Daniel Craig Hosts Saturday Night Live: What Were the Best and Worst Sketches?

daniel craig snlHe may play 007 on the big screen, but Daniel Craig only needed one of those digits — a giant zero — to sum up his hosting gig on this week’s Saturday Night Live. Combined with Seth MacFarlane’s fantastic season premire, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s uninspiring followup, SNL now sports a 1-2 record for Season 38.

Craig started off on a decent note with an opening monologue that featured an “In Memoriam”-style tribute to all the characters he’s killed on screen. Still, it would’ve been a lot funnier had it been more comprehensive. From there, though, the any comedic chops the British actor may or may not possess got buried under the weight of lame ideas and lazy writing.

If there was one bright spot, it was a second straight episode featuring standout work by Kate McKinnon, who’s showing genuine potential to be the show’s next big breakout star. Either way, here are my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches:

Best: Lesser-Known Bond Girls
McKinnon’s impersonations of Jodie Foster and Ellen DeGeneres were the highlights of this well-executed short focusing on outtakes from a new James Bond DVD collection, although Vanessa Bayer’s Diane Keaton was pretty amusing, too.

Best: Cecilia Gimenez on Weekend Update
McKinnon was wonderfully loopy as the elderly Spanish woman who “touched up” a 19th-century fresco of Jesus at her church, adding “dead black eyes” and “a little round expressionless face” in the process. By the time Ceclila moved on from her conversation with J.C. himself to talk of her followup portrait of Seth Meyers, I was howling with laughter.

Worst: Construction-Site Hecklers
Craig adopted a dopey-guy accent in a bit about the new guy at the construction site who freaks out his coworkers with off-target cat calls about female passersby having “two big, breasty squish rags” and “a big bowl of butt soup with extra nipples.” The comedic equivalent of a giant crane falling into a skyscraper.

Worst: MSNBC Debate Coverage
Surely, there were fresher ways to wring laughs from the panic of left-leaning MSNBC’s commentators in the wake of President Obama’s widely criticized debate-performance. Cecily Strong had the right idea when her Rachel Maddow began harping on a little stumble in Romney’s delivery, smugly pointing out how it didn’t seem very presidential, but Kenan Thompson’s Al Sharpton was, as always, too broad to really be scathing.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? Did Craig make you laugh, or just wince? 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. theboyatforty says:

    leave kennan alone

    • Mycroft says:

      OBVIOUSLY Slezak does not watch MSNBC, as stunningly, the sketch was uncomfortably directly on target! These loons are almost beyond parody as even the comedy sketch was almost a verbatim transcript of the unhinged daily ravings. Sharpton impersonation not broad enough to capture the inane ramblings of this semi coherent race hustling chiseler.

  2. david says:

    Didn’t expect him to be good on a comedy show so wasn’t as disappointed.

  3. Sarabi says:

    This episode was awful.
    Kate McKinnon saved the day!
    And Fred Armisen as Regine. :D

  4. Marianne says:

    How could you forget about Big Bird? And not just one of the SNL players in a Big Bird costume. The real Big Bird. Big Bird was a highlight for me. Loved the Bond Girls thing too and the opening. That was funny because I missed the debates on Wednesday because I was working.

    • Angela says:

      I liked when Big Bird popped up, too. And I liked “Weekend Update” in general-but I always tend to like that segment. Seth’s bit about “2 minutes” made me laugh.
      I thought the debate skits were okay, they had a couple funny moments here and there. But I didn’t really care about most of the show-ultimately, the biggest reason I watched this episode was to see Muse perform, and they sounded excellent :).

    • Mycroft says:

      Big Bird, “Birdsie” to his friends— who makes more millions of dollars each year than Romney has earned in a lifetime— told me that in our 900 channel cable/dish/streaming media universe he is not opposed to going private.
      “Birdsie” did say that he is concerned with Obama’s war on “millionaires and billionaires” and is very troubled by Obamas attempt to raise the tax rates during difficult economic times.

      Big Bird also said that as most of his neighbors houses on Sesame Street are “underwater”; AND as the unemployment rate amongst the minorities who live there is well over 10%, Big Bird tells me that he is planning to cross party lines and peck a vote for Romney!

      • Don beury says:

        Cast is way to large. Cast can’t show how versatile they are cause each one rarely gets to do enough. Weekend update sucks since Amy left. They should put a fake cast member on desk, more Vanessa Bayer

  5. Joe says:

    Thought the best was bobby Moynihan’s new character (the kitty guy)

  6. 24fps says:

    I thought the openng Presidential Debate skit was a thud, much more than the MSNBC commentators one afterward.

  7. DL says:

    Are you kidding? I watched this episode with my two brothers, and all of us thought this episode was hilarious across the board. Even better than McFarlane’s. Guess it just goes to show that comedy is subjective.

    • Lauren says:

      I know that opinions are just that — opinions — but yours is simply factually incorrect.

      • DL says:

        And your statement is a logical fallacy. My opinion on a subjective medium such as comedy cannot be “factually incorrect” insofar as some sort of absolute truth.

        Furthermore, it boggles my mind that you feel some bizarre need to invalidate my opinion.

  8. GeezerDave says:

    McFarlane’s episode being an exception, I usually FF thru the skits to Update, then maybe check out the skits later.
    Last night’s Bond Girls was good, Regine went nowhere…

  9. Am says:

    It was not funny at all. The only thing that got me laughing was big bird

  10. Paula says:

    Keenan as Sharpton doesn’t have to be scathing to be hilarious–I laughed the hardest at him and at the bombastic Chris Matthews portrayal. And I say this as a regular viewer of MSNBC–it was great!

