Archive for March, 2011


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 8 )

You probably read the title of this post and thought, “Who in the hell is that?!” I can almost guarantee that if you do not remember the Anyone Can Host contest way back in 1977 than you would be totally unfamiliar with this episode’s guest star. That’s right. I am, of course, referring to the one and only… Elvis Costello.

But I jest.

In all seriousness, Miskel Spillman was the winner of the Anyone Can Host contest a couple of weeks previous to this episode and would be the one selected as the host for the Christmas edition of Saturday Night Live. She would also remain the program’s oldest host for thirty-two years (damn you, Betty White!) and the only non-celebrity to ever host (that includes Pamela Sue Martin). If SNL has taught us anything over the years it’s that the statement “anyone can host” is CERTAINLY not true.

Joining Miskel is Elvis Costello, who was in his angry youth days at this point in his career. Elvis was actually a last-minute replacement for the original musical guests, the Sex Pistols, who simply couldn’t get visas in time because of their criminal records and related legal problems in the US. Elvis, who was touring North America at the time, agreed to do the show but there was quite a bit of argument over what songs he was to perform on this week’s episode. That will become important later.

Anyway, let’s start this THANG!

The Show:

1. Stoned (1:59)
-Buck Henry, Belushi, Newman

Since he was the one that essentially guided America through the Anyone Can Host contest and introduced the participants, it’s only fitting that Buck Henry make an appearance at the top of the show. In this opening, he finds John and Laraine in the locker room discussing how well their novice host will do. Buck reveals that Miskel is in a sort-of haze in her dressing room and it turns out that it’s all because of Belushi and his monster-powered joints (that “your joints overwhelm even an experienced drug user like myself,” says Henry). Quick, amusing way to start the show. B+

2. Monologue (2:03)
-Spillman, Buck Henry

Sure enough, Miskel makes her way out with fruit basket in hand and Buck Henry alongside her. She looks absolutely elated to be there and of course she’s not a performer, so she’s given very few lines to work with. Every time Buck tries to take the basket, Spillman pulls away and makes glassy-eyed expressions directed towards the audience. When she finally does have some lines, it is so plainly obvious that she is reading directly off the cue cards and her delivery is piss-poor. But I mean that’s to be expected, right? C

3. Meat Wagon Action Track Set (:52)

This amusing commercial parody cleverly mimics those children’s toys commercials with this one being exactly what it sounds like. Includes the scene of an accident, miniature body bag, and the ambulance to take the body to the morgue. Funny enough, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a real toy. B+

4. American Date The Self-Conscious Association (4:01)
-Belushi, Murray, Newman, Radner

A spokesperson (Newman) presents a dating service for the self-conscious as we see a potential couple (Murray & Radner) attempt to get through a date without being too self-deprecating. When it turns out that the spokesperson herself is not totally cured of her own self-consciousness and that her guest (Belushi) is the complete opposite (he is ridiculously obnoxious!), the sketch really kicks it into high gear. Dan Aykroyd also shows up as a representative for the Really Stupid People’s Amalgamation in a hilarious bit. The sketch also had a Monty Python-like vibe to it and the performances by all involved were pretty terrific. A

5. The Gift of the Magi (6:10)
-Spillman, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Newman, Radner

We get the first sketch appearance of our host here as she sits next to Jane Curtin, while the Update anchor reads the story of the poor couple who were facing a failing kidney on the part of the wife (Radner). The husband (Belushi) loves her hair and despite the couple’s faith, they could not afford to exchange gifts. This is obviously a comic take on a popular Christmas tale where the husband and wife each sell their prized possessions to be able to give each other gifts, but the only difference is that this has a much darker ending. This was a funny piece and a clever use of Miskel without having to get her to act or anything. I did like her last line, too. B+

6. Elvis Costello sings “Watching the Detectives” (3:56)

Staring intently into the camera, Costello & the Attractions are in top form here as he sings a haunting rendition of one of his big hits at the time. He looks visibly angry here at the song that his label told him to sing. Again, this will become important later on. A

7. Weekend Update with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin (13:33)
-Also: Garrett Morris, Bill Murray, & Gilda Radner

