Justin Bieber Hosts Saturday Night Live: What Were the Best and Worst Sketches?

justin bieber snl host whoopi goldbergI can’t lie and pretend I was excited when I heard the news that Justin Bieber was hosting Saturday Night Live, but sometimes low expectations can yield unexpectedly happy returns.

In that spirit, the good news for Bieber is that he fared funnier than fellow pop star Adam Levine, who hosted SNL two weeks ago. Indeed, Bieber proved a self-deprecating headliner, gamely allowing himself to be the butt of jokes about looking like he’s 11, still possessing his baby teeth and resembling talk-show maven Ellen DeGeneres (among other lesbians).

The bad news? The show’s ever-inconsistent writing staff trotted out another unwanted take on “The Californians,” totally fumbled the cold open, and pretty much wasted Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg’s in an opening-monologue cameo. In other words, Bieber’s installment ranks around mid-pack in the countdown of episodes this season.

Below are my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches:

BEST: Angry Brother
On paper, you wouldn’t expect huge laughs from a sketch about a loser brother ridiculing his college-student sister’s boyfriend for accidentally flubbing his words and saying “glice.” But Taran Killam’s sensationally rageful performance elevated this one to awesome heights. Bieber proved an excellent straight man, until, of course, he briefly broke character and began chuckling at the lunatic all up in his face. And who could blame him?


BEST: The Miley Cyrus Show
It seems like it’s been forever since we got to see Vanessa Bayer just bein’ Miley, and her always spot-on skewering of the now all-grown-up star included bits about her new hairstyle, possible marriage and (very wordy) tattoo. Bonus points to Killam (as Liam Hemsworth) for his priceless reaction shot to Miley’s vows.

HONORABLE MENTION: Bravo’s Newest Spinoffs
I wish this ad for copious/ridiculous Bravo reality spinoffs had been a little bit sharper, but a number of its scattershot punch lines landed nicely. Don’t be shocked if that tag line from Bobby Moynihan’s gay limo driver — “I drive men crazy…and also to the airport” — is the jumping-off point for a brainstorming session with Andy Cohen and his Bravo staffers come Monday morning.

WORST: Super Bowl Blackout
“That seems like it’s been about 15 minutes. No? It’s been less than one minute?” said Kenan Thompson, playing CBS sports analyst James Brown in a spoof about the network’s attempt to fill airtime during last weekend’s Super Bowl blackout. Unfortunately, that quote could also serve as a review of the entire cold open.

WORST: ’50s High School
The “joke” here centered around a Grease-esque, boys-on-one-side/girls-on-the-other singalong in which Cecily Strong’s teen beauty recounted increasingly weird details from her date with a boy who turned out to be a pre-teen. Exhibit A (for Awful): Bieber’s babyfaced “Billy” cried because there weren’t actual puppies down Angie’s sweater. Yeah, it was that pitiful.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Bieber as host? What did you think were the 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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75 Comments
  1. Snappy says:

    Glice? You’re really reaching there. But I don’t blame you. The show was awful.

    • Russ says:

      I didn’t like the glice sketch and fast forward through most of it. But hey Justin was better than Adam Levine.

    • Kim R says:

      The Angry Brother sketch was the funniest for me. The rest of the show kind of wasn’t but “glice” had me laughing out loud. I miss the SNL of Amy, Tina, Jimmy, Will, Rachel etc. The writing is really not that great anymore. :(

  2. Adam says:

    I found the glice sketch to be incredibly irritating, the best part of it was watching Bieber struggle to keep character and ultimately break. The worst part of it is now that glice and its puns have infected all my social media already – but hopefully this results in people yelling the word in his face anytime they meet him, which might be hilarious enough to make it all worth it.

  3. Charlies says:

    the show is god awful altogether

    checked out the episode with ‘Jennifer Lawrence’

    and I’ll be honest it was horrible the only good thing was her..

  4. Evan says:

    They were definitely intentionally trying to get Bieber to crack up in that Glice sketch.

    And The Californians sketch is still humorous, but showing how crazy it is to drive around that state has by now run its course. It was fantastic the first time, but now everyone’s aware of the joke.

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      Fred Armisen is simply NOT FUNNY!

      Pure and simple, he should have been fired 8 years ago. Actually, he shouldn’t have ever been hired.

  5. The Beach says:

    Really, really unfunny show. I don’t know how you could pick a best, Even Weekend Update, which is usually my favorite part of the show, was very weak tonight.

