Posts Tagged ‘justin timberlake’


(Season 38, Episode 16)
Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: “The 20/20 Experience” (album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Hugo Chavez Memorial (3:54)
Hugo Chavez Memorial

–      I enjoyed the fact that someone finally did a bit on Hugo’s death and didn’t present him as a 100% pure great guy… because let’s face it, he was not.

–      Armisen’s opening bit was pretty amusing and I liked Cecily’s voice as the translator. Fred later holding a glass of milk was also funny.

–      Justin’s Elton John impression was pretty funny too and his singing voice was pretty close to the real thing. I especially liked the lines about Hugo being just like a candle in the wind “if a candle could pull out two guns at a press conference,” his parrot wearing the same red beret, and the whole bit about capitalism killing a former civilization that lived on Mars.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

That was definitely still Darrell Hammond doing the introductions rather than Don Pardo.

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Justin Timberlake (7:57)
Monologue

–      This was chock-full with cameos and yes… I loved it. All the cameos were great and there weren’t really any that stood out from any others.

–      Dan Aykroyd being the bartender was hilarious and reminded me of Jon Lovitz having to serve the other five-timers during Tom Hanks’ 1990 monologue.

–      Chevy Chase’s appearance also really surprised me because I expected his portrait and there he was on the phone ordering a Rolls Royce on Steve Martin’s bill. I also liked Chevy telling Steve that they never see each other anymore and “it’s on purpose.”

–      Martin Short’s appearance was great too seeing as how he hosted earlier in the season. He also kinda played the same type of role he did back in the Alec Baldwin show in Season 32.

–      Candice Bergen’s appearance was legitimately the most surprising appearance out of all the cameos. She also cracked up a bit at Martin Short’s line, “I go in the sink.”

–      The Django Unchained reference with Bobby and Taran doing mandingo fighting was great, especially Bobby yelling out, “I KILLED MY FRIEND!”, Hanks saying he loves Drunk Uncle, and Bobby quickly thanking him and walking off.

RATING: *****

 

 

GAMESHOW: It’s a Date (7:58)
It's a Date

–      Awesome sketch.

–      Loved the opening announcer bit: “the only dating gameshow still on TV.”

–      I agree with Stooge that this was the perfect way to utilize Samberg’s cameo and his and Timberlake’s singing characters rather than doing a brand-new digital short with them singing about some other type of their anatomy.

–      Aykroyd and Martin appearing as the Festrunk Brothers was COMPLETELY unexpected and awesome as well. You could tell that the audience knew exactly what was going to happen as soon as Hader mentioned that they were brothers from Czechoslovakia. Them saying they’ve been in America for 37 years was also a great meta-reference.

–      Bobby was an excellent straight man here too like always and I loved his reactions to all the insanity going on around him.

–      Vanessa Bayer was also pretty solid here and I liked her not enjoying Bobby’s decidedly normal answers but rather wanting to go on the date with the singers AND Festrunks.

–      Steve telling the singers he can’t believe they’re not black was also quite funny.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Veganville (5:35)
Veganville

–      You had to expect this character of Timberlake’s to come back because it’s probably the easiest thing for them to write for him and he has enough charisma and dance moves to carry the whole thing. The Dancing with Myself parody was the best.

–      Moynihan’s appearance here was another great one. He is so good at playing straight roles or slightly-offbeat characters.

–      The Harlem Shake thing at the end was the only real downside but I guess they were going to parody the stupid fad at some point. Hopefully they just leave it alone now to all the shitty internet videos.

RATING: ***

 

 

COMMERCIAL: NuvaBling (1:23)
NuvaBling

–      This reminded me of a commercial parody they would’ve done back in the late 90s with most of the female cast.

–      I really liked the idea of reusing the NuvaBling as earrings as it provided for an amusing visual and Aidy and Cecily’s exchange (“Did you get those earrings Tiffany’s?” “Close, I got them from my vagina!”)

–      I wonder why Taran played that role that any male extra could’ve taken over.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Suit & Tie” (5:06)
Justin Timberlake1

–      Love the fact that JT introduced his own performance and merely said, “Make some noise! LET’S GO!”

–      This was a really good performance; Jay-Z coming out and adding to the performance was also unexpected and another fun cameo as well. The man was actually smiling!

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (7:31)

Guest: Stefon
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5

–      Best Jokes: Chavez funeral; Dennis Rodman/fake bishop; TSA restrictions; Hebrew Playboy jokes; Hooters; Daylight Savings Time

–      Stefon was awesome. This may have been the best edition thus far. The ovation for this character went on for quite a while as he has easily become one of the most popular ones in a long time. I actually noticed Hader making confused looks at the cue cards from time to time at the lines that were clearly written after he was given the final script. I especially loved the Sweet Willie Walker bit, the burned-down Red Lobster, Donald Duck having a Vietnam nightmare, a club being based on the novel Push by Sapphire, and of course… the human fanny pack. I also liked Stefon asking if Seth was taking his girlfriend to Mexico to kill her and then inviting him to join HIS five-timers club.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: The Tales of Sober Caligula (3:49)
The Tales of Sober Caligula

–      I know most people have been writing this off as the requisite bad sketch of the night but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. At first, I thought it was gonna be a rehash of that sketch where they would make references to things that Caligula did that sounded a lot like things that Timberlake did but I was quite happy when it was not that.

–      Taran was pretty funny here in his brief role; I liked his little moment where he felt up Justin’s golden armour. It also seemed to make Justin come very close to cracking up afterwards.

–      Bobby, once again, was also tremendous here. Tim Robinson also deserves credit though for the moment with his little sex pig.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SHOW: Maine Justice (5:40)
Maine Justice

–      I never ever expected this to come back and while it definitely couldn’t live up to the original sketch, it was still entertaining. Sudeikis was hilarious as usual and Timberlake was also great in the role replacing Jamie Foxx.

–      I loved Kate McKinnon’s New Orleans accent.

–      Andy Samberg was a good straight man as expected. He would always do these roles really well back in the days when he was a castmember as well.

