'Saturday Night Live' finished it's 38th season with Ben Affleck joining the '5 Timers' club and Kanye West returning as musical guest. SNL has had better season finales, (remember Jimmy Fallon's?), and I wish they had given the departing cast members more time to say goodbye, or at least given them a better sendoff. There was some decent sketches here and there, but let's hope that with so many big changes that they show will be headed into a new, and hopefully funnier, direction.
The Cold Open had Kenan Thompson as Al Sharpton, trying his best to understand the IRS Scandal. Sharpton is a ridiculous enough person on his own I could believe that he had all of his bills sent to Sylvia's resturant in Harlem, NY. This would be the last time we saw Thompson for the night, so I guess it's cool that they let him open the show.
Affleck's monologue wasn't anything special. Expecting a number of big stars to show up to congratulate him on his fifth time hosting the show, he only gets Bobby Moynihan in a tight '5' shirt. Then he gets into his Oscar speech where he of course thanked his wife and then...she shows up! Jennifer Garner was on hand to remind people that she exists and that they're married and really, who cares? I was surprised during awards season to realize that people do give a crap about them as a couple. Affleck did this same bit years ago the first time he hosted in 2000 when then girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow showed. So Ben is a guy who is defined more by who he dates and is engaged and married to, more than his accomplishments. Congrats.
"New Xanax" was the only pre-recorded sketch of the night. A commercial for a drug specifically for gay Summer weddings. The name of the pill is funny enough, but the anxiety it's supposed to cure is, too. Afraid of not knowing Beyonce's latest choreography, or giving a gift that wasn't sent from France? Pop a new Xanax forget that you don't own an iron or gave Cheez-Its as favors at your basic wedding.
"Hermes" saw the return of the former pornstars who are just trying to get us to appreciate the finer things line life. This time it was Hermes handbags, though they kept pronouncing it like "hermans." Ben was completely unnecessary here, but they had to work him in somehow and his use of the word "taint" wasn't as funny as I'm sure the writers thought it should have been. Cecily Strong and Vanessa Bayer are always great, and this is one of the few sketches introduced this season that I don't mind if they keep doing, just don't overdo it.
The darling Bill Hader is leaving, so of course we had to say goodbye to Stefon. Before that though, Amy Poehler showed up for a quick version of "Really!?! with Seth & Amy" and she stuck around for the rest of the news. Then Stefon appeared to talk about the usual but felt that over the years Seth had never taken him seriously so he left to get married to Anderson Cooper in a very weird parody of 'The Graduate.'
All of the odd people and things Stefon has mentioned over the years, like little people traffic cones, were in attendance, but it wasn't Andy Coop who he wanted to be with, it was Seth! They embraced at the end with a number of WU's characters behind them in celebration. I think it was a fitting goodbye for a character I'm sure will turn up again when Seth Meyers leaves at the end of the year.
"Top Of The Pops" gave Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen and Hader a chance to play themselves off. If this was the way they wanted to go out, then cool, but it wasn't what I imagined for them, even if they were joined by the likes of Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Armisen's BFF Carrie Brownstein. The thing is, Kristen Wiig got such a big sendoff, I mean she danced with Mick Jagger, so I expected more. As good as that was, I always felt a little weird about it because Jason was supposed to be leaving last season, and didn't of course, but it seemed like the focus was all on her. With this again he was overshadowed by Armisen, and earlier Hader got his big goodbye. Does no one there like him or something?
So let's get into Ye's new stuff. His first performance was of "Black Skinhead," and the general consensus was Kanye, what is this? Look, it's not a bad song but it's one that I'm going to have to listen to the studio version to appreciate. The barking dog visuals seemed familiar, and the "NOT FOR SALE" sign at the end felt contradictory to his whole personal situation.
His second, and better, performance was of "New Slave." West has been promoting the song by projecting his image onto buildings and continued the theme here. This is a damn good song with a message that I'm sure went over a lot of people's heads.
I feel like Kanye gets too caught up in himself sometimes, but damn if he doesn't know how to deliver good material. He didn't have to be in any sketches, I think he's still salty with the crew there, but he ended up stealing the show anyways.
Zach Galifianakis' SNL appearances are nothing short of odd, and last night's show was no exception. The episode was helped along by a couple of not so surprising guest appearances, and two very surprising ones. Sometimes when SNL goes on a break the sketches suffer, but the writers actually put forth an effort for Zach's third hosting gig.
The show opened with a 'Fox & Friends' sketch where the always crass and clueless hosts talked about basketball player Jason Collins coming out. The best parts of this particular sketch is always the long list of corrections at the end, which this time included "Scientology was not founded by I Ron Man," and "Justin Bieber and Anne Frank are not an item."