We get the second appearance of a teaser before Update starts and it’s a pretty funny one with President Carter and the First Lady dressing up for the Broadway musical, Cats. More great Carter-related news items includes a pregnant magazine cover and a discussion involving Menachim Begin that leads into a telephone conversation between Jane and the President himself (Aykroyd). Since it is obviously Danny doing the voice, the reveal of Aykroyd on the phone at the other side of the newsdesk following the call is made that much funnier. Garrett’s commentary was pretty funny as he started by defending an African-American basketball player who supposedly punched a white player during a game, but after showing footage that proves the opposite of his point, he backs up and rescinds his story. Bill Murray stops by with his smarmy self to do a review of Miracle on 34th Street, which he finds a total cop-out because the movie never says whether there is a Santa Claus or not. It’s another example of Murray’s expertise at playing these types of Hollywood phony characters and I love how this commentary reveals that he still believes in jolly old St. Nick. Directly after Bill takes off, the Dancing N returns and wants to be revealed. Danny finally takes the N off and it’s Emily Litella, who makes her first appearance since last season. She does a commentary on the “sssst landing” and it’s the same ol’ thing she usually does, but Jane’s subsequent freak-out afterwards is hilarious. After capping it off with a funny bit regarding Idi Amin being chummy with the Son of Sam killer, we close out on a pretty strong edition of Update. A

8. Sartresky & Hutch (6:52)
-Spillman, Buck Henry, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman

Well, here’s a pretty conceptual piece. Spoofing the 70s cop drama (which would’ve been on the air still at this point), this piece finds Hutch (Belushi) teamed up with the philosophizing Sartresky (Aykroyd), named after Jean-Paul of course. I’m sure this would go over the heads of tons of viewers today and probably did at the time as well. This “episode” sees the twosome trying to stop a suicidal criminal (Murray) from blowing himself up as well as his wife (Curtin) and his mother (Spillman). Not to mention there is also an amusing piece with Buck making a proposal towards a hooker informant (Newman). This doesn’t work as well as it should have, but it is still funny and is highlighted by Aykroyd’s fantastic comic performance as an existentialist cop. Belushi also comes perilously close to cracking up due to Danny’s antics. B

9. The Franken and Davis Show (4:12)

What starts off as a special visit from Al’s parents (the real deal!) soon degenerates into an insane family ordeal after his mother reveals an embarrassing story involving Al and urination. These bits are usually among the highlights of the episodes they appear in and this one was no exception. While Franken and Davis were great writers, their performance skills were also pretty impressive. Al does dishevelled well and Davis is the man who attempts to calm the storm. A+

10. E. Buzz Miller’s Art Classics (3:43)
-Aykroyd, Newman

We get the debut of two semi-popular characters here as E. Buzz Miller (Aykroyd), sleazebag extraordinaire, introduces some classic paintings involving nudes so that he can point out the breasts on the women. Christy Christina (Newman) joins him and through her giggling and ditzy mannerisms, she doesn’t lend too much to the discussion. Laraine is an absolute delight here though and I loved Christy! Come to think of it, this is Buzz’s second appearance (his first being in Gordon/Berry in Year 2), but the character has evolved a bit since then. B+

11. Elderly Girlfriend (3:30)
-Spillman, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin

For the first time all night, Miskel gets her first real opportunity to act as a young college man (Belushi) comes home with his new girlfriend (Spillman). The parents (Aykroyd & Curtin) are more than a little surprised by the age difference between the new couple, but they still don’t react with cartoonish behaviour like you’d expect. A good, calming sketch and Miskel does the best she could possibly do with this role. It was kind of adorable here that Jane pretty much guided her through their conversation too. B

12. Wino Santa (2:38)
-Murray, Radner

A department store Santa (Murray) relentlessly taunts a poor young girl (Radner), who asks for tons of different gifts. Jolly old St. Nick is all too willing to mercilessly torture her by dropping her off his lap and continues to revel in her misery. This was just an example of the chemistry between these two, which would only improve in the years to come. A-