  6. Brendan says:

    Seems like the haters are gonna hate… I found the entire episode to be funny. :) I actually thought Beiber did a good job with what they gave him (and they seemed to play to his strengths and try to hide his weaknesses by mocking him, letting him sing and then have him wink). I also found it amusing that he sounded kinda Australian during the Californians skit and then sounded californian during the Miley skit. And the entire episode was totally worth it for the moment when Bieber pointed out that some of the fake Biebers are black and “they’re not fooling anybody” and Jason Sudeikis replied, “Yeah, well neither are you, homey.” America thanks you Jason…

    • Denise says:

      Hey…Canada thanks you too! Yup, we get US channels too!

    • Tony S says:

      Yeah, I’m with you. I thought he did a good job, and I liked the Miley Cyrus skit. After reading TMZ, I expected some red eyed stoner, but he was fine. A lot of people just have it out for him, and it wouldn’t matter what he did, they’d still be hating on him. That’s unfair.

    • TL says:

      The only thing I hate is time wasting. JB, like many teen pop stars before him, is profoundly annoying (the Sedakis barb was THE new moment in the show) and untalented. Damn YouTube and whoever gave his mother a camera! Ugh

    • Hollywood Hick says:

      Hey dumb azz, when someone has an opinion other than yours they are not “haters.” Except in your case, where people hate you just for showing up.

  7. Stacie says:

    My favorite part was that Whoopi left before the show was over.

  8. NevadaUte says:

    Awful… The only good skits were the one where Sudeikis basically makes fun of Bieber and the Miley Cyrus show.

  9. Sg. Grant says:

    Bring back Bruno Mars.

  10. Jeeb says:

    The show itself was not really funny – but Justin Bieber is actually very natural on stage. I enjoyed his performances. He sure is a cutie!

    • Bravesthope says:

      I have to completely disagree. The kid has no acting skills or comedic timing. He was more concerned with still looking “cool,” rather than becoming the character. For example, still wearing his pants down ridiculously low in the “Grease” sketch and singing/dancing as himself in the school dance skit.

  11. Marie says:

    It confess – JB is sure nice to look at. I give him credit for trying but he really looked uncomfortable. Except for the Miley skit, I thought the show really sucked…again.

    • Stephen V says:

      Agreed! The only funny sketch was the Miley Cyrus Show. All others sucked ass. SNL should consider cancelling itself, especially if the writers continue not to care.

  12. Rib says:

    He needed to pull his pants up.

    • Brendan says:

      He posted a photo of himself on Twitter with his pants pulled up once and it was NOT good. He’s too skinny to do that and he looked like a skeleton. He’s trying to work out and not be so skinny anymore but until then he needs to keep sagging.

  13. Mike says:

    As a fellow Canadian I think JB did a pretty good job. I’ve been watching his rise to fame from the onset when he was on youtube. Stumbled on this kid singing his heart out and was pretty impressed. Good onya Justin. Although the writing sucked on SNL this episode. I wish he was around 25 years ago when SNL was at it’s finest with Belushie, Akroid, and Gilda Radner. ( Was never a big fan of Chevie Chase) He would have made a great conehead. That scene with the girlfriend’s big brother was rather disturbing though with him touching JB like he wanted to molest him or something. This may sound crazy but I think the Beib has to be careful now that he is 18 and legal. I know he is a role model and him addressing the pot smoking thing was cool… frankly I was smokin dope since I was 14… big woop! Just stay away from the harmful stuff is what I say. Don’t get caught up in the celebrity crap and egomania is my advice. I heard he is a Pisces and most of my Pisces friends love to escape through alcohol, drugs and sex. Hope that doesn’t happen to you Justin. Make us Canadians proud of you dude as we are now!

    • Jo says:

      Agreed! As a canadian myself, I can’t help to support him, and he can actually sing so good on him. And no i’m not a “belieber” or 12 years old… I’m in my late 20’s.

    • Hollywood Hick says:

      So proud of Bieber you are that you can almost ignore he’s starting to resemble Vanilla Ice, who, if not Canadian, should be.

  14. BlankSlate says:

    Bieber sounds a goat crying for his supper; this dude can’t sing. What a bore.

  15. Jjm says:

    I don’t know what I hate more, The Californians or Keenan. That little lesbian girl who hosted was pretty awful too. I don’t know why I torture myself every week watching this show.

  16. Gale says:

    The writing was terrible. Pull up your pants already.

    • Amber says:

      You sound like you’re 80. I’m shocked you were able to stay up so late, grandma.

      • David says:

        Bieber fans keeping it classy as always with the name calling! I guess that’s what happens when the median age is 12.

