight will be "good." You don't say, Lorne. You don't say.
7:22: Melissa McCarthy is here!
She looks as excited as we feel. Get it, girl!
7:23: The bromance is back.
One of the greatest duos of modern bromance, former "Weekend Update" host and key cast member Jimmy Fallon, plus 'NSYNCer/amazing guest/best dancing cup o' noodles ever Justin Timberlake, are broing around the red carpet together. Yaaaaas.
7:27: This is how Bill Murray arrives at a black tie red carpet
7:32: Observe the ritual dance of the bros as they accept a new member into their tribe.
One of us, one of us.
7:46: He'll be Walken the red carpet.
Wait, Christopher Walken is supposed to show up tonight, and Will Ferrell is already there...pretty safe to say we'll be seeing even more cowbell.
7:55: [cue angelic chorus]
OK, OK, just an idea, but what if there was, like, a "Babysitters Club" reboot where they're all grown up and awesome? I have some ideas.
7:57: DROP EVERYTHING NOW (MEET ME IN THE POURING RAIN/on the "SNL 40" red carpet)
Yes, even Kanye loves a good photobomb, as evidenced by that last-second shot-crashing just before the show started. Take that, Benedict Cumberbatch.
8:00: Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake are here to open the show
But not to open the infamous d-box, which, yes, is being referenced. Along with, um. More references to classic "SNL" sketches than we can count (I'm not a scientist, OK?) We have a quick Blues Brothers homage, Timberlake's best take on a Walken impression (grade: solid B), Mary Katherine Gallagher forcing us all to sniff her sweaty fingers (smellovision!), and a visit from Debbie Downer herself.
Well, that's our show, folks! Just kidding.
8:07: The guest list took a solid three minutes to read out
TL;DR: Lots of famouses are here.
8:08: Steve Martin takes the stage for...another opening monologue?
What if the first hour of the show is just the "Hunger Games" of opening monologues? I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.
8:10: No Mango?
Mango really, really doesn't love you anymore? Chris Kattan is in the audience.
8:12: Too many hosts, tooooo many hosts.
Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Billy Crystal, Peyton Manning, Melissa McCarthy, Miley Cyrus, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon are all on stage arguing about the best kind of host, and there's an acoustic "I've Just Seen A Face" duet happening. This really might be a "Hunger Games" situation?
8:18: Not attending.
8:19: More more cowbell.
They've played this clip twice and referenced it live once. Do you think...we'll see...more cowbell?
In the first live sketch of the night, we're going super old-skool. Want to see the original? Step into the internet time machine and go way, way back to 1976.
8:28: It's Celebrity Jeopardy time!
With all-time great guests Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon) and Tony Bennett (Alec Baldwin). Insta-classic: Sean Connery mispronounces "Who Reads" in the most offensive way possible and gets put in insta-timeout. And, of course, what's Celebrity Jeopardy without Turd Ferguson nee Burt Reynolds (Norm McDonald) and Christoph Waltz (Taran Killam)? NOTHING, that's what. Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey) drops in as well, and this is a total clown car of amazing impressions.
8:36: A star (or 90) is born
Mama always said you haven't lived until you've seen Seth Meyers doing a Hugh Grant impression in his "SNL" audition tape, so I guess we're really living now. This montage of audition tapes, including the origins of Church Lady, the first peek at Vanessa Bayer's amazing Miley impression and much, much more, is the best thing that's ever happened. not a hyperbole. Also, they just panned the audience and Leonardo DiCaprio is there, so things are just getting better all the time.
8:49: Meanwhile, in Taylor Swift news...
Whatcha doin', Tay? Gonna sing a song? Don't wanna say? Just being mysterious? K.
8:51: Call him SIR.
Paul McCartney is here, singing "Maybe I'm Amazed." Yes, yes, they used the Jem cover of this song on the season one finale of "The O.C." It was amazing. I cried too, it's OK. So glad the Julie-Caleb union is being recognized by "SNL."
9:00: Jack Nicholson is here.
Wearing shades and introing a political humor montage, natch.
9:01: Does anything need fixing?
Olivia Pope Kerry Washington is here, and she's wearing a white hat dress. IT'S HANDLED.
9:06: Trah? The Californians? Whatareyoudoinghere?
As if you could have Kristen Wiig at an "SNL" special edition without inviting her vocal fry along. Worth noting: this is the first visible break we've seen tonight, with Wiig, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader all falling prey. Also, Bradley Cooper and his thighs are here, and Kerry Washington is totally handling this ish in a sparkly dress.
9:11: Oh, so that's where Taylor Swift has been.
Her whole life was leading up to this moment, when she could give directions to space in a hardcore Californian accent. And for future reference, if you ever need to get an entire group of seasoned "SNL" veterans to audibly bust up into laughter mid-sketch, all you need is Betty White. (The Beatles had a song about that, I think.)
9:14: Bradley Cooper and Betty White just made out.