13. The Soiled Kimono (4:04)
-Newman

One of the all-time classic Mr. Mike bits. Laraine stops by Mr. Mike’s Coral Waters Cafe to beg for a least-loved bedtime tale, but he makes her sing the aria from Madame Butterfly while some words scroll over the screen telling of the ingredients of the drink and of the story behind its origins. Reportedly, Laraine was none too happy about being forced to sing this difficult Madame Butterfly tune, but it results in a terrific sketch. A+

14. Elvis Costello sings “Less Than Zero”… err, “Radio Radio” (2:57)

After playing his hit, “Less Than Zero” for about fifteen seconds, Costello halts his band and launches into a harsh criticism of mainstream radio and television with “Radio Radio.” An infamous moment in SNL history and one of the all-time great musical performances on the show. Apparently, Costello did this after being sent over the edge due to a prank by Aykroyd. A+

Miskel, adorn in an adorable Christmas outfit, thanks everyone for giving her the most wonderful time in her life and brings everyone on stage (including Mr. Mike, papa and mama Franken, and Buck Henry, but of course not including Elvis Costello) to join in on the adulation. Interesting to note here is that the cameras focus on the crew more than the cast on-stage in a way of giving everyone screentime before the Christmas break, I guess. I also noticed here that a set was constructed for a sketch with Dan Aykroyd’s Joseph Franklin character, but it must’ve been cut for time.

So how was the episode? A lot better than you would think. For an episode of a show featuring a guest star with no acting experience whatsoever, this made for a pretty entertaining time and a number of classic bits to be found throughout. With a host who obviously didn’t give a tour-de-force performance, the episode basically became a cast-focused one. There were lots of highlights in that department too. From Laraine’s amazing singing voice to Gilda’s childlike abandon to Danny and John’s solid showings in several sketches again, this was a top notch showing from all involved.

Elvis Costello brought the musical goods here as well, particularly with his second rebellious song and his stares of utter terror that he made in the direction of the camera. Watch out, Dan Aykroyd!

Host Rating: B
Musical Guest Rating: A+
Show Rating: A-


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 17)

Can you believe there’s only five more episodes after this one until the end of the season? This has been one of the strongest seasons in quite some time (comparable to the 2000/2001 season) and unless the train falls completely off the tracks by season’s end, this will shape up to be one of the more memorable ones as well.

After last week’s gamble (but ultimately, success) with Miley Cyrus taking the realms of host, SNL relies on a returning host this time in Zach Galifianakis, who delivered a slew of fun performances in an above-average episode from last season. The biggest note about his last stint was the shaving of his beard merely so he could do the last sketch of the night as his alter-ego, Seth Galifianakis. However, Zach also proved himself to be a team player and was very clutch during that episode. Obviously, the cast enjoyed having him around and hence, he is back once again and this time he is promoting The Hangover 2 and also his new stand-up DVD.

Joining Galifianakis is a young lady making her American television debut, Jessie J. I really don’t know too much about this woman but something tells me I’ve heard at least one of her songs before. She is supremely popular in the United Kingdom, so hopefully we will see some examples of why she is so well-liked over there and it will translate over to the US.

START!

The Show:

1. Selection Sunday (5:01)
-Hader, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Pedrad

I will be the first one to admit that I do not watch sports on television. At all. So when this opener started with Greg Gumbel (Thompson) and Jim Nantz (Sudeikis) opening a sports-related sketch, I thought here is something that will go way over my head. However, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that this would in fact not be related to March Madness, but rather just Madness, the tournament to decide the craziest person in the world. The interviews with Kaddafi (Armisen) and the Melissa Leo (Wiig) bit were funny, but Charlie Sheen (Hader) popping up again, this time on Sheen’s Corner, was the highlight. I would like to add that Two and a Half Men performed with popsicle sticks would probably be a better show than the real thing. The acting would be better, anyway. Hi-yo! …oh yeah, the sketch. It gets a solid B.

