Saturday Night Live Recap: Best and Worst Sketches With Host Charles Barkley

Unfortunately for Charles Barkley, third time was not the charm.

As Barkley opened the first Saturday Night Live episode of 2012 with a dry monologue about his success with Weight Watchers, the only laughs were as he poked fun at himself — and that trend continued throughout the night.

Although this episode saw the return of a few favorites – Lord Wyndemore, Drunk Uncle and political comedian Nicholas Fehn to name a few – in the end the bad outweighed the good. That said, there were still a few hidden gems. Here are my picks for the best and worst of the night:

Best: White People Problems
Barkley tackled the infamous Twitter hashtag: White People Problems. These ranged from airline seat mix-ups and summer house woes to the search for organic, free-range chicken – at Arby’s. Barkley delivered with one-liners like, “Awkward is a white-people word that can be applied to every situation,” and left me chuckling.

Best: Wyndemere
Lord Wyndemere (Paul Brittain) made a triumphant return, promenading and dancing around to his ‘melody’ on an endless quest for sweets. This time, his girlfriend’s father (Jason Sudekis) wasn’t the only one enamored by the little lord – Barkley, playing Sudekis’ friend, quickly exclaimed, “Aw, hell yes! Lil’ dude just made my day!”

Worst: Rick Santorum Cold Open
Andy Samberg’s portrayal of presidential candidate Rick Santorum felt endless. Kristen Wiig’s farewell to Michele Bachmann on Weekend Update, obsessively blinking and singing Montell Jordan songs, was much funnier.

Worst: Joann’s Announcement
Although he made a surprisingly convincing – albeit gigantic – woman, Barkley in drag as Joann, coming out to her friends as a lesbian, fell flat. As her friends cried out in disbelief, claiming she was “such a girly girl” and “all high heels and champagne,” Barkely did little but nod in agreement. Overall, it was a boring skit with the only highlight coming with the sight gag of Chad (Paul Brittain) as Joann’s boyfriend.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? What are your picks for best and worst skit? And how would you grade Barkley as host? Sound off below!

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. Corey Q says:

    I actually loved the AVN “In Memoriam” sketch. They did a spot-on job of replicating the different eras and genres, from video quality to fashion. Who knew death could be so funny?!

  2. Sonya says:

    The White People Problems segment was a warmed-over hash of Portlandia, which is much funnier. How Fred can stomach SNL after Portlandia is the question.

  3. George says:

    In the words of Charles Barkley himself, last nights SNL was turrible…

  4. Patrick says:

    Wrong. Last night was decent. Not great, but decent. Non sports fans (which is kinda weird) wouldn’t get a lot of it. The TNT sketch was solid, or better. The App add where he translates post game comments was freaking priceless.

    • Deena says:

      Agreed. This was for sports fans or fans of Sir Charles. Anyone who has seen just 10 mins of the NBA show on TNT would have appreciated the skit last night. I couldn’t stop laughing, it was so dead-on. I wish that app actually existed and I also liked the White People problems. Rest of the show was ok. With Charles hosting, you know what you are getting in the acting department so you can’t fault him on that.

      • Lisa says:

        The NBA TNT show has interrupted many episodes of Bones. What makes me so mad is that it has to be the worst NBA talk show. I mean, just total crap with lots of lame deep laughing (huh, huh, huh) and stupid graphics and dumb jokes. Basketball, what basketball? It was funny that that made fun of how bad it is.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Totally agree! I knew the episode would suck and it did. If they knew they couldn’t get someone decent the 1st week back after Christmas break then they should have just waited till next week to start back with new episodes. Charles Barkley obviously has nothing going on which is why he agreed to host.

    • Bernadette says:

      “Charles Barkley obviously has nothing going on which is why he agreed to host.”
      — yeah, that 3x a week show he co-hosts on TNT covering the NBA isn’t anything. Spot on there Dwayne!

  6. Taylor says:

    I actually laughed quite a bit. I guess I was alone on that. The two worst sketches, I’d have to agree with. Those were pretty bad.
    Loves seeing Lord Wyndemere again!! White People Problems was hilarious!
    Loved the basketball sketch. “I’d rather be in Free Willy 2 than Kazaam 1.”

