(Season 38, Episode 15)
Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

KEVIN HART: “Let Me Explain” (stand-up comedy tour)

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS: “The Heist” (album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Budget Cuts (4:24)
Budget Cuts

–      An Obama opening can sometimes be dicey but now that we have someone who is better at doing the impression combined with a number of other characters thrown into this made it quite the entertaining way to start the show.

–      My favourite bit was the Taco Bell & Ikea/horses reference but a lot of the actual budget cuts were pretty funny like air traffic controllers having to watch ads before they look at their radar and having people take a picture of their junk to hand in to security instead of full body scans.

–      Sudeikis’ bit was funny mostly because of his great delivery while Moynihan had a great bit during it as well, saying that there will be cutbacks on meat inspection.

–      The Village People/YMCA thing at the end was predictable but still very funny. Taran’s lingering stare at the camera as he walked off was also a great little detail.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Kevin Hart (6:58)
Monologue

–      As expected, this was all stand-up material from Hart but he did a great job anyway and was very energetic throughout the whole thing.

–      I do like how Kevin incorporated his audition for SNL into his set even though I’m sure that he wrote the joke before with a different premise. The DeNiro “impression” made me laugh the most but I also really liked his quick comment about how they didn’t laugh which was automatically racist.

RATING: ****

 

 

SHOW: Steve Harvey (4:59)
Steve Harvey

–      Wow, I gotta give the writers props for doing an ENTIRELY different kind of sketch than the last time they did Steve Harvey on the season premiere.

–      The “dogglegangers” thing was kinda lame but it at least seemed like something that Steve would probably do on his own show.

–      Kevin was pretty good as the guest on the show with a phobia of horses and the whole bit with the stuffed horse was pretty funny.

–      Kenan’s story about his wife being impregnated was hilarious.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SHOW: The Situation Room (3:18)
The Situation Room

–      It was pretty funny to see Kevin Hart dressed up as Quvenzhané Wallis and then it got a bit disturbing with Sudeikis’ comment about the “horsey rides at the Vatican” going on and Killam’s creepy expression the entire time.

–      I also really liked Armisen trying to be cute with his pope impression.

RATING: ***

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Verismo (1:50)

–      Repeat from Anne Hathaway/Rihanna (11/10/12).

 

 

SKETCH: Barnes & Noble Lay-Offs (5:37)
Barnes & Noble Lay-Offs

–      I never expected these characters from Bobby and Cecily to come back but I didn’t mind this so much just as I didn’t mind watching this the first time in the McDonald’s setting.

–      The jokes mostly stemmed from the appearances of the various employees rather than the insults thrown at them from Bobby and Cecily.

–      I think my favourite employees were Sudeikis as a guy who is always wet, Armisen saying that you don’t talk during charades, Taran with the “glassy-eyed stare of a man with nothing to lose” with a “closet full of orphan bones,” Hader asking how far ahead they planned this tirade after seeing a modified dictionary prop, and Kate’s creepy delivery on how they share a pancreas.

–      I also loved the appearance by Tim at the end as the old man character from the last time they did this sketch. He even managed to crack Kevin Hart up something fierce during the last part of the sketch.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MUSICAL  PERFORMANCE: “Thrift Shop” (3:42)
Macklemore1

–      I actually enjoyed this rap performance… not a sentence I use often. It was lively and energetic with a good beat.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (8:56)

Guests: Dennis Rodman & Kim Jong-Un and Really!?! with Seth & Kevin
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6

–      Best Jokes: Castel Gandolfo; 30% increase in births; Girls Gone Wild/bankruptcy; 911/cheeseburger; Downton Abbey/black castmember; fat kids; Disney’s City Girl

–      The bit with Jay and Bobby as Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-Un made me laugh but also reminded me of that bit from a while back with Jay and Sudeikis as Kanye and Dubya. Still, that’s pretty much where the similarities ended. I enjoyed both performances and the best parts were the “North Korean High-Five,” Bobby stressing that he is the tallest, most handsome, and has the biggest penis in all of North Korea, the Winnie the Pooh bit, and the part at the end with the two walking off to do “jedi training.”

–      Kevin Hart joins in for an edition of “Really!?!” on the Voters Rights Act enacted to protect the rights of African-Americans in the south. Kevin was a good candidate for this type of segment and he had a lot of energy in this segment; he had some great lines too like how having one black friend in Clarence Thomas being more racist than having no black friends. His “God damn!” outburst was as a result of a line flub but he said it again in a later sketch so I’m sure he added that one in as well. I hope that doesn’t prevent him from being invited back again.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: The Walking Dead (3:48)
The Walking Dead

–      Frankly, I’m surprised it took them this long to tackle the show. This was a funny parody but didn’t really spend a whole lot of time parodying the actual show rather than just taking the ‘racist card’ angle.

–      Kevin led this sketch and did a solid job. I liked all his accusations of everyone else being racist, especially when he said his limp was just his swag and after he ate Maggie, he just said, “Oh what? Like I should’ve ate some fried chicken or some watermelon?”

–      Nasim made me laugh a whole lot as Carl Jr. I like how they made fun of the fact that the kid is somehow able to kill people and immediately feel fine about it afterwards.

–      There’s been an awful lot of Tim Robinson tonight, which is certainly a good thing.

RATING: ***

 

 

SHOW: Shark Tank (3:15)
Shark Tank

–      Strange parody of the reality show; I don’t think it was terrible but it was a bit underwhelming and I wasn’t sure what they were really going for here.

–      The bit at the beginning with Tim Robinson was pretty funny (“it’s called a slest!”)

–      The visual of the lamp with the sunglasses was pretty funny but did anyone else think that it was going to be called “Lampshades?” I mean, I thought that was a pretty obvious punchline.

–      Kevin’s final line at the end was strange.

RATING: **

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Z-Shirts (1:25)
Z-Shirts

–      INSANE commercial parody! This further proved the notion of Tim Robinson appearing a lot more this week as he had a lead role here alongside Hart. Combined with the later sketch that referenced this commercial, it reminded me a whole lot of the Closet Organizer bit from a few seasons ago.

–      The camera angles on Kevin every time he went through the alphabet and asked if it was a [insert letter here] shirt cracked me up to no end. He really sold the whole thing but Robinson as the straight man was great as well.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Voiceover Auditions (4:29)
Voiceover Auditions

–      Very funny sketch with another highlight performance from Kevin in the lead role. He’s really been doing a solid hosting job tonight. Bayer made me laugh too with her weird little trail-offs at the end of a few of her sentences.

–      Hader and Armisen came perilously close to cracking up but this time it was from Kevin Hart rather than from each other.

–      I also liked how Kevin kept getting more and more over-the-top as the sketch progressed forward. I feel like he may have been pushing it even further just to try and get Fred and Bill to fully lose it.

–      The bit at the end combining Kevin’s narration with Nasim was hilarious.

RATING: ****

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Can’t Hold Us” (3:47)
Macklemore2

–      Another entertaining performance. I enjoyed this guest. Yay, another good one this season! With Timberlake next week, it looks like the recent trend of decent musical guests will continue for now.

