C O L D O P E N :
ZOË RICE: Kristen Wiig’s Bjork is adorable, and I liked the little ash bits falling around her. Other than that, Armisen’s Larry King and Hader’s Richard Branson left me feeling kinda meh.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Fred Armisen is well-deployed here. I happen to love Wiig’s Bjork. Branson was a time waster, but the fault was the writing, not Hader’s.
STEVE MURPHY: I love Kristen Wiig’s Bjork impression pretty damn hard. I love that she calls Larry “Lorax.” I really enjoyed Hader’s Branson, even if the only joke was a very general one about a not-that-famous guy. He’s always happy… doesn’t seem that hilarious. But I laughed a bunch so I’m giving this sketch a thumbs up for starting the show without making me want to throw myself into a snake pit, as the cold open typically does.
M O N O L O G U E :
ZOË RICE: Ryan Phillippe’s in McGruber? I can’t say he strikes me as comedy gold. I was glad for the Dick in a Box callback, and I was even okay with Kenan showing up, even though I still don’t like that chorus…
HOWARD MEGDAL: Oh boy. Here come some recurring characters to save Ryan Phillippe. Not a good omen for the show. Also, D’Andre is right: that MacGruber movie is going to be terrible!
STEVE MURPHY: Ever since I saw Cruel Intentions 241 times in college, I stopped being able to believe a word Ryan Phillippe says. He’s such a liar in that movie that every character he plays, even just doing a monologue as himself, looks like Sebastian Belmont to me. This wasn’t the best, but Andy Samberg really saved it. And hey, Kenan: the sketch is called “What Up With That” not “What’s Up With That.” You’re the star of it and you repeat it a thousand times. Has nobody noticed this but me? It drives me crazy.
C O M M E R C I A L : BROADVIEW SECURITY (REPEAT)
ZOË RICE: What’s with SNL repeating commercials from, like, yesterday? (Closet organizer much?) The surprise attackers were less of a giggler the second time around.
HOWARD MEGDAL: A good one, but come on. Is SNL two weeks in a row such a burden?
STEVE MURPHY: They have like a hundred years of funny commercials to pull from. Start using some from the 90s, we all loved that cast.
E S P N C L A S S I C :
ZOË RICE: Wow, again? I do consider this installment a successful addition to the ESPN Classic oeuvre, but SNL needs to find some fresh ideas that work on a recurring basis.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Ah, five more minutes of vagina jokes and Will Forte being stupid. A new sketch that is a repeat sketch.
STEVE MURPHY: This is a sketch I still enjoy, but it is dangerously close to falling off for me. Let’s spread this one out a little bit, fellas.
H I P H O P K I D S :
ZOË RICE: Ah, I remember this one with Timberlake and the Hip Hop Kids stuck in a mine. The addition of Abby Elliott hurt my ears, but I’m glad to say Andy Samberg was a real highlight for me, especially after the mama bear arrived. Probable, yo!
HOWARD MEGDAL: Loved this. “You need to stop getting figurative, and starting getting literal!”
STEVE MURPHY: Samberg and Sudeikis really made this one happen. Phillippe had most of the lines and barely sputtered through them.
D I G I T A L S H O R T : THE OTHER MAN
ZOË RICE: This was definitely no Sergio.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Pretty silly, but no momentum.
STEVE MURPHY: As always, I like the absurd and so I enjoyed this quite a bit. Especially the very end, when the ‘twins’ meet and the stand-in looks absolutely nothing like Samberg.
C E L E B R I T Y A C C O U N T A N T :
ZOË RICE: Alas, SNL did not quit while it was Samberg ahead. I found this character to be pretty stupid. Although having now seen Kate Gosselin on Dancing With the Stars, it’s true–she does just look like that. Moynihan as Susan Boyle provided a good sight gag, but I feel like I’m fishing for positive things to say, and that’s never the best sign.
HOWARD MEGDAL: This one had its moments. But then, I’m a sucker for old Jews.
STEVE MURPHY: Horrendous. Didn’t even giggle (except at the Mel Gibson bribe). The audience barely stirred and they have an “Applause” sign.
S H A K E W E I G H T C O M M E R C I A L D V D
ZOË RICE: This made me laugh, even though I admit it never occurred to me that those girls in the Shake Weight commercial would be considered anything other than just hilarious.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I was only familiar with this from The Daily Show. That was enough to love this sketch.
