SNL With Emma Stone: Best and Worst Skits?

Emma Stone can do no wrong, right? Well, you might be inclined to answer in the negative after watching her second-time hosting gig on Saturday Night Live this week — a sophomore slump if ever there was one.

Then again, it doesn’t seem quite fair to blame the star of The Help and Easy A for failing to score laughs when the writing relegated her to poorly sketched extra (in an otherwise amusing Herb Welch bit), a human prop (during Andy Samberg’s woeful digital short), and a lesser version of the creepy outsider that Melissa McCarthy nailed so brilliantly on the show last month (during that too-long bridal-shower skit). Plus, the opening monologue (with Samberg lobbying for the role of Spider-Man to Stone’s Gwen Stacy) gave her almost nothing to do.

Here’s my take on the week’s best and worst skits:

Best: GOP Debate
I had my doubts when things kicked off with Kenan Thompson’s lazy Herman Cain, and then followed up with a close-to-verbatim reenactment of Rick Perry’s recent memory-lapse gaffe, but midway through, things took a delightful turn for the absurd: Bill Hader’s overheated Perry ripping off his jacket to reveal a dickey; Jason Sudeikis’ Mitt Romney preparing to take Perry out to a field full of bunnies where he wouldn’t have to talk ever again; Paul Brittain’s Ron Paul ogling Perry’s notes and shouting “All his cards are blank!” I won’t lie: This one reduced me to a pile of giggles.

Worst: Technology Hump
Another wretched sketch to carry on SNL‘s dubious tradition of saving the worst for last — and giving you the feeling that even the show’s writers have stopped trying when it comes to filling the last five minutes of the telecast with something worthwhile. Watching two people as funny as Stone and Samberg hosting a random show about iPads and curling irons enacting porn scenes made me wish the duo had just been thrown onto a bare soundstage and asked to improvise the first scenario that came to mind. Surely, it couldn’t have been worse than this?

Worst: Wish It Would Rain
Okay, maybe this wasn’t worse than Garth & Kat or that so-random-I-almost-laughed-but-then-didn’t Les Jeunes de Paris, but it was certainly more disappointing. Samberg’s ’80s-style video about a singer seeking precipitation started out promisingly enough, but quickly devolved into “ha-ha! I’m making this up on the fly!” drek that might’ve played better in a middle-school cafeteria than a major network sketch-comedy show.

Background MVP of the Week
He didn’t have much to do this week, but Bobby Moynihan scored big laughs with his sullen French face and new-wave dance moves during Les Jeunes de Paris and as a weeping window washer in “Someone Like You.” Maybe next week someone can give the guy a line or two?

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How did Stone stack up for you? And does anyone else wish we could get through one week without a game-show parody of some sort? 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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  1. Liz says:

    It was pretty bad, but you can’t blame Emma Stone for this. She gave it her all on everything, but all of the skits were pretty horrible. Maybe if they had let her be a real host and more focused in skits instead of a background player it would have been better.

    • DL says:

      If you were talking about last week’s episode with Charlie Day, I would have agreed with you 100%. I happened to enjoy this week’s episode a lot, and I thought Emma Stone was used very well.

  2. Eric says:

    Sorry Slezak, Emma provided the second best SNL of the season. She was fresh and funny and dove right in with both feet, much like Melissa McCarthy. Also, are you serious about the GOP debate sketch being the best? It was definitely one of the worst, after the atrosh Digital Short. It was unoriginal and unfunny. It also felt a little too little too late. Not even Bill Hader could save this one. Seriously, a stellar ep. I think you may need to get your funny bone checked.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      I respectfully disagree, but must give you props for your stellar use of “atrosh.”

      • bamabunny says:

        I’m just surprised you didn’t mention the end of the GOP sketch was a straight homage to the ending of “Of Mice and Men.” And I really liked the “Someone Like You” sketch (someone at SNL’s been reading Chris Colfer’s Twitter…he said when heartbroken he “eats ice cream and listens to Adele; the usual”).

    • Joe says:

      ICAM, i loved this episode..i thought the writing overall was the best this season, and thought that Emma as host rivaled McCarthy. I also thought the beginning skit was the worst, and thought to myself “uh oh, tonights going to be a stinker” upon watching the opening….but I Thought the monologue was good, and the rest of the episode cracked me up. Kristin Wiig also shined in the episode, she had a lot to do, and cracked me up, tho Emma Stone was great and i thought was even BETTER than her in the game show sketch!

