I Drink Your Milkshake
As I said above, Bill was best known for his unusual talent at impersonating just about everyone. He fully commits to the role, not only getting the voice down perfectly, but also the facial expressions, body language and cadences of the characters down to a T. In "I Drink Your Milkshake", Hader parodies Daniel Plainview (the character played by Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood) as the host of a traveling Food Network show where he literally goes into diners and drinks the milkshakes of patrons (of course referencing the memorable final act of the film). The sketch portrays Hader doing what he does best - being ridiculously funny and showing off his talents as a comedian and impressionist.
In one of his most underrated but most hilarious characters, Bill plays Herb Welch, an aging news reporter who is both incompetent at his job and completely inappropriate overall. His character is constantly "dying", revealing it as an elaborate prank to irritate the news anchors. No one is safe when Herb Welch is around, and hopefully he makes a return tonight.
One of Bill's most beloved impressions came in his last few years, when he played cinema icon Clint Eastwood. Instead of playing him as the mysterious hero we all seem to remember him by, Bill plays him as his current public perception - a grizzly, grumpy old man. Growling his words through a clenched jaw, Bill gets Clint's personality exactly right. He made a few appearances as the character, but most notable was a fake advertisement for a one-man show Clint was doing called "Eastwood and Chair" (we all remember that awkward moment, don't we?), and in a series of parodies of Clint's mysterious and ambiguous Superbowl Chrysler ads.
La Rivista Della Televisione con Vinny Vedecci
Whenever a really respected actor hosted, Bill Hader would often bring out one of his funniest characters. Vinny Vedecci is the chain-smoking host of a typically cheesy Italian talk show who would always assume his guests spoke Italian, and when they revealed they could not, he would get lost in translation with them. Aided by his childish son and argumentative crew (always seen eating a big plate of spaghetti), this recurring sketch would become ridiculous, surreal, and absolutely hilarious.
Secret Word (and Other Game Show Hosts)
The great thing about Bill is that he was able to both command a sketch and be its lead, or he could just slink into the background and be a supporting player to the other cast member's crazy characters. Nothing demonstrated this better than Bill's recurring role as the host of various game shows. His every-man sensibilities allowed him to play these very plain but just slightly sinister game show hosts, who were incredibly creepy but eerily accurate. His most popular game show was Secret Word, and while the sketch always concentrated on Kristen Wiig's insane Mindy Grayson, Bill's Lyle Round was also extremely unsettling but entirely hilarious.
You didn't think I was going to forget about Stefon, did you? The character of Stefon is undoubtedly the most popular character to come out of Saturday Night Live in the last ten years.
Flamboyant, stylish, and always extremely funny, Stefon was Weekend Update's New York Tourist Correspondent, and what was originally a throwaway character became a overnight sensation; fans could not wait for major holidays and events in hopes that Stefon would reappear at the desk to give his always hilarious tips for New York's best tourist attractions.
The phrase "New York's hottest club is..." has entered the Saturday Night Live lexicon, where it will remain for a long time. Bill's constant breaking into laughter made his character one of the most hilarious and endearing, because if the actor performing it can't hold his laughter, then it surely must be hilarious, and it always was. Stefon is a timeless character, and helped Bill get two Emmy nominations and become the most popular member of the cast this season.
I am almost certain the character will be returning tonight, because let's face it, as talented as Bill Hader is, the character of Stefon defined his tenure on SNL and helped him cement his legacy.
So tune into Saturday Night Live tonight on NBC to see Bill Hader's triumphant return to his old stomping ground, and hopefully he will bring many of his old characters back. This will surely be one of the most memorable episodes in a long time.