Jeremy Renner Hosts Saturday Night Live: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches!

Another week, another Saturday Night Live opening monologue that found its guest host in a moderately amusing bit of musical theater. For those of you keeping score at home, we’re now eight episodes in to Season 38, and six of our hosts having kicked things off by either singing and/or dancing.

Jeremy Renner, for his part, made things a little more interesting this week by showcasing his piano-playing skills on alternate theme songs to three of his recent films, but alas, his caveat that he’s not known for comedy proved all too prescient. Renner frequently seemed so focused on reading his cue cards that he couldn’t manage to breathe any life — or humor — into his characters.

PHOTOS | Saturday Night Live: 15 Dream Hosts!

Ah well, at least Maroon 5 sounded pretty good on their two musical numbers, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie brought a few laughs to a really great installment of Weekend Update. With that said, here are my picks for best and worst sketches:

BEST: Cool Drones
A dark, awesomely funny animated short from the “Department of Defense” that reimagined its unmanned killing machines as jaunty heroes/members of a world-famous boy band. I howled at that bit where a terrorist target insulted the Drones’ dance moves, not to mention the brilliant lyric, “I pledge allegiance to your booty, girl.”

BEST: The Avengers parody
Credit to Renner for being able to laugh at the relative lameness of his Avengers character’s crime-fighting skills — nope, not super arrows, just regular ones — and to Taran Killam (Captain America), Bill Hader (Thor), Jason Sudeikis (Iron Man), Kate McKinnon (Black Widow), and Bobby Moynihan (Hulk) for each playing funny little riffs on their comic-book alter egos. My pick for best line: “Anyone have a scrunchie?”

WORST: Movie Set
Renner seemed completely in a fog opposite Sudeikis’ overzealous movie extra, but maybe he was just bewildered that somebody had allowed a seventh-grader to write a sketch featuring a character named Dick Juice. (Side note: Is it just me or does newcomer Aidy Bryant need to dig deeper than “perpetually awestruck/overzealously grinning” for her stable of supporting characters?)

WORST: The Californians
I’ve never been particularly enamoured of the one-joke Californians soap, but it was even less funny this week watching Fred Armisen struggle not to break character as he giggled with self-amusement. Dude, it really wasn’t that funny.

What did you think of Renner’s hosting skills? What were your picks for best and worst sketches? 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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59 Comments
  1. Nick says:

    I thought the Your Hometown commercial was the highlight. Topical for Thanksgiving and so accurate.

  2. ollie says:

    where is stand off video it was hilarious

  3. Alichat says:

    It was a pretty bad episode. Not only was he stiff, but the skits were weak. I was hoping that he’d really go against the grain……have him in a dress…..do a Voice skit where he’s a great singer, but a bit of a lunatic…..stick a wig on him and do a Fabio-like romance thing…..a spoof on Hansel & Gretel…..a Twilight spoof…..something besides him playing himself. I did find the pre-taped skit of the three assassins with two guns a little funny. But he had an opportunity to showcase himself in another light, and it just didn’t work.

    • dude says:

      I’m glad they didn’t put him in a dress. It seems like every time they get a super masculine host, they think it’s funny to put him in a dress. It’s become entirely too expected.

  4. TV Gord says:

    You summed up The Californians perfectly. Hey, SNL…don’t EVER do this show-stopper (and not in a good way) again. You’re the only ones who think it’s funny.

    I liked the idea of The Avengers sketch, but I think it fell flat. It needed stronger content, although I agree the scrunchie line was funny.

    • zaza says:

      I actually laugh at The Californians, not because it’s funny, but because New Yorkers are so adorably clueless about actual Californians. They think it’s hilarious, apparently, based on how much Fred Armisted was cracking up. It’s kind of like little kids who think saying the word poo-poo is funny!

      • Tom Charles says:

        I agree on everything the both of you said. They’ve got to stop doing those Californians sketches, they’re not funny at all in the way they’re intended to be. I did love the “your home town” commercial, and the standoff sketch was rather amusing to me

  5. Grace says:

    Ranks as one of the worst episides in recent memory. Renner seems like a nice guy, and he definitely has some solid musical chops, but he seemed so nervous, he really couldn’t breath life into any skit. The only funny thing in the whole episode was McKinnon’s Scarlett Johanssen impression.

  6. Bryan says:

    When Chris Christie is the highlight of the show, you know it’s a crappy episode.

  7. I have stopped watching because the writers have been lazy and unfunny. They’ve lost their focus, their comedy sense and have not tried to make humorous skits all season. It is too much work to watch now.

  8. Rob says:

    Maybe thw worst SNL show ever. It was so painful to watch.

  9. Kathy says:

    Really, you thought Cool Drones was the best. I found it lame. I did like The Avengers, Chris Cristie, Tourism Ad, and Maroon 5 great.

  10. B says:

    It reminded me of the Michael Phelps episode where it could’ve been really good but for whatever reason they half assed the skits and writing. It’s sad when the commercials leading up are funnier than most of the sketches. And I LOVE Renner.