    • Deena says:

      Thank you! Someone else who understands and appreciates just how funny Keenan’s Al Sharpton is. He kills me with that!

    • rwfblog says:

      Agreed. Keenan caught perfectly Sharpton’s tendency to, well, enthusiastically overstate his case. The Chris Matthews portrayal may have gone too far over the top, but not by very much — and it was hilarious too.

  11. Lime says:

    I just adore Kate McKinnon. LOVED Cecelia Jimenez! So well done. She could be the next Amy Poehler, she’s so committed to each sketch she performs.

  12. Trent mcnally says:

    I only watched about ten minutes of it in total, but the skit I did see had Daniel Craig stumbling his lines so bad I was embarrassed for him.Im a big fan of his so I had to change the channel.

  13. A.D. says:

    This season has been very weak! This episode stunk…where are the well established characters?

  14. Eric says:

    TERRIBLE episode.

  15. No mention of Kate McKinnon as the Long Island Medium? I thought that was hilarious. :D McKinnon is a keeper. With the Jodie Foster impersonation + Cecilia Jimenez – she saved the show once again.

  16. CJ says:

    Kate McKinnon is awesome.

  17. Jay says:

    The worsts are far better then the abominations that were on after weekend update.

  18. Nic says:

    If Daniel Craig was given decent material, he could probably pull off comedy. It’d be interesting to see. The monologue was lame. The sketches were lame, except for the lesser known Bond girls. To be fair, if Christopher Walken or Jon Hamm had been on last night, it still would have been bad.

  19. Toia says:

    Other than the skit where he was funneling his lines I can’t say the fault entirely lies on Mr. Craig’s shoulders, the writing was not very good. They no longer have the mid-week episode to blame for their diverted attention. We all knew it wasn’t going to be the same as the premier but they can’t always work with someone who is also a comedy writer. They need to play to the guests strengths or it serves no purpose to have guests. Honestly I am starting to wonder if maybe they need to go an overhaul like they did on the 90’s and clean house bring in all new ppl and start fresh cuz right now things are stale.

    Oh and how could you not mention Big Bird, I was 5 again when jr came on

  20. Morisot says:

    I thought Kenan’s Al Sharpton was funny. McKinnon was terrific. Felt bad for Daniel Craig–don’t think anyone could have made funny what they gave him! Starting with “In Memoriam”–not funny.

  21. brandon says:

    There were some pretty terrible sketches, but Kate really did save some of it. The Long Island Medium spoof was SPOT ON. She may be my new Kristen Wiig.

    • Deena says:

      The Long Island Medium was HILARIOUS! I don’t watch the show but saw her on Letterman aside from the promos for her show and that was enough for me to appreciate the skit. Kate was great.

  22. Ross says:

    Only funny thing: “Hippoputopussy”

  23. I think there were far worse sketches than the one’s listed. The opening monologue, the british soap opera (I mean, the audience couldn’t even bring themselves to laugh), the Regine one. The Bond girls one was definitely the best and even though the construction worker one wasn’t the funniest, it was enjoyable and probably the best display of Daniel Craig.

  24. Carrie says:

    It was not bad. The Long Island Medium skit and the one about the lesser known Bond girls were pretty good. His opening monologue was a lot better than I thought it would be and the Muse performances were great.

  25. Tina B. says:

    I really liked this episode, Daniel Craig was so surprisingly funny and such a great job with
    hiding his accent too. I thought it was funny and love Muse too! B

  26. cuius says:

    No wonder Craig’s in films – at least he can have as many takes as required – can’t read off autocue. Get the feeling that SNL is past its sell-by date

  27. Jennifer says:

    I loved Daniel, it was the material that sucked. He did the best he could do with the material he had. Kate is wonderful but I was shocked to find out she’s been on show since last season, why did they not use her more? Kate could have held her own quite well around Kristen.
    Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great, I liked Seth too but Joseph’s hosting was much more entertaining.

  28. Aria says:

    All I can is that if you’re going to make people stay up from 11:30 pm – 1 am to watch your show, you’d better make it worthwhile enough to keep them awake. So far, only the Seth MacFarlane SNL has accomplished that this season.

  29. Rachel says:

    Whatever. The episode was great–and Daniel Craig was fantastic

  30. Tedwin63 says:

    I really feel that SNL needs an overhaul (as stated previously). The Weekend Update tends to be the stongest piece of the night while many of the other skits tend to run too far past the punchline and stop being funny. The Bond girls one was definitely the best of the night, especially Penny Marshall. I’m not sure I care for the new “Obama” – it’s like he is trying to hard. Thank the techie gods for DVR’ power to fast forward.

  31. Dan says:

    I thought that the construction worker sketch was pretty funny. Especially compared to the lameness that was most of the rest of the episode.

  32. Brinan says:


  33. Mark says:

    I agree about Kate McKinnon.. she was also great on The Big Gay Sketch Show.. Daniel Craig at least did a decent job with the bad writing he was given…I wouldn’t knock his performance at all…

  34. Janey says:

    The British soap opera was funny because it was making accurate fun of the genre. I guess Americans aren’t aware enough of “corrie” and east Enders, etc., to get it. But the construction skit and the cat in the bag in space kit were cringeworthy. By the way, bobby moynihan’s “kitty” character was a pure Chris Farley ripoff. Just sayin’. I didn’t think the episode was that bad, just average when compared to an average snl viewing experience.