Anne Hathaway Hosts Saturday Night Live: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

You knew it was going to be a rough outing for Saturday Night Live when — less than a week after the Presidential Election — the cold open was wasted on an extended (and not remotely funny) riff about Mitt Romney drinking massive amounts of milk. If I’d been in host Anne Hathaway’s shoes, I’d have been looking for a much stronger beverage after slogging through a variety of sketches that proved dubious in both concept and execution.

Before I weigh in on the week’s best and worst moments, a little fodder for debate. My colleagues Michael Ausiello and Matt Mitovich insist that SNL‘s Homeland parody was a good’un, but to me, it was a missed opportunity. Hathaway’s waaaayyy over-the-top rendition of Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison came across as merely desperate for laughs, and the writing felt like a lazy riff on the “Carrie is crazy!” theme you could pick up from watching a Homeland trailer or talking to someone at a cocktail party. Only Bill Hader’s Saul — and those jokes about Brody not opening his mouth — got me chuckling.

With that out of the way…

BEST: Drunk Uncle
This wasn’t even Bobby Moynihan’s best outing as the cantankerous boozehound, but his typical befuddlement with/disgust for Internet terminology (“Can I vote with a Groupon?”) never fails to score a laugh, and the out-of-left field “Yeah, I’m a hoarder” was the night’s second-funniest zinger — ranked only behind the followup punchline about stockpiling “1950s Playboys and dignity.”

BEST: Rihanna’s “Diamonds”
Girlfriend was aiming for the funnybone with those ludicrous green-screen images of dolphins, pillars, palm trees, and marble busts, right? Well, even if she wasn’t, she actually sounded pretty good live for a change.

WORST: Cold Open
I’ll admit I laughed at Mitt’s son telling him to come see Paul Ryan doing feats of strength in the living room, and the dejected Republican candidate replying “I’d like to see him carry Wisconsin.” But aside from that, the sketch had no teeth — and worse still, not one joke that couldn’t have worked at any other point in the election cycle. Wasting Kate McKinnon’s terrific Ann Romney impersonation with a few throwaway lines made the situation all the more dire. A total fail.

WORST: The Legend of Mokiki
I suspect SNL was hoping to recapture the magic of “Sad Mouse,” but this idiotic short with Kenan Thompson singing about “a really stupid dance created by a crazy person” was aggressively awful.

What were your picks for the week’s best and worst sketches? How did you feel about Hathaway’s hosting performance? 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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69 Comments
  1. TV Gord says:

    Well, that was one awful SNL. With the exception of the very last bit (the Flaritan commercial parody), that was one bad segment after another.

    • BOO MC BOOBERSON says:

      I AGREE!! I LOVE IT, WISHING I COULD FIND A REPOST-ABLE CLIP OF IT!! :)

    • Lyn says:

      Rats, there was something funny later?! I fell asleep during Weekend Update. (Did kinda like the Homeland sketch and the moment where “Romney” tossed “Rove” over the railing.)

  2. Mark says:

    So i really liked it lol. I thought the absurdity of Mokiki made it pretty humorous. I enjoyed the monologue. The Girlfriends skit made me laugh with frequency. The Homeland parody I thought was pretty spot on and quite humorous. The McDonalds skit had me laughing. I agree the cold opener was weak though. The Ellen impersonation, while good, felt a couple years late. All in all though I thought it was a pretty great episode.

    • Kristen says:

      I don’t even watch Homeland, and thought that skit was hilarious. I know of Mandy Patinkin from the Princess Bride and Criminal Minds, and I thought Bill Hader’s impression was perfect. I wish he was given more chances to show off how well he can imitate people’s voices.

    • DL says:

      I really liked Mokiki as well. It kept me cracking up. I also thought the cold open was pretty funny.

    • kat says:

      Wait. There was a monologue? I thought they phased that out since it’s really an opening song for everyone but Louis CK. So sick of everyone getting out of the monologue with a song. That really only works well for someone like Jimmy Fallon. Even Seth MacFarlane did a song. YAWN.

  3. Jessie says:

    Nasim Pedrad’s impression of Brody’s daughter in the Homeland sketch was SO spot on (“DAD?”). I was crying, that made the sketch for me.