  11. Spike's the man says:

    I only still watch/Tivo for weekend update but I have to say I Laughed Out Loud at the brother ID skit. Only highlight of the show.

  12. Laquisha says:

    This is why I stopped watching after the Joseph Gordon Levitt episode. The skits are just not funny, and so many of them make no sense. They need to get some new writers.

  13. WalkerTina says:

    The Californians needs to go. A skit that was a little funny once is not worthy of revisiting. They should do the Miley Cyrus show again ..that one is funny. She does a great Miley!

  14. Dexter says:

    Difference of opinion here : The Avengers skit was the most awkward thing I have ever seen. I felt bad for Renner the whole time. Did anyone ever think that an actor who, after years of being in the background, might be proud to be a part of one of the biggest movies of cinematic history? It just seemed inconsiderate. It’s not like he created the character or wrote the movie. You want to complain about the Hawkeye character, go ahead…just do it a week where the guy who played him isn’t hosting the show.

    • B says:

      I think it was weak as well. It could’ve been something awesome but failed. Plus I can’t help but think hey, he DID reuse arrows… lol

    • SoS says:

      I felt bad for him too. I somehow got the feeling that the ‘I can’t believe I agreed to do this’ at the beginning actually referred to some of the sketches. The material was extremely weak and it seemed like he was too nice/laid back to refuse to do it. What the heck was the Dick Juice sketch supposed to be? The Avengers sketch could have been done so much better – I had to laugh at the scrunchie-joke though.

  15. Johnny says:

    I thought Jay Pharoah’s Katt Williams impersonation was great. It was very on point.

  16. Eli says:

    Best sketch-Chris Christie

    Christie 2016

  17. Patrick says:

    I actually liked this episode. The main problem WAS the the californians. It is a show killer. And when it runs early in an ep it sets a bad mood for the rest of the show. Ditto the cold open, which was trite and lazy. After that, it got good. The technical difficulties of the monologue were great. Renner was game for the Avengers. I love it when the hosts point out the logical inconsistencies of their big roles. The Standoff was great. The ID was fantastic. The Chris Cristie was weak, but the Kat Williams bit was fantastic. So was the Hometown skit.

    Most of the ep was pretty good, but not great. Unfortunately, the cold open was epically horrible, followed by the most unfunny repeat of a skit that was a one note pony the first time.

  18. cjeffery7 says:

    yeah, they need to tone it down with the californians. its like stefon: best when it’s only 2 or 3 times a season.

  19. B says:

    I need to know why this sketch didn’t make it: http://www.hulu.com/watch/426524

  20. Jerri says:

    The Stand Off was the best one IMO. Plenty of laughs there. I dare say it was one of the better SNL skits ever.

    The Cool Drones one was lame , IMO. Wasn’t a fan of the Californians one either.

  21. kyle says:

    so i’m the only one who really liked the last sketch of the day

    • V says:

      Nope! I laughed the hardest during the brother trying to ID the body one, so much so that I had to rewind it to make sure I caught all the jokes. Is that JFK? We solved it! We’re in a dream and we’re all dead? No, kinda wish we all were right now, tho. Ha ha ha ha!!

    • “He said he was dead!”
      “He said he was dead?!”

  22. kat says:

    I think there needs to be a designated staff member who, every time someone pitches The Californians, reminds EVERYONE that they are live on the EAST COAST. Yes, we get the traffic/driving jokes, but they AREN’T FUNNY for us (or anyone?), over and over and over. The sketch was kind of funny when it had Kristen Wiig and was only once a season, but now? Come on.
    And why are there no more monologues? Every week there is a song, regardless of the person and their strengths and weaknesses, etc. Renner said he was nervous (in Thurs. interview), so I am sure the messed up piano sound right at the beginning didn’t help. I love him, so I will blame the writers, because they seem to be just writing neutrally without considering who the host is. Except for the Avengers, which was def. strongest at the scrunchie. I really didn’t think he was that bad. Not that that is what I look for in an episode, but first timers non comedians usually aren’t the strongest.

  23. Julio says:

    When the pre-filmed stuff is the best stuff, it’s hard for it to feel like Saturday Night LIVE. I like Renner in movies, but live comedy ain’t his forte. He even seemed wooden playing Hawkeye. But he was good in the pre-filmed “Stand Off.” Eh, what are you gonna do?

    Where I really think they missed the boat was in not doing a run at “The Voice.” You have Adam Levine there, Renner looks enough like Blake Shelton to be passable, Keenan Thompson already does a solid Cee Lo Green and I’d bet Kate McKinnon could pull off Christina Aguilera. You get the rest of the cast involved as crazy contestants and you’re good to go.

    • cuius says:

      Given that they have an early Saturday evening dress rehearsal where the weaker sketches are supposedly weeded out, it is is difficult to imagine how bad these were compared to “The Californians”

  24. Jim says:

    How does some random supporting actor from action movies get to host? Was Honey Boo Boo unavailable?

    • CA says:

      Some random supporting actor? You obviously don’t watch movies very often. Jeremy Renner is a two time Oscar nominee, one for Best Actor and the other for Best Supporting Actor. Not to mention his major roles in blockbuster pictures such as MI 4: Ghost Protocol and The Avengers. So maybe educate yourself a bit before posting.