2. Monologue (7:01)

For the second time this season, we get a sampling of the host’s stand-up material. Even though Brand’s monologue was funny, this one blows it right out of the water with multiple highlights found throughout. I personally enjoyed his “Worst Bragger” character (“So, I was french-kissin’ my brother last night”) and the guy who really likes cargo shorts. These segments then lead into Zach getting into a dress ala Annie and while “Tomorrow” starts playing, he does his bit where he rips sheets of paper off a big display. A top-notch monologue here; it was easily the best one so far this season. A+

3. The Talk (6:24)
-Galifianakis, Elliott, Hader, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad

As soon as this started, I thought it was just another way for SNL to take a stab at “The View” and I thought… why wouldn’t they just do another View sketch instead? Alas, this is an actual morning show that airs with Leah Remini (Elliott), Sara Gilbert (Bayer), Julie Chen (Wiig), and Sharon Osbourne (Pedrad) discussing banal topics that no one really cares to hear about from a group of third-rate actresses. I used to like Leah, but damn she has lowered herself with this show. Anyway, this sketch is not exactly first-sketch-of-the-night material, but is still a pretty funny condemning of the terrible program, particularly one The View-obsessed fan (Zach) who is disappointed at being taken to the wrong show on his birthday. Although Bayer shines as Gilbert, who just wants to hide in her sweater from the embarrassment and the Steven Tyler (Hader) segment goes nowhere. B

4. The Original Kings of Catchphrase Comedy (2:47)
-Armisen, Elliott, Hader, Meyers, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson, Bayer, Brittain, Killam, Pharoah

I’m not sure why not a lot of people understood what they were making fun of with this one. Stupid one-joke comedians like Larry the Cable Guy (who, for the love of God, should never host) and Jeff Dunham are skewered here as an this piece advertises a show with catchphrase comedians. There are way too many to list here, but suffice to say there are a few highlights like Pete “Airhorn” Schultz (Galifianakis), White Bernie Mac (Sudeikis), Barry the Plumbing Gentleman (Killam), and finally Boston Powers (SETH MEYERS!). Very clever parody. A

5. Scared Straight (5:48)
-Galifianakis, Hader, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Thompson

Marking his first appearance since Betty White/Jay-Z from last year, Lorenzo McIntosh (Thompson) shows up again to teach a number of kids and send them on the straight and narrow. This time, he brings along a Hannibal Lecter-like criminal in Larry Bernstein (Galifianakis), a former accountant who now eats people. Zach’s insane criminal was the cherry on the sundae as he basically stood there and unleashed some truly great lines (“And also, Helena Bonham-Carter is there ’cause this is real!”). It should be noted that Hader didn’t crack up this time, which is truly an accomplishment for this sketch. Solid. B+

6. Digital Short: Zach Looks For An Assistant (2:59)
-Galifianakis

As a companion piece to last season’s piece where Zach showed up on various TV show sets, this time our host begins his search for an assistant, but he only interviews awkward children. What follows is some Between Two Ferns-like banter between Zach and some cute kids, which alone makes for a solid and humourous digital short. B+

7. Jessie J (feat. B.o.B.) sings “Price Tag” (3:56)

And the verdict is… Jessie J’s debut is a very successful one. This song sounded familiar and I’ve definitely heard it before, but just didn’t know who actually sang it. B.o.B. (who?) comes out at one point to rap with her, but that’s really the only downside to this otherwise electric number. A-

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:12)
-Also: Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig

There’s no possible way they could’ve followed up last week’s amazing edition of Update, but Seth did an admirable job this week. The bit about the NFL lockout was pretty good as well as the International Women’s Day/Mardi Gras piece. I also enjoyed the piece about men who cheat on their wives. Guests this week include Julie Taymor (Wiig), the director of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, who is in the midst of a certain kind of madness after being fired from the production. After constantly bringing up her other successes (i.e. The Lion King), Taymor keeps defending her Spider-Man knowledge and takes credit for writing “Hakuna Matata.” Her constant bits of advice were funny too, resulting in a great commentary from Kristen. The other guest this week is Liam (Samberg), the teenager who just woke up. Well, I didn’t think his first appearance was particularly amazing, but this time it fares a little better and Andy’s performance is a lot of fun even though he barely comments at all on the topic at hand. All in all, a pretty good edition of Update but not as outstanding as last week. Classy ending with the mention of Red Cross. B+