STEVE MURPHY: I have never seen the real Shake Weight commercial… but I’m willing to admit that I enjoyed all the faux-porn.
K E $ H A : TIK TOK
ZOË RICE: This performance struck me as high school talent show meets late 90s comedy about a high school talent show. I appreciate the humor in Kesha’s vibe, but I can’t believe how popular this song was. Still, I admit I’d probably dance to it if I still went out dancing.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Good news: cuts in NASA funding should prevent this from happening ever again. “Maybe we’re the aliens?” Wow- she talks like sixth graders write!
STEVE MURPHY: Are we counting this as music? Or will there be a separate musical guest?
W E E K E N D U P D A T E :
ZOË RICE: Solid zingers from Seth tonight–I think my favorite would be the last one, with the tiger. James Carville was enjoyable this time around, and Father swim coach scout master…well, I guess it was the old chuckle while shaking the head. Moynihan’s Second-hand news correspondent was pretty good, if not uproarious. I’d be up for seeing it again.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Sharp top-line jokes about the Pope, Goldman Sachs. Loved the Cajun Gollum, while Moynihan’s Second Hand News is the best use of Moynihan in a while- an indictment of his usage, not of Moynihan himself (who I love). Still, the trampoline line was my favorite of the week.
STEVE MURPHY: Seth really nailed it tonight. I loved the “how awesome gay dudes treat their puppies” line. James Carville always makes me laugh because he’s not really that much crazier than the real James Carville. But the highlight for me was Father Swim Coach Scoutmaster’s “scout’s honor” hand motion.
D U D E S A N D B E E R S :
ZOË RICE: I always find this silly and amusing, and I enjoy the singing. Phillippe got the best line, and the pay off at the very end was great.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Enjoyed the writing of this version. Glad to see SNL dealing with the priest stuff- it was really odd last week to have a sketch with a priest and a tiny person last week not be about the pedophile stuff.
STEVE MURPHY: I have missed this sketch. Terrific singalong song choice. And they really spaced it out, thanks to the song’s long verses. Huge win. “You guys know I like to jerk off on Chat Roulette while I’m at work, right?” Great opening line for Ryan Phillippe. Awesome. Aaaaaand of course this is the sketch NBC doesn’t put online. Maybe they couldn’t get the rights to replay that song?
T E E N T A L K :
ZOË RICE: I’m not a fan. This sketch needs something more than, “Speak up about your embarrassing problem.” Unfortunately Fred Armisen’s newest recurring characters have mostly sucked this season, coming across as annoying and repetitive. A shame, since he’s so talented.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Exactly. What a waste of Fred Armisen. Wasn’t funny the first time.
STEVE MURPHY: This is the second time they did this and they still used the “speak up” joke the entire time? I thought they were supposed to kill unfunny sketches at dress rehearsal.
K E $ H A : YOUR LOVE IS MY DRUG
ZOË RICE: Ooh, colors. I’ll give her credit for trying to put on a fun show, even if she isn’t exactly rap music’s second coming.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Is that a cross on her chest, or a plus sign? I don’t know if she’s cuckoo for Jesus or addition. I also question which team she’s on in Color War. I’m going to guess Team 15 Minutes of Fame. It was a weird musical bookend to Justin Bieber- a woman trying to sound like an eight-year-old a week after an eight-year-old trying to sound like a man.
STEVE MURPHY: Hahaha, Howard… too dead on. That comment was funnier than all of Teen Talk. And Zoe… is this Ke$ha girl considered a rapper? That’s horrendous.
I G O T T H I S :
ZOË RICE: This sketch was entirely middle of the road–neither bad nor great. A better game show premise? How red can Will Forte get.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Strongly disagree. Loved this.
STEVE MURPHY: I’m with Howard, I found this really hilarious. Will Forte yelling in the second round was legendary.
K I L L E R C L O W N S / R O C K U N D E R G R O U N D :
ZOË RICE: These were fun lyrics, but I feel like I’d appreciate the whole sketch more if I was at all familiar with the type of music and videos it’s lampooning. I’ve seen better video spoofs on SNL, but this one had its worthy moments, so I’ll give it a thumbs-up.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Loved it, and wondered if “Ass” Dan would return. And he did not disappoint. Indeed, the lyrics add untold complexity to the “Ass” Dan name.
STEVE MURPHY: This was awful. Like a terrible version of the Samber/Parnell classic “Lazy Sunday.” Didn’t laugh once.