Steve Buscemi’s opening monologue on this week’s Saturday Night Live was all about making the transition from character actor to leading man. Unfortunately for the Boardwalk Empire star, most of the sketches relegated him to supporting-player status — with little or no chance to score serious laughs.
The episode itself was a mix of the amusing (the tagline for the Frozen Mexican Dinner ad cracked me up, and Seth Meyers scored big with several “Weekend Update” punch lines) and the infuriating (is it possible Fred Armisen’s Obama impersonation gets less authentic and more lethargic every time it’s trotted out?). Here are my picks for best and worst of the night:
Best: Miley Cyrus Show
The “Billy Ray? Bobby B? Boopity Boop?” portion of Maya Rudolph’s spaced-out Whitney Houston had me howling, and by the time she got to “this is your brain; this is your brain on drugs” I could barely breathe. Vanessa Bayer’s Miley was flawless, too, as was her choice of guest: “a hilarious, awesome guy I met at Burning Man named Jeff.”
Best: Drunk Uncle
A dark and utterly random riff (from the often underutilized Bobby Moynihan) covering the holiday season, same-sex weddings, text messaging, and “that sexy green M&M lady,” among other things.
Worst: Holiday Ornaments
I’m going to nominate this laugh-free bit — with Buscemi going through a box of old ornaments and dropping bombs like “this one’s been up my butt…not just a little bit, all the way” — as the least-funny nonsense SNL has delivered all season. Anyone want to second the motion?
Worst: President Obama Cold Open
It takes more than big ears to pull off an Obama impersonation, and as we head into election season, it’s time for Mr. Armisen to drastically rethink his approach to the POTUS, or for SNL to recast Obama altogether. Heck, at this point, I’d be willing to gamble on Maya Rudolph.
What did you think of this week’s SNL? How did you feel Buscemi fared as host? Sound off below, and for all my TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!