Top 10 Hilarious SNL Singer Parodies

Written by Q.V. Hough Silly and satirical, these parodies are classic “SNL.” Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hilarious SNL Singer Parodies. For this list, we’re taking a look at “Saturday Night Live” cast members that have done humorous impressions of famous singers. However, we’re excluding hosts like Ariana Grande. Special thanks to our user drewbrown for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+SNL+Imitations+of+Singers
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Top 10 Hilarious SNL Singer Parodies
Script written by Q.V. Hough

Silly and satirical, these parodies are classic “SNL.” Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hilarious SNL Singer Parodies.

For this list, we’re taking a look at “Saturday Night Live” cast members that have done humorous impressions of famous singers. However, we’re excluding hosts like Ariana Grande.

#10: Kristen Wiig as Liza Minnelli


In a hysterical Season 17 sketch entitled “Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp,” Kristen Wiig captures all the physical flair of the famous subject. Paired with host Jonah Hill, Wiig locks into Liza Minnelli’s quirky vocal tone, complemented by some serious jazz hands and body distortions. She is constantly in motion, tapping into Liza’s commanding stage presence and slightly anxious demeanor. With the constant smile and physical theatrics, Wiig’s characterization couldn’t be more spot-on. It’s truly an astute parody that captures everything Liza.

#9: Vanessa Bayer as Miley Cyrus


In only her second “SNL” episode, Vanessa Bayer unveiled her bubbly Miley Cyrus impression. And with this parody, Vanessa’s not only got the southern twang down, but also the loveable perma-grin from Miley’s Disney days. Of course, when Bayer later performed it when her subject hosted the show, and Miley showed up as Justin Bieber, the meta-parody became even more effective, with the comedian and singer placed side-by-side. While vocal tone is crucial for this parody, Vanessa also nails young Miley’s rambling ways, and her more innocent and exuberant persona from way back when.

#8: Maya Rudolph as Beyoncé


Over the years, this parody evolved into a classic “SNL” bit, so much so that it made a Season 39 cold open. As the daughter of the late Minnie Riperton, Maya Rudolph was blessed with natural singing talent, yet this parody is more about Beyoncé’s stoic presence than anything else. With a hand on the hip and some faux wind, Maya locks into the cool and collected Beyoncé vibe, which allows her to be a little silly with the vocalizations. Most of all, it’s about the confidence, regardless of what’s actually being said. And so, with such physical command, Maya’s scripted and improvised lines take it to the next level.

#7: Ana Gasteyer as Celine Dion


After the massive success of “Titanic” and Celine Dion’s iconic love song, “My Heart Will Go On,” Ana Gasteyer capitalized with a truly exaggerated parody. Her performance on the “Celine Dion Show” touches on the artist’s always-surprised yet confident demeanor. The accent is key, of course, but Gasteyer succeeds by capturing Celine’s phrasing, making each word and movement absolutely epic. It began as a timely comedic bit and evolved into a recurring sketch for the “SNL” veteran. All in all, it’s a parody that touches on Celine’s likeability while highlighting her somewhat affected ways.

#6: Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber


With a ripe-for-parody Calvin Klein ad as fodder, Kate McKinnon barely has to speak a word to crush this impression, with the facial expressions alone speaking volumes. Of course, the fact that it’s a gender-bending characterization does up the hilarity factor. With Justin’s soft-spoken ways and supreme posturing, the poses mean everything for this parody: there’s a rhythm to the way McKinnon mimics the pop star’s move that’s full of the kind of contrived masculinity and childish behavior you’d expect from a young pop star. Plus, it helps that McKinnon actually kinda looks like Bieber.

#5: Fred Armisen as Prince


Over the years, the famously eccentric Prince was a frequent “SNL” guest. And, on numerous occasions, the multitalented Fred Armisen has immersed himself in the Prince persona, communicating all the little nuances that made “the artist” so captivating. There’s the voice, of course, and Armisen does nail that aspect of the impression. But it’s the non-verbal behavior – the eyes, the ego, the posturing – that transcends usual parodies. Armisen is an “SNL” performer that often went over-the-top with impressions, as evidenced by his more chaotic yet memorable parody of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. But with Prince, he keeps it tight, focused and hilarious.

#4: Phil Hartman as Frank Sinatra


In the early 90s, Ol’ Blue Eyes was far past his prime, yet he remained a relevant figure in pop culture. And so, this Phil Hartman bit pinpoints Frank Sinatra’s old school style, as he chastises numerous musicians while offering a few backhanded compliments as well. It’s a remarkable parody for the look and vocal similarities – plus, it captures Sinatra’s no-nonsense demeanor, as evidenced by his rather blunt language. While some younger performers on “The Sinatra Group” tap into early 90s trends, only a seasoned veteran like Hartman could truly perfect an older Sinatra impression, expanding on the original Joe Piscopo performance.

#3: Jimmy Fallon as Barry Gibb


Whereas some “SNL” parodies are subdued and nuanced, this classic Jimmy Fallon bit hilariously over-emphasizes the sounds and movements of the most famous Bee Gee: one Barry Gibb. It’s a recurring sketch, and one that benefits from Justin Timberlake’s appearance, but it’s Fallon’s frenetic energy that stands out most, as this is most definitely a disco-era parody. Like many Fallon impressions, it’s loose and reminds us that it’s live TV, with Jimmy pushing and pushing until someone cracks up. Pop stars often come across as pretentious and self-involved, and this parody allows Fallon to channel his inner rock star.

#2: Jay Pharoah as Kanye West


During his first season on “SNL,” Jay Pharoah produced one of his most stunning impressions – and one that would become a trademark. Given Pharoah’s vast array of remarkable impressions, it’s no surprise that he perfectly mimics Kanye West’s hyper pomposity. On his own, Pharoah kills it with this parody, but he really shines when paired with another performer. There’s a subtle reference to Yeezy’s physical mannerisms, but it’s mostly about the rhythmic vocalizations and knowing when to extend certain words. Of course there are the Kanye catchphrases, too, and Pharoah’s hilarious ability to demonstrate how Yeezy can be a bit… dramatic.

#1: Eddie Murphy as Stevie Wonder


It’s one thing to look and sound like a parody subject, but it’s another to perfect their actual singing voice. In the early 80s, Eddie Murphy transformed from an unknown teenager into a pop culture superstar, in large part thanks to his celebrity parody sketches. With the Stevie Wonder characterization, young Eddie holds his own on the “SNL” stage, showcasing a raw comedic skill set that would later help him transition into cinema. Much like he did with his also-iconic James Brown parody, Eddie combines improv, rehearsal, and natural talent to sell the bit and keep us laughing.
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