9. Noodles (4:48)
-Galifianakis, Elliott, Hader, Moynihan, Thompson (voice), Wiig, Pedrad

After an unfortunate event involving the family dog, a mother (Wiig) and father (Galifianakis) are forced to explain to the children what had happened without getting into any grisly details or leading them to believe that the dog has perished. What starts off as a sketch that looked like one of the kids (Pedrad) was just going to challenge the parents’ logic the whole time developed into something much more than that. The ending felt a little tacked-on but the dark territory that this sketch reached at times was pretty funny. A-

10. Celebrity Scoop (4:00)
-Galifianakis, Armisen, Hader, Wiig

Well, it’s been a long while since SNL has taken a swipe at their neighbour up north. I, myself, am Canadian so I felt a special attachment to this sketch, which would’ve been all the more special if this bit were funnier. To be fair, they hit all the Canadian stereotypes with pinpoint accuracy but it was run into the ground a bit too much and the sketch ran long. Zach’s bit as the guy who enunciated his words for far too long was pretty funny, but my favourite part was the moose as the producer. If they really wanted to go for broke though, it would have been a beaver. C

11. Jessie J sings “Mamma Knows Best” (3:15)

This time, Jessie gets to sing solo without the unnecessary B.o.B. in there ruining things. She really gets to showcase her voice with this one as she reaches levels that Christina Aguilera only wishes she could get to. She’s not too hard on the eyes, either. Yowsers. A

12. Corn Syrup Producers of America (1:25)
-Moynihan, Wiig, Pedrad

What starts as some vague criticism regarding the excessive use of corn syrup from a fellow housewife (Wiig), a woman (Pedrad) suddenly becomes quite scornful at these allegations and dresses down her friend. The ending packed the punch and I enjoyed the banter between the two ladies. B+

13. Titanic (2:35)
-Galifianakis, Elliott, Hader, Moynihan, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad

Moments after the infamous ship sunk, one “woman” (Zach) sneaks “her” way aboard a lifeboat with the women and children, but they quickly discover that it is obviously a man. It feels like I’ve been saying this ad nauseum, but Zach was delightful here (“Mrs. … Boat”) and Hader showing up as an imposter baby was also amusing. B

And for the goodnights, Zach shaved his head to get a Mr. T look (“Unfortunately, we did not get to the Mr. T sketch”) and then thanks everyone before closing out the show.

And this would be known as the night of the B grades. There was nothing outstanding or amazing this week (aside from the monologue and the catchphrase comedians bit), but there was nothing truly terrible either. The “Canadian Scoop” sketch may not have been that good, but it certainly wasn’t awful and didn’t drag anything else down.

Zach was a willing host once again and it seemed like he got to do a lot more this time out. Despite being thrust in the background of a few sketches (albeit, very hilariously) Zach was one of the major highlights of a solid episode of SNL, thus continuing the awesomeness that is Season 36. Jessie J, as well, was outstanding and if not for B.o.B. interjecting himself, her first performance would have been near-perfect.

Good stuff this week, although I find it amusing that after praising Taran Killam last week and declaring him a big player, he was only in one sketch tonight.

Host Rating: A-
Musical Guest Rating: A
Show Rating: B+


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 16)

Well, it has happened, ladies and gentlemen. I never thought I would see the day but Hannah Montana herself has finally been pegged to host the show that has so mercilessly mocked her with Vanessa Bayer’s hilarious impression and several jokes about her bong video. Okay, so maybe Saturday Night Live hasn’t been horrible towards Miley Cyrus but I mean, what do you have to run with besides her creepy/borderline obsessive father and her videotaped indiscrepancies.

Despite the public outcry, Miley will indeed put her acting chops to the test when she tries out comedy that is NOT Disney. Joining Cyrus is the Strokes, who seem to be on the brink of a comeback with their latest CD, Angles. I enjoy them so this is an aspect of the show that I am very much so looking forward to.

Gambling time!

