Saturday Night Live With Channing Tatum: The Week's Best and Worst Sketches

Who’s ready for an encore from Jimmy Fallon or Melissa McCarthy? Or maybe Daniel Radcliffe or Emma Stone? Because with all apologies to the guy’s patented hip thrust, Channing Tatum proved a dubious choice as host of this week’s Saturday Night Live.

In five of the eight sketches that featured Tatum (including his opening monologue), the 21 Jump Street star was relegated to busting out moves from his stripper past or exposing his muscular torso. And while that might’ve been just the ticket for a weekend Chippendales set, it proved a less successful formula for scoring laughs (except, perhaps, in that inappropriate Bat Mitzvah routine). Let’s break down the week’s best and worst:

Best: Guy Fieri on Weekend Update
Bobby Moynihan’s impression was scathingly funny, especially the references to the Food Network star’s backwards sunglasses and ridiculous clothes. (“If your grill is out of gas, just cook ‘em over your shirt flames!”) And nothing beat Fieri’s final “recipe”: Layers of New York and New England delicacies — such as a paper plate with a little bit of cheese and “two live lobsters that do not get along” — served in a clear toilet bowl.

Best: Downton Abbey on Spike
What do you get by pairing cleverly chosen clips from PBS’ addictive sudser with Spike’s standard-operating frat-boy voiceover? Absolute hilarity. I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch “Fancy Entourage” again without remembering “There’s a MILF and a dad…and an old lady that looks like a chicken.”

Was SNL‘s Defense of Lana Del Rey Both Too Strong and Too Weak?

Worst: Secret Word
Bill Hader’s retro-smarmy host can still score a laugh or two — “If I wanted to make love to a man, I’d join the Navy,” he said of his wife’s new pantsuit — but Kristen Wiig’s faded Broadway star has beaten the dead horse into a mound of fetid ground chuck. J’enough!

Worst: Go-Techs Flex
I understand the urge to spoof late-night fitness infomercials, but the writing here was so lazy, so obvious, that I can honestly say I get more laughs from an actual Shake Weight ad.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Tatum as host? Sound off in the comments, and for all my TV reviews and 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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44 Comments
  1. Jeff says:

    It definitely was not the worst of the season…I found myself laughing through most of the episode(besides the almost always horrible last 2 sketches…especially the strip club one)
    they for sure leaned to heavily on the stripper past…but what are you gonna do? He has a movie coming out about it, it’s what his story he’s most known for..and he’s got a great body…lol. Was it lazy, yes, did it bother me, no not really.
    and as much as I hate Lana Del Rey…I thought that weekend update piece was pretty funny.

  2. Toto says:

    Just one question: What does anyone see in Channing Tatum? He’s homely, can’t act, and is like an obnoxious frat boy. What’s the attraction?

  3. Steven says:

    I actually thought Tatum did a decent job, and not just because he removed his shirt often. Though he didn’t look like the people he was impersonating, he actually captured the voice — both of Tom Brady and especially Matthew McConaughy — dead-on. Not bad for a man who recently gave an interview acknowledging he’s not a very good actor.
    And while Guy Fieri was a good moment, the whole of Weekend Update was pretty strong, especially Kristen Wiig’s Lana Del Rey, a real standout moment.

  4. raftrap says:

    The Lana del Rey skit was really funny, and of course “Fancy Entourage”, but yeah they basically treated Channing Tatum like the male version of Megan Fox.

    • Owen says:

      Which he is. :)
      Honestly though, he CAN act. Check out “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints”. He’s sorta exquisite in it. And I mean his acting…he presence is pretty nifty too.

  5. Katie says:

    I laughed more reading this review than I did while actually watching it. And excellent use of the thoroughly underused word “fetid!”

  6. Adam says:

    I didn’t mind last night’s episode. There were a few laughs here and there, even though many of them involved Channing gyrating in some fashion. I thought the opening monologue was funny, but mostly thanks to Fred Armisen.

  7. Dwayne says:

    I think Channing did a great job with what he was given. The show just needs an overhaul from the cast to the writers! The episode wasn’t horribly bad but it wasn’t that great either. It was in the middle which is what most of the episodes have been like lately unfortunately! I just don’t get how the writers can give people like Melissa McCarthy and so on great material to work with then they give other hosts crap!

  8. Daniel says:

    Anything airing after Update are always weak. Always has been, always will be. Stop placing them under worst because that is why they ALWAYS air after Update.

  9. fernando says:

    He did good, I laughed alot. Channing Tatum is very hot and He can act.

  10. Bartleby says:

    Awful. Awful. Awful. And this was my first exposure to Bon Iver. Why exactly does anyone like them? I couldn’t understand a word the singer was singing. Awful.

    • Steven says:

      Honestly, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a musical act by their appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” because they sound pretty bad A LOT. Earlier this season, one of the Florence + the Machine numbers was weak and wavery, and Ms. Welch is phenomenal. When I visited the studio on a tour of 30 Rock, the NBC page straight-up admitted the acoustics on that stage are crap. And, heck, do you remember the time Coldplay was the musical guest and they came out a third time to play “Yellow”? I’m still reasonably certain Chris Martin was high. These don’t count as real performance, really.

      • Bartleby says:

        That’s fair. After I read this, I went and listened to the studio version of the first song they played, and I still couldn’t understand what he was singing and I still hated it. I guess I just don’t get their appeal.