 

 

SKETCH: Z-Shirts Guy at a Funeral (:49)
Z-Shirts Guy at a Funeral

–      This was really short and just meant as a continuation to that crazy Z-Shirts thing but it made me laugh. This was a hilarious continuation of the commercial piece.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: 360 News (2:54)
360 News

–      Yet another sketch led by Kevin and yet another sketch where he does a great job handling the workload.

–      The idea of a news show having 8 cameras is ridiculous enough to begin with but having Hart start off the show with a neckbrace on was great and made the premise more interesting than it seemed to be right off the bat.

–      Hey, there’s Tim again! Kevin must’ve loved the guy or something.

–      The camera operators bit was pretty amusing too and I’m glad they didn’t go with all eight of them like they apparently did in dress rehearsal. Jay’s part was the best.

RATING: *** ½

 

Goodnights.

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Kevin Hart/Tim Robinson

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Highly enjoyable episode with a great host performance by Kevin and some fine work by the cast, Tim Robinson in particular, who got a whole lot more to do this week than usual (I’m not sure if it’s because he got along with the host so well or if he legitimately just got to do more this week). Good musical guests too, which was also nice.

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: *** ½

 

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(Season 38, Episode 14)

Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

CHRISTOPH WALTZ: “Django Unchained” (nominated for Oscars)

ALABAMA SHAKES: “Boys & Girls” (album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Carnival Cruise Ship (6:01)
Carnival Cruise Ship

–      Great topical cold open with superb performances from everyone involved as the mood on the disastrous cruise line gets increasingly more dire.

–      Sudeikis is always good at these types of roles but Cecily Strong was also pretty great at that kind of smarmy cruise-line entertainer performance.

–      Jay’s part made me laugh, especially how he did the hacky impressions thing intentionally bad and did the embarrassing “uh…what else?” thing that a lot of bad amateurs end up doing.

–      The newspaper headlines were hilarious, especially when Jason decides not to read about the once-inspirational Oscar Pistorius.

–      Hader’s bit was great too, especially how Tim Robinson begs him to turn him back into a chicken and Kenan’s off-screen outburst about how they all want to be turned into chickens.

–      Bobby crying out about someone eating his monkey was hilarious as he excels at these types of roles. I also like how he mentioned that they still have food.

–      Armisen’s insane bit as the captain was good too.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Christoph Waltz (3:17)
Monologue

–      Waltz immediately seemed like he was going to be a lot of fun and clearly enjoyed himself on-stage during this whole thing.

–      The part with Bobby and Kate was funny but the best part was definitely Taran Killam as Casual Hitler (his delivery of “heil!” was great). I also really liked how Taran proudly told everyone it took him three days to come up with it.

–      The song at the end was kinda pointless and didn’t really have jokes but it was short enough.

RATING: ***

 

 

GAMESHOW: What Have You Become? (5:19)
What Have You Become

–      This was a fun little gameshow sketch with Christoph doing a good job as the host despite some technical glitches at the beginning.

–      The three contestants were good too. I thought Aidy was probably the funniest, especially during her breakdown and yelling about how her daughter is a bitch.

–      Jay’s look as Kenan’s grandfather made me laugh just from his overall look alone.

–      Christoph’s breakdown and dancing at the end was quite a funny way to end it as well (“Mama, let me dance!” “No, boy, you’ve got to go to game show school!”).

RATING: *** ½

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Papal Securities (1:23)
Papal Securities

–      This was a funny way to tackle the Pope’s retirement and Waltz did a great job in the mostly-silent title role as the Pope himself. Sudeikis was dependable as always too.

–      The other great parts in this were no one besides the Pope being available for a testimonial, Sudeikis being a bit disgusted after kissing the Pope’s hand, and the final tagline about the company helping popes retire “since the last time it happened… in 1415.”

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Tippy (3:35)
Tippy

–      Much like some others have been saying, I do understand the fact that Nasim’s character Tippy resembles Cheri Oteri’s character Roberta but I think she was definitely different enough to be funny on her own. I also didn’t think she was an “adult Bedilia” like some have said as well. All that being said, this was funny and featured a good performance from Pedrad.

–      Some of Nasim’s little comments were funny. I think my favourite was her asking Kenan if his joke was “a black thing.”

–      I also liked the reveal that Nasim was everyone’s dog walker.

RATING: ***

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Djesus Uncrossed (2:03)
Djesus Uncrossed

–      Brilliant. This was absolutely hilarious with Christoph doing a great job playing Jesus as a vengeful warrior with some terrific references to both Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds.

–      My favourite parts were “The H is silent,” Taran as Brad Pitt, Kenan as Ving Rhames saying he was gonna “go Old Testament on his ass,” and the reviews (“a less violent version of The Passion of the Christ” and “I never knew how much Jesus used the n-word”).

RATING: *****

 

 

COMMERCIAL: The Jamarcus Brothers (3:14)
The Jamarcus Brothers

–      Another terrific sketch.

–      At the beginning was anyone else reminded of that sketch from the Jason Bateman episode in Season 30 where Kenan and Maya sing these awful songs on a CD that ends up not even being real? I liked that sketch too.

–      I sound like a broken record but Christoph Waltz really added a lot to this with his hilarious performance especially since he was juxtaposed with some down and dirty sex music from Kenan and Jay.

–      Taran and Cecily were great as the couple too, especially as Taran would act confused and Cecily never changed her delivery.

–      The names of some of the songs were also hilarious, especially the ones that Christoph’s character clearly had written (“Where Does My Penis Go? Point to Where”).

–      Kenan cracked a bit at Christoph’s delivery of “I like that!”

RATING: **** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Hold On” (4:04)
Alabama Shakes1

–      Wow. One of the best musical performances in quite a while and yeah, the best one of the season thus far for sure. This definitely makes up for that Bieber shit we had to put up with last week.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (12:53)

Guests: Sen. Marco Rubio, Olya Povlatsky, and Stephen A. Smith
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6

–      Best Jokes: cruise ship returns; McCain/Graham as Muppets; workplace dating; feminist protest; cheetahs paired with puppies

–      The commentary with Marco Rubio was hilarious. I’m really starting to see the Will Ferrell comparisons with Taran Killam. This commentary is definitely something I could’ve seen Will doing on the show had the incident occurred around the time he was in the cast. The way in which Taran was speaking when his mouth was dry was great as well as his awkward reaching for water and placing it back down way too far from his reach.

–      Kate McKinnon as the Russian victim of the meteorite was just as good as the previous commentary. She always does a great job with accents and this time was no exception. I especially loved details like Kate’s “milkshakes bringing all the boys to the haunted mine,” a dog biting Kate and dying afterwards, and her using wolf heads instead of glass in her windows. I also really liked the “bear with me” pun.

–      It was also nice to see Jay back as Stephen A. Smith again. It had a very similar approach to the last one he did but it was still very funny. I love the hyperbole he uses and the whole double-conversation thing at the end with Seth telling everyone Jay was talking to an imaginary person was tremendous.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: Louis’ New Girlfriend (4:41)
Louis' New Girlfriend

–      For some reason, the end of Tim’s story at the beginning of the sketch really made me laugh.

