C O L D O P E N :
ZOË RICE: Even just the intro to this week’s open was amusing, but the Eric Massa story easily lends itself to disbelieving humor. The part of this open that really hit was the snorkeling with Samberg. Overall a decent way to start the show.
STEVE MURPHY: This was a really great idea, really well done. It was hurt only a little by a couple quick microphone problems and a single bad joke by Kristen Wiig.
HOWARD MEGDAL: It would have been comedic malpractice for SNL not to open with Massa. Good job. I actually liked Samberg even more as the ticklee.
M O N O L O G U E :
ZOË RICE: Not exactly funny, but kinda fun. Maybe it’s the accent. I liked Jude doing his abbreviated Hamlet, even though there was nothing particularly memorable.
STEVE MURPHY: Jude Law is a solid actor and I’m excited for tonight’s episode… but this wasn’t a very funny monologue. Better luck next sketch, Jude.
HOWARD MEGDAL: If anyone has seen The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), this was a pale imitation indeed.
P R I U S / F O R D :
ZOË RICE: Even though the punchline was predictable, I found this pretty funny–Abby Elliot’s face through the car window toward the end struck the right chord of humor-terror. It would have been funnier with Will Forte instead of Kenan.
STEVE MURPHY: This was pretty brilliant, and very current. But yeah, I’m with Zoe, they could have replaced Kenan with just about anyone else and improved this sketch.
HOWARD MEGDAL: And I had zero problem with Kenan here. Curious how Bill Hader would have played, or Jason Sudeikis. Loved it, though.
S E C R E T W O R D :
ZOË RICE: I wasn’t a fan of this sketch the first time around, but it’s growing on me. I definitely enjoyed Jude Law as the Russian ballet dancer (ballerino?) better than I did Joseph Gordon Levitt. Jude’s dancing and his huge package gave me a chuckle. Wiig was funnier this time around, with some really great play references, Bill Hader was on point, and I actually liked Kenan Thompson as the 1960s black man. His first line made me crack up–I laughed at Kenan! An actual pig flew across my apartment. Jude’s accent worked, his clues worked, overall just a smooth little sketch here–and it also ended at just the right time.
STEVE MURPHY: I was surprised to see this one back, but it had a bunch of laughs in it for me, with some funny race humor, great character development by Bill Hader and some well-underplayed frustration by Kenan Thompson, who as you know I typically hate. Unfortunately they brought Kristen Wiig’s character back, which was annoying and unnecessary. I think they could have easily thought up a new, funnier fake celebrity and cut some of the predictability out of this one. Overall I enjoyed it.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Agree with Steve, though I tend to like any sketch where they give Wiig some running room.
B R O A D V I E W S E C U R I T Y :
ZOË RICE: Didn’t they do a creepy Bill Hader security commercial recently? Was that Broadview security too? If so, then I’m down with this. If not, then they need some new ideas. But the scenarios here were funny–Grandpa, Rabbi, and KD Lang all amused. So far a decently solid show this week.
STEVE MURPHY: Yes! This was hilarious. I’ve seen the real commercial this is based on, and this was some dead-accurate satire. I wish they’d always be this topical and current!
HOWARD MEGDAL: Seriously. Bravo on this one!
S P A N I S H M U R D E R E R :
ZOË RICE: The premise here was rather weak, not allowing the writers nor the actors much to go on. This bit wasn’t really funny, but I’ve seen worse. And Jude Law beckoning with his poison was mildly amusing. They are loving that Jude Law can do accents.
STEVE MURPHY: Well apparently the new girls can’t carry a sketch. Unfunny. Even the studio audience wasn’t laughing at this one.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Assume neither of you saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona? This was obvious parody of a scene in that film. Still dragged more than a little, even having seen the movie (a great one, by the way).
D I G I T A L S H O R T : B O O M B O X
ZOË RICE: Oh, the power of a boombox. I can’t help it, I like these Andy Samberg videos. The wigs, the outfits. And at first, I was like–Ooh! Johnny Weir as rocker! (Which would’ve been awwwwesome.) But no, it’s the Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas, and he appropriately rocked it out. My favorite bits were in the middle, dancing on the streets of New York. The nursing home segment was a bit too gross. Cautionary tale indeed.
STEVE MURPHY: I’m 90% sure this wasn’t even supposed to be funny until the last verse except for a terrible joke about boiled goose, just because it rhymed. Weak sauce, Samberg. Clean it up.
HOWARD MEGDAL: More with Steve on this one. I think a big part of it, though, is knowing Samberg can do better.
P E A R L J A M 1 : J U S T B R E A T H E
ZOË RICE: Hey there, Pearl Jam, I haven’t seen you in a while! Their understated look, the understated song–I was digging it. They did put me to sleep, though, literally–that’s when I dozed off. But it was a pretty little song.
STEVE MURPHY: I’d managed to convince myself that Pearl Jam died in a blaze-of-glory plane crash after Vitalogy, the last time they wrote something really worth listening to. But I actually enjoyed this song quite a lot. It was gentle and pretty, and I have to say it’s gutsy to come out and play this as your first song, not a rocker. Very unconventional, but I guess that’s Pearl Jam’s thing. Great tune.