    • tripoli says:

      Dumbest comment of the day award goes to Jim. Congrats, ill informed dude.

  25. Samantha says:

    Man this was disappointing because I LOVE Renner and Maroon 5 (actually just bought concert tickets last night!) and it’s really rare there’s a host and a band that I like on at the same time. I ended up skipping most of the sketches and just watched Maroon 5 but I did find the ending sketch funny!

  26. Sarah says:

    The standoff was super funny. He was way better than I expected. He also seems like a nice guy. He also recovered well during his monologue when there was technical issues.

  27. Jennifer says:

    I normally record and watch until Weekend Update then delete the show but I will watch Jeremy in anything so I watched the whole thing, something I haven’t done in years. I love that he can sing and sings so well, I was pleasantly surprised by this. And not everyone could have handled tech issues with humor, I’ve seen hosts freak a bit when something seems to go wrong not embrace it with Jeremy’s humor. This is the guy I want to take home forever. I also loved the absurdity of Avengers skit, which reminded me of the “Avengers” insurance commericals, and the very last skit. This show isn’t rock science, it’s supposed to be entertaining, bad or good.

  28. Ali says:

    I love Jeremy but found he was too stiff and the skits were lame. I guess I’m in the minority here, being from California, as I LOVE The Californians. It makes me laugh, living and working with people just like this. I always love it and it also reminds me of the smarmy soap operas, especially Days of Our Lives. The Drones was so lame as was the Avenger skit. They under-utilized poor Jeremy. This show is getting to be so lame. I still am bitter that they wouldn’t poke fun at drunk Diane Sawyer on election night. That would have been fun. Don’t care much for Maroon 5 but I guess the musical acts are at least current but the current acts are a dime a dozen, one-hit wonders. It’s sad, both SNL and music in general is fading. At least Jeremy Renner isn’t. He rocks.

  29. it was disappointingly awful

  30. fiyero says:

    TPTB @ SNL – stop having your hosts dance/sing for their opening monologues. It only works like 1% of the time. It’s lazy, uninspired, and BORING!

    Other than that – I do think that Renner seemed nervous and a bit stiff, but I still put 99% of the blame on the writing. It was horrible. The only bright spot was Weekend Update (especially the Winners/Losers segment).

  31. A says:

    I freaking love the Californians. I’m a native Californian and have lived in both Nor Cal and So Cal and acrossed the board all my friends love this skit- we quote it all the time. All I gotta say to people who don’t like these skits: “are you SEERRRRIOUS?”

    • Alienate says:

      As an Ex-Californian, I do find myself chuckling at these skits. I guess it goes all the way back to Johnny Carson doing skits about the ‘Slauson Cut-off”

    • Emily says:

      See, I think that’s the problem. Unless you’ve lived in California or have friends there (who really do talk about “taking the 5″ or whatever route incessantly like mine do), it’s not funny. I find it mildly amusing because I know it’s a real thing. But most people don’t live or have never lived in CA, so they don’t find it funny. Plus, there’s the whole Soap Opera thing, which can be done well, but they’re a dying breed unfortunately, too. Therefore, this is just a bad choice for a recurring joke. One time, maybe two.

  32. June says:

    I LOVE Jeremy Renner. I have watched almost every interview he’s done, and he really is so funny! I mean, he HAS a comedic side, he’s kinda crazy, and I love that about him. The reason this episode was crappy is the same as every other episode as of late: bad writing. There are some really funny skits… like one or two. In a whole season. But they are getting really weak, and I do not blame Jeremy for this. If it were just this episode… but it’s every freaking episode. So don’t criticize him so lightly, because as I said, I’ve watched him in interviews, and the guy IS funny.

  33. Pia says:

    Maroon 5 sounded ok but their performance was completely lackluster.

  34. Ann says:

    Felt sorry for Jeremy Renner. The writing is awful this year; it’s just not funny. The only skit that was, was the last one (where Renner’s character had to identify a corpse at a morgue). It’s obvious Renner is very talented, but I just don’t understand why the audience is constantly “whoo-hooing” and/or screaming. It’s not warranted. We’ve not seen the actor in anything but films, so how did the producers manage to find his fan club and seat them all for that usual, SNL taping? Even “Weekend Update” was tepid. Renner was a good sport in most of his lot to play. It’s just that the writing seems to be made for the TGS crowd, or those writers who laugh smugly/hoot at their own un-funny jokes.

  35. Mara says:

    SNL is just painful now. In all of New York they can’t find one good writer? I have seen better comedy skits from a high school talent show. I can’t believe these people at SNL are actually paid.
    They have so much material! Remember when they used to make fun of relevant things in our society?
    They could make fun of miley cyrus’s hair, Taylor Swift’s never ending stream of break-ups, Chris Brown and Riri, One Direction/ Bieber showdown. Or shows : Breaking Bad, the Hunger games (but with a political twist or something), Game of Thrones, blah blah blah. Like there is SO much they could do, there really isn’t any excuse.

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