by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 9)

The Show:

1. On the Record (5:24)

Greta Van Susteren (Wiig) welcomes Donald Trump (Darrell Hammond!) onto the show to talk about him being the moderator for the next GOP debate in Iowa. At either side of him, Newt Gingrich (Moynihan) and Rick Santorum (Samberg) sit idly by and are on the receiving end of some harsh insults.

- It was fantastic to see Darrell back and it’s good to see that he’s healthy enough these days to make an appearance on the show. His Trump impression never fails to entertain.
– The sketch mostly belonged to Darrell’s mimicry of The Donald and some of Kristen’s lines as Greta.
– My favourite parts were Donald talking about Obama’s birth certificate, his insults towards both Gingrich and Santorum, and Donald’s whole rant about people not being reliable because their wives are not a whole lot younger than them unlike Trump’s wife, Melania.
– The boom mic made a few appearances here.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:30)

Katy mentions how her outfits are inspired by people she knew while growing up in California. Subsequently, she is visited by three of them (Hader, Samberg, & Wiig) who each inspired a different song.

- Amusing monologue. I liked Wiig as the California Girls inspiration and Bill’s Fireworks-inspired guy, but Andy as the big nerd, Kathy Beth Kerry, was the highlight of this whole segment. I loved him saying how he was doing ‘Before’ modeling for dog food commercials.
– It reminded me of Halle Berry’s monologue when they hinted at the Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig kiss but didn’t deliver. Kind of a cop-out but still funny.
Rating: ***

3. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:09)

Jonathan Cavenaughson (Killam) and Rebecca Stelmachowiczison (Bayer) welcome their guest, Hello Kitty club founder Kirstie Davenport (Perry), all the while their teacher Mark Kaufman (Sudeikis) claims no responsibility and keeps trying to apologize to the audience.

- I never expected to see this come back so soon after debuting back on the Anna Faris show but I guess that WAS like five episodes ago. Although this was funny again, it wasn’t quite as good as the first one they did mainly because they didn’t really change a whole lot with the format or the jokes.
– Katy’s first sketch appearance is a positive one and she was a good choice because of her propensity to wear all these out-there outfits.
– Sudeikis was again the highlight here though with several great lines, especially his remark about the kids finding a “loving version of racism.”
– Fred Armisen as the girlfriend is a funny quick visual gag.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. The Apocalypse (2:33)

In a take-off of New Year’s Eve, the new ensemble film The Apocalypse features tons of stars and also ridiculous ones like SIR Judi Dench (with a moustache), Al Roker (Thompson), and Osama Bin Laden (Brittain).

- This was absolutely hilarious. I love multi-impression sketches so to shove them all into a trailer AND make fun of those stupid New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day/etc.-type movies was the icing on the cake.
– My favourite new impressions were Abby as Kirsten Dunst and Jay Pharoah as Cuba Gooding Jr. We also got some great reliable impressions like Bill doing Alan Alda, Sudeikis as Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Fred as Penny Marshall (I missed it!).
– Kristen’s Kim Cattrall part was probably the funniest part.
– Did anyone else notice Seth in one of the boxes at the very end? Nice reference to him actually being IN the New Year’s Eve movie.
Rating: ****

5. Kalle (4:00)

Katy Perry is the guest on a very strange Finnish talk show in which the host (Wiig) seems to have a clip ready for just about anything that is said or mentioned.

- Very strange but certainly hilarious sketch. Kristen was perfectly suited for this role and it was definitely a very different character for her to take on.
– All the random clips were pretty funny but I think my favourite ones were the clips of earlier on in the interview, the one of Wiig drinking tea with her cats, and the one of Kristen and Katy being friends in the future (“it’s from ze future”).
– Kristen’s strange dance at the end was great.
Rating: ****

6. Digital Short: Best Friends (2:19)

Andy and Katy sing a song about being best friends and then start to become disgusted and scared when a drug addict (Matt Damon!) and a brilliant lunatic (Val Kilmer!) join their ranks and continue to sing with them while doing all sorts of strange things.

- This was DEFINITELY my favourite digital short of the season. Everything worked so well here. The beginning with Andy and Katy singing was so joyful that you just knew something incredibly dark was going to happen and they delivered that in spades.
– The cameos were awesome too. Matt Damon’s was surprising but Val Kilmer’s was out of NOWHERE. I guess Andy is starting to get some pretty sick connections these days.
– The puppet looked a bit like Scred from the Muppets’ first year on SNL.
– Just when I thought it was going to run out of steam at the end, the puppet walking away to have sex with a white girl and the time machine gags only added to the classic short.
Rating: *****

7. Doggie Duty (2:49)

Fresh off the non-success of Bunny Business and Horse Play comes an animated film…’s soundtrack about dogs having to serve jury duty featuring artists such as Randy Newman (Armisen), Gwen Stefani (Wiig), Clint Eastwood (Hader), the guy from the Spin Doctors (Samberg), Meat Loaf (Sudeikis), and Florence Welch (Perry).

- This was another re-write of that Bunny Business sketch from way back but like I said, I’m a sucker for these types of sketches. The Randy Newman impression has got to go though because they ALWAYS include it at the beginning.
– Katy Perry impressed the hell out of me with her Florence Welch impression. Sounded EXACTLY like her.
– Sudeikis did a pretty good job as Meat Loaf even if he couldn’t do it as well as Chris Farley or Horatio Sanz.
– God, I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Bill’s Eastwood impression again.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Robyn sings “Call Your Girlfriend” (3:38)

- I know nothing about this performer but she definitely impressed with her energetic performance here.
– My roommate’s name is Robyn. She was also suspiciously gone during the show. Hmm.