–      This was much better than the first time they did this sketch. I don’t think it had anything to do with replacing Craig with Waltz but rather that they did more with the jokes revolving around Fred’s character being a hipster rather than the looks he kept making towards the camera.

–      Bill cracking up by the end of the sketch was a bit expected but I really didn’t think Bayer was gonna lose it as well since she seems like one of the most capable cast member to be able to compose herself on the show. Aidy and Tim seemed to break a bit as well.

–      My favourite parts were Christoph saying that Fred looks the same without makeup, Fred saying he would prefer they talk about social politics, Taran telling Fred not to smoke and Fred responding “but I have been though,” Fred telling Taran that if he could’ve got him something, he would have, and finally Fred saying he wants to stay and the night is going to be long.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SHOW: Fox & Friends (5:27)
Fox & Friends

–      Another great installment of Fox & Friends.

–      Surprisingly, this didn’t involve Waltz at all. I’m wondering if it was originally going to be the cold open. Still, it seems like he would’ve played the role that Fred ended up playing in this sketch.

–      Once again, Bobby’s performance was terrific here.

–      I liked the State of the Union backwards part and the hosts quickly realizing it was a prank.

–      Hader was great as Ted Nugent and I liked him telling Gretchen she was perfect, which is his “second favourite P-word.”

–      The list of corrections was great once again.

RATING: ****

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Always Alright” (4:07)
Alabama Shakes2

–      Another fantastic performance by this band. The lead singer reminds me of Janis Joplin.

 

 

SKETCH: Psychotic Love Letter (4:09)
Psychotic Love Letter

–      Great closing sketch.

–      Another sketch anchored by a strong lead performance from Christoph Waltz. I loved how he played the creepy security guard to a tee. The other castmembers in the sketch were also pretty good at their supporting roles.

–      The actual broken-english letter made me laugh a whole lot as well.

RATING: ****

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Christoph Waltz/Taran Killam

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Excellent episode; I’d rank it as the second-best show of the season right behind Martin Short’s classic Christmas episode. I wasn’t completely sure how Christoph would turn out as a host but he was everything a host should be: fun, not taking himself seriously, and committed to everything he appeared in throughout the night. This automatically makes him one of the top-tier guests of the season. Alabama Shakes was also quite outstanding and easily the best musical guest thus far.

TONIGHT’S RATING: **** ½


(Season 38, Episode 13)

Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

JUSTIN BIEBER: “Believe Acoustic” (album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Super Bowl XLVII (5:37)
Super Bowl

–      It was obvious that they would tackle the power outage at the Super Bowl in some form and while this sketch was not a classic, it was well-written. The best parts included Kenan’s constant plugging for 2 Broke Girls, Taran as the reporter on the field, and Jay’s whole bit about the team trying to decide who they should eat first after the power went out.

–      There was also a pretty great shocking moment here with Jay saying that Ray Lewis knows who killed those people “because it was him.” Also, Kenan finally confessing that he’s never seen 2 Broke Girls was a great way to end that running joke.

–      The quick commercial bit with Bill Hader was hilarious.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Justin Bieber (3:15)
Monologue

–      Justin seemed pretty nervous but he accounted himself fairly well despite all that.

–      It was a good idea to stick Kenan out there with Bieber and he was quite funny with his encouragement every time Justin would say something factually incorrect about Black History Month.

–      Whoopi Goldberg’s cameo was kinda strange. She didn’t really do anything either except being wooed on the stage by our host. Okay then.

–      I will say it once so I don’t repeat myself over and over again. The screaming girls in the audience are annoying and they were loud throughout the WHOLE night.

–      Mike O’Brien’s brief appearance in the audience was great.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SHOW: The Californians (5:47)
The Californians

–      Yes, I still like this sketch. This one, though, was probably the weakest of the bunch thus far though but I still enjoyed it.

–      Bieber was okay as the kid. His “Californian” accent actually wasn’t too bad.

–      Taran was hilarious as the gay Californian but it was Kate McKinnon’s accent that probably made me laugh the most.

–      Cecily Strong looked really good in this sketch.

–      The multiple close-ups of Hader (instead of the rest of the cast) was the best part.

RATING: ***

 

 

SKETCH: Bieber Decoys (5:15)
Bieber Decoys

–      This sketch was great and that had NOTHING to do with JB. I mostly enjoyed it because of the slams and insults they made towards him right in his face. My favourite was Sudeikis telling him that no one is buying him trying to act black.

–      Kate McKinnon returning as Ellen DeGeneres was a great little bit too. I was hoping she’d bring back her Ellen impression because of Justin Bieber hosting. I also liked the fact that Justin said that he looked like her the most.

–      Moynihan’s dance-off was amusing too, especially when after Justin showed his abs, Bobby deadpans, “Alright, good luck you guys!” and walks off.

–      Sudeikis was excellent in this sketch, especially when he was lamenting and grieving over his former client, Saddam Hussein (“Oh Saddam, you flew too close to the sun, didn’t you?”).

RATING: ****

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Bravo Spin-Offs (2:26)
Bravo Spin-Offs

–      This was one of those pieces that just builds and builds and has enough rapid-fire segments that if one doesn’t work, the next one is bound to get a laugh or two.

–      I’d say my favourites were the Taran’s dentist show, Bobby’s limo driver show (“I drive men… crazy… and also to the airport”), A Coppola Coconuts (“…but we’re sluts”), and the Austrian dudes (Bieber, Hader, Sudeikis).

RATING: ***

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “As Long As You Love Me” (3:57)
Justin Bieber1

–      Blah blah blah. This was whatever. I’ll say that he was better than Maroon 5, Rihanna, and fun but that’s it.

–      His voice sounded like it was cracking at times.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (9:10)

Guests: King Richard III’s Best Friends From Growing Up and Corey the Only Black Guy in Every Commercial
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5

–      Best Jokes: Obama memo/just cause; background checks; Star Wars spin-offs; Boy Scouts/homosexual ban; Honey Boo Boo; Seagal training session; photo app

–      Armisen and Bayer bring back their Two Best Friends bit once again, this time for King Richard III. I thought it was kinda amusing that they picked someone who has been dead for quite some time but I am really starting to tire of this recurring commentary. Even Seth’s bit at the end wasn’t as funny as it usually is since it just involved him talking about his girlfriend rather than Tina Fey or the new castmembers.

–      Kenan as the one black guy in every commercial was great. The detail of Kenan needing to high-five every 12 seconds was funny as well as him appearing to be friendly and non-threatening. Seth obviously got a kick out of this one and Kenan cracked up a bit, which is pretty rare for him.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SKETCH: 50s Romance (4:12)
50s Romance

–      This was another one of my favourites of the night, due mostly to the performances by Cecily and Aidy in particular.

–      I liked the premise here that Bieber’s character was stupid and immature. The best examples of this were him not knowing how doors work, how he thought there would be actual puppies in her blouse, and the bit about him putting his pants on backwards and saying, “look at me; my butt’s in front.”

–      The ending was also great too with Bieber telling Cecily that he’s only eleven with Cecily responding that she’s good with that.