–      The conversation that Sudeikis had with the big fake alligator was insane and just amped the sketch up in terms of ridiculous-ness. It was definitely my favourite part.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Mirrors” (4:57)
Justin Timberlake2

–      Loved the Three Amigos introduction.

–      Another great performance. Timberlake is so great.

 

 

COMMERCIAL: She’s Got a Dick (1:44)
She's Got a Dick

–      This meant well and it seemed to be a good parody of the type of romantic comedy that Timberlake would star in but I believe this was kinda the stinker of the night.

–      I did like Fred as Eugene Levy and Kenan’s lines.

–      I don’t agree with all those stupid GLAAD people believing the sketch is “transphobic” or whatever though. First of all, it’s not. Secondly, change the channel if you don’t like it.

RATING: **

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Moet & Chandon (3:49)
Moet & Chandon

–      Did NOT expect Vanessa and Cecily to bring back these characters but I really enjoyed this just as much as I did the first time back in the Jamie Foxx episode. Timberlake was also a great addition here. I have a feeling this will come back again multiple times.

–      So many great lines here like Bayer talking about her middle parts being just plastic bags, jerking off a horse (“now who’s the horse!”), Cecily being covered in blood that wasn’t hers (“I was like ‘hello!’”), and the final bit with Cecily saying “oral.”

RATING: *****

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Justin Timberlake/Bobby Moynihan/Vanessa Bayer

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

What else can I really say? This was an awesome episode chock-full of great performances, another superb job by Justin Timberlake, and some great music as well. All of the cameos were delightful! Only one middling sketch! This was the second-best episode of the season thus far, coming awfully close to the Christmas episode.

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: **** ½ 


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 21)

The Show:

1. Biden’s Room (5:11)

Joe Biden (Sudeikis) is furious with President Obama (Armisen) and stays trapped in his own room where he complains that Barack is getting all the press for agreeing with gay marriage even though Joe said he did first. After having a hissy fit, Joe consults with his friend George W. Bush (Ferrell), who’s been trapped in his closet the entire time.

– Very creative way to open the show whilst still mentioning the whole Obama/gay marriage thing that’s been all over the news lately.
– Of course, it was awesome to see Ferrell do his George W. Bush impression but the highlight here was Jason Sudeikis’ portrayal of Joe Biden (which is always great anyways) as an angsty teenager rather than just his usual funny performance as the vice president.
– My favourite parts were Biden’s whole scene with Obama, Ferrell saying that they’re all “gut and balls,” Ferrell referring to Dick Cheney as “President Cheney,” and the bit with the literal/figurative fire.
Rating: *****

2. Monologue (3:55)

Will decides to go off-script and has Wally lower the cue cards so he can talk to his mother (the real deal!) on-stage with it being Mother’s Day in 30 minutes.

– Will seemed a little under the weather here as did he throughout the whole show.
– This was a funny start to the show and I liked Will’s stumbly-bumbly “unscripted” dialogue towards his mother. I can’t really explain more specifics than that but let’s just say that I really enjoyed this.
Rating: *** 1/2

3. One-A-Day Extra Strength Nasaflu (1:50)

A woman (Wiig) tries to advertise the new nasal congestion medication but her husband’s (Ferrell) incessant and obnoxious sneezing is too much for her to handle.

– This was a simple one-joke premise but it was fairly short and Will’s crazy sneeze yelling was enough to carry it and make for a funny segment.
– Kristen makes for a good victim.
Rating: ***

4. Alternative Prom (5:32)

Marty Culp (Ferrell) and Bobbi Mohan-Culp (Ana Gasteyer!) are back and this time are DJ’ing a prom to sing about LGBT rights to the tune of several current pop songs.

– I never thought I would see these characters back again but it was delightful to see Ana Gasteyer return to join Will Ferrell for these wonderful recurring characters that I’ve always enjoyed.
– The singing itself was fun of course (the LMFAO bit was great) but the dialogue beforehand was also very funny like usual.
– Ana has aged pretty gracefully.
Rating: ****

5. Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994 (6:20)

Pete Twinkle (Sudeikis) and the dim-witted Greg Stink (Will Forte!) provide commentary for a ladies golf competition while quipping some inappropriate taglines for Stay Free Maxi Pads. At the same time, the O.J. Simpson case is ongoing and on-the-scene reporter Randy Feather (Ferrell) is having some audio problems.

– I always liked these sketches and I enjoyed this one a whole lot thanks to the fun and inappropriate taglines (“when your uterine lining looks like the elevator from The Shining“) and especially the format-bending stuff with Will Ferrell as the reporter.
– It sure was nice to see Will Forte return… and actually get the recognition applause he deserved that he didn’t get with his previous cameo appearance. He got some great laughs like usual in these sketches and I especially liked his comments about his wife leaving him.
–  Ferrell’s comments while waiting for his feed to begin was quite funny as was Jason setting up the clip (“once again, it’s 1994”).
Rating: *** 1/2

6. Digital Short: The 100th Digital Short (3:26)

To commemorate the 100th short that they’ve made together, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Justin Bieber welcome a number of former guests like Michael Bolton, Natalie Portman, and Julian Casablancas as well as characters like Sergio (Jon Hamm) and the other half of the “Dick in a Box” guys (Justin Timberlake). They proceed to suck their own dicks metaphorically and literally in praise of their own accomplishments.

– This was wonderful; it was a brilliant way to commemorate the 100th short and a perfect send-off if this is really to be Andy Samberg’s final season and the end of these digital shorts.
– Even though we’ve seen all these characters/impressions before, it was still hilarious to see all the references to past shorts while Samberg and co. admitted to pretty much pleasuring themselves with all the self-referential shit.
– I like the bit about all of them being written by Lorne Michaels and his random cameo.
Rating: **** 1/2

7. Usher sings “Scream” (3:52)

– Ferrell always has the best outfits as he introduces the musical guests.
– This performance was actually pretty good and Usher relied a bit more on the singing rather than dancing this time.