The Show:

1. Duh! Winning! (6:05)
Cyrus, Armisen, Elliott, Hader, Killam

It was a foregone conclusion that SNL would take a swipe at Charlie Sheen. After weeks and weeks of his insane (and I do mean, BAT-SHIT insane) ramblings and interviews, Charlie (Hader) hosts a show in which he talks to fellow messed-up celebrities/third-rate famous people in order to compare notes. Included are his bandleader Christina Aguilera (Elliott), who has also had her problems with the National Anthem and then was arrested for public intoxication. Guests include Hitler sympathizer John Galliano (Killam), crazy dictator Muammer Kaddafi (Armisen), and troublesome partygoer Lindsay Lohan (Cyrus). This was not a home-run as might have been expected but it was still quite funny and Miley’s Lohan impression was pretty damn good too. Loved the e-mail from Gary Busey, too. B+

2. Monologue (2:22)
Cyrus, Moynihan, Wiig

Miley brings up her indiscretions in song (such as the insanely horrendous deed of smoking salvia) and then notes that there were many other celebrities who did far worse things than just show a little side boob or kiss their boyfriend in a picture. She makes a point and it’s a good little monologue with some fun accompaniment from Bobby and Kristen. B

3. Baby Spanx (1:03)
-Hader, Sudeikis, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad

Repeat from 10/23/10. However, they took out the “tabby spanx” part at the end, I noticed. PETA complaint? B+

4. Our Time! (5:47)
Cyrus, Elliott, Samberg, Thompson, Pharoah

Finally, the two members of the Black-Eyed Peas that no one really knows (Taboo and apl.de.ap) get the spotlight and host their own show. Of course, it isn’t long before Will.i.am (Pharoah) and Fergie (Cyrus) interrupt to hog the spotlight and see if they’re needed. If this is the start of a recurring sketch, I’m all for it. Samberg and Kenan’s chemistry together has been proven already with those banal Deep House Dish sketches and at least this time, they have better material to work with with these underappreciated background singers (let’s face it, that’s what they are) as they interview equally unimportant celebrities like Khloe Kardashian (Elliott). B+

5. The Essentials: The Sound of Music (5:02)
-Cyrus, Armisen, Elliott, Hader, Moynihan, Samberg, Sudeikis, Wiig, Bayer, Killam, Pedrad

Jason Sudeikis gets to put his great Robert Osborne impression to work again as the host of the series that features famous films with deleted scenes that just never made sense. This week, we get Mexican comedian Richie Inez Jr. (Armisen) making an awkward appearance in The Sound of Music as one of the Von Trapp children. If you must know, Miley appears as one of the children in love with a boy (Samberg). She didn’t do too much here as it was Armisen that ran away with this purposely stereotypical role. I particularly liked Samberg’s reaction to Richie’s comedy and the crowd of Nazis in one scene. It was nothing too outstanding, but it was a decent enough edition of the sketch. B-

6. The Disney Channel Acting School (2:19)
Cyrus, Elliott, Moynihan, Thompson, Brittain, Killam

Miley takes her reputation to task in this jokey commercial, advertising the art of acting on the eponymous family channel. Of course, it shows various aspects of shows like Hannah Montana and the art of speaking louder than the person who previously spoke, disrespect any authority figure, and spying in a doorway (my favourite). This was tremendous and proved that Miley was more than willing to poke fun at her image. A

7. The Miley Cyrus Show (4:50)
Cyrus, Sudeikis, Bayer, Killam

Here we go! This is what most people were looking forward to if they would have to endure Miley Cyrus hosting the episode. In this edition of the show, Miley (Bayer) does a “famous celebrity impression” of Charlie Sheen and then quickly introduces her guest, Justin Bieber (Cyrus). Miley does a pretty great impression of Bieber along with her swagger coach, Be-Bop (Killam) and the interaction between host and guest is “pretty cool” as well. Of course, Billy Ray (Sudeikis) chimes in with some great lines as well and the clip is good as per usual. It was awesome to see both Miley and “Miley” sing the theme too. A-

8. The Strokes sing “Under Cover of Darkness” (3:53)

Julian and co. sing the hit off their new album and… the verdict is… it’s great! The Strokes haven’t lost a step as they deliver a great new song and then some. A

