Saturday Night Live With Melissa McCarthy: What Were the Best and Worst Skits?

After a cold open that whipped a few more welts into the dead horse of Kristen Wiig’s “Baby Hands on Lawrence Welk” routine, and a monologue that chugged along on pure charm (but a deficit of punchlines), I was worried that Melissa McCarthy’s Saturday Night Live hosting stint was headed for disaster. Thankfully, though, this week’s installment made a rapid recovery thanks to some loopy writing and, just as importantly, McCarthy’s penchant for physical comedy and her total lack of inhibition. Am I crazy, or was this one of the funnier SNLs in recent memory? Here are my picks for best (I’ve got to give honorable mention to Jay Pharoah’s Chris Rock Broadway show, and “The Comments Section“) and worst skit:

BEST: “Arlene”
McCarthy as a frumpy office worker sexually harassing Jason Sudeikis’s mortified married man wasn’t the world’s freshest concept, but our guest host’s commitment to the comedic cause — and her outrageous use of a horse balloon — had me howling in spite of myself.

BEST: Lil Poundcake
She has a purse, a cellphone, and hair that grows. Just watch out for those side-effects. “The only thing that you’re gonna get infected with…is fun!”

WORST: Complaints (pictured)
You could practically hear Lorne Michaels yelling, “Quick! Throw together some stale sex jokes — we’ve still got five minutes of airtime!” in the seconds before this skit featuring Andy Samberg as a singles-bar predator getting confronted by a host of dissatisfied lovers while trying to pick up Melissa McCarthy. A test of the Emergency Broadcast System would’ve been a less painful way to end the show.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? Would you agree that McCarthy deserves a return invitation? What were your favorite and least favorite skits? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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40 Comments
  1. Jen says:

    Arlene was great (I died when she blew on the horse balloon’s string!), but my favorite was the Hidden Valley Ranch skit. Hilarious! Melissa was a fabulous host – hope we get to see her there again in the future!

  2. cj says:

    i pretty much totally disagree with your entire review. whoopsy! i think SNL is just as much about good writing (as it certainly was during the Tina Fey days) as it is about owning a performance. you complain about lame, tacky, and overused sketches? what was EVERYTHING will ferrell did? remember when he walked into an office meeting with uncomfortably small star spangled banner underwear on?? Melissa McCarthy’s performance proves that commitment is king, even if the script you’re working with is blasé or very basic. lil’ pundcake was funny, but otherwise uninteresting. the comments section was boring, just like every other skit of that template in the last year. and the turner classic movie skit was BY FAR the best of the night. i’ve hardly seen someone fall down the stairs so effortlessly so many times.

  3. Anthony Newhall says:

    I basically hate SNL anymore. But last night was hilarious/ I laughed at all of the sketches, save for the final one. Very well done by McCarthy, who worked what she was given. I loved Arlene, so I hope we see that again but expanded.

  4. ggny says:

    i see another Emmy in Melissa future she was brilliant last night seems like that writers finally opened up and let the host go all out

  5. Tyler says:

    I cringe at jay pharaoh. What a one note performer. His chris rock would hve been okay with just the romeo and Juliet bit as another impression roundtable but to stretch it into a whole bit was painful.

    • Captain says:

      I don’t know if it’s so much that he’s one-note as it is, the writers have no idea what to do with an African-American comedian. I’ve yet to see them use any of their minority actors well at least in the last 10 years. Finesse Mitchell was great, what did they do with him? Keenan Thompson is great, when do they give him anything more than wearing a dress? Typically these actors are given one pathetic sketch a night and then delegated to the sidelines for the rest of the show.

      • Jason C. says:

        The thing about SNL is if you want to get airtime you have to write a good skit for yourself. It’s not that the writers don’t know what to do with a black comedian, it’s that the black comedians can’t write good skits…

  6. Clarissa says:

    One of the funnier SNLs in recent history? Aw man, this is the first time I don’t watch. I decided to give Doctor Who a try, and I couldn’t tear myself away from watching that. I still can’t! Will watch the SNL clips later.

