Maya Rudolph Hosts SNL: Best and Worst Skits

bronx beat snlIt’s been a great season for Saturday Night Live alumni returning to their old stomping grounds. Two months after Jimmy Fallon’s fantastic stint at the show’s helm, Maya Rudolph returned to Studio 8H to host an episode that was consistently funny, and occasionally hilarious. Rudolph didn’t bring back her famed Oprah impression, nor did she attempt her well-know Whitney Houston (no surprise there), but after a cute opening monologue, she brilliantly channeled Maya Angelou, Beyoncé, and (less successfully) Michelle Obama.

Of course, the current star of NBC’s Up All Night got a little help from a trio of special guests: Amy Poehler, Justin Timberlake, and — wait for it — Bill O’Reilly?! (Well, two out of three ain’t bad.) Let’s break down the night’s best and worst sketches.

Best: Bronx Beat
Poehler joined Rudolph for a brilliant revival of gum-snapping talk hosts Betty and Jodi, dishing everything from Jennifer Lopez’s young new beau (“why don’t you smoke a doobie spliff with your hip-hop boy-toy?”) to their own sex lives to episodes of Hoarders (where people find “open cans of Dinty Moore beef stew under a blanket of adult diapers”). The insanity got cranked up to 11 when Andy Samberg and a “hirsute” Timberlake went from camera guy and boom operator to Betty and Jodi’s amorous guests.

Saturday Night Live With Zooey Deschanel: Best and Worst Skits?

Best: Super Showcase
Rudolph and Kristen Wiig’s unhinged game-show “showcase models” were so bizarrely funny — even (especially?) when I couldn’t understand half their words — that both Wiig and Bill Hader (as the program’s host) broke character with cases of the giggles. But how could one resist laughing as Rudolph gingerly stroked a raw whole “Chicken Man” brand chicken, and declared “Each chicken looks as good as this one: That’s the chicken man guarantee!”

Best (Honorable Mention): Weekend Update’s “Really!?! With Seth & Amy”
A rapid-fire series of zingers about women’s reproductive rights coming under attack by Congress and Republican presidential candidates. My two favorites? Poehler commenting on Rick Santorum’s major donor Foster Friess saying he was sorry for his recent comment that women used to inexpensively practice birth control by putting Bayer aspirin between their knees: “Well, we’d love to accept your apology, Foster, but you made a mistake. And now you’re going to have to live with that mistake for the rest of your life.” And Seth Meyers wondering if the “life begins at conception” argument would soon turn to “life begins at last call.”

Worst: What’s Up With That?
Why bother booking Bill O’Reilly and Sports Illustrated covergirl Kate Upton to sit in silence while Kenan Thompson drags out one of his least funny characters, BET talk show host Deandre Cole? Thank God for Jason Sudeikis’ running-man moves bringing a few hearty chuckles to a sketch where punch lines went to die.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How did you feel Rudolph did as host? 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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90 Comments
  1. Heaven says:

    What’s up with that is an SNL classic. Always funny. How can you not laugh at Kenan’s faces, Jason’s dancing and all the randomness and tap your feet to the catchy song? For once we severely disagree, sir.

    • Shari says:

      I agree! LOVE What’s Up With That – I always laugh, and that song always gets stuck in my head. oooo eeeee…

      • Eli says:

        Huge fan of What’s Up with That too! I highly enjoyed it, as I usually do when it comes back after a prolonged break. Everything in moderation!

    • John says:

      Disagree- “What’s Up With That?” is ridiculously stupid. It’s literally the same thing every time, with the exception of the celebrity Keenan cuts off, and that’s only a line or two. I don’t think that the looks of embarrassment on the faces of Bill O’Reilly and Kate Upton midway through the skit (after the random dancers entered) were acting. Give us some Stefon (his appearance in the monologue doesn’t count!) or Gilly or a recurring character who is actually funny.

    • Daniel says:

      Agreed!

    • Cory says:

      That was the funniest SNL in a long time.
      The “Whats up with that” skit was HILARIOUS. The show was packed full of special guests.
      The Super Showcase made me she it myself. AAWW for once! SNL delivers me a bowel movement!
      That hasn’t happened in forever!
      I love Kirsten Wig. She is the sexiest.
      10 outa 10

    • Amanda says:

      I agree. It’s just silly fun. Bronx Beat was priceless. Justin Timberlake always kills it. Seth Meyers is adorable. Great show!

