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. Marta says:

    Jay Pharoah got more screentime in this episode then he has all season…..and I’m pretty happy for him cause he did great! (Especially as Jay-Z)

  2. chris says:

    Timblk doing Bon Iver was the greatest moment- When Bon Iver performed on snl I was floored by the total absence of consonants in his “lyrics.” I had the CC on but it was like it was interpreting another channel. And it was so droney and rambling. I thought I’m really out of touch with today’s “music” – so when they skewered him on the very show that showcased him earlier this month I felt a slight vindication. (but it was cute how Justin held up the “I Love Bon Iver” apology sign at the closing.)

  3. sarah says:

    Bronx Beat and the Beyonce/Jay Z were thes best

  4. Joe G says:

    I watch SNL regularly for a about 30 minutes,after that the show goes downhill. This last show with MAYA was the BEST ( I actually LAUGHED)I’ve ever watched. I’m old and I turned off the TV at 12:30.
    I like when former cast return,it adds a little zip to the show. try doing that again ,It works for me.

  5. JoMarch says:

    I’m stunned that so many posters find “What’s Up with That” funny. It’s the same thing over and over again; it’s a one joke skit with interchangeable guests. The difference in the guests means nothing, because they’re just cannnon fodder. Why not have the same guests over and over since it’s the same punch line (the interruption)over and over. This week’s was particulary heinous because it gave Bill O’Reilly a chance to plug his book.

  6. Fake Name says:

    JT was the best thing about that show this week

  7. rr says:

    Thought the “Super Showcase” was hysterically funny. I love to see the characters lose it – in fact, a compilation of all of those moments in SNL’s history would be worth seeing. I always wonder about the moments when Stephon hides his smile behind his hands, like he’s trying to hide the fact that he’s cracking up, which just makes it that much funnier. It almost seems like he’s getting his lines from a teleprompter, seeing them for the first time, and having to avoid losing it at the outrageous-ness of it all…

  8. KD says:

    I wish Gemini’s Twin would have reunited though

    • James says:

      Oh my GOD. I didn’t think about Gemini’s Twin until just now. I would have DIED if they had come back…you know, because their music comes from a very emotionary place.
      Kristen Wiig is known for being extremely devoted to script-literal performances, unless improv is specifically indicated or a goal. She hardly ever breaks, and to see her break in that Showcase sketch was absolutely hilarious. I’ve watched it at least five times. What’s funny is no one is pointing out how hard Vanessa Bayer was struggling not to laugh. Watch it again and pay attention to her; her entire chest and shoulders are trembling as she delivers her lines. That’s devotion!!!

  9. Stephie33 says:

    The Bronx Beat skit with Justin Timberlake was the most hilarious skit I’ve seen on SNL in years. Years! My all time favorite was Tina Fey and Amy as Sarah Palin “I can see Russia from my house” and Hillary Clinton. LOL!!

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