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:55)
Guest: Get in the Cage with Liam Neeson

Best Jokes: Obama/gay marriage; Limbaugh/traditional marriage; turtle’s shell; snakes in Guam

– I gotta admire Seth’s devotion to the Michael Phelps joke.
– Seth’s “Really!?!” segment on the TIME Magazine cover was hilarious and him pointing out how creepy the photo is just had me laughing and nodding the whole time. My favourites were the Psycho bit and the part where he photoshops the chair out of the picture.
– Andy brings back his Get in the Cage segment with guest Liam Neeson. It was a decent segment but I really think they should’ve ended this recurring bit on the highest note it reached with the real Nicolas Cage. They repeated a lot of the jokes that they usually do in this segment but some of the stuff was still hilarious like Cage explaining the plot for his new film based on the game “Hungry, Hungry Hippos.” The testicles’ nicknames being Liam Neeson characters was great. I also loved the John Travolta line and it ended the segment on a hilarious note.
Rating: *** 1/2

9. The 2012 Funkytown Debate (5:24)

On C-SPAN, Michael “Monkey Sweat” James (Killam) emcees a debate in Funkytown between incumbent mayor Dr. Silky Delicious (Thompson), Captain Catfish (Ferrell), and straight-laced Janet Nichols (Pedrad).

– This was quite an odd sketch and I give them credit for at least trying to do something unique but that certainly didn’t result in it being funny whatsoever.
– I guess I lightly chuckled at Ferrell’s cabinet and Usher’s dance moves were put to good use here as Mr. Galactic Fantastic but that was about it.
– This may be the worst sketch of the season or at least in the top ten.
Rating: *

10. Broadway Sizzle (5:23)

A recently divorced couple (Hader & Wiig) host a program in which several performers (Ferrell, Moynihan, & Thompson) do some of their best Broadway performances on-stage in an effort to get some recognition.

– This was another head-scratcher. While it wasn’t as bad as the previous sketch, it was still lacking in humour somewhat. Ferrell’s part was okay but I didn’t really get what the main joke of his segment was supposed to be.
– Kenan’s part was strange. Was the song supposed to be funny on its own?
– Will constantly realizing that he’s singing women parts was somewhat amusing.
– Bobby Moynihan made me laugh with his brief bit.
Rating: **

11. Usher sings “Climax” (3:50)

– Another decent performance. At least Usher uses his real voice rather than auto-tune or something stupid like that.

12. Anniversary Toast (5:18)

An anniversary toast is interrupted by several uninvited party guests like a professional psychic (Ferrell), the rock & roll shorts guy (Armisen), Hamilton (Will Forte), Gail (Wiig), the very strange Reg (Killam), and of course microphone guy (Moynihan).

– I didn’t expect this sketch to make a comeback but it was fine anyway. There were some parts that didn’t work but a good portion of it did and it was a nice break after the previous two bad sketches.
– Wiig was funnier here than she was in the other sketches like this.
– Taran’s character was hilarious but for me, I was most happy with Will Forte bringing back Hamilton and his insane right-wing nuttery.
Rating: ***

13. Almost Pizza (1:19)

– Repeat from Sofia Vergara/One Direction (4/7/12).

14. Goodnights

OVERALL: Well, aside from two bad segments in the post-Update slot, this was a pretty good show but slightly disappointing for an episode hosted by Will Ferrell. There was no Jeopardy! sketch which I half-expected anyway but once the episode entered the second half, it seemed to lose a lot of the energy it had built up to that point and ended on a bit of a lower note. Still, it was solid all-in-all.

 

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: WILL FERRELL – 9 segments (Biden’s Room; Monologue; One-A-Day Extra Strength Nasaflu; Alternative Prom; Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast)
MUSICAL GUEST: USHER – 2 segments (The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate)

CAMEOS: KAY FERRELL – 1 segment (Monologue)
WILL FORTE – 2 segments (Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; Anniversary Toast)
ANA GASTEYER – 1 segment (Alternative Prom)
LIAM NEESON – 1 segment (Weekend Update)

FILMED CAMEOS: JUSTIN BIEBER – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
MICHAEL BOLTON – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
JULIAN CASABLANCAS – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
JON HAMM – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
NATALIE PORTMAN – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 1 segment (The 100th Digital Short)

FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (Biden’s Room; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 2 segments (Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 2012 Funkytown Debate)
BILL HADER – 3 segments (Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast; Almost Pizza)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Almost Pizza)
ANDY SAMBERG – 3 segments (The 100th Digital Short [6 roles]; Weekend Update; The 2012 Funkytown Debate)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 3 segments (Biden’s Room; Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; Anniversary Toast)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Alternative Prom; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle)
KRISTEN WIIG – 7 segments (One-A-Day Extra Strength Nasaflu; Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 100th Digital Short; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Broadway Sizzle; Anniversary Toast; Almost Pizza)

VANESSA BAYER – 3 segments (Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
TARAN KILLAM – 3 segments (Biden’s Room; The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
KATE MCKINNON – 2 segments (The 2012 Funkytown Debate; Anniversary Toast)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (The 2012 Funkytown Debate)

EPISODE MVP: Jason Sudeikis


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 15)

 

The Show:

1. New York Sports Now (4:33)

A number of sportscasters (Hader, Thompson, Pharoah, & Killam) are caught up in the hysteria of basketball player Jeremy Lin and “Linsanity” that they keep resorting to making puns about how much they love the guy while one caster (Killam) goes a little too far with the racial epiphets.

– I’ll be honest: I don’t follow sports at all so I was a little confused when this sketch started. However, I soon realized what the joke was here and suffice to say, I was definitely along for the ride.
– Once again, Taran was the highlight here. His over-the-top racial comments were hilarious as were Kenan and Jay’s annoyed reactions. The real bite to these comments came from the fact that the Jeremy Lin comments were already borderline-racist, harmless as they may appear.
– The New York Post really said “Amasian”? Wow.
– The Jackie Robinson tribute video was hilarious too with the “Tolerant” line at the end and the gong hit by Pharoah following the segment.
– The absolute best part here though was definitely Bill Hader dubbing an interview with Jeremy Lin.
Rating: **** 1/2

2. Monologue (4:38)

Maya talks about all her lovin’ with the cast when she was on the show and then spends the rest of the monologue singing around the studio while finding all her former flings, including Lorne, Paul Simon (!!!), & Stefon (Hader).