HOWARD MEGDAL: That was a boring song.
W E E K E N D U P D A T E :
ZOË RICE: Seth’s jokes were decent this time ’round–no killers, but solid overall. The Japanese robot and meat thermometers were the best chucklers for me. And go figure, my domestic flying pig gets a buoyant porcine buddy: I actually enjoyed Kenan as Whoopi Goldberg. I haven’t seen these commercials, and the bit would’ve been even better if I had, but they sound pretty funny. Given tonight’s ep, I believe the secret to a funny Kenan Thompson is 1960s racism and pee jokes. I can only imagine the power of the two combined. I always enjoy “Really?” and I was glad to see Jerry Seinfeld at the Update desk. The material had already been addressed in the open, but I can concede that the Massa story is absurd enough for a call back. The jokes got better as the Really? bit progressed, and overall a really satisfying Update this week.
STEVE MURPHY: Seth did alright, I guess. Some moderately-funny one-liners, especially the two Zoe highlighted. Kenan Thompson (who I hate) as Whoopi Goldberg (who I also hate) nearly ruined the entire night … but then out comes Jerry Seinfeld to do a “Really?!?” about Eric Massa, and they totally killed it! Faaaaantastic. Lots of laughing out loud.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I am for anything that means more Jerry Seinfeld. The Massa bit wasn’t even much more than quoting actual things that Massa said. He is smart enough to deliver them well, and get out of the way. Absolutely wonderful. And yes, Kenan as Whoopi was enjoyable, too!
T W I L I G H T Z O N E :
ZOË RICE: I found myself wondering why this old Twilight Zone ep was being lampooned. Moynihan’s continual crouched jump was amusing, but the sketch definitely dragged for me. Pearl Jam was a surprising and funny addition, and the arrival of Jenny Slate as the creature’s wife tickled. There were some good moments here, but it was too long and felt like a sketch for a different host.
STEVE MURPHY: Jude Law is the perfect kind of actor for a Twilight Zone sketch… but this one fell extremely flat. Why did this even need to be a Twilight Zone sketch? (Author’s note: According to Zoe this was a direct parody of a real Twilight Zone episode, so I guess that answers my question.)
HOWARD MEGDAL: Love the Twilight Zone, and this one had too much time between funny moments. I think the reason was Jude Law came across as white noise.
H A M L E T A U D I T I O N S :
ZOË RICE: Hmm, unfortunately this one mostly fell flat for me. It seemed the whole point was to provide a vehicle for celebrity impersonations, but those just weren’t so good. Hader’s Al Pacino had a couple moments, but it was off. Andy Samberg’s Nic Cage was okay, but didn’t really hit. And I wasn’t loving Sudeikis’s Sam Elliott. The sketch was watchable, just not particularly good.
STEVE MURPHY: Another moderate sketch with some great moments. Notably funny were Andy Samberg as Nic Cage, Pacino’s hilarious references to Jude Law’s movies, and Sam Elliott slowly sliding onto the ground. Beyond that, though, this one didn’t really do it for me.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I think it says something pretty uncomplimentary that Jude Law was the least convincing one in this sketch, playing himself.
U N D E R G R O U N D R O C K F E S T I V A L :
ZOË RICE: Is this a spoof of some kind of commercial I know nothing about? Meh.
STEVE MURPHY: This was a repeat, but from a year or more ago. I still really enjoyed it. “GUNT” remains the best band name of all time.
HOWARD MEGDAL: RIP, Ass Dan. With Steve on this one.
P E A R L J A M 2 : U N K N O W N T H O U G H T
ZOË RICE: A cool song, and they sound good. Glad to have Pearl Jam back.
STEVE MURPHY: Your voice is still amazing, Eddie, it really is. And this song is definitely a big step up from the acoustic one.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Enjoyed this. He really is impressive.
S T E N O G R A P H E R :
ZOË RICE: Noooooooo!!!!!! Picture me in slo-mo, diving for the fast forward button before any of this sketch sears my eyes. Somehow this second go-around was even worse than the first, which seemed impossible.
STEVE MURPHY: Damn it. I hate this sketch. Every bit as terrible as last time. In fact, it was pretty much the exact same sketch. The exact same awful jokes in the exact same order. What a terrible near-close to a generally-unfunny night.
HOWARD MEGDAL: How on earth was this sketch idea brought back? If a character can ruin Jon Hamm, it certainly can ruin Jude Law.
T A L K S H O W W I T H R A V I S H :
ZOË RICE: I’m not sure why, but I was amused by this sketch. Something about the overachieving little boy was funny, despite his ear-splitting voice. The Jay Leno Walking With Ravish was a hoot, and I thought the sketch improved with the questions to Jude Law. I’d like to see this one again in the future, hopefully with a celeb who has a really juicy scandal in his or her past for Ravish to flat out confront him/her with.
STEVE MURPHY: This one was a little bit funny, but not a huge win for me. I really, really liked Jay Leno Walking with Ravish, but much of the rest of this didn’t get the job done. I agree with Zoe though, if a celeb with real tabloid problems came out (Alec Baldwin?) and got grilled, that would make for some great humor.
HOWARD MEGDAL: On this one, we have consensus.