      Kudos to my favorite episode thus far this season

    • DL says:

      I must agree with Eric. Really the only thing that stood out to me in a bad way was the digital short. “Technology Hump” wasn’t hilarious, but I appreciate SNL trying out some original ideas. That sketch didn’t pay off so much, but the “Bridal Shower” one did in a big way for me. It was by far the most risque skit I’ve seen on the show in I can’t remember how long. They need to push the envelope more. I also happen to like “Les Jeunes” and I thought this week’s was the best thus far, with Killam’s spastic, manic energy at an all time high (perhaps only rivaled by Jason Sudeikis’s background dancing in “What Up With That?”). As for “GOP Debate” it was decent enough, but still just a rehash of everything they’ve been doing so far. Also the Rick Perry gaffe has been the “joke-of-the-week” on many programs, so going for it as the centerpiece of the sketch wasn’t very original.

  3. SuperPennywise says:

    Wow, this will be the last time I read this column. The author has no business reviewing SNL when they clearly have no sense of humour. Technology Hump was the funniest sketch of the night…pretty much the only time I LOL’d…

  4. Sara says:

    i sure agree with you on the game show sketches. boring!!! i liked the adele sketch – so funny. other than that, meh episode.

  5. JenH says:

    I went from reading the review to this one and I never seem to agree with TVline’s assessment of the show. The opener with Rick Perry was overdrawn. It’s hard for this show to compete against the daily news shows that can poke fun at these things in a timely matter. By the time this show airs it’s been there, seen that.

    Emma Stone gave it her all, despite what she was given. It’s like that nearly every week. The host can only do so much with what is given to him or her and the show keeps producing crap and gets a good portion of its audience to lay blame with the host. It’s bull. Emma was fantastic, right up there with Melissa McCarthy. SNL needs to find new writers pronto. I tune in for the host and I’m always disappointed by the end. I still love the host but I lose a little piece of me each time. This show used to be stellar and now it can’t live up to its past infamy. It doesn’t use its cast properly and keeps recycling horrible sketches. Can we get some true SNL royalty to come back and show them how its done?

    I loved Wiig and Hader breaking during the old news guy Herb sketch. Hader is the highlight of this show right now. I’m sick of the recycling of such horrible characters like the Broadway actress on the Password show. How is that funny? She says the word she’s not supposed to. Ooooo. Yeah, we’ve seen that a 100 times and it hasn’t been funny since the first time

    And can we give a shout-out to the FNL shout-out? Awesome.

    I’ve also noticed the increase of using the musical act in sketches. If you’ve got good ones that have comedic timing, I have no problem in using them.

    I hope they don’t screw up Jason Segel next week.

  6. Philip B says:

    I really was expecting Emma Stone to stink it up when I saw that she was the host. And I was right! By far she was the worst part of the show, she is the second coming of Anne Hathaway. She acts like she is a little girl standing infront of a mirror in her room. overacting up a storm. On the other hand I did love the cold open and Coldplay.

  7. Jason Knight says:

    Can we all agree that this has better be Kristin Wiig’s last season?

    • GaysWithOpinions says:

      No. I think she’s the best thing about this show. I never get tired of watching her. SNL is a sinking ship, at times, and with Kristen gone, it’ll be a mess.

    • Ana Muller says:

      absolutely NOT.

    • Butters says:

      I so agree with you. Wiig is not that funny. Her game show character was overdone and humorless. If she wanted to be funny she should have done it as Ann-Maraget which is actually funny.

    • Skook says:

      Absolutely. Get rid of Wiig, Seth Myers, and Fred Armisen and SNL just might find its legs again. They are the worst things about the show and yet somehow they are given star billing…mind-boggling…

      • tripoli says:

        You could not be more off base. Wiig, Meyers, and Hader are the best of the bunch, with Armisen close behind. Get rid of the majority of the newbies( Taran Killam, I”m lookin directly at you!) and things might pick up again.

    • Kevin says:

      Nope!! Get rid of Kenan Thompson! THE most overrated one of the bunch!

  8. Joline says:

    Stone was the supporting actor of an episode in which she should have starred. Not her fault – don’t now why they picked this week to pull out all of their old skits and relegate Stone to the background. She did well with material she was given but would have liked to see her as the lead character in most skits.

  9. Captain says:

    I liked the Wallace sketch…just saying.

  10. John says:

    Like many others, I disagree with the columnist. This episode far from the best I’ve seen and it relied heavily on treading familiar ground (how many times are we going to see Secret Word before they go ahead and make a movie out it?), it it does stand out from the blah we’ve been seeing lately. – John

  11. Greg f says:

    It was ok !

  12. peeveem says:

    Wow! Was surprised at the bad review! I thought this episode one of the best this season, the weakest point was the digital short–unusual for Samberg. Thought the bridal shower hilarious and LOVED the techno-hump–best closing sketch in ages.

    • lesfull says:

      I’m ashamed to say that I laughed hysterically at the Technology Hump sketch because it was so randomly weird. I don’t know what that says about me, but it was pretty funny. Also loved the Adele song sketch and the FNL shout out. It wrecked me too, Emma. It wrecked me too.

