SNL With Josh Brolin: Best and Worst Skits

josh brolin snlWhen Steven Spielberg shows up to direct Laser Cats 7 — starring a stuffed-animal E.T. playing E.A.T. (Extra Awesome Terrestrial) — you know you’re in for a weird, wacky edition of Saturday Night Live. And while host Josh Brolin was more of a fringe player than the star of the show — even his monologue felt like little more than an excuse for Jay Pharoah (yes, he’s still in the cast!) to break out his wicked Will Smith impression — there were nevertheless an above-average number of laughs in the episode. Here are my picks for best and worst sketches:

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BEST: Piers Morgan Tonight
An increasingly absurdist indictment of the coverage of the Trayvon Martin case, with a desperate-for-relevance Morgan interviewing everyone from Ice T (complete with Law & Order-esque “dun-dun” sound effect) to ghastly new couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (a “zero threat” brought beautifully to life by Nasim Pedrad), to Andy Samberg as…well, let me not ruin the surprise of the last and funniest segment of this sketch. Press play and enjoy!

 BEST: America’s Next Top ‘Empire State of Mind’ Parody Artist

Lots of strange, funny stuff wrapped up in this random burrito: Pharoah’s spot-on Jay-Z (“This show is my real baby goyle!”), Brolin’s proud/misguided new uncle (“I was told I was stealing focus”), even some (always welcome) throw-away Ke$ha mockery (“My songs aren’t parodies”). Why isn’t NBC streaming this sketch online?

Kristen Wiig Addresses SNL Exit Rumors: ‘You Have to Leave Things That You Love’

The Close Encounters theme in meows, the Raiders of the Lost Ark face-melt, and Samberg’s character running off with E.A.T. and the cats at the end — “So all the haters know I didn’t go soft,” huffed Spielberg. Gotta love that much gameness and self-deprecation.

WORST: The Californians
Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig almost broke character and busted out laughing. Glad someone found this soap-opera riff on Cali accents and driving directions so funny, but I wished the writers had dug deeper into lifestyle decisions like putting sundried tomatoes in clay bowls.

WORST: Garth and Kat on Weekend Update
I know, I know…plenty of folks get the giggles from their made-up-on-the-spot ditties, but I can’t help feel like this one-note sketch has carried its diminishing returns to the point of comedy bankruptcy.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Brolin 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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  1. Josh says:

    I know people rag on Kristin Wiig(who I think his hillarious) but come on, Fred Armstein’s whole gag is dressing up weird and making stupid faces. Whenever a sketch revolves around him being funny, it doesn’t work..

    • lordzed says:

      I totally agree. Fred Armisen is rarely funny. I’ve disliked him since I saw him live at a comedy festival.

  2. Okonkwo says:

    I thought the opening skit was funny, especially the joke about Michele Bachmann interrupting guy’s night when she comes home early and unannounced haha. And I still love Garth and Kat. Piers Morgan and the Empire State of Mind skits were okay. The rest were not that great. I really hated Laser Cats. I think only preteen boys would find that somewhat amusing.

  3. Bart Smith says:

    Much like last night’s cold open (and many other sketches), the “America’s Next Top ‘Empire State of Mind’ Parody Artist” sketch isn’t streaming online because of music clearance rights.

  4. Rob says:

    When sketches aren’t streamed online it’s usually because of music rights issues.

  5. Matt says:

    No mention of the prom sketch? Seriously? Brolin as the drunk teacher was the best sketch all night!

  6. Katie says:

    If there’s anyone that needs to leave the show at the end of the season, it should be Kenan Thompson and Fred Armisen.

    • Spamburglar says:

      I know a guy that once punched fred amisen in the face at a party. Didn’t care for the guy, but once i heard that he was my hero.

  7. Sam says:

    No love for the Game of Thrones sketch and that completely flawless Kit Harington impression?

  8. Line says:

    actually I thought your two worst were the best!!! :D

  9. dude says:

    I didn’t like that Parody sketch at all. I just didn’t get it. Who came up with that and thought it was a funny idea? I could see if a lot of people were parodying Empire State of Mind (but aside from T.Dot State of Mind I don’t know any popular ones) it would have some relevance but it was just a stupid idea.

  10. Amanda says:

    I have never understood why Garth and Kat continue to get airtime

  11. SNL was on yesterday!!!!!! oops

  12. Carmichael says:

    Gotta say I’m with you on the Garth&Kat hate, I don’t get it. If Wiig does live I won’t miss them. Or the Target Lady. Or Gilly. Seriously I thought Gilly was dead but boom there she was last week. Sad.

  13. Juan says:

    I hear ya on Garth & Kat.
    Used to love it, but now I just see those sweater vests and I have to walk away.

    • cjeffery7 says:

      overall it seemed kind of half-assed. they didn’t even “pretend” to be ready, and then they weren’t even in sync. they were depending solely on the gag, but there was no build up. and just like with stefon – it’s always the same, they never switch it up.

  14. Leigh says:

    I thought this was the best episode of the season. We laughed at most of the skits (with the exception of the TERRIBLE Garth and Kat skit which is NEVER good) while each of the skits had highs and lows it was consistantly funny throughout most of the show, something it hasnt been in years. The musical guest was ehh but this was one of the best.

  15. Jeanrie says:

    Gotye and Kimbra!!!!

  16. stephen says:

    The whole episode sucked donkey balls!