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (13:46)
Guests: Rebecca Larue, Captain Steve Rogers, and Stefon

Best Jokes: Rick Perry/Trump; Queen Elizabeth pay freeze; Spain/toilet paper; Toygaroo; human’s mental evolution

- Kristen’s flirting expert character was something much different from her usual stuff that she does on Update. It was a pretty funny piece and it was funny to see Kristen spread her legs for Seth and get closer to him. The revelation at the end with Kristen crying was the cherry on the cake.
– Alec Baldwin! It was awesome to see him make a cameo and do a commentary as the captain of the flight he was booted from. His constant side comments to Seth back and forth was pretty damn funny and he did a great job overall of course.
– Stefon makes his tenth Update appearance (and his eleventh appearance overall) and still never fails to entertain. Also, he ALMOST made it through this one without losing it. He almost got to the very end but A Fish Called Kwanzaa did him in. My favourite part of the whole thing though was Stefon mentioning the flaccid outreach group, Doctors Without Boners. I also liked him thinking that Seth didn’t have a family and that he was made by gay scientists.
Rating: ****

10. Royal Pregnancy (4:5o)

A visit with Queen Elizabeth (Armisen) and Prince Philip (Hader) proves loathsome for the newlywed Kate Middleton (Elliott) as they intimidate her with their cockney accents and threats to have a baby already. Soon enough though, Pippa Middleton (Perry) also visits and reveals her true accent as well to combat the royal family.

- The third instance of this sketch involving the Queen and Prince but at least they do something different with it every time. I liked Katy’s part in this sketch and her cockney accent was funny despite not being terribly accurate. She actually looks quite a bit like Abby.
– I liked the Dr. Who slam and Fred making the comparison between his ass and the IRA. Fred throwing the money out was also great.
Rating: ***

11. Politics Nation (3:51)

Al Sharpton (Thompson) gets his own political talk show but can’t quite seem to grasp the notion of doing a live show as his several blunders and miscues demonstrate, leaving Kelly O’Donnell (Perry) and Jim VandeHei (Killam) frustrated.

- This sketch was a lot of fun and it was great to see Kenan bring his Al Sharpton impression back after 3+ years.
– Katy was really good here. Not a role I expected her to take on. Taran was a good straight man too.
– The ending was fantastic with Kenan mumbling and fumbling through his closing lines much like Sharpton does on a regular basis with this show.
Rating: ****

12. Robyn sings “Dancing On My Own” (3:54)

- Another very enjoyable performance and this one acted as more of a female empowerment song. It worked. I am now Gloria Allred.
– Her dancing is insane. In a good way.
– Why was she making out with herself at the end?

13. One Magical Night (4:37)

While a piano player (Sudeikis) sings a little ditty, a lonely woman (Perry) finds her soulmate (Moynihan) at the bar who is unrealistically identical to her in every way they could both imagine.

- This was an excellent sketch and a really wonderful, sweet way to end the episode. It also gave Bobby Moynihan a rare lead role and he showed how capable of a performer he can truly be with his great performance. Katy was no slouch here either.
– Jason’s singing was a nice companion to the sketch and just added to the classic nature of the segment.
– My favourite part was probably them showing each other their tattoos.
– Bobby’s gonna have to start looking out for Russell Brand after that kiss.
– The ending was so dark but I loved Bobby’s insane screaming and then his casual walk back.
Rating: *****

14. Goodnights

 

OVERALL: What a fantastic show. I think I liked this episode even more because I was expecting absolutely nothing from Katy Perry and she delivered on every cylinder. She was a really good host; maybe she wasn’t a Timberlake but she was closer to what Taylor Swift pulled off a couple years ago. She looked happy to be there and she was never awkward or anything except for maybe a few brief moments during Kalle. Overall, the cast was great this week as well and there was some real sharp writing. Perhaps a new contender for best episode of the season. I’ve said that a lot this year but damn, it’s been pretty great so far.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: KATY PERRY – 9 segments (Monologue; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Kalle; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)

CAMEOS: ALEC BALDWIN – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
DARRELL HAMMOND – 1 segment (On The Record)

FILMED CAMEOS: MATT DAMON – 1 segment (Best Friends)
VAL KILMER – 1 segment (Best Friends)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
BILL HADER – 6 segments (Monologue; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (The Apocalypse; Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (On The Record; The Apocalypse; One Magical Night)
NASIM PEDRAD – 1 segment (Best Friends)
ANDY SAMBERG – 5 segments (On The Record; Monologue; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; One Magical Night)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
KRISTEN WIIG – 6 segments (On The Record; Monologue; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Kalle; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update)

VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Best Friends)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Kalle; One Magical Night)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
JAY PHAROAH – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)

EPISODE MVPs: Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig

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Comments
  1. Jeff says:

    You know, I’m glad to see that there is SOMEONE out there who is willing to appreciate SNL when it actually delivers some good humor. I’m getting really sick of everyone out there who just wants to trash the show, claim that it hasn’t been funny since the nineties, or the seventies, or even EVER, and just talk about how much a host, episode or sketch sucked when I feel it was a rare moment of actual humor. These people are nothing more than trolls, and quite frankly, I think that this is so far the best season we’ve had in a while. They’re taking more chances! Much more than can be said for Season 35! Keep up the good work!

    • Brendan Wahl says:

      I feel the same way, brutha. It feels like people are just looking for a reason to hate the show these days. This has been a pretty solid season thus far. I haven’t really disliked any episodes yet.

      • Daniel Martin says:

        I agree. Also the cast is really talented right now and I feel like the current featured players will do a great job of becoming the main cast members on SNL when their time comes. Although for Taran Killam in some ways it has already come. Either way I think these days the show is fantastic

  2. Brendan Wahl says:

    Yup. I’ve said many times: Taran Killam will be the next breakout success. I just know it. The seeds were planted in his FIRST season ever.

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