  4. Cori says:

    I enjoyed the monologue and weekend update, but there wasn’t a sketch I loved tonight. I’d consider tonight’s the weakest SNL of the season so far. Disappointing.

  5. LOL says:

    Thank goodness Rihanna had visuals behind her during the first song to distract from her awfulness.

    • LOL says:

      The biggest disappointment overall was how little they actually used Anne Hathaway. She really only got screen time in Homeland and American Gothic. She’s been pretty great on past shows, but tonight it felt like she was hardly there.

      • td says:

        Anne Hathaway–Also the “new best friend” on “Girlfriends Talk Show,” McDonald’s boss (though agreed not a whole lot of screen time there), Katie Holmes in the “Ellen” sketch.

  6. Kristen says:

    Wow, we completely disagree! I thought the Mokiki sketch was the best of the night. It was hilariously bizarre. The reactions of the people in Times Square really made it.

    I have never found Drunk Uncle funny, and it always goes on for way too long. I find myself comparing it to Jeff Richards’s drunk girl, which was a much better character. “Doyawannaknowwhatitis?”

  7. Tricia says:

    I’d give Taran Killian the MVP tonight – Loved Mokiki, Romney sons, Ellen audience member & Brody. I enjoyed the show (I always do), but honestly it felt like one of those episodes where the host was totally unimportant. I’m looking forward to Jeremy Renner next week.

  8. stephanie says:

    drunk uncle was the only highlight of this episode…everything else was boring. I didn’t care much for Rihanna at all, either. SNL really needs to pick it up. I’m glad I DVR it so I can just skip around to the good parts (when there are some)

  9. I agree, this was one really bad episode.

    Although I wouldn’t say Mokiki was *the* worst. To me, that honor goes to either the McDonald’s sketch or the pointless Ellen parody. Also, the Girlfriends Talk Show was PAINFULLY unfunny. I’m happy Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong are getting a lot of air time, but that sketch was really, REALLY bad. However wrote that and whoever greenlit it should be fired on the spot.

    Weekend Update and the Homeland parody were the only two positive things about the show tonight.

  10. Lee says:

    Liked SNL tonight, the reason I even found this site was because I was curious if they had new writers because it was funnier than many others I’ve seen lately. Of course there’s always a couple of dumb skits thrown in. I guess it’s all just a matter of taste as I see a couple posts here that thought tonight’s show was pretty bad. I thought the Mokiki was funny because it was just so bizarre and the President Obama skit was good because the guy that impersonates him really has his voice and characteristics down. The McDonalds sketch was only funny to me because I think it’s a sad representation of the way some people act these days thinking everyone needs to know their opinions and just being obnoxious. I like the whole cast now, but I think Keenan needs to have more versatile roles. He is always being a goofy grinning guy in clown clothes. It would just be nice to see another side to his acting. I don’t understand Rhiana’s popularity. Quite unimpressed with her. Otherwise good show.

    • MamaLis says:

      Ya, I thought it was a fantastic episode! I steadfastly love Michael’s reviews of musical shows and haven’t seen his SNL review before. Most of the larger newswires are giving it much stronger reviews than here – with the Mokikki sketch being a winner! I actually found it hilarious! And the girlfriend’s sketch? Aidy Bryant’s face is so expressive it just keeps getting better and better. Really strong episode, imo.

  11. Ryan says:

    I thought Mokiko was incredible. Very unique & hilarious.

  12. pmerger says:

    Anne Hathaway is one of the best SNLhosts, but this time the SNL writers gave her unbeliveably horrible material. At least she shined in two sketches- The Ellen DeGeneres Show & American Gothic. Sadly, SNL didn’t even give her a delicious Les Miserables sketch nor a Catwoman sketch. The show just wasted Hathaway’s talent, because she is willing to do anything for a laugh.

  13. foodefight says:

    You got it wrong on Mokiki. It’s so delightfully absurd–”Mokiki does the sloppy swish” will be in my head for days. It’s a little akin to one of our fave absurd SNL Digital Shorts, Punching People in the Face Just Before Eating.

  14. octopus says:

    Why do you people even bother giving ink to a show that is so past its prime it doesn’t even matter anymore?