Zach continued his "tradition" of playing the piano while he tells a series of random jokes during his monologue. Some of them were funny, especially the couple about what Google does and doesn't know, but at some points it seemed like the audience was just laughing to laugh. Zach isn't one of those comedians that gets "courtesy laughter" like Howie Mandel, (thanks Workaholics), but hey, maybe the audience was there for him and his irreverent humor.
The game show sketches are usually hit or miss, but "Game of Game of Thrones" sketch was a hit if only for the appearance of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who plays Jamie Lannister on the HBO series. All he had to do was show up and look hot, which he is really good at by the way. Fans of GOT might not have appreciated the show making fun of their hardcore fanbase, but it was a good way to start the show.
In case you hadn't heard, Martha Stewart needs a date and she became a member of Match.com. Kate McKinnon does a decent Stewart, though not as funny or neurotic as Ana Gasteyer's version. I could totally believe that Martha would be down for some graphic pleasure, she's anal about everything else.
The "Jennifer Aniston Look-A-Like Contest" sketch was just that, and it was kind of boring, save for Vanessa Bayer's pretty good impression of Aniston. Then Galifianakis' 'Hangover' co-stars Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms joined him also sporting blonde wigs. They didn't have much to do here, but the audience ate it up of course.
"Darrell's House" was a two-part sketch which featured Zach as a regular guy with a public access show. He asks Kenan Thompson's character to fill in for Jon Hamm who he pretends to interview, and then what do ya know, the real Hammburgler shows up for the second part. I guess it should have been obvious when we came back for a second helping, but I do always enjoy me some Hamm.
The "New Balance" ad was the other pre-taped sketch of the night and I loved it. More than likely you have seen these guys, the 30 something rushing off to the Apple store in his khakis and New Balance sneakers. The shoe company probably won't be happy about this one, but I'm sure a number of middle aged men are happy that there is one part of their bodies that doesn't hurt because of their sneakers.
The musical guest for the show was Of Monsters and Men, another one of those bands that shouts out HEY! and HO! and omg why is this genre popular right now? Anyways, Kristen Wiig will be returning as host next weekend!
After an almost month long break, SNL was back with a new episode hosted by Melissa McCarthy. This was McCarthy's second time hosting, and I was hoping it would be better than the first. Cast member Taran Killam teased that there would be some good bits during his appearance on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.' So did they deliver?
The Cold Open kept things relevant with Bobby Moynihan as Kim Jung-Un and uuuugggghhh. So the North Korean leader has a had change of heart regarding same sex marriage because his nephew is gay. This being a joke on Ohio Senator Rob Portman publicly changing his stance on gay marriage after his son came out. Luckily, they kept this one short, and Dennis Rodman's appearance wasn't needed because I hate being reminded that Dennis Rodman exists.
Melissa starts her monologue off by trying to teeter down the steps in a very high pair of Brian Atwood heels. This is pretty much her whole monologue, desperately trying to walk in these things while Killam sings about her second time around as host. While the joke got old pretty quick, you have to admire McCarthy's gift for physical comedy.
There are a number of sports stories in the news, but the show went with the Rutgers coach scandal with the "Outside The Lines" sketch. McCarthy is a ridiculously difficult basketball coach who terrorizes her athletes even when they aren't on the court. The live interview between her and Bill Hader felt a little tacked on, but otherwise it earned it's spot as the first sketch of the night.
"The Voice" is one of the few successful shows on NBC, but that doesn't make them immune to being parodied on the show. To play Usher, all Jay Pharoah had to do was lift his leg and wear red sneakers. Taran made a good Adam Levine, complete with white t-shirt, douchebeard and fake tats. However, Kate McKinnon as Shakira made my roll my eyes. The whole joke was that you couldn't understand what she was saying. I generally enjoy McKinnon, but couldn't they have gotten her Hispanic cast-mate Cecily Strong to play her? Kenan Thompson popping in as Cee Lo to steal McCarthy's tone deaf character at the end saved this.
"The Art Of The Encounter" closed out the show with McKinnon and Strong playing the hosts of some 80s dating infomercial. Taran and Melissa pretty much owned the show (seriously, where was everyone else?!) and this was, in my opinion, the best sketch they did together.
Seth Meyers was visited by Bar Mitzvah Boy Jacob, played by Vanessa Bayer, who told us about the story of Passover and then the always rambling Charles Barkley played by Kenan. The best part of Thompson's WU appearances is how much Meyers enjoys interacting with his characters. Charles not knowing that Witchita didn't have witches in it and calling Michael Jordan the "Michael Jordan of gambling" actually made me laugh out loud. Ah, the return of Drunk Uncle. This particular appearance felt extra sharp, and more racist than usual. Peter Dinklage, as Peter Drunklage, joins him to of course talk about 'Game of Thrones.' And with this i'm sure there was a petition started to get Dinklage to host.