  13. Teresa says:

    I didn’t get to see the whole show — Hulu is just showing clips so far, but I was disappointed not to see more Emma Stone. She’s a really good comic actress — among a slew of good comic actresses that have hosted in the past couple years — and she deserved better writing.

    I am tired of the “Password” sketches. It really is the same joke over and over again, but I thought Emma’s character made it worth watching. I actually like Kristin Wiig’s broadway diva character, why don’t they do something more interesting with her? You know, Carol Burnett would have mined that character fully in a dozen different scenarios. With SNL, they rarely take a character beyond his or her initial punchline.

    I like Seth Myers a lot (love the Weekend Edition), but I wish Lorne Michaels was still encouraging the diversity angle he pushed during the Tina Fey years. It’s a lot of white frat boy hetero-normative humor on SNL these days (as it has been throughout most of its history). That they had an actress as funny and versatile as Emma Stone hosting, with no clue what to do with her, just highlighted how narrow their humor focus is.

    • dan says:

      I thought the same thing about Kristin Wiig’s broadway actress character; take her out of the stupid Password skit (the same every time they use it) and put her in a different skit. The character has funny moments, but not when she is in the same skit over and over again. I will admit, however, that Emma’s character in the Password skit was funny. Wasn’t the monologue done before with different people? And what was the point of Andrew Garfield coming up on stage for the last 10 seconds of the monologue? Waste of what could’ve been a funny moment. The music video w/Samberg was horrible. And I like Seth Myers, but Weekend Update needs new blood. Thank goodness the Devil showed up this week, Sudekis was hilarious. Didn’t like the singing duo w/Armisen and Wiig then it got worse when Chris Martin showed up. Not funny.

  14. Michael Sacal says:

    TVLine “a sophomore slump if ever there was one.” “No sophomore slump for Emma Stone”

    It’s time for Thunderdome. Two reviewers enter, one comes out.

  15. GaysWithOpinions says:

    The first half of the show was awful. The GOP debate was so poorly written it felt like high school amateur hour. The jokes were just so predictable and monotonous. We get it, the dude can’t remember something. I did enjoy the Paris dance sketch, and I especially enjoyed everyone crying to Adele’s Someone Like You. That was smart, and actually funny. Weekend Update was too long and tired. I didn’t laugh once. Overall, Emma Stone was decent.

  16. Ana Muller says:

    It was terribly unfunny but it wasn’t her fault, she has proven she is a good host on her first time hosting SNL the only difference is the writing, they should have given her better material.

  17. LOL says:

    Garth and Kat could be the worst thing in SNL history. How does it keep coming back?

    The GOP debate should have been much better. It was too long and too obvious. Lazy writing.

    Emma rocks. She did what she could given the material. I hope she comes back every year.

  18. ck says:

    “….during Andy Samberg’s woeful digital short.”

    Lot of that the past couple years.

  19. Joe B. says:

    I don’t understand your failure to enjoy the bridal shower sketch. It killed at my house.

    Les Jeunes de Paris was better than last time. Update was funny. The debate cold open was solid.

  20. thatgrl says:

    I agree with Eric and Jen H. I’ve been disappointed with their political sketches too – this is the time to bring it, and they’ve gone over like a lead ballon. But I do like Sudekis as Mitt Romney and Hader as Perry.

    Best: the Adele ‘Someone Like You’ sketch
    Jason Sudekis as the devil on ‘Update’
    The awkward Wallis bridal party sketch – it’s a chick thing – which reminded me that I would like to see more of Armisen’s Gene Simmons (and Prince).
    Hader is def going to be the next Phil Hartman/Will Ferrell of this bunch.
    The key to Garth and Kath is to watch Fred. He makes up the songs and Wiig tries to follow along – it’s an improv technique.
    Les Jeunes de Paris

    worst: Technology Hump
    I wish it would rain digital short

    • Teresa says:

      He makes up the songs and Wiig tries to follow along – it’s an improv technique.

      I understand that they’re improving, but it isn’t good improv — and the joke is mostly that they are making it up on the spot. A really good improv team would do that and you’d swear it was rehearsed.

      Watching people do something badly on purpose is not that funny.

  21. David says:

    I thought the show was pretty much unfunny. The only funny sketch was the Adele sketch. How some of these sketches make it to the air is beyond me.

  22. Bryan Tenenhouse says:

    Wow. Couldn’t be more wrong. The last two skits (Someone like me and Technology hump) were the only two funny skits in a show that regularly has skits that go on way too long. The only way to watch this show is recorded and fast-forwardable.