    • TV Gord says:

      Because some weeks (Louis CK, Bruno Mars, Seth MacFarlane), it’s very good. It’s not past its prime at all. It has always been hit and miss, even back in the days of the Not Ready for PrimeTime Players.

      When it comes to SNL, you cannot paint it with a broad brush.

  15. Frankski says:

    Well it certainly wasn’t the best SNL episode, that’s for sure. The cold open was pretty weak, which is unfortunate being the election just ended. Taran Killam is clearly on his way to becoming the main go-to guy, which he definitely deserves. I may have laughed hardest at Taran playing the McDonald’s employee, Andrew, even without him saying a word. I never seen Homeland but I thought the sketch itself was pretty funny. Anne Hathaway definitely isn’t scared to do what she needs to do to get a laugh. Rihanna’s performance I didn’t get at all. The songs were not the right choices for live TV and the green screen thing was horrible. Overall, I love the cast they have right now, but the writing is weak. Hopefully it’ll get better soon.

  16. Daniel says:

    I’m starting to question your sense of humor. The monologue was one of the highlights of the night and you didn’t even bother with it. Homeland was hilarious, too. Yes, the cold open had Mitt drinking milk but it was as if the milk was alcohol. TV Line should hire an improvisers to start doing these best/worst. Try writing a sketch for a live show in less than 6 days and tell us what it is like.

    • Tom says:

      The problem with what you’re saying is that the majority of SNL viewers (including those at TV Line) aren’t sketch comedians. And nobody didn’t understand the Mitt opening. It was just bad. It had virtually no comedic value and wasted their final election sketch and Kate McKinnon’s Ann Romney. It was a bad way to start the show and an unfortunate excuse for any sketch.

      • TV Gord says:

        This is exactly right, no comedic value. It’s fine to trot out an Ellen sketch, but make it funny. Nothing funny happened in it. Ditto, Homeland. I love Homeland and I was excited when I saw they were spoofing it…but it was empty. They need to do more than just dress up as the characters and say, ‘look, we’re spoofing Homeland’. Make it funny, please.

        • Britta Unfiltered says:

          I agree 100% with you. I didn’t find anything about the Homeland sketch to be clever. It was a pretty terrible parody overall.

  17. Markus says:

    I thought the rousing Les Mis singing bit was impressive, and the American Gothic sketch was the most consistent. There were timing issues with a few of the sketches, and what was with that wasted Homeland opening production that jarred with the unfunny skit itself?

  18. They’re ALL the “worst skits” because SNL blows.

  19. Jerri says:

    No mention of bringing back Hathaway’s awesome Kaite Holmes impression? Mmmmkay….

  20. Eric says:

    Definitely disagree about Homeland. So many great things about it: the opening credits sequence where they input Anne and tarans faces, Dana – the hoodie and hand motions and voice were spot on thanks to Nasim, yes Carrie was over the top but Anne had her ugly cry face down pat which was hilarious, AND her jazz freak out! – Just great. And of course Brody and Saul. Both great. Def happy with it. Otherwise also enjoyed the girlfriends skit, it was strong and aidy Bryant and cecily strong killed. Rihanna has a star voice and can do whatever she wants with all my screens.

  21. Brigette says:

    I was dying laughing at that Homeland skit, but maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Claire Dane’s facial expressions since the days of My So Called Life. Anne Hathaway nailed it.

  22. kat says:

    I strongly dislike Anne Hathaway (not as an actress). I think she is one of those Broadway girls like Lea Michele, Neil Patrick Harris, etc. who are so over the top and fake enthusiastic with everything that when they don’t have a set script, sometimes they just SPONTANEOUSLY (not really) break into song! They know songs! And I think she was exactly that in every sketch, like she was just trying to be the only one everyone saw. She was fine with the Katie Holmes thing. Probably because it was so short. And American Gothic was pretty okay. I thought Rihanna and Weekend Update were the best parts of the show. Homeland was okay, but the Carrie was too much facial action.
    And like I replied above- there was no monologue. Just like almost every week now, there was a song (which she probably had no part in writing) to include the whole cast because they feared she would suck so hard. Yay she can singzzzzzzz. We already knew that.

