by Brendan Wahl
(Season 37, Episode 17)
1. The Rush Limbaugh Show (4:01)
- This was a pretty thin premise but Taran made it work with his delivery and many of the sponsor jokes were hilarious, particularly the Syria Tourism Board, Moist Books, Depends for Racists, and Schroeder’s Fake Rape Whistles.
- As far as the impression goes, Taran did a great job here but it was more funny than accurate.
- This was Taran’s first time saying LFNY in a solo fashion. Great delivery.
Rating: *** 1/2
2. Monologue (6:04)
Jonah talks about his Oscar win and then discusses how it really hasn’t changed him at all in terms of his personality. He shows a short film of him hanging out with the cast all week that seems to prove otherwise. Tom Hanks (!) then joins him on-stage to give him a few tips.
- This was a pretty original monologue and I liked how we got a film clip, which was definitely out of the ordinary for the past few seasons.
- The filmed parts were very funny with my favourite parts being Jonah immediately asking Andy for a Diet Coke, the discussion of the Black Captain Jack Sparrow sketch, the whole running joke with Jonah’s glasses and scarves, and I really liked the discussion he has with Kristen.
- The Moneyball line was pretty funny.
- The Tom Hanks cameo was also great and I liked how he kept hiding the Oscar away from Jonah.
3. Six Year Old (4:45)
- I didn’t really think I’d see this sketch again but it was pretty funny much like the first time. Again, Jonah’s eyes were a bit glued to the cue cards but he still carried the sketch on his back and did a fine job.
- I like how they changed it up a bit by having more interaction with Jonah and Fred and the addition of Vanessa Bayer as Hader’s new girlfriend.
- Fred doing the rimshot with his knives was gold.
Rating: *** 1/2
4. Digital Short: Science Finders (3:19)
In order to find out what happens with the heartrate when a tennis ball approaches the genitals (without actually hitting them), a test subject (Hill) is the unfortunate victim of several accidental hits with the tennis balls.
- This was a major improvement over the last few digital shorts despite its obvious sophomoric premise. It was well-executed and I liked the multiple angles on Hill getting hit with the tennis balls.
- The John McEnroe cameo was hilarious.
- Taran as the ghost was another great part.
Rating: *** 1/2
5. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:51)
This week, Jonathan Cavenaugh-san (Killam) and Rebecca Stern-Marcowitz-san (Bayer) welcome as their guest a Japanese warrior (Hill), who much like them, is clearly not Japanese. Their disapproving teacher (Sudeikis) and Jonathan’s Asian girlfriend (Armisen) look on.
- Another funny edition of this sketch with great performances from Taran and Vanessa as per usual. Of course, Sudeikis was great too and I really liked his mention of their tests being passed in as all stickers and one being a paper crane.
- The picture of Taran and Vanessa in reggae outfits was funny.
- I liked Jonah’s funny Japanese accent but his breaking character derailed the sketch a bit and made it fall apart a bit towards the end.
- The appearance of Fred as Taran’s girlfriend is not annoying or anything but the same joke with it has been done like three times.
- A really good performance. I was looking forward to the band returning to SNL and they did not disappoint.
7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (14:20)
Guests: Paula Deen, Andy Samberg, and Stefon
- The Paula Deen commentary was pretty funny for the most part and I really liked Wiig’s impression of her. Other great details included Wiig using the butter and chicken in her hands as a hairbrush.
- Andy’s commentary as the faux-Sarah Palin was funny as soon as I realized he was not actually trying to do a real impression of her. I especially liked Andy using his catchphrase, “Da Bears!” and the one about President Clinton sleeping with Lewinsky.
- Stefon is back! It’s the usual great commentary from him and the kiss with Seth at the end was completely unexpected and hilarious. My favourite club name was “…Kevin?” managed by Blow-J Simpson.
Rating: *** 1/2
8. Primate Research Center (4:55)
At a science convention, one doctor (Hill) shows off his newest accomplishment in the monkey Brutus (Armisen), who is miraculously able to talk. Unfortunately, he talks about all the unnatural sexual goings-on that the doctor has been engaging in with him.
- This was a lot better than people are giving it credit for. Fred was outstanding as the monkey and it came across as one of the best performances of the night.
- Jonah was a good straight man here and his reactions were pretty funny.
- For some reason, Fred saying “Sorry?” made me laugh a whole lot.
9. Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp (3:39)
I think the title gives it away, but anyway, Liza (Wiig) acts all weird and flighty while attempting to turn off a lamp all the while her guest (Hill) tries to get her to hurry up so they can make it to Cats.
- Very similar to the Ann-Margret sketch that Wiig did last season but this one wasn’t nearly as good and in fact, it just dragged on for way too long.
- At one point, you could see a crewmember handing Kristen a cord for the lamp.
- The only part I liked was Jonah doing a cheesy dance at the end as well.
Rating: * 1/2
- Another great performance. They should really get the Shins back on the show again soon.
11. Anniversary Song (4:35)
To celebrate their anniversary, a loving husband (Hill) surprises his wife (Wiig) with a full orchestra playing her favourite tune, “Pachelbel’s Canon.” However, it soon transforms into a Coolio’s “I’ll C U When U Get There” with backup dancers and such.
- Here was a sketch in which I didn’t really see where it was going and once they morphed into the Coolio song, it really started to take off.
- The parts about Coolio being a visionary rapper because of him using the letter U instead of spelling you “in 1997″ was hilarious.
- The whole cast (minus Seth of course) walking off the set and around the crowd, singing the Coolio tune was brilliant. I love when the show does things like that in regards to audience interaction stuff.
- The fake Coolio RIP thing caught me off-guard at first until I realized it said he dies in 3162.
OVERALL: Another solid show. Jonah wasn’t an amazing host or anything but he was fine and it certainly looked like he was at least enjoying himself on the stage. The Shins were awesome, of course. As far as the cast, Taran Killam continues to rise in the ranks and keeps proving himself to be a fantastic castmember. Fred Armisen had a pretty good night as well, particularly in the hilarious monkey sketch.
HOST: JONAH HILL – 7 segments (Monologue; Six Year Old; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp; Anniversary Song)
CAMEO: TOM HANKS – 1 segment (Monologue)
FILMED CAMEO: JOHN MCENROE – 1 segment (Science Finders)
FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (Six Year Old; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (Six Year Old; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
BILL HADER – 4 segments (Six Year Old; Weekend Update; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 4 segments (Monologue; Science Finders; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
NASIM PEDRAD – 3 segments (Monologue; Six Year Old; Anniversary Song)
ANDY SAMBERG – 4 segments (Monologue; Science Finders; Weekend Update; Anniversary Song)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Anniversary Song)
KENAN THOMPSON – 3 segments (Six Year Old; Science Finders; Anniversary Song)
KRISTEN WIIG – 4 segments (Monologue; Weekend Update; Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp; Anniversary Song)
VANESSA BAYER – 4 segments (Six Year Old; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Primate Research Center; Anniversary Song)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (The Rush Limbaugh Show; Science Finders; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Anniversary Song)
JAY PHAROAH – 2 segments (Monologue; Anniversary Song)
EPISODE MVPs: Fred Armisen/Taran Killam