RATING: ****

 

 

SHOW: The Miley Cyrus Show (4:30)
The Miley Cyrus Show

–      This was an interesting way to bring back the Miley Cyrus Show. I always like Bayer’s impression and Sudeikis is terrific as Billy Ray.

–      Moynihan’s drummer character finally has a name: Dale.

–      Bieber as the fan club president was pretty decent. I did like how he took a few shots at himself and the semi-apology was funny as well but mostly because of Bayer’s response about how she’s sorry too regarding her own drug experience.

–      I also liked the ending with the wedding clip and Billy Ray saying he can’t believe he’s just finding out about this.

RATING: ***

 

 

SKETCH: Protective Brother (5:42)
Protective Brother

–      Much like the firehouse sketch from the previous episode, I don’t think many other castmembers could have made this very simple premise work like Taran did here.

–      I will say that Bieber and Pedrad made a pretty cute couple and it makes sense that the writers used them in another sketch later on.

–      Taran was really good here like I said. His overall look and demeanour made me laugh a whole lot.

–      The first time the word “glice” came up I actually thought it was a real slip-up from Bieber which is something of a credit to his performance.

–      Taran actually had JB cracking up, which was also very funny.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS: A Sexy Valentine’s Day Message (1:41)
A Sexy Valentine's Day Message

–      This was somewhat amusing. I mostly liked it for Moynihan’s strange Taco character and the sexy dice that spelled out “fondle butt.”

RATING: ** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Nothing Like Us” (3:14)
Justin Bieber2

–      Sudeikis drew the short straw and had to introduce him, I guess.

–      Another whatever performance. Nothing to see here.

 

 

SKETCH: Valentine’s Dance (4:29)
Valentine's Dance

–      Another sketch with Pharoah playing the very strange Principal Frye, Bayer as the emcee, and Kenan as the angry gym teacher. This was a pretty decent one and it’s funny how these sketches always get pushed to the back end of the show.

–      Again, Nasim and Justin played a couple here and they had some great chemistry. Nasim was especially funny here with her orgasmic reaction to having her shoulder touched and her answering in the affirmative was funny.

–      What was up with the microphone bit with Pharoah suddenly grabbing a working mic out of his jacket?

–      Kenan was great again here too; he’s been having a really good night in general.

RATING: ***

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Kenan Thompson

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? On the contrary, I found this episode to be quite funny with a mostly-decent performance from Justin Bieber as the host (although he didn’t reall improve or hinder any sketches) and some great work by the cast this week, of which it will be hard to pick one stand-out. Nothing was really bad this week either; solid stuff.

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: *** ½ 


(Season 38, Episode 12)

Bumper

 

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

ADAM LEVINE: “The Voice” (Season 4)

KENDRICK LAMAR: “good kid, m.A.A.d city” (album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Obama and Martin Luther King (4:05)
Obama and Martin Luther King

–      Clever way to open the show rather than just doing an inauguration sketch. Jay’s Obama was great as usual but Kenan as MLK was a lot of fun as well.

–      There were some really fun moments here with Kenan talking about how hot Beyonce is and that he thought he was having “another one of my famous dreams,” Michelle’s bangs making her look like a guest star on The New Girl, MLK Day being his day off, Kenan telling Barack to tell his white assistant to “shut the hell up and go to sleep,” and the last bit where Kenan tells Obama that he’s going to have to tell Cornel West to “take it down about thirty notches.”

–      For some reason it made me laugh that Obama had a skinny glass of beer.

–      Great LFNY delivery from both men.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Adam Levine (4:56)
Monologue

–      Terrific monologue but it really had nothing to do with Levine at all. This was all Samberg for the most part as his cameo had me in stitches for the entire time.

–      My favourite bits from Andy were him telling Levine that he was “in 100 digital shorts as well as 3 live sketches,” that they’ve both slept with “between 2 and 500 women,” and the bit with Andy getting out the lotion when Adam talked about taking his shirt off.

–      Cameron Diaz was funny as well, especially as she did the whole Christina Aguilera thing to a tee. Her part wasn’t quite as funny as Samberg’s but she still did a decent job with the material.

–      Jerry Seinfeld was the ultimate surprise and obviously the audience was enamoured to see him as well. I really hope to see him host again one more time. His part was very funny as well, especially his slam against Samberg for having an “interesting look.”

–      Adam taking his shirt off at the end was very unnecessary.

RATING: ****

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Rosetta Stone (1:30)
Rosetta Stone

–      Oh man, I laughed my ass off at this and it has to be one of the most offensive and funny things I’ve seen in a while on the show.

–      Taran packing the extra small condoms was what got me. His character was going to have sex with an underage Thai boy.

–      I think that was Fred as the computerized-voice guy but I can’t be sure.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

SHOW: Circle Work (5:43)
Circle Work

–      You know what? I expected to hate this but I gotta say that this was much better than expected and they actually did something with the premise of gay people hosting a show rather than just a lot of tired gay stereotypes. I really liked that Kenan and Adam kept thinking that their guests (or in one case, a guest’s husband) were gay no matter what.

–      Bayer was the highlight here too as the assistant in love with Kenan.

–      Jason’s straight character (no pun intended) was quite funny too and I liked his acting when he finally realized he was gay.

–      Adam’s random dancing interludes were amusing. He seemed to go a bit ahead of the script and stumble a couple times though.

–      Kenan spelling out “you are a gay goose at a gay goose pride parade” was hilarious.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

COMMERCIAL: The Sopranos Diaries (3:38)
The Sopranos Diaries

–      Pretty funny stuff with an exceptionally strong performance from Bobby Moynihan as a young Tony Soprano with good supporting work from Kate and Tim, especially.

–      I also thought the therapist scene was a little lacking as well but Cecily looked the part and did a good job.

–      Levine was unnecessarily thrown into this sketch. He didn’t do anything funny.

–      I liked the reveal that the girl was dancing on their cafeteria table.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Bryce’s Meltdown (4:52)
Bryce's Meltdown

–      I will also jump on-board with most people in thinking that this sketch would only have worked with Hader in the lead role here. If it was anyone else I think this would’ve been completely annoying and just fallen flat on its face.

–      Bobby had the second funniest part in the sketch as the firefighter who would just randomly join Hader in his insane fits.

–      Again, Levine was worthless here.

–      It looked like Hader was trying to crack up Killam at one point with his repeated screams but to TK’s credit, he held it all together.

–      The “dog attack” scene was amusing as well.

–      The visual of Hader in that insane jacket was hilarious.

RATING: ***

 

 

DIGITAL SHORT: YOLO (3:07)
Digital Short

–      I fucking hate the term “YOLO” with a fiery passion but this was a decent digital short. However, I feel that doing this kinda cheapens last season’s finale and now Lazy Sunday 2 was not the last DS.

–      Danny McBride’s cameo was quite funny.

–      There were a few funny scenarios here that I enjoyed. The one about furniture being killing machines was probably my favourite though.

–      I didn’t care for the part with Kendrick Lamar at all.

