Five Netflix shows Saturday Night Live fans will love

Michael Palin and John Cleese (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Michael Palin and John Cleese (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) /

If you miss Saturday Night Live, these sketch shows from Netflix should keep you entertained.

Like the rest of the world, Saturday Night Live‘s 45th season came to a screeching halt in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Fans have watched as other late night shows slowly but surely returned to television without facing the same challenges as SNL. However, these Netflix shows can help ease the pain.

There was a time when Saturday Night Live was available on Netflix. Many of the episodes were condensed but it was still the best place to watch your episode of choice. But that ended in 2014.

A solution is coming when NBC launches its own streaming service Peacock. Every episode of Saturday Night Live dating back to 1975 will be available for fans to enjoy again and again.

But what about right now? Saturday Night Live shows no signs of returning while social distancing is in place and for good reason. It is impossible to put on a live sketch show with an ensemble cast given the current state of affairs.

Until SNL returns, fans will have to look elsewhere for their sketch comedy fix. As is the case for many entertainment needs, Netflix is the answer. Here are five shows you should stream right now if you’re a Saturday Night Live fan.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Why not start at the beginning? Well, close to the beginning. Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on the BBC from 1969-1974. Plenty of people are familiar with the comedy group’s films like The Life of BrianMonty Python and The Holy Grail, and The Meaning of Life. But the sketch show was Monty Python at its best.

It is no coincidence that Flying Circus wrapped up in 1974 and in 1975, Saturday Night Live debuted. SNL creator Lorne Michaels cited the show as a major influence on his now-legendary show.

Others in the SNL sphere who have pointed to Monty Python as influential include Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Seth Meyers, and Jimmy Fallon. Check out Flying Circus and see if you can trace their comedy roots.

I Think You Should Leave

Saturday Night Live fans may remember Tim Robinson from his brief stint on the show. He was a featured player starting in 2012 before moving full-time to the writing staff. Robinson left SNL in 2014.

Robinson returned to sketch comedy with I Think You Should Leave which premiered on Netflix in 2019. The six-episode series, produced by the Lonely Island trio of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer,  features appearances by a number of SNL faces including Samberg, Will Forte, and Cecily Strong.

Almost every sketch is absurd and over-the-top without becoming repetitive or fizzling out. There is a reason the show boasts a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been renewed for a second season. Whether you were a fan of Robinson on SNL or not, this show needs to be seen.

Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show

Astronomy Club arrived on Netflix in Dec. 2019 and comes from executive producer Kenya Barris, creator of the ABC sitcom Black-ish. The show’s cast is comprised of the Upright Citizens’ Brigade’s Astronomy Club troupe.

Saturday Night Live fans probably know that UCB’s creators include former cast members Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz as well as longtime SNL director Adam McKay. Other cast members who came up through the UCB program include Rob Riggle, Casey Wilson, Abby Elliott, Bobby Moynihan, and Kate McKinnon.

So given what UCB produces in terms of sketch comedy talent, you can get an idea of what to expect from Astronomy Club. As the UCB’s first all-black troupe, the group provides social commentary and satire not really seen anywhere else in televised sketch comedy right now.

Limmy’s Show

From Scottish comedian Brian Limond comes Limmy’s Show, an award-winning sketch comedy show with an incredible following in Great Britain. The show arrived on Netflix in 2012 and has two seasons available.

The sketches here range from biting cultural satire to the surreal to the occasional dark turn. It means that it has something for everyone no matter how you enjoy your sketch comedy. However, it is worth noting that some jokes are specific to Scotland and the accents can be a little tricky to follow at times.

W/Bob & David

Fans of Mr. Show are definitely familiar with this Netflix series from Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. If you’re not in that category and are looking for a Saturday Night Live alternative, you can’t do much better than w/Bob & David.

Odenkirk was an SNL writer from 1987-1991, where he brought his Second City creation “Matt Foley, motivational speaker” to the show for Chris Farley. Odenkir also worked alongside Conan O’Brien before eventually joining O’Brien’s writing staff at Late Night. He hit mainstream success with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Cross and Odenkirk met while writing for The Ben Stiller Show. Cross went on to develop a successful stand-up and acting career, highlighted by his role in Arrested Development.

Mr. Show aired on HBO from 1995-1998. And while w/Bob & David sees its two stars reunite, the show has a slightly different tone and approach compared to its predecessor. For fans of comedy combining the absurd with intelligence, this is the show to watch.

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What are your favorite sketch comedy shows to watch on Netflix? Let us know in the comment section below. Keep checking Last Night On for more on Saturday Night Live and the rest of late night television.