– Much better monologue than I was expecting from Maya and you just KNEW she was going to sing.
– It looks like there was a technical glitch there where Maya was supposed to wink after seeing Stefon but the sound effect only came in just after she left. Still, it was great to see Lorne, Paul, and Stefon all standing together. What a funny visual!
– Having all the dancers on-stage at the beginning reminded me of the beginning of Melissa McCarthy’s monologue (before Kristen replaced the female dancers) earlier this season.
– The gong playing for Seth Meyers was so strange but funny nonetheless.
Rating: ****

3. Bronx Beat (8:08)

Betty (Amy Poehler!) and Jodi (Rudolph) host another edition of their catty talk show after a “15-month hiatus.” After making some chit-chat about Valentine’s Day and their personal lives, they welcome their guests, two members of the crew (Justin Timberlake! Samberg!), that resemble the hosts quite a bit.

– I usually don’t care for this sketch at all but it was nice to see it again after a long hiatus and it was a bit more creative than usual, especially when it came to the guests themselves.
– I actually really enjoyed the pre-guest banter between Maya and Amy this time with the highlights being the discussion about “Hoarders,” Jennifer Lopez dating a younger guy, and the fake-out with Maya explaining what romantic things her husband did for her.
– Looks like they both had a bit of a crack-up at one point.
– The appearance by Justin Timberlake was completely unexpected and it was pretty funny. Combining him with Samberg was a good idea.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs! (2:25)

Maya Angelou (Rudolph) hosts her own prank show much in the same style of Betty White’s new show in which she does “nasty” pranks on her friends like Morgan Freeman (Pharoah), Cornel West (Thompson), and Stephen King (Hader). Of course, after every one of these “harsh” pranks, Maya reveals herself and shares an emotional moment with her victims.

– This was pretty funny and I did enjoy Rudolph’s Maya Angelou impression, which was well-utilized here.
– Jay debuts another awesome impression here with Morgan Freeman.
– I thought for sure that Maya had done this impression on the show before but I was surprised to learn that she had not.
Rating: *** 1/2

5. Baby Blue Ivy (6:51)

Jay Z (Pharoah) and Beyonce (Rudolph) celebrate the birth of their new baby and receive visits from several celebrities including Prince (Armisen), Nicki Minaj (Pedrad), LL Cool J (Thompson), Taylor Swift (Wiig), Brad Pitt (Killam) & Angelina Jolie (Elliott), and Justin Vernon (Timberlake) of Bon Iver fame.

– I was not expecting this to evolve in a multi-impression sketch and as soon as Fred’s Prince impression showed up, I thought for sure that it would be framed much like the Prince Show sketches back a few years ago (they DID repeat the joke about Prince getting scared and hiding). Still, this was funny due to the performances involved.
– Andy as “white butler” was a funny joke.
– The Good: Rudolph/Beyonce; Pharoah/Jay Z; Armisen/Prince; Pedrad/Nicki Minaj; Killam/Brad Pitt; Elliott/Angelina Jolie; Timberlake/Justin Vernon
– The Average: Wiig/Taylor Swift
– The Bad: Kenan/LL Cool J
– So as you can see, I enjoyed most of the impressions. I’d say Pitt, Jolie, and Vernon were my ultimate favourites. This is the third time (I think) that the show has poked fun at a musical guest from the same season.
– The ending seemed miscued and awkward as Rudolph said “bye” twice.
Rating: *** 1/2

6. Sleigh Bells perform “Comeback Kid” (2:52)

– Unique is the best word I can use to describe this performance but I don’t mean it in a bad way. Not a bad little tune though. I liked it.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers & Amy Poehler (6:51)

Best Jokes: Obama’s approval rating; CBS/Republican candidates; Shakira attacked; Valentine’s Day; Subway benches

– We get a Really!?! segment on the birth control hearing that did not have any women invited to the proceedings. The return of Amy was great and Seth & Amy had some pretty cutting remarks regarding the situation. The best one was the comment on Catholics.
– I like how Seth asked Amy to stick around and tell jokes.
– No guests this week? Surprising.
Rating: ****

8. What Up With That? (7:28)

Diondre Cole (Thompson) welcomes guests Bill O’Reilly, Kate Upton, and of course, Lindsey Buckingham (Hader), who gets cut off like usual.

– I didn’t expect this to come back after the one last season seemed like the swan song. I do enjoy this sketch but I really felt like the one last year should’ve been the finale as it was awesome, had great cameos, and told more about the characters involved on the show. This was good but certainly not one of the better ones.
– Crazy to see Bill O’Reilly there. I don’t like him at all but he did a good enough job by just plugging his book and looking annoyed at Kenan’s interruptions. I don’t think he stuck around for the goodnights though.
– Oops, a rare line flub for Taran at the beginning there!
– Maya’s character was pretty good and I did like her silly accent. Also, what the heck was Abby Elliott doing?
Rating: ***

9. Super Showcase (4:10)

A contestant (Bayer) gets the final question wrong and so the host (Hader) shows her what she would’ve won had she been right with the assistance of Shonda (Rudolph) and Vonda (Wiig).

– This was pretty terrible and reminded my of why I used to find Rudolph so damn grating back in the day. Combined with a hammy Wiig character, this died a slow death (and I like Wiig!).
– The only redeeming value of this sketch was Rudolph, Wiig, and Hader all cracking up throughout the sketch. Bayer came close as well.
Rating: * 1/2

10. The Obama Show (4:11)

In order to spread awareness of childhood obesity, Michelle Obama (Rudolph) presents a very Cosby-esque program revolving around the Obamas and the crazy misadventures they find themselves getting into.