RATING: ***

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Swimming Pools (Drank)” (3:31)
Kendrick Lamar1

–      Another musical guest I did not enjoy at all. Seriously, as much as I am enjoying this season so far, the musical guests have left a lot to be desired. So far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed 4 or 5 out of the 12 guests.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (9:39)

Guests: Arianna Huffington and Ray Lewis
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5

–      Best Jokes: dream speech; tweets in Latin; Philadelphia bacon taco; library doll

–      It’s always nice to see Nasim do her Arianna Huffington impression and this week was another enjoyable segment. I especially enjoyed her bits about Rand Paul grilling a possum, the bit about the smell of sex when you get to Europe, and the Oprah comment as well.

–      Kenan’s commentary as Ray Lewis was insane and a lot of fun; it might’ve been my favourite Kenan commentary in a long time. His dancing at the end was great too, especially how he came back during Seth’s outro to do the dance again.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Rock Band Rumble (4:30)
Rock Band Rumble

–      This sketch had quite a bit of promise with the idea of a rock band face-off but the sketch didn’t take the premise as far as it could have done. Still, I did enjoy it.

–      Jay and Bayer were also pretty funny. I especially liked Jay saying “it looks like they’re dancing” after Vanessa worries about them killing each other.

–      Adam using Aidy as a human shield was funny but I especially liked Taran dressing an old man to look like him so Adam would fight him instead.

–      Sudeikis was great as Jason Mraz and Kenan was good as Darius Rucker, but Hader didn’t get to do all that much as John Mayer.

RATING: ***

 

 

SHOW: Catfish the TV Show (4:20)
Catfish the TV Show

–      Seems like I enjoyed this one a lot more than most people. Adam Levine had his best performance of the night in this sketch (and he did a pretty good job in general) and Taran had a good supporting part as well.

–      Aidy was pretty funny here as well.

–      I especially liked the time Taran asked if they were ever going to cut to his camera.

–      The “coming up next” bit was hilarious with Aidy’s expression explaining nothing about what her reaction was going to be after the break.

–      The voice that Jay used was pretty funny.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Poetic Justice” (3:24)
Kendrick Lamar2

–      At least this performance was a bit shorter than the first one but that’s really all I can say. It was… whatever.

 

 

SKETCH: Janet Seduces Adam Levine (4:00)
Janet Seduces Adam Levine

–      I didn’t care for this character the first time that Bobby did it but I gotta give them credit for changing the scenery this time and I gotta say that the writing was a lot funnier as well.

–      This sketch also had some of the raunchiest dialogue I’ve heard on the show in a while. I’m surprised they got away with half the stuff he said here.

–      Adam’s cue card-staring was pretty obvious in this sketch.

–      The “Magic Johnson before” comment reminded me of the New Boyfriend Talk Show with the Magic Johnson part that I couldn’t believe got past the censors.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Biden Bash (2:15)
Biden Bash

–      This was lacking in the humour department a bit even though I did appreciate what they were going for with Sudeikis’ Biden here. I did enjoy the Macho Man part and the “What Happens in Delaware” slogan but the rest was kinda boring and tepid.

–      Levine was decent as the Neil Diamond impersonator.

RATING: **

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Taran Killam/Bobby Moynihan/Bill Hader

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Like I said earlier, it seems to me that I enjoyed this episode a LOT more than most people, which is fine; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Adam Levine certainly wasn’t anything special as a host; he had his isolated moments of decent acting but he was thrust in the background tonight a lot which was a smart move by the cast and writers.

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: *** ½


(Season 38, Episode 11)

Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

JENNIFER LAWRENCE: “Silver Linings Playbook”

THE LUMINEERS: “The 55th Annual Grammy Awards” (nominated for Best New Artist and Best Americana Album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Piers Morgan Tonight (5:48)
Piers Morgan Tonight

–      Nice to see this sketch again. I’ve always liked Taran’s hilarious impression of Piers Morgan and there were definitely enough scandals in the news this week for this sketch to cover.

–      Killam’s bit about Lance being the most vile person on Earth and how happy he is to have him was pretty accurate satire of the guy.

–      Sudeikis was hilarious as Lance Armstrong and I just knew he was going to have some sort of violent outburst at one point, which he did to terrific effect. I also liked his half-assed apology for the whole thing and his denial of ever calling anyone a fat bitch despite the fact that he just finished yelling about that very thing.

–      Bobby was also very funny as Manti Te’o with the dopey expression on his face the entire time. I loved how he just didn’t seem to understand the hoax involving his “dead girlfriend Lynette.”

–      Finally, Kate McKinnon makes her only real appearance of the night as Jodie Foster. This was another good segment and McKinnon’s impression is still very funny. I also liked the little meta-reference to Molly Shannon’s Sally O’Malley character from back in the day.

RATING: ****

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Jennifer Lawrence (3:15)
Monologue

–      Jen seemed a bit stiff throughout the monologue and overall it wasn’t really that great although I did dig a couple of the cut-a-ways to Hader’s pissed off Tommy Lee Jones.

–      The insults of the other Oscar nominees is where the monologue faltered a bit. I did like some of the gags like the girl from Beasts of the Southern Wild being told that “the alphabet called. They want their letters back…” and it was sort of amusing for Lawrence to then follow up these insults by saying how much she respected them all.

RATING: **

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Verismo (1:50)
Starbucks

–      This was a pretty cliché joke but I liked it anyway mainly because of Bayer’s performance and also how accurate the whole thing was as a representation of Starbucks workers.

–      Jay’s voice was also used to great effect here as the actual machine.

–      The accessories were funny as well.

RATING: ***

 

 

SHOW: Girlfriends Talk Show (4:26)
Girlfriends Talk Show

–      I expected them to bring this back at some point but I was a little worried that this would just end up being the same joke as the first one with Cecily liking the new girl more than Aidy, her best friend. And you know what? It was pretty much the same thing. I still liked it quite a bit though.

–      Jennifer did pretty good here as the goth girl.

–      Again, Bryant was the best part of this sketch but that’s not to slight the other two performers. I definitely enjoyed Cecily’s bizarre story about her boyfriend wanting to watch her put her face in an empty portrait and eat Caesar Salad for five hours.

–      I also liked Aidy’s shirt with the pin of her dead guinea pig on it.

–      Is anyone else disappointed that J-Law and Cecily didn’t make out when she hinted at it?

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Hunger Games Press Conference (4:51)
Hunger Games Press Conference

–      Pretty sure this was written by James Downey.

–      There seem to be a lot of differing opinions on this sketch and I think I’m in the camp of thinking that while it wasn’t a classic or anything it was certainly an enjoyable sketch. It kinda reminded me of the New York Times sketch that Downey wrote back in Season 34 where parts of it worked but the whole thing just stretched for a bit too long. The sketch made some good points about how weak Peta was as a character too.

–      Moynihan’s character made me laugh with his constant questions about food and how he could get some refreshments.

–      Killam also made me laugh as Peta even though he barely said anything and just looked shy and awkward. Still, he made it work very well.

–      Tim Robinson’s confusion over the other contestants dying was worth a chuckle as well.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

COMMERCIAL: The Hobbit (3:09)
The Hobbit

–      Very funny stuff poking fun at The Hobbit being separated into three movies. I liked the various fake Hobbit sequels and credit has to be given to the awesome production design and detail that went into this piece.