Games show sketches never go over well, so I didn't have high hopes for "Million Dollar Wheel." Nanelle (?) is an overzealous Vanna White like co-host who keeps turning the letters wrong. I think this would have been better if it just involved Nanelle being weird with the contestants and not just screwing with the game board.
I "Pizza Business" was an attempt to re-create that Hidden Valley Ranch sketch from the last time Melissa hosted. She doesn't have a lot of range when it comes to voices, and this one wasn't all that different from her usual bag of strange women that talk funny voices. Her leftover pizza idea wasn't that bad though. Who doesn't love pizza?
So Phoenix were the musical guest, performing their latest single "Entertainment" and "Trying To Be Cool" from their upcoming album 'Bankrupt!'. The show helped them to breakout in the States, so it was nice to see them return as well. Now in general I like Phoenix, but they aren't the best live band. I have high hopes for their album though.
Vince Vaughn will be hosting next week with musical guest Miguel. I enjoy one of those persons, guess which one! Thanks to SNL's official tumblr for caps!
Oh, Justin. We always do look forward to your hosting duties on SNL, don't we? This episode was greatly anticipated and talked about all week, but I think the results were hit and miss. We were treated though, to the return of many members of the Five Years Club: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short ("I pee in the sink!"), Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, and Candice Bergen. (Where was my beloved John Goodman?)
Let's chat about the good stuff. The NuvaBling commercial was painfully funny. Women perform all kinds of questionable torment in order to appear fancy and purrrdy, so this crystal-encrusted internal birth control method doesn't seem that far-fetched.
NuvaBling - "And yes. It hurts."
We also had a "trailer" to JT's latest rom-com, “She’s Got a D!%k”. Another sketch that doesn't seem that far-fetched? Fred Armiston's portrayal of Eugene Levy as the dad was hilariously on-point, and I loved how everyone was just so earnest.
Monica and Chandler was actually a trending topic on Twitter last night...and here's why. OhdearLORD, Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong were disturbingly perfect as dim-witted porn stars trying to get some free merch by hawking crappy watered-down "champagne".
Justin performed his new single, "Suit and Tie" (which puts me into a crabby-sleepy state whenever I hear it). Jay-Z lent a hand, too. JT felt the need to give Kanye an answer to his rant from a couple of weeks ago (wherein he cried about how much he hates "Suit and Tie"--uh, get in LINE, Kanye). I'd rather show you the second song JT performed, "Mirrors", because it's not as annoying, but here's stupid "Suit and Tie". (Is that Daughtry dancing next to Justin? Oh. I guess not, but still.)
Saving the best for last--STEFON, City Correspondent discussed his unique ideas for Spring Break.
Complete. Belly. Laughs.
You can absolutely tell when the cue cards are switched on Bill Hader. (This is a stunt the writers pull on Bill every time Stefon rolls onto the Weekend Update desk in order to make him laugh and break character...much to our delight.)
What were your favorite skits? Were your expectations met?
Written by: Diva Julia
So I remember Blake Anderson and Anders Holm being asked in an interview if there were ideas that they had come up with for the show that maybe crossed the line. They mentioned that they came up with an episode where they burn an American Flag, but in a patriotic way! It looks like they went back to that idea for Wednesday night's episode which featured some "brocaine" and salad theft.
Always on the come up, the guys get ready to party with some douchey entrepreneur, but Adam and Ders don't think Blake's idea of a non-burnable American Flag is good enough to impress him.
Meanwhile Karl and some creepy kids make "art" out on their front lawn, and Blake falls in with their wannabe Banksy crowd. I like the episodes where the guys split off, we get two stories for the price of one and it's been so long since we've seen Karl.
At the party, the guys fall into a little peer pressure and try cocaine with the guy who could possibly make them rich. Don't all rich, white guys do coke? When spouting off ideas, he passes, until they mention Blake's flag. Blake, though, is preoccupied with living the life of an artist, which involves stealing from a grocery store salad bar, and even though he he was right to be mad at them for using his idea that they thought was stupid in the first place, he just can't go through with sabotaging their big pitch. Not that they needed help with that anyways, and those tans and coke nosebleeds were enough punishment.
Flag burning, no matter how it's presented, is always controversial, but somehow they handled this in a really funny way. I'm sure people will be offended, but it added a hilariously shocking element to an otherwise so-so episode. Also, shout out to deep-vs!
Thanks to the Workaholics tumblr for the pic!