Not since 1992 and the release of Wayne’s World has there been so much positive hype surrounding a film spawned by an SNL sketch/character. But alas, leave it up to Will Forte and Kristen Wiig to surprise everyone by delivering a little film called MacGruber to be released in May that just might surprise everyone by being one of the better comedies released this summer. If you haven’t seen the trailer, you owe it to yourself to watch it (the red-band one, of course).
So why do I bring this up? Well, our host on this given episode is Ryan Phillippe. Clearly making the rounds on the MacGruber hype train, why not stop by Saturday Night Live to host a show where MacGruber is sure to get referenced billions of times and have a lot of fun performing at the same time. If it wasn’t for the film coming out though, I would kind of doubt Ryan’s abilities as a host. He is a decent actor but seems a little stiff for a late-night comedy show and that’s never usually a good sign (Robert Deniro, anyone?).
The musical guest is Ke$ha. Yes, you read that right. She has a dollar sign in her name, which is clearly a first for any guest of the long-running comedic institution. Those of you who may not recognize her by name may know of her if you’ve ever gone to a club in the past five years. Yes, it’s that fantastic music that you can’t get out of your head the next day despite the fact that you can not remember anything else. That damn Ke$ha song is just there forever!
Well before I have a hernia, let’s begin.
1. Larry King Live
In the wake of Larry King’s eighth divorce, Larry (Armisen) himself briefly discusses the crazy notion that EIGHT different women have had sex with “this.” The topic at hand though turns to the volcanic eruption in Iceland and it gives Kristen an excuse to do her adorable impression of Bjork. Sir Richard Branson (Hader) joins in on the fun to show his utter sadness for Virgin Airlines having to close down. The highlight though is Bjork’s musical tribute to the aforementioned volcano. B
Ryan plugs MacGruber of course before getting interrupted by several characters wanting movies of their own like the Target Lady (Wiig), the Dick-in-a-Box guy (Samberg), and Diondre Cole (Thompson). B+
3. Broadview Security
A repeat of a funny ad parody from Jude Law/Pearl Jam. B+
4. Today Sponge Women’s Weightlifting Championship 1986
Ahh yes, a repeat of those fantastic commentators, Pete Twinkle (Sudeikis) and Greg Stink (Forte). It’s the usual formula for this piece, as Greg has no idea what’s going on and Pete reads some dirty slogans for the sponsor. Also added here is Greg’s strange fascination for a very masculine woman competitor (Phillippe). Love Suds’ dramatic pausing too. A-
5. Hip Hop Kids
In a sketch that I never expected to make a return, the Hip Hop Kids find themselves trapped in a bear cave. Of course, instead of trying to run out of the cave when they see a bear, J Style (Phillippe) leads the crew (Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Elliott) into dancing instead. This wasn’t as funny as it was on the Justin Timberlake episode, but it’s still fairly amusing. B-
6. Digital Short: The Other Man
After returning to tell a girl how much he loves her, a young man (Phillippe) finds her with a new man (Samberg). After that, it gets increasingly more ridiculous as the guy shows up everywhere from his parents’ house to the confessional booth. Add on to that the absolute strangest ending ever. B+
7. Mort Mort Feingold: Accountant For The Stars
Andy Samberg stars as Mort Mort, an intense Jewish stereotypical accountant, who deals with various celebrities from John Edwards (Forte) to the Twilight douche bags (Phillippe & Slate) to the vastly untalented Tyler Perry (Thompson). Most of the mini-segments were pretty hilarious, making this one an easy pass. A-
8. The Shakeweight Commercial DVD
A spokesman (Hader) talks about the very suggestive Shakeweight commercial and offers the commercial in full on DVD. Having never seen this commercial, I still found this hilarious. A
9. Ke$ha sings “TiK ToK”
This was definitely…different. Channeling Lady GaGa, Ke$ha dances around with her astronaut back-up dancers and moves around with her All-American cape. I’ll give it points for the live performance aspect of it. B
10. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers
This time, Seth makes an amusing joke regarding the ridiculously-hard-to-pronounce Mt. Eyjafjallajokull and then the gloves are off regarding the recent priest scandal. James Carville (Hader) makes another appearance regarding Barack Obama’s comments at a Tea Party convention and pokes fun at his own Skeletor-like appearance. We also get a visit from Father Swimcoach Scoutmaster (Forte) in a disturbingly hilarious bit. Finally, a second-hand news correspondent (Moynihan) reports some quite-obviously-false news items. Great edition of Update this week. A
11. Song Memories
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is the song of choice this time out as four dudes (Phillippe, Forte, Hader, Sudeikis) sit around in the backyard and share increasingly disturbing stories. I love the twist at the end and Phillippe’s story in particular was the best (“No, I’ll probably just get transferred to another parrish”). A-
12. Teen Talk
In a somewhat-repeat of the “Woman To Woman” bit from Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Dave Matthews Band, the host of this show is out sick and so the inconsiderate producer, Roger Brush (Armisen), takes over. Just like the first time, he tells people to repeat their embarrassing problems louder so he can understand them. I’m really starting to enjoy this character. B
13. Ke$ha sings “Your Love Is My Drug”
In an even more bizarre performance, Ke$ha and her band don some strange-looking day-glo outfits. In this one, she tries more and more to be like Lady GaGa and call me crazy but I actually enjoyed this for her stage presence. B+
14. I Got This!
A game show sketch this late into the program is not usually a good sign. In this one, the object is to keep interrupting fellow dinner guests in order to cover the bill for everyone else. It’s a fairly thin premise with a couple of funny moments throughout. C
15. Underground Rock Minute
DJ Supersoak (Sudeikis) and Lil Blaster (Pedrad) present a new music video by the Thrilla Killa Klownz (Phillippe & Moynihan), who present a song regarding the “mysteries” of the world. It’s a fairly late tribute to the Insane Clown Posse, but it’s still hilarious. A
Ryan, the cast, and Ke$ha bid a goodnight to the audience in TV world and live audience world.
Well, Ryan did much better than I expected. He was a willing host and didn’t once play himself which is sort of a refreshing change of pace from some hosts you expect to be awkward. In all honesty, he did appear to be a bit edgy at the beginning of the show but managed to bring it together for most of the show after the “Hip Hop Kids” sketch ended.
Ke$ha was much better than I expected and she actually had quite a bit of stage presence, which helped her performance way more than it could have hindered it. This odd combination of host and musical guest looked like it might spell disaster but instead it was a fairly entertaining episode.
Host Rating: B
Musical Guest Rating: B
Show Rating: B+