–      The critic reviews were pretty funny too especially when Ebert stated that they chased after Gandalf’s hat for two entire movies.

–      The technical glitch when the film momentarily stopped was really strange. Also, the announcer says “The Hobbit 8” when “The Hobbit 10” was really on the screen.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: Mean Waitress (3:40)
Mean Waitress

–      Not bad at all.

–      Lawrence’s best performance of the night was in this sketch as the cold and calculating waitress who isn’t “fun mean” like the rest of the staff but rather just a nasty and cold-blooded person.

–      My favourite part was “that water is from the toilet” and Jennifer laughing with another couple of customers and then flashing a knife when Bobby looks over.

–      The sketch needed a better ending though.

RATING: ***

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Ho Hey” (2:35)
The Lumineers1

–      I will admit that the constant yelling of “ho!” and “hey!” got on my nerves a bit but the performance was fine.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (7:57)

Guest: Anthony Crispino
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6

–      Best Jokes: Lance Armstrong/Manti Te’o; Manti Te’o/Samoan Mormon; Gun Appreciation Day; pilots/mobile devices; Ann Romney/DWTS; deaf man stabbed

–      Anthony Crispino stops by with the second-hand news and it’s the first time we’ve seen him in over a year. I enjoyed this though because it’s been quite a while since he’s been around and it seems absence makes the heart grow fonder. My favourite bit was the one about the “Depp Ceiling.” I also really liked how both he and Seth were using the high voices for a minute.

–      Pretty short Update this week compared to the usual 10-15 min. Updates we’ve been getting for a long while.

RATING: ****

 

 

SHOW: Top Dog Chef (4:31)
Top Dog Chef

–      This was an insane sketch but I really enjoyed it. The performances were solid from everyone, especially Bobby as the trashy dog. Bobby’s been having an awesome night thus far and here he kinda reminded me of a female Mark Payne.

–      I enjoyed the preview of upcoming shows at the beginning of the sketch.

–      It looked like Jason was about to crack up at one point.

–      The detail of Mario Barktali wearing crocs was pretty funny.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: B108 FM (5:15)
B108 FM

–      Unlike Girlfriends Talk Show, I NEVER expected this to come back. It wasn’t very good the first time but at least this time they had a much better host and the parts with Vanessa were the definite highlight.

–      Jennifer’s terrible freestyle rhymes were pretty funny. Just like in the monologue though, J-Law did seem a bit stiff in this sketch. Overall I’d say she did a pretty decent job throughout the night though.

–      I also really liked the bit where they quietly waited for a caller.

RATING: ***

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Stubborn Love” (4:52)
The Lumineers2

–      Better than the previous song (seems to be a theme this season).

 

 

FILM: Danielle (3:19)
Danielle

–      This was so fucking weird. I can’t even really do a lengthy review of it because I don’t really even know what to talk about. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t really that funny either. I’m not really sure… it seems like they forgot to put jokes in this.

–      I guess Jennifer dancing in front of the children was funny.

RATING: ** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Civil War Love Letters (3:52)
Civil War Correspondence

–      Very entertaining sketch and my favourite of the night. I loved Tim’s performance here and it’s nice to see him get his own sketch, albeit in the ten-to-one slot. It was a nice surprise too because at first I thought it was gonna be a rehash of the ten-to-one sketch from the Zooey Deschanel episode from last season.

–      Tim’s repeated lines about sending him a “tit pic” had me laughing for quite a while.

–      I also like the ending twist with Tim announcing that he was “shot… for treason!”

RATING: **** ½

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Bobby Moynihan

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Good show with plenty of highlights, a decent performance from our host, and the musical guests were alright as well. A lot of the sketches that I initially didn’t think too much of were given a serious re-thinking upon second glance and mostly improved in my eyes.

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: *** ½


(Season 38, Episode 10)

Bumper

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

MARTIN SHORT: nothing really unless you count “Frankenweenie” back in October

PAUL MCCARTNEY: “Kisses on the Bottom” (album) – even though it came out way back in February

 

 

COLD OPENING: “Silent Night” (1:41)
Silent Night

–      Let me just take this moment to say that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut was a horrific tragedy. We’ve seen tons of school shootings all across the United States and for this one to happen at a fucking elementary school should tell the US government something about A) gun control laws and B) how they deal with mental health because clearly someone or two people or whatever who are able to go into an elementary school and start shooting at six-year olds has got something wrong in their head that has been ignored their whole life. I’m definitely not placing any sympathy on the shooter(s) so don’t think that but I just think that if they were treated at an earlier age, maybe shit like this wouldn’t happen. I also agree with Morgan Freeman’s statement that the media keeps sensationalizing the shooters instead of the victims for the most part which makes others want to one-up them and go out looking like a monster. It’s rather sickening on everyone’s part and I just hope the parents are able to recover this tragic loss. Sorry for getting on the soapbox a bit there but I just wanted to say that right off the top.

–      Anyway, this was a lovely tribute. They didn’t need to say anything. No one came out and talked specifically about what happened but this song by the New York Children’s Chorus encapsulated the whole thing and was a very classy and poignant way to open the show.

–      The kids did look pretty darn happy to get to say LFNY at the end.

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Martin Short (6:28)
Monologue

–      This was excellent. Martin was a ball of energy, the lyrics were hilarious, and the cameos were just the icing on the cake.

–      The stuff before the backstage/music portion of the monologue was very funny as well like Martin pretending to be humble and talking about his love of things in order of importance and ending with family. I also loved the brief return of Ed Grimley.

–      Paul Shaffer playing piano with Short was also great and I liked him mentioning that Letterman was “the cranky one.” Short sitting on the piano was funny and awkward when he mentioned that he didn’t know how to sit on one.

–      I liked Kristen Wiig’s cameo. Martin wanting to kiss her little deformed hand was very funny and it seemed to be ad-libbed when he got all hot and bothered by it.

–      I loved Martin going around kissing everyone because you could see Jimmy Fallon and Tom Hanks actually holding hands and jumping around excitedly in the background afterwards. Also, Sam Jackson backing up and his cold stare towards Short when he attempted to kiss him was hilarious too.

–      Martin kissing Lorne Michaels was also a hilarious shocker and it was nice to see Tina Fey there as well.

RATING: *****

 

 

SHOW: A Tony Bennett Christmas (5:13)
A Tony Bennett Christmas

–      ANOTHER CAMEO?!? Alec Baldwin returned and was fantastic! Having Martin play Tony Bennett’s brother Jerry was a hilarious bit of business as well.

–      Having Jay Pharoah show up as Kanye West (another great impression of his) made me realize that this was the first speaking role for a castmember tonight. Not that I’m saying it’s a bad or a good thing… just an observation.

–      The usual sponsor bit was also hilarious with Kanye awkwardly promoting a laxative suppository product. Baldwin’s “it sure is easy to get down in the dumps when you can’t take one” line was hilarious and Short had some great allusions to constipation as well.

–      Short hugging Baldwin over and over was also quite funny.

–      Is it just me or has Alec Baldwin lost a shitload of weight?

