Sometimes there are people that are just meant to do shows like this. Of course, you have comedians like Steve Martin and accomplished actors like Alec Baldwin, but sometimes there is someone that just absolutely fits in with the dynamic and the style of a live show, but they never come back more than once.
Jude Law hosted the show back in 2004 and his was one of the freshest episodes in a staggeringly mediocre year filled with some talented hosts. He was absolutely wonderful in his role as host but it started to look more and more like he would never come back to once again control the reigns as the show’s host.
Then the news broke that this episode would feature Jude Law and musical guest Pearl Jam and all was right with the world.
1. Massa Exit Interview
Thanks to a very informative opening narration by Bill Hader telling us about the many cover-ups used by Eric Massa (Moynihan) in why he resigned from office, I can follow and understand this particular political opening. Of course, in his interview it all comes down to the abuse of male staffers and the “tickle fights” he got involved in with younger males. The helpful flashbacks are quite amusing and the opening as a whole was a lot of fun. B+
Jude is quick to poke fun at the Ashlee Simpson lip-syncing incident from the last time he hosted, but then segues into a summary of Hamlet, which he has won the stage role of. Of course, he manages to ignore a lot of the lines where he isn’t involved, mocks Piven in an off-hand comment, and semi-mocks his own performance. All in all, a humourous way to kick off the show. B
Very quick commercial parody featuring a young couple (Thompson & Elliott) paying for it dearly after buying a Ford Prius. It was rather quick and to the point, but there’s nothing wrong with that. B
4. Secret Word
Ahh, yes. This sketch appeared on an episode hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt some time ago. It’s rare that a game show sketch outside of Celebrity Jeopardy gets repeated, but this still works for a second appearance. This time, Kristen’s Broadway character tries to give clues to a man who is feared because of his race (Thompson) and a Russian dancer (Law) with a huge bulge in his tights tries to do the same for his partner (Armisen). Lots of fun. A-
5. Broadview Security
It’s finally here! The security company that will protect single women from men because “studies say, if you’re a lady, most men want to kill you.” B+
6. Spanish Serial Killer
Two women (Elliott & Pedrad) on a vacation in Spain meet up with a dashing, charming Spaniard (Law), who promises them fine wine, delicious food, sex, and then he will murder them. It’s quite a hilarious take on the “all foreign men appear to be sexually appealing” and the ladies’ reactions to the promise of their unfortunate demise was quite funny. A
7. Digital Short: Boombox
From the Incredibad CD, Samberg and Julian Casablancas sing a tune about solving problems with a boombox but then warn about the dangers of using it too much after an unfortunate incident occurs inside a posh country club. I love the lyrics and the actions on-screen only enhance it. A
8. Pearl Jam sing “Just Breathe”
Eddie Vedder’s voice is phenomenal, but of course everyone already knew that. Either way, this was a really nice performance by a band that will hopefully become five-timers. A
9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers
Seth is in fine form here with some good riffs here and there as per usual. Whoopi Goldberg (Thompson) makes a stop by to talk about the new product she’s sponsoring, Poise Pads, in a segment that was nothing special but it was alright. The highlight of the segment though is Jerry Seinfeld making a surprise appearance to join Seth for an edition of “Really?!?” regarding Eric Massa. “Massabations”, indeed. B+
10. The Twilight Zone
In a delightful take on a classic Zone tale (“Terror at 20,000 Feet”), Jude Law plays a horrified passenger who keeps getting distracted by a strange-looking beast on the outside of the plane during a routine flight. The performances here are top-notch as Bill Hader adds his own name to the list of great Rod Serling impressions (along with Dan Aykroyd and Norm MacDonald) and Jude is terrific. Pearl Jam’s appearance was awesome too. A+
11. Hamlet Audition
Jude awaits his turn in the audition room for his crack at trying out for Hamlet and is visited by some celebrities like Al Pacino (a wonderful impression by Hader), Nicolas Cage (a fun impression by Samberg), and Sam Elliott (Sudeikis) while also waiting for Nathan Lane (Moynihan) finishing up his audition. This was a lot of fun and hearing Jude say “Butts are indeed for pooping” is a lot funnier than it sounds. B+
12. kickspit Underground Rock Festival
Suds and Nasim play the spokespeople for a new rock festival that’s about as underground as you can get. With insane things like Dirk Nowitzki shooting at people in an open field to head-scratchers like a screening of The Facts of Life: Season 3, this is actually one of my favourite ads of the season. By the way, it’s a repeat from Lively/Rihanna. A+
13. Pearl Jam sing “Unthought Known”
Another strong performance from Pearl Jam tonight as they rock with this tune that’s faster than the previous one and just as enjoyable. A
14. Court Stenographer
Armisen’s typewriting stenographer makes her second appearance, this time in a case where the American-bred lawyer is played by Jude himself, who does a magnificent Yank accent. This character probably isn’t well-liked a whole lot, but I personally find Armisen’s character a lot of fun and his wide-eyed demeanor makes me laugh. B+
15. Talk Show with Ravish
An Indian man (Armisen) grants his son Ravish (Pedrad) his own talk show when it was discovered that talk show hosts make more than doctors. Surprisingly, Jude Law is invited on as the first guest because of the promise of a discount on a rug in his father’s store. Of course, the interview is a disaster as Ravish analyzes Law’s career, the box-office failure that was Alfie, and delves into his personal life. The “Jay Leno Walking” section was hilarious. A-
Jude, Pearl Jam, Seinfeld, and the cast bid everyone a good night and the show comes to an end.
Well, that was spectacular. I expected Jude to be a great host but in my opinion, the material was quite good tonight as well. There were only two real recurring sketches tonight and a decent amount of fresh material as well. I really hope Jude comes back.
Pearl Jam was also quite great. They were another aspect of the show that I expected to succeed, but they went above my expectations and rocked the house with two very energetic performances.
Host Rating: A
Musical Guest Rating: A
Show Rating: A