– This was very silly but very funny and I especially liked the design of the opening credits with things like Joe Jamal-Biden dancing around. Much like the Beyonce/Jay Z sketch, they swerved me again though as I thought this was just going to be a Michelle Obama-addresses-the-nation opening rather than the full-fledged sketch we got here.
– Fred doing his Obama voice like Theo Huxtable was terrific and it breathed some life into the impression.
– Sudeikis as Joe Biden was the highlight here, especially when he showed up and took the blame for the hoagie in exchange for borrowing the car.
– Loved the “next week preview” with Amy returning as Hillary Clinton.
Rating: ****

11. Sleigh Bells perform “End of the Line” (3:41)

– The vocals seemed to be mixed pretty low for this performance but otherwise, it was just as good as the first.

12. How’s He Doing? (4:54)

The host (Thompson) of an African-American political discussion show fields questions to his two guests (Rudolph & Pharoah) about how Barack Obama is doing as the president and what it would take for them to not vote for him in the upcoming election.

– A fairly funny concept with a good performance from Pharoah in particular.
– The best part was the “what would it take?” segment with Maya and Jay consistently backing Barack Obama no matter what he did including a love affair with Ke$ha.
Rating: *** 1/2

13. Goodnights

 

OVERALL: Way better than any Maya Rudolph-hosted show had any right to be. She didn’t annoy me at all tonight except for maybe the gameshow sketch but the corpsing prevented that a bit anyway. There was some really good writing tonight and even Bronx Beat was good, which is definitely a great sign of an enjoyable episode! As for the cast, I have to give it up to Jay Pharoah for doing an awesome job tonight and he even managed to get some solid airtime with cameos out the ying-yang on top of that.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: MAYA RUDOLPH – 8 segments (Monologue; Bronx Beat; Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs!; Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?; Super Showcase; The Obama Show; How’s He Doing?)

CAMEOS: BILL O’REILLY – 1 segment (What Up With That?)
AMY POEHLER – 3 segments (Bronx Beat; Weekend Update; The Obama Show)
PAUL SIMON – 1 segment (Monologue)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 2 segments (Bronx Beat; Baby Blue Ivy)
KATE UPTON – 1 segment (What Up With That?)

FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (Monologue; Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?; The Obama Show)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 2 segments (Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?)
BILL HADER – 5 segments (New York Sports Now; Monologue; Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs!; What Up With That?; Super Showcase)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (Monologue; Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 1 segment (What Up With That?)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?)
ANDY SAMBERG – 4 segments (Monologue; Bronx Beat; Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 3 segments (Monologue; What Up With That?; The Obama Show)
KENAN THOMPSON – 6 segments (New York Sports Now; Monologue; Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs!; Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?; How’s He Doing?)
KRISTEN WIIG – 3 segments (Monologue; Baby Blue Ivy; Super Showcase)

VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (What Up With That?; Super Showcase)
TARAN KILLAM – 4 segments (New York Sports Now; Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?; The Obama Show)
JAY PHAROAH – 5 segments (New York Sports Now; Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs!; Baby Blue Ivy; What Up With That?; How’s He Doing?)

EPISODE MVP: Jay Pharoah


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 22)

Here it is, folks. The season finale. It’s been one hell of a ride so let’s crank this puppy out.

The Show:

1. Strauss-Kahn’s Cell (3:33)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Killam), former head of the IMF, arrives to Riker’s Island on his first day in prison only to be greeted by two other inmates (Thompson & Pharoah) who proceed to get in-depth about Europe’s financial problems.

– Good thing I watched this episode again later, because I had no idea what this cold open was parodying.
– Jay in a live sketch?!? AND the cold open?! Wow.
– Kenan and Jay were funny in the sketch, but Jay was very noticeably reading the cue cards at one point near the beginning of the sketch.
– Killam was also funny without uttering a single word until the end just by his facial expressions alone
– Anyway, this was a somewhat slow-moving cold open, but it was a nice, refreshing change from the ‘Obama addresses the nation’ opens or any other type of news show
***

2. Monologue (4:07)

Justin talks about how he is there to do sketch comedy and definitely not sing before he launches into a musical number about all the things he won’t do tonight.

– What do you expect me to say? Justin is one of the finest hosts the show has ever had and he always brings a buttload of charisma to everything he does.
– So, of course, Justin’s song was a hoot and I enjoyed every single moment of it, including the obvious joke that he sang about not singing.
– Particularly hilarious moments include Justin approaching a female audience member, “taking a sexy breath,” his wacky dancing, and the rain effect just to name a few.
****

3. Liquorville (5:59)

A mascot (Wiig) for tea gets interrupted by the mascot (Timberlake) for Liquorville, who proceeds to do a number of dances to the tune of popular songs.

– It’s unfortunate that neither Forte or Parnell are around to do these sketches anymore, but Kristen Wiig is a very suitable replacement, especially with her naiive references to “teabagging” and Justin telling her to google it.
– Justin’s dancing was as funny as ever, especially the visual of his beer bottle costume twirling around and rising up and down.
– Lady Gaga showing up was a pretty big surprise too and her wine costume was pretty damn funny. And was it just me or did she have a slight wardrobe malfunction at one point? If not, it was very, very close.
*** 1/2

4. WXPD News New York (5:05)

Herb Welch (Hader) is back, reporting a story on a carbon monoxide leak at a high school. In the process, he interviews a young teacher (Timberlake) and the principal (Armisen) while Jack (Sudeikis) pushes Herb to probe further into his investigation.

– Another appearance by Herb Welch and it’s essentially the same as his last appearance, but Hader never fails to make this old geezer a hilarious character.
– I loved Herb attacking the principal when he found out he was Japanese and then his usual attacking the camera/coming back from the dead ending.
– Interesting to note here is that Nasim Pedrad played the same newscaster that was in the news sketch on Emma Stone/Kings of Leon when they were reporting on “souping.” And the news station in that sketch was also called WXPD.
– Was that an on-air prank by Samberg to scream “you suck” just to make Hader crack? It almost worked and it didn’t really seem to contribute to the sketch at all.
– The very end with Sudeikis getting a microphone in his face made no sense and was hilarious.
****

5. Digital Short: 3-Way (The Golden Rule) (3:05)

The harmonizing duo (Jandy Timsamlake) are back and after finishing off with each other’s mothers (Sarandon & Clarkson, again) they decide to meet up with their respective girlfriends. When they each discover that it’s the same girl, they sing about having a three-way.