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: Royal OB/GYN (5:27)
Royal OBGYN

–      Absolutely hilarious; I can see this as being a future classic. I don’t blame Bill for a second for coming so perilously close to cracking up in this sketch because Short’s character looked hilarious and WAS hilarious as well. It also seemed that after a while, Short was clearly trying to MAKE Hader crack up on purpose.

–      The first time Hader almost laughed was from Short’s ridiculous example of how he should respond when he sees her vagina. It caused me to lose it as well because Martin is just so damn good at being silly and over-the-top.

–      All the euphenisms that Short came up with for Kate’s vagina were hilarious. The “Downton Abbey” one got the biggest reaction but my favourite ones were “the King-Maker” and “Piccadilly Cervix.”

–      The guard bit worked but I wish we had not have seen Bobby sneaking by in the corner of the frame.

–      “Church of Taint Andrews” being the name for the Royal Butthole was hilarious as well.

–      Fred’s return as the Queen at the end was actually pretty damn funny because it was used so sparingly and I liked her saying she had to get her “Judi Dench” washed.

RATING: *****

 

 

COMMERCIAL: You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown (3:04)
You're a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown

–      Oh my God, this was terrific. The impression showcase was hilarious enough but combined with the fact that it was a Charlie Brown special just made it all the more hilarious.

–      It was great to see Jason’s Philip Seymour Hoffman impression make a comeback.

–      The best new impressions were definitely Martin Short as Larry David (I actually thought it was really Larry for a second), Kate as Edie Falco, and Taran as Michael Keaton (his facial expressions were perfect).

–      The random shots of the audience reactions were hilarious.

–      The football scene was awesome with Bill and Kate just exchanging profanities and then Bill quickly saying that they would take a little intermission.

RATING: *****

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “My Valentine” (3:07)
Paul McCartney1

–      Joe Walsh?! Holy shit! I don’t think I have ever heard this song before this episode but this was a fantastic performance from McCartney et al. I may be a bit biased because I love the guy but I just really dug this.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (10:39)
Guests: Jacob and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6 update7

–      Best Jokes: North Korea rocket launch; Hillary Clinton/no hairdresser; HSBC; Jersey Shore Series Finale; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Google/porn; deer/contraceptives; daughter born on 12/12/12

–      I was really surprised to see Vanessa Bayer playing this Jacob character because I remember her doing the same character from two years ago in a bar mitzvah sketch. I liked all of Bayer’s cheap “low-level roast jokes” followed by her mugging for the camera. This was very funny though in a great character-focused and dry kind of way.

–      The Girl You Wish… commentary was the best one that Cecily has done up to this point and she continues to impress me with her performances time after time. Too many highlights to list here because the whole thing was awesome but rest assured, I loved it all. Also, her quick racist comment is always great and the minstrel show thing was the best one yet.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

SHOW: What Up With That? (7:45)
What Up With That.

–      Yes, I like the fact that they brought this back. Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie Brownstein were great cameos as well along with Hader as Lindsey Buckingham of course.

–      Martin Short bringing back Jackie Rogers Jr. was absolutely hilarious even though they seemed to have forgotten to apply his pale white makeup or maybe didn’t have enough time. Either way, it was very awesome to see him back. Sam’s reaction during the whole thing was great too. They need to get Jackson to host again.

–      Jason’s dancing continues to entertain me.

–      Of course, everyone’s talking about Sam’s F-bomb. I believe Sam’s story that Kenan was supposed to interrupt him but they messed up the cue. Sam saying “bullshit” afterwards though was definitely intentional and Kenan had a terrific recovery line by telling him “That costs money.” Carrie making the zip-your-lip motion afterwards was funny too.

–      I also like how Kenan called Carrie “the funny one on Portlandia.”

–      Poor Tim Robinson; he made his only appearance of the night here as a dancing Santa.

RATING: ****

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Cut Me Some Slack” (4:39)
Paul McCartney2

–      This was not a song I expected from McCartney as it was more fast-paced and heavy but he did a great job nonetheless. Nirvana (well, most of them) were awesome in accompanying the legend as well.

 

 

SKETCH: Old Friends (3:42)
Old Friends

–      Silly little sketch with solid performances from both Short and Armisen as two old friends who share a lot of really strange details about their lives like Fred being a James Cameron impersonator (and apparently it’s going really bad) and Short being an actor for EMT training.

–      The odd detail with Martin and Fred asking Taran for the gramaphone and a captain’s telescope while adding that they would like to pay a lot for them was really funny.

–      Martin’s World War II book opens up with “It was the 1940s and everything was in black and white.”

–      The bit at the end with Martin saying he lives in a big field was also quite funny.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Pageant Audition (4:08)
Pageant Audition

–      And one more highly-entertaining sketch to finish the night off… why not? Martin and Paul were a great duo and I liked how Paul kept asking if he could sing but Martin told him that he was not capable of singing.

–      The bit at the beginning with Kenan was hilarious.

–      Martin simply yelling at Paul doesn’t sound funny in theory but when it comes to the performances here, it really worked. I also liked how Paul just played the whole thing straight-faced and was clearly trying really hard not to laugh at Short’s antics.

–      Jason and Cecily were good straight characters too.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Wonderful Christmastime” (3:40)
Paul McCartney3

–      I absolutely LOVED how they segued from the previous sketch right into this musical performance.

–      Wonderful musical performance to finish off the night. Paul delivered and it was nice to see the New York Children’s Chorus again.

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Martin Short

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Yep, I’m going the full monty for this. What we got here was a beautiful, lovely, awesome, wonderful, hilarious show. Martin Short was absolutely perfect as the host and Paul McCartney was stunning. The bevy of cameos was also terrific and along with the touching tribute at the top of the show, it just made this whole episode come to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I hope people recognize it as a classic in years to come.

TONIGHT’S RATING: *****


(Season 38, Episode 9)

Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

JAMIE FOXX: “Django Unchained”

NE-YO: “R.E.D.” (album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Obama/Boehner Press Conference (4:35)
Obama-Boehner Press Conference

–      It’s always good to see Pharoah’s Obama impression and the return of Bill Hader as John Boehner was a welcome surprise as well even though this cold open was a little on the dull side.

–      The stuff about the Republican party picking on Boehner was pretty funny though and I like how all their little things they did to harrass him ended up being very similar to typical childish pranks and insults.

–      Hader’s performance sold this. His stern look the whole time was great and the ways in which he slowly spoke into the microphone made me laugh. He also brought back the over-the-top Boehner crying, which always makes me laugh.

–      Jay stumbled a bit but it wasn’t too distracting; he recovered nicely every time.

RATING: ***

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Jamie Foxx (5:04)
Monologue

–      This monologue was all about Jamie’s charisma, which definitely carried it for the most part and made for an entertaining segment.

–      I enjoyed all the “how black is that?” bits for the most part but when Foxx went over to the piano I found that it slowed the whole thing down a little bit. Jamie’s impression of Obama dancing was also very funny.

–      I have no idea who that 2 Chainz guy is but his cameo seemed kinda pointless.