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (13:09)
-Also: Bobby Moynihan and Jason Sudeikis

After a brilliant start in which Seth chastises the Charlie Sheen story for coming up too early, Meyers settles in and delivers zinger after zinger with not a break to take a breath in sight. His highlights this week? Seth’s rant about the discovery of Legionnaire’s Disease at the Playboy Mansion is a gas, but his bit on the man losing weight by placing a robot in his stomach takes the cake this week (“No salad?” “Nah, robot.”) Seth’s Sheen jokes are pretty great too and it leads into another edition of Winners/Losers, which is also fantastic. The guest commentaries this week are equally great as the Devil (Sudeikis) stops by to comment on his recent evildoings and then announces how even he doesn’t agree with the Westboro Baptist Church, who are going straight to hell. Jason excels at this new character as his smarmy charm takes over and he delivers some top-notch work here once again. Anthony Crispino (Moynihan) is the other commentator and he never fails to entertain me with his second-hand news, particularly this week’s edition considering how he has no idea about the whole slew of Charlie Sheen news. Flawless edition of Update. A+

10. Les Jeunes de Paris (3:21)
Cyrus, Elliott, Moynihan, Samberg, Wiig, Brittain, Killam, Pedrad

Making its return after the Stone/KOL broadcast, Killam’s original Groundlings creation takes place again. Basically, a bunch of french people dance around with a perfectly choreographed dance number. This sketch is fantastic just for the amazing detail that goes into the choreography and the performances of all involved, specifically Taran Killam as the main dancer, Francois. A

11. Beastly (1:14)
Cyrus, Samberg, Brittain, Pedrad

Remember that trailer with Andy Samberg as the creepy roommate of Justin Bieber, who turns out murderous? Well, this is the same idea except that Declan takes the role of the main character in a mock-up of Beastly and has some pretty fun interaction with our host. Pretty funny stuff and it’s kept short. B+

12. Rock-A-Billy Lady Party Moisturizing Facial Cream (3:45)
Cyrus, Wiig

In the same vein of Spa Talk from the Eisenberg episode and A Spot of Tea from the Russell Brand one, we get another sketch to add to the “WTF” pile. In this commercial, two women (Cyrus & Wiig) with puffy 80s hair advertise their facial cream and rock-a-billy CDs, which will complement each other and help your life out. This was such a bizarre sketch but I liked it based on the strength of the performances from the two stars here plus the writing was absolutely absurd. I seem to be in the minority on these really weird bits. A-

13. The Strokes sing “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight” (4:06)

Another big number for the Strokes and another success. Casablancas’ vocals are no match for the instrumental section on this song, but it’s still an entertaining song by a great band. B+

14. Ginger Rangers (3:04)
Cyrus, Elliott, Moynihan, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Brittain, Killam

What starts out as a simple performance on a cruise line launches into something more crude, as the songstress Ginger Rangers (Miley) proceeds to sing about how disgusting she finds all of the older passengers (Elliott, Moynihan, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Killam) in the audience to be. Cyrus starting up “You people are gross to me” as a musical number was hilarious as was the interaction between Ginger and the “almost handsome” passenger, as played by the versatile Taran Killam. Mark my words. TK is going to be a big-time player. Paul’s line was pretty funny too. B

15. CBS: Gurney Month (1:07)
-Killam (voice)

Taking a well-deserved shot at all the “corpse” shows that CBS now has (CSI/NCIS/Mentalist), this quick commercial parody introduces the new upcoming shows in the same manner such as Two and a Half Dead Bodies. It’s a topical piece that packs a punch. A-

Miley thanks the Strokes and SNL for having her before waving goodbye and embracing everyone on-stage.

Miley surprised everyone and was a very capable host. The Strokes were great. There was a serious lack of unfunny material tonight. Taran Killam continues to come into his own. All is well. This episode continues the terrific roll that Season 36 continues to be on essentially since Poehler/Perry.

Sorry for the lack of closing comments, but I am very tired.

Host Rating: B+
Musical Guest Rating: A-
Show Rating: A-