    • ggny says:

      congrats on watching Doctor Who for the first time i remember the 1st time i watched it…Such a amazing experince finding Doctor Who for the first time

    • Julianna says:

      I’ve been watching SNL since the 1970s. I’ve been watching Dr. Who since the 1970s. One show has been getting better and better, the other worse and worse. Belushi, Aykroyd, et al vs. Tom Baker was a toss up. The present SNL crew vs. David Tennant and Matt Smith – no contest. Lately, I’ve been spending ‘way more time in the Tardis than in Studio 8H…

  7. Nick says:

    My favorite skit from last night’s SNL was probably Hidden Valley Ranch focus group – HVR! It was J-tastic!! Melissa was bringing the K-Wigg style comedy (with the weight of Chris Farley). It was spot on.

    • GirlNamedJake says:

      I agree – I don’t think it was just the weight of Farley. I thought of Farley too…but it was more the fearlessness. He’d commit to the craziness, he’d go to the end of the character & go nuts with it. It wasn’t the size that made me think it … it was the super funny that made me think it.

  8. GirlNamedJake says:

    This is the difference between just an actor and an actor with a real comedy (Groundlings, Second City) background. The best part about Melissa is that she has that background & also has NO FEAR! If the guest were someone like Eva Longoria, this would have been the lamest episode ever. What worked about this episode was that Melissa was sooo willing to just “go there”. It was her committment to these plain & weird characters and her physical comedy skills that made her sketches funny. It was funny because of her lack of personal space, what she did with the balloons, etc. Don’t get me started on her scooping the dressing off her Mr. Spock Sweatshirt with that permed hair! I loved the contrast though reminding us of how stunning she really is in the still photography in between the sketches where she looked so bad!

  9. Brandy says:

    I thought Melissa was the best host in YEARS. I just wished she was a full time cast member. (the show could really use a female Chris Farley). And Slezak, I’m sorry, but the Lawrence Welk skit will ALWAYS crack me up.

    • Kim R says:

      I agree. I thought Melissa far outshone many of the hosts SNL has had over the last several years. So funny and totally committed. And I can’t help it….I love the Lawrence Welk skits as well. Kristin Wigg’s tiny handed sister kills me every time. And last night was all the more funny because of Melissa’s bizarre addition to the family. :)

    • Agreed says:

      I really liked Melissa McCarthy on the show and hope she will get opportunities to host again. Loved the Arlene skit, and appreciate how she just dives in (regardless of some sub par skits). Please give her more time with Kristen Wiig next go round. They are comedy gold together…

  10. Lynne says:

    The quality of writing for SNL has been going down for years. But you have to give Melissa credit for taking subpar skits and turning them into comedy gold. She truly is a talent.

    Best: Arlene, salad dressing skit and dance number with Kristen.

  11. Bill V says:

    The Hidden Valley Ranch skit had me laughing out loud through the whole thing…I really hope that was yogurt for her and not ranch dressing…And the old-time movie lady, really bad lines (Why don’t you come up and see me up there sometime?) but her throwing herself down the steps was funny. I hope she was padded in the right places….
    Great show, best one since Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga…oh, wait, there were only a couple in between..never mind…grin.
    But seriously, great show.

  12. Lizzy says:

    Melissa I hope your lying in bed this morning reading all your fabulous reviews. Best SNL in a long time. Hope you get to do it again very soon. Kept me in stitches. You are fearless – hysterically fearless. I love you! No I am not a stalker.

  13. Patrick says:

    I thought it was an OK episode. MM really did commit, and she gave it her all. But, SNL took the easy road and did a bunch of Fat Chick skits. She committed, which I understand. She is looking at a long and potentially lucrative career as the inappropriate fat chick in a bunch of R rated comedies, so props.

    But SNL was lazy with the fat chick jokes. I laughed some, but not a lot.