    • stonesguy1970 says:

      the price is right knock off had me crying. I love when they get the giggles.This skit along with Bill Hader as Stpheon and the classic Debbie Downer break down are my all time Non original cast moments on the show

    • Patti says:

      Bravo Maya Rudolph and SNL cast! That was the ‘overall’ funniest SNL I have seen in a while. I’m ‘still’ giggling at the skits and weekend up date. Keep up the great work…Thanks for adding to the menu of choices we have regarding something to look forward to watching on TV on Saturday night. I will say though that I, less and less, get the musical guests or their ‘music’ though. But they are not why I tune in anyway.

    • Sammy says:

      What’s Up With That is my fav SNL sketch next to the French dancing music video cafe thing.

  2. Mary says:

    Ugh, “Really!?!” – really? I laughed a LOT during this episode, but that just left a bad taste in my mouth.

  3. minnie says:

    What Up With That is equal parts random and fun. And the guests never get much speaking time, that’s the point!
    I thought tonights EP was one of the season’s best (so far).

  4. Juan says:

    I always love What Up With That?
    Sometimes I even break into the song myself.
    What I must admit I hate about it is the attempts at creating odd-ball musical guests, none of which has ever been funny.

  5. brandy says:

    I was sad to not see Oprah, but I can’t complain. Other than Sleigh Bells, the episode was fantastic. (And sorry, but I still love What’s Up With That.)

  6. Hayhayyy says:

    Its really npt the funniest. I mean, it has it moments though. I sorta giggle when kenan starts to sing in when people are in the middle of talking. But the funniest of that skit is jason Sudeikis dancing. :)

  7. Aaron Falvo says:

    Sleigh Bells was the worst part of tonight’s show. This is the performance that should be criticized harshly and not Lana Del Rey’s.

    • billy says:

      Sleigh Bells performed with energy and passion, whereas Lana Del Rey stood there and rubbed her hip for 4 minutes…

    • Spamburglar says:

      Their mix was atrocious, but the performance was great. Just hearing the name Lana Del Rey puts me to sleep.

    • CJ says:

      I had never heard of Sleigh Bells before SNL (and probably never will again), but they seemed to be doing as they intended. Their style of music isn’t one that appeals to me, but it sounded as if they were hitting the correct notes and remembering all of the lyrics.

  8. Tovah says:

    What’s Up With That? makes me cringe every time SNL deigns to air it. Terrible, stupid, and annoying as all get out.

    • Mads says:

      Thank you! I was beginning to think I was the only one who hated “What’s Up With That?”! The sketch is the same thing, just with different celebrity guests every time. It’s extremely overused and obnoxious.

    • Kim R says:

      I think SNL should retire that skit. It really is not funny. I’m a true SNL fan but that skit is a stinker. :)
      I loved Amy’s spots and the skit with Kristen & Maya as models cracked me up, more and more as they all cracked up. I liked the Obama’s as the Huxtable’s as well. I thought the show was great but for a What’s Up With That or 2. :)

    • Dee says:

      Agree 100%…I usually DVR it and fast forward through the entire segment. What’s up with that was amusing at best the first time…anything after that..not funny. Not even when they had the real Fleetwood Mac guy on. Please SNL get rid of that, it’s not funny. That said, Maya Rudolph is one of my favorite’s and I love that Amy Poehler “dropped in” Maya, Amy and Tina Fey…great actors, great comedians and it appears that they are real friends. Nice combo from SNL.

  9. Ashley says:

    Best moment for me: Joe Jamal-Biden.

  10. Dr. Rockso says:

    SNL needs to stop trolling Youtube for musical guests.

  11. Michelle says:

    Loved Really!?!

  12. Lime says:

    I admit, I don’t understand the appeal of Sleigh Bells. It’s just noise to me. But otherwise, I LOVED this episode. “Bronx Beat” killed me! Maya Angelou was priceless. And I think Maya makes a better Beyonce than Beyonce herself! The Price is Right spoof had me rolling, sometimes when the cast breaks it’s annoying, but here it just made it funnier. The only skit I didn’t laugh out loud with was the last one – it was only humorous, not hilarious like the rest.

  13. Natalie says:

    Thought that there was just enough of Amy with out her stealing Maya’s thunder. At worse the “what up with that” sketch was a B- some nights that’s the best they get. This night they hit it out of the park. Talk about bringing their A game! Fun night…

  14. Jen says:

    totally agree about what’ up w/that- always the worst sketch. i thought it might be gone for good, then tonight happend.
    hated the showcase bit though, thought it sucked. it was funny the actors thought it was funny, but they were wrong.

  15. L says:

    OMG that was the funniest thing I’ve ever watched…I laughed soo hard!

