Seth MacFarlane Hosts SNL Season Premiere: What Were the Best and Worst Skits?

Seth MacFarlane SNLSeason 38 of Saturday Night Live got off to an excellent start with Family Guy‘s Seth MacFarlane proving to be a hard-working, versatile presence as host.

The cold open (with Jay Pharoah replacing Fred Armisen as Barack Obama) and opening monologue (with MacFarlane nailing a wide range of voices in a cute musical number) were promising appetizers to an episode that scored laughs in pretty much every sketch — right down to the final (and very brief) bit with McFarlane and cast newcomer Tim Robinson as Amish spoon makers.

Without further ado, my picks for the night’s best and worst:

Best: Intro to Puppetry
MacFarlane did a nice job of anchoring a hilarious skit about an amateur puppet class, but Bill Hader stole the show as a disturbed war vet working through his dark past with his plush doppelganger. Warning: You’ll say “TTYL to your innocence” watching sexually active and murderous puppet behaviors.

Best: Ryan Lochte’s Fall TV Preview
MacFarlane dropped by Weekend Update to do his best impersonation of the dim Olympic swimmer, and he had me hooked right from his awesome pronunciation of the title of Matthew Perry’s new sitcom. “Soup yourself” and press play. You won’t regret it.

Best: Eastwood & Chair
Hader’s Eastwood (and his hiked-up pants) is already the stuff of SNL legend, but you’ve never seen him eat a whole rotisserie chicken while standing in the background for 45 minutes, have you?

Worst: Rodger Brush
Armisen proved more crass than comedic as a producer for a show called “Sex After 50” forced to sub for its ailing host. If someone saying “erection” out loud sends you into fits of laughter, then this sketch is all for you.

What did you think of SNL’s Season 38 premiere? Were you as impressed as I was by MacFarlane’s hosting skills? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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. Andy bay view says:

    You were way more generous than I. The Ryan skit was the only funny part.

  2. Lilly says:

    HE DID A GREAT JOB! Vanessa Brayer needs to go.

  3. Pete S says:

    Excellent premiere. I laughed at every sketch. Seth MacFarlane shined and should remind producers that people with comedy backgrounds make the best hosts. Also liked Jay P. as Obama over Fred Armisen who had been doing him for years. Only negative was that i wish we could have seen more of the new cast members who were mostly reduced to one line walk ons.

    • murley says:

      jay’s obama was great. he definitely brought something new.

    • Pat Graney says:

      I thought the show was great and Seth MacFarlane, in addition to all this other talents, has a great voice! I was a teeny bit shocked – and wondered if any viewers were – when he said something like, as part of his near-lifelong dream to host SNL, he wanted to say, “Farrah Fawcett, will you go out with me”? (or something like that.)

      Wasn’t that comment in horrible taste, since she’s dead??/

    • Karen says:

      I thought Jay Pharoah’s Obama was sooo much better than Armisen’s (who I’m not all that fond of) too

  4. Loved Honey Boo Boo and Mama. Also, Cecily Strong was great in her first sketch on Weekend Update.

    Loved the puppet sketch, loved Seth as Ryan Lochte, but also loved the sketch about the couple on their first date.

    Pretty good start to the season.

  5. forwarddad says:

    Frank Ocean – Awesome

    • CJ says:

      I don’t know–he may be wonderful, but like almost every musical act on SNL (going all the way back to 1975), he just came off as weird on the show. The musical interludes on this show have always been a “see what else is on” or “perfect time for a bathroom break” time for me.

  6. Mark says:

    The Latina part of weekend update seemed pretty racist. Also I was watching snl with my friends, one of whom has always struggled with a stutter growing up and still battles with it. So that skit was uncomfortable to watch. He was laughing but still.

    • J says:

      I think we as an audience need to re-explore what the term “racist” actually means. Nothing about that character implied that all Latino people are like that, or even all Latino women. It was a specific character that keyed into a specific archetype.

      “Racist”, by contrast, would be a sketch populated by multiple characters of the same ethnicity defined by the same traits, or a pattern by SNL over time of always portraying a particular race in the same way.

      • Danyelle says:

        ICAM. What the new girl did was create a pin-point accurate depiction of a specific type of Latina girl, and not just break out some Charo accent. She’s definitely a keeper. Very, very funny work.

      • Mark says:

        The character seemed indicative of any Latina portrayal in a sketch comedy show. Think of Mad Tv and the Latina character that Nicole Sullivan did. It was the essentially the same thing. I didn’t find it funny, I found it annoying. Granted, she did what she was supposed to do well though.

    • matt says:

      Totally agree, both the Latina and the stuttering were crass unoriginal racist/speechdisordermocking humor. The Latina reminded me of those racist Kudos commercials. That coupled with Jay Pharoah’s horrible Obama made for one of the worst episodes of SNL in a while.
      Missing Kristen Wiig, Paul Brittain and Armisen’s superior Obama. And I hate the Family Guy.