  23. Skyler Marx says:

    Horrible show. These SNL shows are the worst Ive seen in the 20 some years Ive been watching. I attribute it to head writer Seth Myers- and why not? He is the head writer, with great comedic experience like MADTV, and it shows. The SNL shows of late have been extremely formulaic, and therefore very very lazy. The laughs are not earned by appealing to base comedic levels (impressions, what if scenarios, and silly game shows). I dont care that Sandburgs Digital Short was crap this week; this is the only part of the show that seems to try- sometimes with good results, sometimes without, but at least I see the creativity. I want this show to be better, there are so many talented players on SNL, you would think SNL cant go wrong, but it does- week after week. Please fire the un-funny and un-creative head writer. SNL is a comedic institution that echos cultural views/concerns/thoughts of the day, and I dont think that we are as dumb and un-funny as the show makes people of 2011 to be.

    • Carl says:

      You’re confusing Seth Meyers with his brother Josh Meyers who was actually part of MADTV. Seth have never been associated with MADTV

      • Luke says:

        Yep, Carl is right you are confusing Seth with his brother Josh.. although they look so much alike it’s not surprising that you made that mistake. They recently made an appearance together to play the sibbling game on late night with Jimmy Fallon. It was funny to see!

        • dan says:

          I thought Seth and Josh were twins. That would explain why they look so much alike. Maybe I’m wrong and they’re just brothers who look alike.

      • Skyler Marx says:

        I totally am confusing him with his brother. I was trying to think of a reason why he was soooo bad at comedy writing, and I was sure he was on MADTV- I guess he is just gifted at being un-funny.

  24. SNL loyal says:

    Funny episode overall, second best of the season so far. Michael, dude, why are you even reviewing this show? You never seem to enjoy it. It would be best for us and you as well if you move on to comment other show that you like and let someone else that apreciates it cover SNL. So, let’s begin:
    The cold open didn’t start very strong, being just a reanactment of the catastrophical GOP debate, but was saved by Sudeikis and Hader’s impressions of Romney and Perry when Romney started comforting Perry.
    The monologue was quite amusing mocking the financial crisis.
    All the reccuring sketches and characters were funny, coming up with new jokes and punch lines, showing that the writers did their jobs well unlike last week with Charlie Day.
    Weekend Update was good, special thanks to the GOP debate which gives comediants top-notch material. Also, loved the Devil and Garth and Kat bringing Chris Martin along.
    The “Bridal shower” and “Adelle” sketches were hillarious, they cracked me up so bad, even the “technology hump” skit was funny regardless it’s sillyness. Loved Coldplay also.
    Pretty funny episode, in spite of the failed Digital Short, showing once again why Kristen Wiig is by far the MVP, scoring laughs in every sketch. Looking forward to Jason Segel next week, ’till then…all the best.

  25. jess says:

    I actually laughed during the technology hump sketch…. it was just so out of left field…

  26. cannot wait for segel says:

    I thought it wasn’t horrible. Weekend Update was great and I enjoyed the bridal shower and her monologue. I am super excited for Segel next week. He’s a good writer and I think will do a lot for the sketches

  27. ThereasonsY says:

    Can’t we all just agree that SNL needs a complete writer’s room overhaul? They haven’t been consistently funny in two years. Hell steal people from the Daily Show if you have to because this is ridiculous that a show that is on once a week can’t manage to compete with a show that is done 5 times a week. Either that or I hear Heather McDonald is (always) looking. Anything to save me from what has been SNL.

    • Skyler Marx says:

      Agreed. The Daily Show bangs out 4 nights a week of gold, 22 mins a pop! SNL cant even get 7 mins of Weekend Update right. You would figure with all the skit formulas they have, that saved time could have been spent on writing a great Weekend Update. Talented player, horrible writers.

  28. Jlcndal says:

    There were some skits that seemed to long. All in all it was ok. Kristen Wiig is the best one on the show I think. I watch to see what she will do. Although the Kath n Kim characters I could do without. Wish the would just stop with the music acts. I fast forward through everyone of them.

  29. Magically Suspicious says:

    Who knew Chris Martin had comedic chops? When he rolled into the scene, I expected stiff and wooden and bland, but I think I laughed more at his bit than anything else on the show. I’m not a big Emma Stone fan, so I didn’t expect to like her a lot. And after Melissa McCarthy, the bar is set SO high.

  30. Scott says:

    To those who liked this episode… how many ACTUALLY LIKED and LAUGHED because it was funny, or because Emma Stone is so cute and likeable that we would enjoy watching her read the phonebook?

  31. ashley says:

    Totally agree. They’ve now wasted Emma TWICE, which is totally lame. Really, REALLY hope they make some magic with Jason Segel, otherwise I might be bailin’ for awhile.

  32. Ben says:

    I thought Emma Stone’s episode was one of the best of the season. The sketches were funnier than usual, and Emma proved to be quite versatile. My favorite sketches were the Adele sketch and the bridal shower sketch.

  33. Lisa says:

    This weeks SNL sucked big time. The GOP Debate went on way too long. However, I always look forward to News Update with Seth Meyers.