  16. CJ says:

    Note to Michael – the Michelle Obama impression didn’t work because she wasn’t trying to do Michelle Obama – she was doing Claire Huxtable. Can’t believe how many people didn’t get that.

  17. SnlFan says:

    THE BYONE SKETCH WAS FUNNY AS HELL!! and i love the “what’s up with dat” sketch

  18. sundaysilence89 says:

    Loved whats up w/ that! one of my favorite skits on SNL. Justin Timberlake should be a cast member. Hated the showcase skit, one good thing tho there was less Kristen Wiig which is always good (IMO). Must say this was one of the best SNL’s this season.

    • billy says:

      Totally agree with you. The Showcase sketch was only funny because Hader and Wiig broke. If they’d have played it straight, it would’ve be atrocious.

  19. Brian says:

    Best episode of the season by far. They finally brought back What’s Up With That!

  20. Xyz says:

    “whats up with that” appeals to the LCD. dumb hayseed rubes.

  21. Tyler says:

    I was fine without Whitney and Oprah. I missed Maya’s Donatella Versace impersonation. I love those sketches. GET OOUUUT!

  22. Captain says:

    The Beyonce sketch was the funniest part but I felt like this was a pretty bad episode. Aside from Beyonce/Weekend Update I really didn’t care for any of it. I love Maya but they really didn’t give her the best material.

  23. Ann says:

    I loved Justin Timberlake’s impression of Bon Iver. It was spot on!

  24. David says:

    It wasn’t Sleigh Bells fault, there was a technical problem with the backgroung music, it wasn’t playing loud enough so it was drowned by the guitar. There not bad, but SNL’s technicians are. Youtube live performances of them and you can see it sounds fine.

  25. Linda says:

    This episode was magic! Maya Rudolph is amazing! Died when Amy Poehler came on! Best Bronx Beat they’ve had (imo) Ahhhhh… LOVED IT! :) Who’s up for a 4×4?

  26. raftrap says:

    Perfect episode, I still can’t get the monologue song out of my head, I’ve always wanted Maya to host (even when she was on the show), but I was scared it would never happen, now I can’t wait for her to return for a second time.

  27. MeetCute says:

    You are right on the money on the best skit choices. I couldn’t stop at the Bronx Beat; simply brilliant. The running man had me laughing all night to right now just thinking about it.

  28. Leigh says:

    I thought this episode was okay. The Weekend Update was the worst of the year, especially with the Really?!? clips. What’s Up With That skit was IMO the funniest of the night as I thought the other skits were just okay. There was a chuckle here and there but they were okay. I just hate the fact that in two weeks I have to skip SNL because Lindsey Lohan is hosting. I’d rather watch an entire episode of Sleigh Bells and Lana Del Rey than watch her.

  29. chloe says:

    They need to dump the “what’s up with that” sketch. It’s always horrible.
    I loved Maya, and I wish she and her old friends like Amy would come back permanently and make the show funny again.

  30. Jen says:

    What’s up with that is the best! Such a great ep!

  31. billy says:

    I would pay good money just to see Justin Timberlake impersonate Bon Iver over and over and over…

  32. Harry says:

    She, Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch…the three least attractive women on network TV…EVER.
    Sorry, just had to get it off my chest.

    • topoopon says:

      Dratch is sorta “ugly cute.”
      Rudolph was better before kids.
      But Amy Poehler is ADORABLY attractive! I have no idea what you are talking about.
      And Wiig is pretty hot post nose job.

    • Kalie says:

      What?! Amy Poehler is pretty. Get your eyes checked. Also, that comment was just unnecessary to begin with. Why point out that you think these woman are unattractive? What good does it do? It’s just negative and mean.

    • Josh says:

      Do everyone a favor and keep your ignorant opinions to yourself.

    • CJ says:

      Poehler is attractive; I wouldn’t really call her “pretty” (she’s just not that kind of face), but she’s pleasant to look at. She IS one of those people who will do pretty much anything for a laugh, including looking silly and/or ugly, but in her regular appearance she’s perfectly attractive.

  33. neoanakinpotter says:

    during the Beyonce sketch, is that the first time Taran Killam has done Brad Pitt?
    …and where did Paul Brittin go?

    • tripoli says:

      Britain left the show quite recently. Not sure about the Brad Pitt impression being done before. But it should never be done again. It was atrocious. As is most of what Killam does. The less of him, the better. Pretty solid episode though. Loved the monologue.