    • Angela Gibbs says:

      There is NOTHING funny about stuttering. It is one of the worst disabilities in the world. I, ashamed to admit, used to laugh at stutter humor until my little boy started stuttering. Now I am so ashamed I ever laughed at such painful crap.

      • JasonWheeler says:

        Actually, if you’ve seen Seth on Larry King, he does have a bit of a stuttering problem. So if he can poke fun at his own stuttering issues, then what can be said?

    • Jennifer says:

      Laughing at SETH McFARLANE stuttering on a COMEDY SHOW & laughing at someone stuttering IN PUBLIC are different, lady. Good grief.

  7. Kathy says:

    I loved the opening, Seth’s monologue and the intro 2 puppetry, but everything else was ok. Of course, now I will have to go to Lids and see if Psy shows up.

  8. damian says:

    I didn’t feel the absence of Wiig and Samberg (2 of my favorites) and I laughed at pretty much every skits so that was a good start.

  9. Tl says:

    I kept envisioning Wiig coming on as Ann Romney…imagine the comedy gold she would uncover.

  10. Amanda says:

    I thought Seth was great with eveything he was given. I also agree that a couple of the newbies needed more air time. I was also hoping for a change in Weekend Update. I like it better when there are 2anchors.

  11. CJ says:

    Overall, I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was nice to have a confident, energetic host who truly was game for anything. I’d be happy to have Seth MacFarlane back as host in the future.

  12. Carl says:

    I loved the Lids skit with the Korean dancer

    • CJ says:

      That was like watching something in a foreign language for me–no idea what the “korean dancer” was, or why there would be a shop selling only caps, or why their calling each other “bra” was supposed to be funny.

  13. tara says:

    Was consistently entertained by the entire show last night. Hope Macfarlane returns soon!

  14. Line says:

    I liked it…though without Kristen it seems…empty

  15. Dan says:

    8.5 from me. Seth was really really good. The first 3/4 of the show was damn fine. I laughed out loud in damn near every skit except the last two. Excellent show.

  16. Karen says:

    Seth MacFarlane was so great in this episode. The Ryan Lochte sketch was high-larious.I also loved his intro (Marty McFly in particular). Generally a really great episode – which is rarely the case, I think.
    Also glad to see Jay Pharoah as Obama instead of Fred Armisen, who I’m not really a fan of. Pharoah did a great job

  17. Sg. Grant says:

    The best were the puppet and Gangnam style skits.

  18. Pia says:

    Lochte seemed more like Phelps in places.

  19. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it really was and how much I was laughing at what I was seeing. The “Rodger Brush” recurring character needs to die a slow, agonizing death, but everything else was unexpectedly funny.

    Even Weekend Update, which has suffered in recent years (especially in comparison to Stewart & Colbert) was chuckle-worthy.

  20. SNL Fan says:

    I didn’t like Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama. Maybe I’m use to Fred Armisen impression. I really like the Ryan Lochte impression and the Clint eastwood one

  21. Alex says:

    I can only hope they’ll bring Seth back again like they bring others back (Justin Timberlake, Alec Baldwin, etc) he’s a gem and was perfect in every skit. SNL was a lot funnier than it usually is, and I didn’t really feel the loss of Wiig as much as I thought I would.

  22. Belle says:

    Seth was great; SNL needs a fulltime cast member who has that range of character voices!!! The only part I thought was cruel, and in very poor taste was him asking Farrah Fawcet out…how horrible was that??!! Here’s my list previous/new hosts I’d like to see this year: Justin Timberlake, Peyton Manning, Billy Burke, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson, Nick Offerman, Josh Radnor, Krysten Ritter, James Van Der Beek, Dax Shepard, Rebel Wilson, Claire Danes, Louis C.K.,…there are more, but will spare you my ideas :) have a great week!

  23. Aryn says:

    Let’s start a campaign to bring Seth Back!!! He’s just awesome, he seemed so at ease and in his element…LOVED HIM!! (Jay did a great job being Obama at the beginning, was really terrific!!)

  24. Ruby says:

    I thought Seth’s opening monologue was the best part of the entire ep, but I found most of the skits really funny and I wish he could join the cast permanently!

  25. Ethan says:

    Seth did a great job. Every sketch was funny. The Ryan Lochte bit was hilarious. “I like that show GOON” “It’s weird to be dry” LMAO.

  26. Bob says:

    The puppet sketch and the Lochte bit were the outstanding live performances. The Eastwood bit went on a bit too long, but is more than redeemed by Hader’s performance. When they lose him (and Sudeikis), the show will really suffer.