  23. Lena says:

    I’m not gonna bash last night’s pretty bad episode, I’ll just remark on how impressed I am that they’re giving the newbies screentime! Really, Kate (who has been getting roles ever since Ann Romney), Tim, Aidy, and Cecily are really becoming part of the show! Whether or not their characters are good remains to be seen but I’m very impressed with SNL! The show is also really using Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer a LOT.

  24. It’s always dissappointing when they have a host like Anne Hatchway who can act do comedy so well, and they cannot deliver a remotely humorous show. Really liked the opening song. Bill Hader did an awesome Mandy Patinkin. The “drunk uncle” and Steffan really need to get their own show – getting to be the only funny things left.

  25. Jacob says:

    Michael – SNL has to be reductive in order to reach a mass audience. Homeland may be a hit among los blancos, but it’s not mainstream enough to warrant a nuanced satire. Playing the “Carrie is crazy!” card is just simply a way to guarantee laughs, and maybe reach out to folks who haven’t seen the show, but have heard some things about it. I dunno. I’ve come to the conclusion that SNL is just an hour and a half of silly sketches performed by funny people and a celebrity host. Some hit, most miss, but to be super critical of it (like we’ve become), expecting perfection every week just seems more tired than most people claim the show has become.

  26. niks says:

    The only reason for RiRi sounding even average was the really loud backing track, and the green screen was awful. Couldn’t divert attention from the horrible singing.
    I kind of liked the cold open. It wasn’t great but it had its moments, and I think after milking Sudekis’s Romney for more than a year, they were trying to give it some closure. And the Ryan line was worth the whole thing anyway.
    Weekend update was funny in parts too and I liked the Homeland sketch. It might have been a hard pill to swallow for die hard fans, but for someone who couldn’t handle the idiocy of the show after three episodes, it was pretty funny.
    And frankly the rest of the show sucked badly. The monologue was one of the biggest cop-outs in recent memory. Frankly, it was a long hour and a half.

  27. dude says:

    Maybe it’s just a showing of how awful SNL has gotten but I felt like this was one of the strongest of the season despite the fact that I rarely laughed and couldn’t name you one sketch that I found genuinely funny. I think everyone was just consistently good in their delivery, even if the sketches were weak. It really was a crime though that they wasted Anne Hathaway so much. She’s a supremely talented actress and can be extremely funny yet they relegated her to the straight man roles for almost the entire night.

  28. Em says:

    My favorite sketch of the night was Homeland, but I am a HUGE fan of the show so I’m bit biased. I was literally laughing out loud at Mokiki, as absurd as that was. Flaritin and Ellen were good too. I watched about halfway through Drunk Uncle before I fastforwarded through it, and the Romney sketch was a WEAK start. Both the Girlfriends and McDonalds sketches seem to drag on forever. I really liked the Rihanna performances though, and I think this may be the best she has ever sounded.

  29. John says:

    Mokiki was awful like everything featuring Keenan is.

  30. Justin K. says:

    Strong as an ox, built Ford tough, rough in the heart of Ursuline Stratosphere’s Asscrack!

  31. Britta Unfiltered says:

    As a huge fan of Homeland, I gotta say, I’m not a fan of that sketch. It seemed like a great concept that was very poorly executed. But I really hate Anne Hathaway, so I might be a little biased seeing her play my all-time favorite TV character. Though I think I could have played Carrie better and funnier than she did, and I even think I could have written a better sketch then what they did. And that’s not saying I think I’m great at that kind of stuff, I’m more saying they were just really bad at what they were attempting to do. But I did laugh at the line, “She’s already in there, and she’s already having sex with him!” Oh Carrie. I do love that crazy chick.

  32. Emily says:

    Was so disappointed with the cold open, I’ve been waiting for months for then to stop perfectly recreating the debates or a scene and do something different, and this is what they did?

