Saturday Night Live With Ben Stiller: Best and Worst Skits?

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!

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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  1. Lauren says:

    I loved the Hugh Jackman sketch! Granted, Ben was terrible in it…and I’m not a fan of pretty much anything Andy does…but I thought Hugh was great (he needs to come back and host!) and Bill Hader had me on the FLOOR as Clint Eastwood.

    Highlight of the episode…STEFON’S GLORIOUS RETURN. I’m already looking forward to his appearance in the Christmas episode.

    Worst bits…anything Kristen Wiig was in. She does the same three characters but puts them in different costumes.

    • wait-til-87 says:

      agreed. Sandberg was an enthusiastic Jackman, while Hader’s Clint Eastwood was the best thing on this show in the last 5-plus years.—-Now stay off the man’s lawn, would ya.

    • Emily says:

      I agree with the Kristen Wigg part. When I see her I turn the channel.

  2. topsyturvy says:

    Tinyballs! Taran Killam’s Pitt was spot-on. Why was it shoved at the end?

  3. Taylor says:

    Last night was hilarious!!! The first Lincoln Financial commercial had me on the floor laughing.
    I was so glad Weekend Update had funny guests. I legit want to have a pancake party now. And of course I freaked out the second Seth said tourists. I freaking LOVE Stefon! Zoolander just made it crazier.
    Amazing episode for sure :)

  4. Etched says:

    How is Hader still standing tall? I mean, he’s single-handedly been carrying the show for 3 weeks now.

  5. Oliver says:

    I was drawn to respond to your synopsis because as I was watching the episode I kept thinking that SNL seems to lack modernity. The slavish adherence to the same sequence each week (2 songs and an update), the banal situations that are required due to being shot in a studio (game show, talk show), and finally the patter of joke and response that seems old fashioned in this day of single camera comedy seems to date this show.

  6. emmitwest says:

    Oddly what you thought was the best, I only found mildly funny (with v-neck being the worst.) And I thought the Hugh Jackman bit was the funniest skit of the night

  7. amanda says:

    I was laughing the hardest with Wiig’s bit about pancakes. Didn’t imagine pancakes could be so different…. blue, and pink, and darkish….

  8. Jean-Jeanio says:

    I cracked up just at the sight of Bill Hader as Clint Eastwood, and I thought Andy Samberg was great with his weird, cartoonish version of Hugh Jackman, especially his random proclamations; they seemed designed to make the real Hugh break character, and real Hugh played along eagerly.

  9. k says:

    I had one big problem with the show and that was turning the Zoolander joke into a joke at the expense of Rico Rodriguez. Kids should just be off-limits. Otherwise, it was a perfectly decent SNL.

  10. Apple says:

    NY Post said that Eddie Murphy was going to make a surprise apperance. Suprise! it didn’t happen.

    Some of the skits were rehased and didn’t seem very original this week. Ben didn’t seem so thrilled to be there either.

  11. If these are the best segments, then nothing of consequence was missed by those who didn’t see it.

    Good writing and learning that acting is always better than “sketch comedy improv performance” would help this show.

  12. ELI says:


    The Fox News sketch was awful. I am tired of people yelling at FOX for making an occasional error. CNN and MSNBC do it as well but they just get, oh it happens.

    The best sketch of the night by far was Jewish Food Paradise. Coming back from my breaking of the fast, it was perfect.

  13. Becca says:

    Agreed, I was laughing up until that point but the Rico joke was uncalled for

  14. T-Daddy says:

    I work at Lincoln Financial and I’m on the creative team that made the original commercials. Damn funny spoof, SNL! Great job.

  15. Ken Wade says:

    When are people going to relize Ben Stiller is not funny,He`s just like his parents,,,,NOT FUNNY.

  16. Leigh says:

    I thought the best sketch was the Hugh Jackman one, too! I sure wish he would come back and host. The Fox and Friends one was funny, too, but the rest of the night was boring. Even Weekend Update was slow.

  17. Ken Wade says:

    Satuday night live is not going to last very long.The days of comedy coming out of NBC has left.Nothing but junk.I haven`t watched it along with anuone I know for a long time.

    • Hols says:

      People have been saying this for decades, and for decades they have been wrong. It’s actually doing better in the ratings than most of NBC’s Primetime shows.

  18. tripoli says:

    Awful episode this week. Just terrible. Update with Myers and Stefon was the only redeeming quality in that abysmal excuse for comedy.

  19. Blank Slate says:

    Whatever Ben Stiller is pushing, I’m not buying.
    As unfunny a “comedian” as I have ever seen.
    A big yawn. Worse. He ruins whatever comedic sketch/show he is in.

    Another yawn: Kristin Wiig. She does the same bit over and over and over. Different character names. Same schpiel.

    Where is the genius of Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, GILDA RADNER (RIP..)?

    My favorite segment has always been Weekend Update but gosh Seth Meyers, even this is going down the hill. Perhaps because Wiig was such a big part of this segment Saturday night… RUINED. Failure.

    Even the Bruce Springsteen sketch was a non-laugh. The best part was Armisen as Steve Van Zandt. BEN STILLER IS NOT FUNNY. Not even amusing. Go Away.

  20. Bajaboy says:

    Weekend Update used to be the only funny skit in the show. Now it always disappoints, and not just because of the tiresome Kristin Wigg.

  21. L says:

    Bill Hader as Clint Eastwood was hilarious.