  17. shksprsis says:

    I have no idea if this is because I’m from SoCal, but “The Californians” was hilarious to me. I had to pause it I was laughing so hard. Maybe they could have gone further, but I know these kinds of people in real life, so it worked for me.

    • chatulim says:

      We were wondering this morning whether that skit was funny to anyone who wasn’t familiar with driving in LA. Not only did I watch it with a couple of guys who went to school there, I’ve been there enough (and know enough SoCal-ers) that I found it totally hilarious.

    • jennab says:

      Agreed, grew up in SoCal (now live in NoCal) and thought it was hilarious. @Slezak, Michael, it’s like, if someone parodied giving taxi drivers directions in NYC…get it? :)

    • Aja says:

      There’s is no such thing as a “Cali’ accent, that’s a poser term used by out of-staters or gangstas.
      SNL may originate in NYC, but they knew most native Californians consider the term “Cali’ lame and insulting.
      That said, I thought the skit was hilarious, especially when Hader and Wiig started to lose it =)

  18. Samantha says:

    Gotye was the highlight of the night! His digital short was so funny and of course, he was amazing. Kimbra was just eh but she’s never been great live.

  19. Winter says:

    Headline on the site homepage says “Broilin,” instead of “Brolin”. Par for the course for online editing, I suppose.

  20. stefanjames says:

    Actually, the Californians was my favorite sketch, if only because I couldn’t understand half the things they were saying. I think the point of the sketch is that they’re so focused on giving/taking driving instructions rather than the more important things, like the fact that Wiig’s character was apparently cheating on Armisen’s character with Hader (I think, like I said, I didn’t understand half of it) or that Keenan’s character broke out of jail.

    The opening kind of seemed bittersweet in light of the news that Wiig, Sudeikis and Samberg are about to leave the show. But it could be just that they’re saying goodbye to those characters, because I don’t see Bachmann, Santorum et al. being relevant at all anymore so what’s left to parody?

    I’m liking the new girl. She was hilarious last week as Penelope Cruz. I hope they give her more to do. Also, let’s give the extremely capable Vanessa Bayer something else than “straight (wo)man” parts, shall we?

    If anyone should go at the end of the season, it’s Armisen. Like someone above me mentioned, every sketch centered around him is painfully unfunny. I’d also let Jay Pharoah, Seth Meyers (with Sudeikis doing Weekend Update) and Abby Elliott go and focus on finding a solid replacement for Wiig, who should stay on for one more year.

  21. Kristi says:

    All I want to know is, when is Fred Armisen FINALLY going to leave? He’s so one-note in everything. He’s not funny. I’ve wanted him gone for years. I turn the channel whenever he shows up.

  22. inthe915 says:

    Why has this season on SNL struggled so much this year? That they (Lorne and his writers) refuse to go after Obama on anything this year. It would have been fun to parody that the Secret Service refused to pay $47 for “services rendered” while in Columbia. I know that they are no friends of the Republican Party, but they should to make fun of a fellow lib.

  23. brandy says:

    I loved the Californians sketch and wasn’t a fan of the Weird Al one. Also loved the slow motion hallway!

  24. Drawn says:

    My favorite was the Californian’s actualy, but the slow motion hallway was awsome, the opining of it with the cool kids was so perfect.

  25. Shaun says:

    +1 for loving the Californian skit……when Armisen popped up with his super dramatic way it busted my gut.

  26. tripoli says:

    Pretty bad episode all around. Couldn’t get through the entire Piers Morgan sketch. Killam’s impression is so piss poor, as is everything he does, that I had to turn it off. He’s awful, plain and simple. He and Jay Phaorah are less than impressive in the impression department. Enjoyed Laser Cats and Update.

  27. Jill says:

    Turned it off half way through Weekend Update. Seth Meyers needs to go. He is not a good head writer. I think all of the writers need to go.

  28. Peng9803 says:

    Wow…this was boring! I didn’t think anything was funny. Where was the comedy? The cast broke a lot and while I usually find that fun, I couldn’t figured out what would have caused them to break so often. Best episode this season is still Melissa McCarthy. Not looking forward to Eli Manning at all. Ugh.

  29. faraday says:

    what’s the song in the slow motion hallway sketch?

  30. Seriously, use Jay Pharoah in multiple sketches in each episode and I will enjoy the show much more!!

  31. xwiseguyx says:

    Jay Pharoah is to me what Fred Armison is to many who have posted. I think his impressions are awful and one dimensional. Kenan Thompson is overrated and should find new work. Californians was funny as was the opening sketch, which I think was my favorite. That bounce in California sketch was only interesting in that I forgot about how I liked that song, but the sketch was awful. Where do they find these awful musical artists?. I thought it was a sketch at first.

  32. AndyOnTV says:

    oh man, I erally enjoyed The Californians… I hate when people break character… but I do love it when it’s Wiig, because she never does. Twice this season she has. excellent

  33. luke says:

    There were “best” parts of this episode?!

  34. Mrs. Larry King IV says:

    Nasim Pedrad as Kim K had only 3 lines – and they were by far the funniest of the evening. The whole Piers Morgan sketch (good work, Taran!) was consistently funny on many levels, and seemed to have been written by different writers than everything else in the episode.

  35. kate says:

    i think only some of the “piers morgan show” was funny, laser cats was stupid funny, slow motion hallway was really funny, i disliked the opening,the artist was good but i only liked the first song, i didnt think that the guest host did a good job or that he was funny.and the news update was horrible…..they should stop doing that bit, its always the same thing.

  36. L says:

    garth and kat is awesome…it is so funny!!