  33. Emily says:

    I found myself laughing through the homeland sketch, but that was for every character *except* Carrie, that was just lazy writing, I understand that in a 5 minute sketch you can’t even come close to the complicated character that is Carrie, but they managed to find funny things about Saul (and OMG Dana just appearing hilarious!) without just throwing the characters into the mud, Carrie is such a great character, and they just destroyed her, also that wine and pills thing was a low blow

  34. lara says:

    I thought that the cold open went on TOO long and had a weird ending, but I thought that it was REALLY funny – Mitt not being able tell his sons apart, “I would like to see him Wisconsin”, “Donald Trump’s doing this thing where he’s racist”, the Karl Rove thing (which admittedly could have been funnier).

    I’m not a huge fan of the guy who does Obama, but I thought the Weekend Update was also pretty good – “This was his to lose! I even gave him a 1 debate headstart! Sasha and Malia, go to sleep (I do that to remind you I have two adorable daughters, and not 5 creepy sons)”.

  35. Faye says:

    That Homeland skit was so bad (except for the gag about Damien Lewis not being able to open his mouth, which is so true), I cringed. I was honestly embarrassed for Anne Hathaway — she looked like a grade-schooler attempting “acting.”

  36. tara17 says:

    Enjoyed the episode, Anne H is amazingly talented. Riri didn’t suck as much as last time (when she moved like a lazy bored stripper without a pole), but she did avoid moving on stage altogether. Good call.

  37. Danny says:

    The impression of Claire Danes was spot on in showing Danes overacting.

  38. A says:

    This episode was terrible. The cold open and the monologue completely sucked, such a disappointment. The Homeland sketch was good in its impersonations of Brody, Saul, and Dana, but Anne Hathaway was over-the-top and not funny. In fact, the only redeeming part of the show was the fact that she didn’t appear in more skits. And I also don’t find Cecily Strong to be funny in the least.

  39. Sarabi says:

    Bill Hader was great as Saul. Also, I lol’d at the “jazz freak out” line.
    Anne did well with what she was given.
    IMO, Kate McKinnon and Taran Killam are the best of the group right now.

  40. Tammy says:

    We actually thought the Homeland skit was funny. The over the top characterizations were spot on though. Bill Hader was the best but it was funny.

  41. Zoey says:

    This episode of SNL was god awful, but if there was a truly awful skit, it had to be the “American Gothic” one – the unfunny joke got repeated too often.

  42. cjeffery7 says:

    Homeland sketch was SO GOOD. it wasn’t particularly clever in its perspective, i’ll give you that, but watching anne hathaway’s near flawless impersonation of claire/carrie??? i LOLed so hard.

  43. jones says:

    Love me some Mokiki!!!!

  44. Ross says:

    Just got around to watching it last night (a little behind on my PVR) and from what I’d read I was expecting a lot worse, but I really enjoyed most of the sketches! Mokiki was hilarious in that bizarre, mesmerizing way – I liked it far more than Sad Mouse. I thought the monologue was great, but I am a huge broadway fan and am ridiculously excited for Les Mis. I actually liked Girlfriends and the McDonalds sketch, Cecily Strong is by far my favorite newcomer. Drunk Uncle is the only Bobby Moynihan character I like (“Is this ballot 4G?” cracked me up). And I thought American Gothic was funny as well! Cold open was not very good, especially considering this was the first episode after the US election, and I despise Jay Pharaoh and think his Obama impression is awful so that segment of weekend update was terrible to watch. The only real complaint I have about this season so far is severe lack of Nasim Pedrad, and extreme overuse of Kate McKinnon.

  45. s says:

    There seems to be fewer sketches in SNL these days, at least going back and watching it again and noting that there were only really 6 sketches (including the mikoki thing… and not including weekend update). weekend update does take up a lot of time, but it seems to be much more of a time filler than it used to be. I might be wrong but…
    I am not really a fan of Kennan and I am sorry for those who are, but I have yet to see his purpose on the show other. He does not do good impressions or voices and rarely has good timing. I feel like he is trying to relive his Nickelodeon days. Maybe he is just trying too hard or they are simply type casting him too much.
    I liked the Homeland Skit the best. I watched it on Sunday and could not help but to laugh as I watched Carrie…it wasn’t that she was crazy…it was that Clare Danes really does play her character as someone who is constantly fidgety. And Brodie does have a small mouth. The best part…that was Kennan’s best skit. Sure I am sure he was type cast, but you know he wasn’t trying to do a voice and he was funny!

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