    • Nadine says:

      I have to say I don’t think the writers were lazy with the fat jokes, since the sketches could have also starred tall skinny people (Arlene, HVR lady), though the Mae West spoof works better with a more statuesque body. Melissa’s McCarthy’s fearless physical comedy and her awesome talent sold the sketches.

  14. that gurl says:

    +1 to Patrick and Captain. MM knows how to commit and SNL does not know what to do with Jay Pharoh.

    I wish Keenan would bring back deep house dish and feature Lady G.

    Sidenote: Ben Falcone (MM’s hubby) rocks as the music teacher in the Target denim commerical.

  15. Matt says:

    I never expected to Melissa Mccarthy to be this breakout star she is but I’m so happy about it too. Any of us Gilmore Girls fans new how wonderfully funny and talented she was. It feels like she was this huge secret comedic talent that everyone is just getting clued in on.

    • Amy says:

      High-five Matt!

      I’m so happy that people finally know how amazing she is!

    • Blame Leno! says:

      YES to this. I loved her as Sookie. She’s been a fav actor of mine for years. I’m just glad everyone else is getting on board. I’m such a dork. I cried when she won the emmy and I don’t even watch Mike & Molly LOL! I was just happy to see a great actor get some recognition.

  16. Annie says:

    I thought Melissa McCarthy was a stand out last night. The skit as Arlene and the Hidden Ranch had me laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. I am so happing I thought ahead to PVR as I watched, now when I need a pick me up I will just turn on MM on SNL. I hope they have her back again soon.

  17. THOLDEM says:

    I thought Melissa was hilarious. I loved ‘Arlene. I hop they will have her back again.

  18. amy says:

    I have to disagree with the comments about “Fat Chick” skits. It seems like a reflection of your own prejudice against heavy people. Any of those skits would have been just as hilarious if the actor had been equally talented, but not overweight. (Picture Kristen Wiig in those roles.) Someone can be frumpy, inappropriate, competitive, and lack boundaries regardless of their physique. Melissa knocked it out of the park.

  19. Dave says:

    I loved it. I thought it was great. The complaints was a terrible ending. I say we all pretend it didn’t happen, and say that she was perfect last night.

  20. ems says:

    Can Melissa McCarthy just join the SNL cast? It would make everything so much better.

    • Magically Suspicious says:

      This was exactly my thought. She was the most refreshing thing I’ve seen on there in ages. The Arlene and the HVR sketches had me snorting I was laughing so hard. If I was LM, I’d extend a standing invitation. And it’s not exactly out of the question. Think of Justin Timberlake. It seems like he made an appearance in about half of last season’s episodes.

  21. As an actress who has recently earned her more-than-deserved share of clout in the entertainment industry, I would have expected Ms. McCarthy to take a stand against performing what was essentially the same fat joke over and over again. Would it have been so wrong for an equal amount of the show’s skits to not have anything to do with girth or an over-hungry attitude?

  22. Volcfom says:

    I love Melissa! Arlene was definitely my favorite with Hidden Valley Ranch a close second. It’s amazing how much better the show is when the host is from a comedy background. I’m hoping for repeat hosting gigs in the future!

  23. Julie says:

    In my opinion, this was the best SNL episode I’ve seen in years. Melissa McCarthy truly killed me. I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard while watching the Hidden Valley Ranch skit, and the Lulu Diamond sketch. She is the funniest actress I’ve ever seen. Thank you SNL for having MM host. I think America needed that long awaited laugh. Please have her back soon, and often.

  24. Elaine says:

    HELP PLEASE…. Can anyone give a link or suggest a site where I can watch the SNL Netflix skit that didn’t make it onto the air. So far I can only find it on links to NBC and that darn HULU which I cant watch being outside of the U.S. Thanks very mmuch.

  25. Mememimi says:

    She was great! Loved watching SNL with Melissa as host. Looking forward to seeing her back on. :P

  26. Linda says:

    This was one of the funniest shows I’ve seen recently. Melissa McCarthy is comedy gold! Totally deserves an emmy for this! :) I was laughing out loud like I was the only one in the world. SO HILARIOUS! Hope she comes back soon!

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