– I knew they’d bring this back, but I had no idea what they would try to pull off.
– I really liked their continuous yelling of “yeah” at the beginning and then stopping themselves when they noticed the stoplight.
– Again, Lady Gaga is involved in a sketch and again, it helps it a lot more than hurts it. Her staring at them during the “helicopter dick” scene was uproarious.
– This was no Motherlover or Dick in a Box, but it was still hilarious and another successful return for the Andy/Justin duo.
****

6. Lady Gaga sings “The Edge Of Glory” & “Judas” (4:21)

– Once again, Gaga impresses the SNL stage with her impressive presence and powerful singing abilities.
– She only performed part of the first song; a quiet, somber piece at the piano, before launching into her second ditty
– Where “Judas” was a frenetic dance-a-thon, “The Edge Of Glory” was anything but. It resulted in a sort-of schizophrenic performance and it was definitely entertaining.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (8:45)
Guests: “Get in the Cage” with Nic Cage (Samberg) and guest Bradley Cooper; Stefon (Hader)

Best Jokes: Donald Trump; Disney/Seal Team 6; 25,000th Big Mac; baby cakes; ‘planking’; marijuana-laced margerine


– Seth’s edition of “Really!?!” regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger was hilarious and I’m glad to finally see it make its return. I especially enjoyed Seth saying that Arnold “has really big balls for a guy with little steroid balls” and the fact that almost all his movies make great headlines for this story.
– The second edition of “Get in the Cage” was funny and it was cool to see Bradley Cooper show up on the program again; he was a fun host a couple years ago. I especially like Cage when he freaks out about how he’s not in the movie his guest is promoting (“I’m told the actors were given food!”). Cooper was very laid-back and all smiles, which made this very entertaining and Cage’s rant at the end of the bit was the icing on the cake. The revelation that Mel Gibson is Nic’s life coach and that Wesley Snipes is his accountant was also funny. I enjoyed this one quite a bit more than the Jake Gyllenhaal edition.
– Seth leaving Update at the end with Stefon in a Casablanca homage was a great way to go out.
**** 1/2

8. What’s That Name? (6:14)

Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga compete on a game show that tests their trivia knowledge, but it soon turns into a confrontation as Justin is stumped by a woman he shtupped a couple of weekends ago and a former band member. Gaga, however, has no problem remembering every single one of her fans.

– Even though they did this one with Paul Rudd before, this was a perfect way to bring it back and Hader is a perfect match for the host.
– Timberlake’s facial reactions during the sketch were hilarious as well as Gaga’s knowledge of everyone’s name and life situation.
– Justin was a sort-of slow burn here and the part with the ‘N Sync band member was an absolute highlight.
– I think this may go down as an all-time classic.
*****

9. Merryville Love Tunnel (3:34)

A couple (Sudeikis & Pedrad) take a spin in the Merryville Love Tunnel, where several of the animatronic robots (Timberlake, Hader, & Killam) creep out the husband and slowly attempt to take away his girlfriend and marry her.

– I never thought this would be more than a one-off sketch, but the edition from Carrey/Black Keys was hilarious and this was a really fun follow-up.
– Sudeikis was a perfect straight man here as per always and the performances by the three playing the robots were perfect as well.
– Jason’s scream in particular made me laugh out loud.
– Even though this was recurring, at least this went in a much different direction and the wedding at the end plus Hader’s flirting was a funny ending.
*** 1/2

10. Secret Word (4:31)

It’s another edition of the 1960s game show with Mindy Gracin (Wiig) this time going up against a magician named the Mysterious Crandell (Timberlake).

– Hader as ANOTHER game show host in the same show?! Has that ever happened? Maybe with Phil Hartman back in the 80s, but I doubt it.
– This is a sketch that has somewhat run out of steam despite the consistently funny performance by Kristen and Bill.
– The jokes where Wiig accidentally says the secret word are running thin as well, except for the one where she misinterpreted “BOOT” as “8OOT”
– I did like Timberlake’s phony magician character and the cheap motorized pinwheel that he employed to try and confuse the host (Hader).
** 1/2

11. Lady Gaga sings “Born This Way” (4:20)

– Well, hatching out of an egg was certainly a unique way to make an entrance.
– Gaga belts out another impressive song here. There’s no denying that she should become a five-timer on the show if her career keeps going the way it is.
– The glitter birth: wow.

12. The Barry Gibb Talk Show (5:18)

In the fifth edition of the popular recurring sketch, Barry (Jimmy Fallon!) and Robin (Timberlake) welcome their guests Rachel Maddow (Elliott), Ben Bernanke (Armisen), and Roland S. Martin (Thompson).

– It was mildly surprising that this showed up again, but Timberlake obviously loves doing this, so that’s why it’s only a mild one.
– I didn’t think this was as funny as the previous ones, but this was still a funny sketch and it certainly had its moments, mostly due to Jimmy Fallon’s freak-outs and Timberlake’s decision to remain silent.
– The best part was Fallon being revived with the gold medallions as a defibrillator and screaming out that he survived the rapture.
– Kenan was on the brink of cracking up at the end when Jimmy started touching his face.
***

13. Goodnights

– Well, it really looks like this may be Fred’s last year. The camera lingered on him quite a bit and he seemed to be doing a lot of emotional embracing.
– Timberlake briefly dancing with an audience member was pretty cute.
– Holy crap, they let the goodnights run the entire time! That’s awesome that they did this for the season finale.