        • Eliza says:

          You know the saying ‘different strokes for different folks’….
          I have not listened to all of Bon Iver’s music but Holocene is one of my favorite songs. Always happy when my ipod lands on it during a hectic commute in NYC.

        • Steven says:

          Can’t fault you for that. Preferences are preferences. And I kind of like Bon Iver, but mostly because the style is right up my alley. I don’t think it’s anything incredibly special.

    • CJ says:

      I almost never like the musical acts. Not just on SNL, either–on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Carson Daly. They book these acts that are supposed to be cool, and the latest thing, and they almost always are forgettable at best (and a lot of the totally suck). When you look back over a list of all the acts they’ve booked over the years, about 2/3 of them have disappeared into oblivion since their initial success.

  11. Sunny says:

    Not that this is exactly a ringing endorsement, but it was definitely not as bad as I thought it would be.

  12. Ezra says:

    Loved the Downton Abbey bit, and I thought Kristen Wiig was funny on “Secret Word.” I just think Channing Tatum is stiff (minds out of the gutter) in general, both in his film acting and on the show. You could have chucked any muscle-bound male in for him and gotten nearly the same result.
    The opening monologue and the Cee Lo, Go Techs Flex, and the stripper (at the end of the night) skits were terrible.

    • Ezra says:

      Oh, and I couldn’t understand the name of the band until the end of the show. I’d seen the band name because they’re Grammy-nominated this year, but I assumed it was pronounced “bahn eye-vuhr,” not whatever French-sounding pronunciation it actually it is.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I thought Channing Tatum did just fine with what he was given.
    I respect the guy’s hustle. He knows he’s not the most gifted actor around but he went out there & had some fun. I loved his enthusiasm in being on SNL. The guy has come a long way from being a sripper in FL.

  14. Matthew says:

    Best line:
    “May Divorce Be With You.”

  15. Melanie says:

    It wasn’t that bad. I thought his impression on Matthew McConaughey was dead-on. Stupid sketch, as most Keenan-centered sketches are, but Channing was okay. He definitely wasn’t the worst. Hello, Charles Barkley anyone?

  16. Maxwell says:

    We continue to have drastically different ideas as to comedy, as both of your picks for “best” sketches were, I thought, the most obvious and decidedly unfunny satire of the evening.
    Oh well.

  17. Salad says:

    The show was terrible. I just think some people don’t know what funny is any more. Mellisa McCarthy was not funny at all. This was one of the worst of the year.

  18. Laura says:

    I thought he did a great job given the material, and it was clear that he was excited to be there (and participate in the majority of the scenes) Most of the material was not great to begin with and one-note, but his contributions to them were funny. I hate the Secret Word, but I thought Channing’s part was one of the funnier additions to a consistently horrible skit. I thought the Guy Fieri thing was stupid. The Newt Gingrich opener, monologue, Matthew McConaghey voice (but not Kenan Thompson), and bat mitzvah were good.

  19. JBatch says:

    I actually loved this episode and ADORED Channing. He can do comedy really well, and he definitely has the assets to constantly strut his stuff. The Bat Mitzvah skit & Matthew impression had me in stitches.

  20. janie says:

    You guys know that channing tatum is going to be in a movie where he plays a stripper called Magic Mike, right?
    i think that was the reason for the stripper stuff..
    janie
    p.s. im not a fan of channing but i have to say his matthew mcconahey (sp) impression was hilarious!!

  21. Roy_Munson says:

    Never mind the stripping — in not one, but 2 of his sketches, he had NO LINES

  22. Shaka says:

    He cannot act and he dancing was just as lame as he is.

  23. Shaka says:

    Sorry….should be “his” dancing. The best part was the Spike TV/Downton Abbey! But, I really don’t see what it is about him that makes him an actor. Plus, stripping is not considered a job in show business. If so, lots of trashy people would have jobs in the movies. Well, some do….but, it’s not going to get you a SAG card.

  24. cherrybounce says:

    Actually one of the funnier episodes I’d seen in a while, this particular Secret Word was hilarious, Tatum was super cute – great as Matthew McConaghey, and Downton Abbey spoof was so funny.

  25. fiona says:

    I think we should blame the writing more than Channing himself. Pretty much every sketch he was given had something to do with stripping or showing off his bod and secret word should be dead and buried. While i didn’t laugh as much as I wanted to it was definitely better than Charles Barkley’s hosting gig this season. I think the writers just need ALOT better material

    • Beth Ann says:

      Fiona, I agree, whoever is guest hosting the show is pretty much at the mercy of what the writers give them to work with.

  26. Beth Ann says:

    For all of the people who are saying that Channing Tatum can not act – let’s see your acting reels or resumes. Because I’m sure you could all do better than him? PLEASE – SIT DOWN! You’re all vicious beasts who obviously haven’t seen any of his movies, and he’s hot, so why shouldn’t he show off what he’s got?
    If you want to criticize ‘talentless’ people or groups how about the ‘musical’ guest, Bon Iver?!? AWFUL.

  27. sam says:

    This show has not been funny in years — I mean painfully unfunny. It really makes you wonder where the writers are and what they consider funny — some sketches just run on way too long and the entire show is just not funny. I wish I was wrong.

  28. Jake says:

    To those who say Channing can’t act you should watch “A guide to recognising your saints” or “The Vow”. I don’t think you can blame Channing for not being too funny on this because he can only work with the material your given and anyone would have struggled to make the majority of his sketches funny

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