Kristen Wiig turns the big 4-0 today, so to celebrate, we ranked her Saturday Night Live characters from “that was sorta funny” to “omg, I just peed my pants from laughing so hard.” Bridesmaids made her a household name for being one of the funniest, fiercest women in comedy, but she’s been doing that on SNL for years. She has a flair for playing characters that are manic, crazy and straight up inexplicable. She was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series four years in a row for SNL for crying out loud. And then when she left SNL and came back as a host, she got an Emmy nomination for that too. What a BAMF.
Are you ready? Let’s count down her characters from least to most funny.
19. The Californians
Is it just me or is The Californians just not funny? I mean, there’s only so far bad California accents and soap opera twists can take you. Also this one always feels soooooo long.
At first glance, Shanna might just seem like the ditzy office hot girl. But no matter what gross, unsexy thing she does… everyone is still attracted to her. This sketch relies a lot on bathroom humor and gets very annoying very quickly.
17. The Lawrence Welk Show
Ah, The Lawrence Welk show. Let’s be honest, this is really just a contest to see how uncomfortable Kristen Wiig can make everyone. At the end of the day it’s just not very funny.
16. Drew Barrymore on Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel
This one’s on the list because it’s her best celebrity impression. I mean, she acts exactly like Drew Barrymore. The voice. The squinty smile. The weird blinking. She even sort of looks like her.
15. Lana Del Ray
Who better to impersonate the slightly-off Lana Del Ray than the slightly-off Kristen Wiig? Not only does she nail Lana Del Ray’s presence, the sketch makes some pretty funny jokes roasting the Lana Del Ray haters.
Gilly is less funny and more… unsettling. I mean, a demonic buck-toothed elementary school student with a heart-patterned dress who keeps trying to hurt her peers? I can totally see her haunting my nightmares. But the structure gets a little annoyingly repetitive.
13. Garth and Kat
Although it may not be the funniest sketch, it’s sure as hell impressive. The singing duo Garth and Kat always show up to Weekend Update woefully underprepared, which means Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen have to improvise songs — and sing them at the same time. You gotta wonder how they do it.
12. Trina (New Secretary)
I can’t even attempt to explain this sketch. There’s just something about the way she shrilly exclaims “Thomas!” that is so funny.
11. Super Showcase
Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph reunite by playing ’80s gameshow girls. Just look at them. They can’t stop cracking up. And you just know they’re improvising the crap out of this sketch.
10. Belle from Beauty and the Beast
Kristen Wiig enacts something we never got to see in the movie: a Disney princess meltdown. And her princess singing voice. Oh. My. God. I can’t.
9. Cinderella on Disney Housewives
Watch Cinderella be a gossipy, drunk, hot mess. That one martini-spilling moment alone has granted us one of the greatest reaction gifs of all time.
8. Kathie Lee Gifford
It never gets old watching this passive aggressive duo square off in the midst of their admittedly boring morning show, the Hoda Kotb puns, or the day drinking. Ignore the fact that there’s a new person playing Hoda Kotb every time.
7. Red Flag
This fake perfume commercial starts with glamorous Kristen Wiig turning heads at a cocktail party while wearing a red gown, and progresses as she slowly lets her crazy personality show. Plus it’s super helpful to whisper “redddd flagggg” in your best Kristen Wiig voice when your friend starts talking about a guy who seems crazy.
6. Mindy Grayson
Lately SNL has been rarely funny, but you can always rely on Secret Word to get laughs. Kristen Wiig plays Mindy Grayson, an actress on the Great White Way who moonlights as a game show contestant in between musical flops (which she loves to bring up to the guests). But not even losing Secret Word over and over due to her repeated failure to comply with the only rule can hurt her confidence.
5. Judy Grimes
Judy Grimes is the nervous travel correspondent for Weekend Update who seems to only be comfortable speaking if she says everything so fast no one can understand her and adds “just kidding” to the end of every sentence. You may have to watch it a couple times to appreciate every joke, but it’s so worth it.
4. Target Lady
Every Target customer’s worst nightmare: the chatty and annoying checkout lady. Except magnified by ten. And she tells you way to much information about her weird personal life (“I haven’t seen anything move that fast since I went to an illegal mouse race. It was a weird, weird night.”) and her strange alternative uses for Target products.
3. Don’t Make Me Sing
This is perhaps even funnier after pop culture has been re-attuned to affected 1920s charm and manner of speaking via the recent Great Gatsby movie (don’t you think so, Old Sport?). Kristen Wiig plays a decadent but clearly insane 1920s socialite that despite her protestations seems determined to sing for her guests… and yet can’t seem to come in.
2. Aunt Sue
You gotta love Aunt Sue. Surprises are like crack to her. So much so that she gets wayyyy to excited about them. And then starts clenching up. And hyperventilating. And then she yells the inevitable “SURPRISE!!!” Tell me you don’t love screaming “surprise!” in that nasally voice while throwing your hands in the air whenever surprises come up in conversation. Nope, just me? Oh.
Ah, Penelope. She’s so annoying that you want to punch her, and yet you can’t help but cackle at these sketches. The manic one-upmanship, the compulsive lying, the annoying hair twirling — yet beneath it all is insecurity. Definitely the best character to imitate.