OVERALL: In what may be a representation of the entire season, this was yet another phenomenal episode (even with pretty much everything being a recurring sketch/character) with only one hiccup and an average sketch or two. Everything else was terrific though and it all resulted in a helluva season finale. Timberlake can almost be depended on for a great episode now as I don’t think he’s ever hosted a bad one yet. Much like Jon Hamm, he has proven himself to be a great go-to host once again and even has a few recurring sketches under his belt. Lady Gaga was also a great addition to the show and her participation in sketches made the show that much more fun.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 8 segments (Monologue; Liquorville; WXPD News New York; 3-Way (The Golden Rule); What’s That Name?; Merryville Love Tunnel; Secret Word; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
MUSICAL GUEST: LADY GAGA – 3 segments (Liquorville; 3-Way (The Golden Rule); What’s That Name?)
CAMEOS: BRADLEY COOPER – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
JIMMY FALLON – 1 segment (The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
FILMED CAMEOS: PATRICIA CLARKSON – 1 segment (3-Way (The Golden Rule))
SUSAN SARANDON – 1 segment (3-Way (The Golden Rule))

CAST:

FRED ARMISEN – 3 segments (WXPD News New York; What’s That Name?; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (What’s That Name?; Secret Word; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
BILL HADER – 5 segments (WXPD News New York; Weekend Update; What’s That Name?; Merryville Love Tunnel; Secret Word)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 2 segments (Merryville Love Tunnel; Secret Word)
ANDY SAMBERG – 3 segments (WXPD News New York (voice only); 3-Way (The Golden Rule); Weekend Update)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (WXPD News New York; Merryville Love Tunnel)
KENAN THOMPSON – 2 segments (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell; The Barry Gibb Talk Show)
KRISTEN WIIG – 2 segments (Liquorville; Secret Word)

FEATURING:

VANESSA BAYER – none
PAUL BRITTAIN – 2 segments (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell; Merryville Love Tunnel)
TARAN KILLAM – 3 segments (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell; What’s That Name?; Merryville Love Tunnel)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (WXPD News New York; Merryville Love Tunnel)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (Strauss-Kahn’s Cell)

EPISODE MVP: Bill Hader


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 1)

SNL has had quite a summer. The first thing we discovered is that long-time castmember (since 2002), Will Forte, announced that he was leaving the show to care for his ailing sister in Los Angeles, five upcoming hosts were announced (Amy, Bryan Cranston, Jane Lynch, Emma Stone, and Jon Hamm), Jenny Slate was fired or quit (it was never confirmed either way, but it looks like the former), and finally… four new featured players were hired. Vanessa Bayer (a comedienne from Improv Olympic in Chi-Town) Paul Brittain (another iO Chicago player), Taran Killam (a former MADtv castmember for one season), and Jay Pharaoh (a very young stand-up comedian from Virginia) join the fairly large cast this season.

As mentioned by several people, this year is looking like its going to be a transitional year with several repertory players being cut next season (methinks it will be Fred and Kenan). However, that is in the future and for now, we look to this week’s show. Season premieres in general for the program can be iffy at best and drab at worst with a few notable exceptions (namely Damon/Springsteen and Cook/Killers come to mind). For the last few years, they haven’t always been the strongest choice (athletes, no-charisma divas) so that’s why when I heard that Poehler was set to be the first host of the season, I was definitely down for this.

Joining Poehler is Katy Perry, the gorgeous pop singer who apparently has been decidedly lukewarm when it comes to live performances. The songstress has been the source of a bit of controversy lately as her recent performance on Sesame Street with Elmo was pulled because of the very revealing clothing she wore on the program. Of course, this “controversy” is a rather silly situation and the hopes are that Katy will make reference to it in some way, shape or form.

Time to rumble!

The Show:

1. RNC Headquarters (5:43)

Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell (Wiig) meets with her advisors (Hader & Sudeikis) in the Delaware Senate campaign to discuss some of her recent controversial admissions like her dabbling in witchcraft when she was young and her anti-masturbation campaign. When O’Donnell admits that she initially confused masturbation with something else, her stance completely changes and the conversation turns lurid. Not to mention her history of running illegal dog-fights and her history of committing arson. This sketch works due to Kristen’s knack for comic timing and her chemistry with Hader and Suds. This was a great way to start the season with a fun target and some enjoyable writing. A-

2. Monologue (5:08)

Elated to be back, Amy promises to be a diva host and after announcing the arrival of the four new featured players, Poehler tells of her pre-show nightmare to the audience. The nightmare is mostly just an excuse to load up on cameos from the likes of Rachel Dratch, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, and Justin Timberlake, but it was still a hilariously rapid-fire section of the monologue with everyone delivering on the laughs, particularly Nasim in Poehler’s old Caitlin get-up, Wiig explaining a complicated dance number very quickly, and Fallon and Fey retaking their spot at the Update desk. A

3. Bronx Beat (5:51)

Well, I guess this was inevitable. This talk-show bit has never been a favourite of mine mostly due to its repetitive nature despite the strong attempts by Poehler and Rudolph (another cameo!) on every occasion. I would imagine that Emily Spivey came back to write this sketch because it follows the same typical formula. This time, Betty & Jodi discuss the recent outbreak of bedbugs and the latter talks about her renewal of wedding vows with her “stupid husband.” Their guest is a librarian with an Elmo shirt (Katy in a cute reference to the Sesame Street incident), whose boobs are discussed for a majority of the sketch. That was probably the downside although there were some good lines here and there like Betty saying that she would go to France except she “can’t speak the language and [she] hates the people.” C+

4. Bosley Hair Restoration (1:30)

The first real gross-out piece of the show is all about fixing your bald spots by removing some hair from “down under” and placing your short ‘n’ curlies where your hair should be. The pube wigs are pretty funny and Suds works well as the spokesman. B+

5. Maternity Matters (4:13)

I could tell from the opening that this was another sketch featuring Roger Brush (Armisen), the producer of several women’s issues shows, who is forced to act as host when the regular female host is absent. Of course, his answers are sexist and he is clearly in desperate need of some PR. Equating Poehler’s self-confidence problems with the stress involved in missing his water bill payment is the highlight. I read somewhere that this character is supposedly based on someone and it really wouldn’t surprise me if it was because Fred acts like a typical ball-busting producer who needs to be behind the camera. B+