  34. Kalie says:

    I love “What’s Up with That”! It’s just silly and stupid, and the song is infectious. My favorite part is probably the guy in the red track suit doing the running man in the background. I was hoping that Maya Rudolph would bring back her Donatella Versace impression, but her Beyonce was hilarious and she did a wonderful job hosting overall. I really enjoyed it.

  35. Becca says:

    The thing that cracked me up the most was The Obama Show timeslot. That was total ingenious putting it at 8PM on Thursday nights. LOL!

  36. Dwayne says:

    I don’t get why they are so adamant about having local independent bands.I figured the rest of the show would be great tho..I don’t know why the writers write crap for people like Zooey & Channing yet give nothing but great material to others like Maya, Molly, and so on. Just seems so wrong to me. Why can’t the writing be great for every single host? I loved The Obama Show sketch because since they were playing the characters like Cosby, Armisen’s impression was somewhat tolerable!

    • Amy says:

      Maya, Jimmy, Melissa McCarthy (who I assume you mean when you said Molly) are all comedians and have been trained in improv, It makes sense that they would be easier to write for then a basketball player, dancer/”actor” Plus as former cast members they have old bits they created they can fall back on. And Melissa McCarthy is game to do whatever, not everyone will willing drown themselves in salad dressing then repeatedly fall down stairs.
      The writers can’t write a “great” show for every host because comedy is subjective, just because one person doesn’t laugh doesn’t mean others aren’t cracking up.

  37. Fugly says:

    SNL needs to drop that dead weight Kenan, he is rarely funny and time wasted on his skits could be put to better use

    • sarcasmo says:

      I second that!! He’s awful. All of his characters are exactly the same and his impersonations suck. Last week he was barely seen and the show seemed better.

  38. Nadine says:

    Great ep from start to finish! The Obama Show was brilliant.

  39. Diane says:

    Was it me, or was Maya doing Beyonce doing Whitney, especially when she was describing going into labor?

  40. Zach says:

    The Jay-Z Beyonce sketch was the funniest thing SNL has done in years

  41. CCLyons says:

    Funny how different sketches appeal to different people! I really like the ridiculousness of “What’s Up With That?” – love the song and Jason Sudeikis’ popping out of nowhere to do his 80s dancing. I don’t think the Lindsay Buckingham part is all that funny, but overall I never fail to sing along or laugh at Sudeikis. On the other hand, I don’t get the appeal of Stefan (sp?). That’s why there will never be universal appeal for the show and people will always debate what is and isn’t funny. SNL can’t be all things to everybody, but usually there’s something that everyone will like, music guests aside.

  42. tc says:

    The opening skit was hilarious! Can’t believe no one has mentioned it.

  43. cindy says:

    Maya was brilliant! “What’s up with that” always make me chuckle and as a Factor fan, I was pleasantly surprised to see Bill O’Reilly. I thought he did a great job and I loved Kenan’s expression when Bill was talking seriously about “leadership.”

  44. Sarabi says:

    Wonderful! Bronx Beat was extremely funny! I love me some Amy Poehler! And Maya was a fantastic host. So far this season I liked Melissa McCarthy, Jimmy Fallon, Zooey and Maya as hosts. These were some hilarious episodes!
    P.S. I was also glad to see that Jay Pharoah got more air time.

  45. Roger says:

    Loved the cold open and the Cosby/Obama Show. Two of the better skits of the season.

  46. Ellen S. says:

    I liked the “Jeremy Lin” intro. (I’m a New Yorker.)

  47. Naomi says:

    The only time I think I’ve seen Kristen break is during the Garth and Kat sketches so it was hilarious to see her pretty much lose it altogether with Maya. They’re best friends so of course if anyone can make Kristen break, it’s Maya. I adore them together, I loved pretty much all of the sketches last night but ‘Super Showcase’ just had me and my best friend/roommate in tears. We’ve been imitating their accents ever since.

  48. jasson says:

    pedrad as nicki minaj= hilarious

  49. Tiera says:

    Saturday’s episode was hilarious, I haven’t laughed that much since Jimmy came back to host. May be SNL should just bring back all our favorite players to host all the time

  50. Angela says:

    Okay, I HAD to see that “Really?” segment after reading those awesome quotes related to it.
    Holy crap, that was hysterical. Amy’s bit about “Trans-vaginal” had me dying (nice to see her at the desk again!). I feel like I need to stand up and applaud that segment-that was a brilliant shot at the insanity of the debate and the idiocy surrounding it. That is why “Weekend Update” has always remained my favorite part of “SNL”.
    Well, that and the fact that I think Seth Meyers is super adorable.