It was definitely Saturday Night, but not entirely Live, during the third episode of SNL‘s 37th season. But while there seemed to be an unusually high number of pre-taped bits during Ben Stiller’s latest hosting stint, you won’t hear me complaining. Nearly every skit this week managed to score a couple of genuine laughs, even if it most of them were attributable to SNL regulars like Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, and Nasim Pedrad moreso than Stiller himself. Here are my picks for the episode’s best and worst (with apologies to the always delightful Stefon, who’s probably still dancing it out at the “active crime scene” of Mmm-Hmmm and not reading this anyway):
BEST: Underground Festival: Columbus Day
The ridiculous scenarios for DJ Supersoak and Lil Blaster’s latest event had me howling with laughter, including a trio of Hispanic prostitutes (Nina, Pinta, and Scuzzy Beth), Ben Stiller’s spiritual guru Eckhart Tolle, and the announcement of the Taco Bell dog’s next project. Pedrad had some amazing asides as Blaster, noting “I ain’t shy” about participating in a crap-off with Greg Norman, and having this to say about Tolle: “That dude blinks too much but he has me appreciatin’ the now.” Genius.
BEST: Fox and Friends
The strongest of the week’s live skits was a silly skewering of the Fox News morning show. Best line had to be Bobby Moynihan’s Brian Kilmeade weighing in on the dangers of mob mentality: “I once thought I was following a crowd of people into Yankee Stadium, but it turns out I was in a breast-cancer walk. When it was over, I was 10 miles from my car, and I had to take a bus home.” I just wish the list of fact-checking corrections had rolled out a little more slowly, the better to appreciate zingers like, “Whole Foods does not provide free abortions” and “Carrying a child in a Baby Bjorn does not cause homosexuality — in a child or a parent.”
BEST/WORST: Lincoln Financial Spoof (Jason Sudeikis)
Tell me it’s not wrong that this made me laugh. And when has an airline blanket ever been so disturbing?
WORST: Best of Both Worlds With Hugh Jackman
Stiller’s turn as Mandy Patinkin was both too underbaked and too random, and I actually winced a little for poor Hugh Jackman, trying desperately to score laughs as Daniel Radcliffe while saddled with awful lines like “Abra-ca-die-bitch!” Is it any wonder NBC didn’t make this skit available for embedding?
What did you think of this week’s SNL and Stiller’s performance? What were your picks for best and worst skit? Sound off in the comments, and for all my TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!