The most memorable moments of this week’s Saturday Night Live didn’t feature Jonah Hill. The second-time host was upstaged from the get-go (when Tom Hanks popped up during the opening monologue), and this trend lasted up until he ‘rapped’ up the show with Kristen Wiig.
There were a few chuckles throughout the evening — including the cast’s frequent character breaks — as well as some very strange impressions. Here are my picks for best and worst of the night:
BEST: Weekend Update
Even though Weekend Update saw the most character breaks of the evening, the jokes warranted the reactions. Highlights included Kristen Wiig’s butter-studded Paula Deen, Andy Samberg’s last-minute (and meta’ed) Sarah Palin (who’d have thought he’d be a capable sub for Tina Fey?), and the glorious return of Stefon. The latter’s explanation of ‘hoombas’ (“A human roomba — the thing when you put a midget on a skateboard and it slides around on your floor eating garbage”) was only upstaged by his shocking kiss with Seth Meyers at the end of the segment.
This Planet of the Apes spoof found scientist Hill introducing Brutus, the ape that he taught to speak. But instead of reciting the alphabet or carrying on a simple conversation, Brutus — any guesses who was inside the costume? — spilled about the forced sex that the two of them had had. It’s a slippery slope when your punch lines include a lot of stuttered words about being “scared” and producing half-man, half-ape babies, but the characters played off each other surprisingly well.
WORST: The Rush Limbaugh Show
Talk about wasted opportunities. Instead of executing a fully realized sketch, this cold open felt like the writers threw together a bunch of random ideas, came up with a few fake logos, and lazily started the show. Taran Killam’s portrayal was neither here nor there, but the seemingly endless list of Limbaugh’s new sponsors (to replace the “sluts at TurboTax”) was not a good start to the night.
WORST: Liza Minelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp
Like many other SNL misfires, this sketch relied too heavily on one motion and a lot of sound effects. Unfortunately, Wiig’s actions never really synched up with the orchestra, making the already boring skit fall flat. Hill spoke about five words throughout, and after Liza’s parade of acrobatic dancing and vocal tics, the skit ended with her turning off the lamp — but nothing happened. They may have missed the performance of CATS, but no one seemed too upset about it. I just want my five minutes back.
Honorable Mention: Anniversary Orchestra
When I first saw Kristen Wiig holding a rose, I thought it was going to be a Bachelor spoof. Then, as the skit began, I assumed the night was going to end on a sour note. And while it wasn’t the strongest skit of the night, watching Hill and Wiig rap Coolio’s “C U When U Get There” before the entire cast joined them in singing and dancing off stage was a nice way to end the episode. I may have been distracted by Bill Hader’s keyboard playing, however, which only served to make me miss Lord Wyndemere even more.
What did you think of this week’s SNL? What are your picks for best and worst skit? And how would you grade Hill as host? Sound off in the comments!