6. The Mosque at Ground Zero (1:17)

What starts off as a description of the perfect gay wedding day (between Poehler and Bayer) turns into a crazy rapid-fire commercial for the new mosque at Ground Zero. It doesn’t end there though. Every Republican irrational fear of the Mosque is elevated tenfold here as they advertise pregnancy termination and innocent add-ons like an espresso bar. Classic. A+

7. Katy Perry sings “California Girls” (3:45)

God, she is absolutely gorgeous. Just thought I should let that out right now. Although I and several others were warned of her tendency to dog it during live performances, I found her to be quite apt and a pleasant little distraction to look at and admire. At least she didn’t auto-tune her whole performance either. B

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler (15:17)

At first it seems like Seth is going solo, but after an early-on edition of “Really?!?”, Amy joins in and reports on the rest of the news with Mr. Meyers. Like all other editions of “Really?!?”, this one is a lot of fun like when Seth mentions the nonsense over the troops being supposedly “not at war with Iraq anymore” and the silly controversy over homosexuals in the military. There’s plenty of good material from both newscasters this week like Seth’s war with Blockbuster, Kim Jong Not Ill being the leading cadidate to take over North Korea, and my favourite: buying your subway tickets on a iPhone app. Will Smith (new kid Jay Pharaoh with an awesome impression) stops by to yell and shill for his son, Jayden, who he’s promptly whored out to movies like The Karate Kid. There’s also a funny 911 call re-enactment where Poehler admits to doing two of the voices afterwards in an amusing bit (“The third voice was Gene Hackman,” Seth ad-libs). Finally, Gov. David Paterson (Armisen) wheels in for some comments on the two new candidates for his replacements. The usual schtick occurs, but he is interrupted by the real deal (yes, Gov. Paterson himself) and the two engage in some amusing banter, which is particularly impressive for a blind governor who can’t see cue cards. The best line: “You’re still sporting the beard? I shaved that off a year ago. Are you blind?!” It was nice to see Paterson has a sense of humour, but the two Patersons stepping in front of the camera aimlessly was the icing on the cake. They really brought the house down. A+

9. The Lean Years (3:33)

Continuing with the Showtime tradition of “women with secrets,” Amy Poehler stars in a series called The Lean Years as her Amber character with one leg. The portion of the sketch that features Amy talking about the show in a very serious, philosophical tone is the best part of the sketch. Never thought I’d see an impression of Stanley Tucci on this show though. B-

10. Digital Short: Theme from ‘Boogerman’ (2:09)

Katy Perry performs the critically-acclaimed original song from the aforementioned film at some type of awards show while clips of the movie play on the screen in the background. Based on the clips, there is no way of figuring out the convoluted plot of the film, which only adds to this digital short’s charm. The dancing is amusing as well as the ending. A-

11. Chez Henri (3:38)

A woman (Wiig) is constantly one-upped by her friend, Trish (Poehler), in front of their mutual friends (Elliott & Bayer) with her tiny hats. It continues to escalate to ridiculous levels with Bill Hader effectively playing an effeminate passer-by who keeps score. At first, I really didn’t like this sketch but upon second viewing, I’ll admit that it’s got that ‘so ridiculous, it’s funny’ vibe to it and it doesn’t hurt that the reveals of the restaurant are hilarious as well. B+

12. Katy Perry sings “Teenage Dream” (4:12)

Another tune from Perry and a very revealing skirt. Good thing Russell Brand wasn’t around… B

13. Actor II Actor (1:07)

Andy Samberg sits down for a James Lipton-style interview with Justin Timberlake but it turns out to be a very quick one-joke sketch as Andy just wants to know why Justin isn’t singing anymore. Despite the brief length of this sketch, it still turns out to be pretty funny just based on the chemistry between the two. B+

14. The Even More Expendables (2:35)

Mocking the fact that The Expendables really only had about two stars in it, the sequels and spin-offs are announced with people like Steven Seagal (Hader), Chris Tucker (Pharaoh), and Brigitte Nielsen (Samberg). It gets even more obscure than that though as Brooke Hogan (Elliott), Kim Jong Il (Poehler), Hooch (of Turner & Hooch fame), and Steven Slater (Killam) of Jet Blue infamy are all slated to appear. Not to mention the return of Sudeikis’ Rod Blagojevich impression. Just an excuse for the cast and host to do their favourite impressions, but hell, I had fun watching it unfold. B+

Amy has about a bajillion people to thank due to all the cameos and then gets a big hug from Maya Rudolph as the cast and guests bid a goodnight to one and all. Yep, Saturday Night Live is back, folks.

So how was this premiere? Better than last year’s and a LOT better than the one two years prior. Amy was an energetic host as one would expect and despite being a former castmember, she didn’t try to dominate the broadcast like some have done (coughMollyShannoncough). She definitely had some great support though from a re-energized cast and a number of cameos from some willing participants.

The cast clearly had a lot of fun and enjoyed having one of their own back with them for their first week back. Jay Pharaoh shined the most out of the newbies and did a couple of fun impressions (Will Smith and Chris Tucker), while also having a small part in the digital short. Taran Killam was pretty funny in his brief bit in the ten-to-one sketch, but Bayer and Brittain were barely visible during their first episode. This is nothing to worry about, people, this is their very first episode.

What else to say? Fun start to what I am hoping is going to be a hell of a season!

Notes:

Has there ever been a really bad performance by a former castmember-turned host besides a few awkward moments with Chevy? Even David Spade was fun.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Fallon hosts…

Katy Perry addressing her Sesame Street incident with that sly little jab was funny because she wasn’t overt about the joke.

I’m sold on Pharaoh so far. Just waiting for the other three newbies to do something memorable now.

I gotta admit I giggled like a schoolgirl at all the cameos in the opening monologue.

It’s about time Bobby Moynihan got promoted.

Tell me: What is YOUR favourite season premiere?! Also, who is your favourite former castmember-turned-host?

Host Rating: B+

Musical Guest Rating: B

Show Rating: B+