  7. John Grose says:

    This episode was like having a boss who thinks he’s funny when he’s not. You just have to fake smile/grimace through a lotta bad jokes until it’s over… – John

  8. Ana Muller says:

    I had no desire to watch SNL last night, Charles Barkley is not a good enough host to be back three times, there are a lot of people that should’ve been invited back over him… for example: Joseph Gordon Levitt or Jesse Eisenberg they were both great, Neil Patrick Harris, Amy Poehler, maybe Anne Hathaway or you know the one person I’ve been dying to see hosting SNL again since it’s been like 20 years since he hosted… ROBERT DOWNEY JR, and he just happens to have a movie coming out soon, make that happen Lorne Michaels!

  9. brandon says:

    Last nights episode was HORRRRRIBLE worst one I’ve seen in least two years…people in sports are not actors stop asking them to host SNL is in trouble as is

    • David says:

      I agree that this was one of the worst episodes in years. Barkely was not funny (he can’t even convincingly read off of cue cards). And the writing was horrible. Lord Wyndemere….funny?? Maybe mildly so the first time, but that is a sketch that should never be repeated. I literally fell asleep half way through. I watched the remainder today and then understood why I slept through it last night.

    • Karen Kline says:

      Agreed, bad from start to finish.

  10. Kate says:

    Well, at least Kelly Clarkson sounded amazing…

  11. Laur says:

    I thought the prancing Lord skit and the Joann coming out skit were both absolutely ridiculous and only stifled a few laughs, but the TNT sketch was perfect. So hilariously on point. Also liked the press conference app sketch, thought that was great too. If someone wasn’t a sports fan or had never seen ESPN then this episode fell flat, but I found any skit involving poking fun at himself and sports in general hilarious. And #WhitePeopleProblems was really funny too. Have to disagree though, didn’t think Kelly Clarkson sounded too great. Overall, I liked this episode and I don’t usually expect much from SNL.

  12. I agree that this episode was hit and miss. SNL has to jump around to tailor to different parts of their fan base. The quirky, non-sports fan artists probably missed a lot of hidden gems in the writing.

    For what it’s worth – Jay Pharoah’s Kenny Smith in the TNT sketch was fantastic and the line Hader said “We’re all black friends” was muffled but broke everyone up.

    How you write a review without going off on how amazing Bobby Moynihan’s “Drunk Uncle” was is somewhat surprising.

    • I misstyped that whole last sentence, I did not mean to write “How you write a review”, I meant “How about a review going off on how amazing Moynihan’s Drunk Uncle is.”

      Apologies to the author, no dissrepect – I agree with everything else in this article.

  13. nonsportsfan says:

    I am not a sports fan at all but found Mr. Barkley hilarious. It may be an age thing, but as an older (late 50’s) comedy fan, I thought his sometimes dry or flat delivery added to the absurdity (therefore funniness) of the situation. He reminded me of the classic comedians I grew up watching. And that smile he has is priceless. I hope he returns.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Agreed. Not even my favorite, weekend update, could hold my interest.

  15. Jon King says:

    The worst SNL ever, Barkley is beyond awful as an actor. The opening skit was brutal.

  16. s. says:

    Overall I give it a solid B+! (B for Barkley!) TNT skit was hilarious. Hooray for Sir Charles!

  17. fiona says:

    boring episode. Really hoping for something good from daniel radcliffe next week!

  18. JJ says:

    I’m still unclear how and or WHY he was hosting. Charles Barkley was the best they could get? He’s not even relevant or time in terms of pop culture let alone a good host. His delivery is exactly why athletes have a bad reputation on this show. Stilted, stiff, monotone, no timing, etc.

    Say it with me SNL…Never Again!

  19. Lisa says:

    Funny: Lazy black people taking lots of breaks.

  20. Lisa says:

    His monologue about Weight Watchers was right on. I tried so hard to stay with Weight Watchers but I was starving. It was ridiculous. How can you possibly stick with something when you’re just plain starving?

  21. John Berggren says:

    Nicholas Fehn is a returning favorite? His bits are only slightly less unfunny than Garth & Kat. I’d be OK with both of these bits never recurring.

    I will say it’s a crying shame they’ve only ever done 2 Mark Payne sketches. He’d be a welcome return.

  22. TinCan says:

    I haven’t watched SNL in years, after last night’s show I remembered why.

  23. Volcfom says:

    Best: Kelly Clarkson and Weekend Update. Worst: everything else.
    I’m also sick of seeing Charles Barkley popping up all over the place.

  24. luc says:

    I think Fred Armisen managed to pull that Nicolas Fehn comeback off, hwoever it started off really badly- bad timing, hesitation and pity laughs from the audience- it was pretty painful to watch at first- fortunately he warmed up eventually. The Mayan Calendar sketch could have been funny, but it went nowhere.