–      The crowd was pretty rowdy here but really they were insane all throughout the night.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

 

GAMESHOW: Bitch, What’s the Answer? (4:05)
Bitch, What's the Answer

–      This seemed like a silly one-joke premise but you know what? I still enjoyed it very much and had a lot of fun with it.

–      Foxx was perfect as the host even though he again had a couple of flubs here and there. I just loved his delivery though and especially the ways in which he kept referring to the contestants as bitches.

–      My favourite response was from Foxx towards Nasim as he says “Bitch, no it ain’t!” when she tries to figure out the answer to “What’s the deal with carbon?”

–      Bobby’s look was hilarious and I loved his facial expressions throughout this whole thing, especially when he called Foxx a bitch and he gave him a cold look in response.

RATING: ****

 

 

SHOW: J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:35)
J-Pop America Fun Time Now!

–      Oof. This has officially gotten a little old. I applaud the writers for waiting so long to bring it back though and using Foxx in this sketch was inspired. The singing in particular has gotten somewhat annoying and repetitive.

–      I will admit that I greatly appreciated the sight gag of the tree with a ninja star on top.

–      Sudeikis is usually the best part of these sketches but he didn’t really get a whole lot of great lines here. I DID like him almost transforming into one of the faux-Japanese hosts though.

–      Fred Armisen is still Taran’s girlfriend? That’s one joke that has gotten extremely old.

–      Foxx was definitely the highlight here and I liked his stilted delivery of the fake Japanese way of talking. The way in which he challenged Sudeikis’ claim that Foxx “obviously” wasn’t Japanese was hilarious.

RATING: ** ½

 

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Alex Cross 2: Madea – Special Ops (2:55)
Alex Cross 2 Madea - Special Ops

–      This was something of a missed opportunity. Don’t get me wrong; Foxx was quite funny as Tyler Perry/Madea but they didn’t really go as far with this as they could have gone.

–      I liked Taran as the lead thug especially when he simply walked away while Foxx was choking himself.

–      The slow-motion shots of Jamie running were hilarious.

–      The soundtrack for this trailer was perfect.

RATING: ***

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)” (3:45)
Ne-Yo1

–      After this performance I can safely say I probably won’t be buying any Ne-Yo albums anytime soon. He wasn’t terrible but rap/hip-hop acts on SNL aren’t always the strongest and the backup dancers were just silly-looking.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (10:13)

Guests: Mrs. Claus and a ding-dong
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6

–      Best Jokes: marijuana/gay marriage; Obama/Twitter supporters; Obama insults Israel; deli closed; 7 marathons

–      Aidy’s commentary as Mrs. Claus wasn’t too bad. She looked adorable as the character and despite the obvious sex and cholesterol jokes that were made about Santa, it was still carried by a pretty good performance. It’s good to see Aidy getting some airtime on the show as of late.

–      As soon as Seth introduced a commentary from a ding-dong I groaned a bit but then Jamie Foxx showing up was completely unexpected and like most host commentaries, this was pretty entertaining as silly as it was. The best parts were Jamie talking about twinkies as his “snack brother from another batter,” Foxx hating on snowballs, the “call me Dong”/“No” exchange, and the bit about Big Suge…gar. Jamie cracked up a bit here too which was expected because the whole thing was just so ridiculous.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

 

GAMESHOW: Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney? (5:28)
Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney

–      Another gameshow sketch?!

–      I think Marika Sawyer may have written this sketch as I saw her down on the set moments before it started.

–      Just the premise of this sketch alone was enough to make me laugh as I have often gotten both Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney confused with each other. I like the fact that Foxx, Pharoah, and Thompson played the clueless contestants and Hader was hilarious too, especially when he kept looking back to his assistant as he kept getting his facts wrong.

–      Kenan getting it right for answering Rupert Everett because he is the gay version of Dermot Mulroney was hilarious.

–      Dermot Mulroney showing up at the end of the sketch was hilarious and completely unexpected (“I’ve been sleeping with another man’s wife!”). I’d love to see him host sometime based on his performance here.

RATING: ****

 

 

FILM: Marcus Banks – Tree Pimp (3:14)
Marcus Banks - Tree Pimp

–      Very funny filmed piece and well-written as well with one of the best performances Kenan has probably ever had on SNL. I liked how the whole film treated his job as a tree salesman just the same as if the trees were his prostitutes.

–      The part with Fred pushing the tree down towards his crotch was quite funny and the only instance of a really weird character.

–      My favourite parts were Kenan pretending not to sell trees when a cop walked by, him freaking out at Tim Robinson for wanting to cut the bottom of the tree, Kenan telling a family they “got 20 minutes now” with their new tree, Kenan slapping around his tree and threatening one with pliers, Foxx quickly mentioning Matt Lauer as one of his clients, the Rockefeller tree being Foxx’s biggest earner, and Kenan “slipping” and having sex with a tree.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

 

SHOW: Maine Justice (6:32)
Maine Justice

–      This was an absolutely ridiculous sketch that was a whole lot of fun to boot. This is going to be a future classic or at the very least it will always be a classic to me.

–      Sudeikis was basically playing his character from Potato Chip Thief from way back in Season 35 and he was absolutely hilarious here. Jason got so into this role here that his feet were up in the air at one point. Foxx was quite great too and I can’t say I blame him for cracking up because of Jason’s performance.

–      Bobby’s performance was excellent too; he always does really well with straight roles.

–      I loved the bit with Sudeikis sentencing Moynihan to eat a really hot bowl of jambalaya followed by his incredulous response.

–      Charlie Day’s cameo was hilarious and unexpected. His get-up as the “congressman” was absolutely hilarious.

–      The twist made sense to me because I was wondering why in the hell everyone was using Louisiana accents if the sketch was making fun of Maine.

RATING: *****

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “She Is” (3:25)
Ne-Yo1

–      This was much better than the last performance mostly because it more closely resembled a real song. That automatically bumped Ne-Yo up quite a few spots in terms of the year’s musical guests.

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Swarovski Crystals (4:09)
Swarovski Crystals

–      Oh. My. God. This was another sketch that absolutely killed and everything here had me laughing my ass off from Vanessa and Cecily’s great airhead delivery to Jamie Foxx’s constant “okay”’s as he walked off the set after screwing up his cue.

–      I can’t even mention all the great lines in this sketch but Vanessa and Cecily killed here. They were so damn good.

–      Foxx’s bit at the end was also excellent. I liked the bit about not wearing condoms (“I got integrity”), Foxx mispronouncing the name of the crystals, his death threat towards his former teacher, and the weird wink at the end.

–      Cecily saying “anal” instead of “crystals” at the end was hilarious.

–      Whoa! Were Vanessa and Cecily about to kiss at the end? Why the hell did they go to commercial RIGHT then?!

RATING: *****

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Jamie Foxx

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

A very strong show, but it got ESPECIALLY great during the second half. The first half was average with one big highlight and fun performances from Foxx but as soon as Update ended, the show went into one big hit sketch after another along with Ne-Yo’s second performance (which was great), making this a very entertaining episode. Jamie Foxx is also one of the best hosts of the year.

TONIGHT’S RATING: ****