Someone should make a plaque in commemoration. You can keep it at my apartment.
9:20: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin are doing Weekend Update...
And I can barely hear over my own screaming.
9:22: Oh, and Emma Stone is here doing Roseanne Roseannadanna
AS IF I NEED MORE EXCITEMENT.
9:23: And Edward Norton and Bill Hader are doing dueling Stefons.
MY HEART. MY HEARTTTTTTT. Shipping Seth/Stefon (who have kids now, in "SNL" canon), hard.
9:24: Melissa McCarthy lives in a van down by the river.
And just destroyed the Update desk, while Tina Fey's head got eaten by the Landshark because everything is perfect.
9:39: Martin Short meets Beyonce
This is really inspirational and makes us want to get some flesh-toned fishnets. Just for general use. Maya Rudolph makes 'em look good, just saying. Also on the list: one of those personal wind machines.
9:41: Garth, Kat. Did you rehearse?
Nope! But you ARE making a cameo while wearing bumblebee vests, so we're cool with it.
9:45: Spotted: Michael Douglas staring straight at the camera while Joe Piscopo sings.
TELL US ALL YOUR ANT-MAN SECRETS.
9:48: Opera Man just cemented Betty White's sex symbol status.
"Betty White is here, so at least we're all getting laid-oh," Adam Sandler sings.
9:50: Bill Murray is bleepin' awesome.
After all-too-brief hits on King Tut and What's Up With That, plus more masterful work from the wind machine pointed at Maya Rudolph, Bill Murray is on stage, resplendent in crushed velvet and a bow tie, getting bleeped while singing "Love Theme From 'Jaws'" alongside Paul Shaffer.
10:00: Chris Rock is doing an amazing intro for Eddie Murphy...
...And paraphrasing wouldn't even do it justice. Dude hasn't been back on the show for 30 years. He totally deserves the kudos and the standing O.
10:02: And Eddie's already come and gone.
Well, that was quick.
10:07: SPORTS TIME
Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte are here doing ESPN Classics, and it almost makes me feel like I get sports. Almost.
10:16: Miley Cyrus is performing "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover."
And Fred Armisen is on stage with a tambourine, looking very serious.
10:25: Jerry Seinfeld is on stage, taking questions.
Michael Douglas, John Goodman, James Franco, Larry David, Ellen Cleghorne and Tim Meadows have all popped up, making this like the Whack-A-Mole of comedians. Another one up!
10:27: Vanessa Bayer and Kerry Washington are sitting next to each other in the audience.
Whaaaaat are they talking about? I need to know.
10:28: Dakota Johnson is here, wearing sequins and plugging her upcoming hosting gig.
Surprise! She's hosting on February 28.
10:30: And the inevitable Sarah Palin appearance.
She's called on by Seinfeld as Tina Fey, but SURPRISE.
10:35: Tina Fey introduced as Mrs. Alec Baldwin
Tina and Alec pay sweet tribute to Tracy Morgan, who is still recovering from injuries sustained in a car crash last June. Tina reminds us that Tracy would probably tell us he wants to get us all pregnant, and blows a kiss. Sniff.
10:41: Christopher Walked just called Kanye "Canny West"
Oh, and Kanye is performing "Jesus Walks" lying fully on his back. Because he can.
10:43: He's up!
Breaking: Kanye stood up to perform "Only One." Also breaking: my heart, because "Only One" is really lovely.
10:45: Vic Mensa and Sia are here, and everyone's crawling on the ground.
That took a turn. From "Only One" to West's new song, "Wolves."
10:50: And now, for a brief history of pre-taped sketches.
Never forget Kristen Wiig's "Red Flag" fragrance parody.
10:56: Zach Galifianakis is wearing a Sia wig.
No words. There are no words.
10:57: Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler are presenting a musical tribute to all the moments the cast has majorly broken mid-sketch. In mullets, because of course.
"Little known fact: Lorne loves it when you break." This is golden. If it was possible to put a digital short under my pillow and sleep with it there so it might infect my dreams, I would. There's half an hour of show left, which means we have time for them to air this 10 more times. Sound like a plan? Great! I'm in!
11:04: Bill Murray introduces an In Memoriam segment.
Those who have passed, both behind the scenes and cast members, are being recognized.
11:12: Wayne's World!
Still in the basement, all these years later.
11:13: Guess who was in the Landshark suit.
Don't guess. It was Bobby Moynihan. This is adorable.
11:23: Wayne and Garth told Kanye to sit down. He did not sit down.
11:25: Paul Simon is closing out the show with "Still Crazy After All These Years"
"Four in the morning, crapped out, yawning." Sounds a lot like a certain legendary writer's room, doesn't it?
11:30: That's our show, folks!
The goodbyes are said, and everyone's doing the clapping and hugging thing, and that's our cue. Thanks for reading along, and here's to another 40 years of "Saturday Night Live"!