        • Amber says:

          Actually don’t like Justin. Like, at all. And I think he did a crappy job last night. but seriously, ”pull up your pants”? So many other things to rip him on besides his sagging.

  17. Lucy Quintos says:

    Justin Bieber totally sucks! Awful singer! Stop showing your bony abs n pull your pants upp!

  18. JJ says:

    As always, SNL is a crap shoot! You never know if you’ll get a gem or a dud, that’s part of the fun. Bieber wasn’t great, he wasn’t horrible… he’s a kid. But I do wish the writers would step up their game, this has not been a banner year for them. Some of the sketches probably look funny in a 5 second pitch, maybe we need an all-5 second pitch show!!

  19. Sam says:

    Californians, Glice, last sketch were just awful (you know it’s really bad when the only fun part was watching Justin laughing unexpectedly). Can’t blame the kid…. the writing was just awful. I forced myself to watch 3/4 of the Glice sketch before I went to the washroom. I think the kid did fine with what he had to work with and I give him credit for making fun of himself (not a lot of big stars would have the balls to do that).

  20. RUCookie says:

    I really liked the cold open..if you saw the superbowl you know how painful the filler time was…this was the necessary skewering!

  21. Dave says:

    Don’t keep up with today’s music much so yeah I’m over 50. I gotta say though, I think the best host this season was Bruno Mars. He was fricking hilarious and the material for that show was too funny. If only SNL could keep up that quality of writing. If I see the Californians one more time I”m gonna puke.

  22. AJ says:

    I’ve seen much much worse shows. He didn’t do too bad really. I loved the Bieber body double skit, that one was actually funny.

  23. Mainelybrew says:

    I have to give him some credit… I dont think all the sketches were history making, but I have to admit, the second time I watched it- I laughed. Especially the sketch about Justin and his security decoys. Jason (head of security) really got some digs in.. I was hysterical when he was making fun of the dance moves and Justin says “those dance moves are stupid.” Jason replies with “Well so you’re admitting it then?” that was funny stuff. Or when Justin says the word “never” and Jason points out first off “i thought you never said never?” You could see Justin struggle not to laugh. It was funny. I dont care what you think about Justin, he was a good sport.

  24. Chrissy says:

    Yeah, I love SNL and want to see the best in it — but this one was bad. Some of the blame definitely belongs on Bieber. Listen the kid can sing and dance, but acting remains one discipline he can’t tackle. And that’s okay, not everyone is a triple threat. Obviously the other Justin, Justin Timberlake has the corner market on that one. When JT is on SNL you know it will be funny. Bruno Mars did a really good job too. The radio shortage sketch impressed me and that’s not easy to do on SNL these days. Adam Levine was a hair above Bieber, but certainly not by much. I think Levine is a bit more comfortable in front of the camera, perhaps due to The Voice. Levine gave off less nervous tension that “the biebs” but the comedic level was a let down for both. I hate to say it, but this SNL proved to me that JB should exit stage left and stick to what he does best… Singing his way into the hearts of screaming teenagers worldwide.

  25. Tran says:

    Doesn’t matter how good or bad SNL really is depending on what their least or favorite sketches but Justin Bieber was even better than Adam Levine was two weeks ago. Give SNL a break or two if you guys don’t respect the series at all and it doesn’t matter whether it’s awesome or just plain awful.

  26. PutAForkInIt says:

    Writing is HORRIBLE.
    Has been since Tina Fey left.
    Sorry, Seth Meyers.

    Either cancel this show or improve the writing.
    Every week, it’s tired old rehashes sketches.
    Pathetic!

  27. Dahl says:

    There was no way this episode was gonna be any good, so I went in with low expectations. Which was a good thing, because everything about the show stunk. I haven’t fast-forwarded through and SNL ep that much since January Jones hosted. Please let Christoph’s episode next week be better…..

  28. David says:

    The show was 50% re-treaded sketches. Why does Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers allow the writers to do the same sketches over and over and over? Both have been in their jobs way too long. The show is stale. Do we really need to ever see another Californians sketch? And this episode was a bit heavy with Keenan Thompson. He just isn’t funny. He plays the same character in every sketch. Bieber actually wasn’t bad. He probably would have done much better with better writing.

  29. DL says:

    Honestly, I thought the cold open was really fun. Had me cracking up.

    • Patrick says:

      Ditto. If you aren’t a sports fan (which really means there is something wrong with your genes), then the SB cold open was hilarious. It perfectly captured the insanity of Superbowl Sunday, and what would happen when the game started and there was air time to fill without actual gameplay. That was hilarious.

  30. Tom says:

    I didn’t make it past the cold open. That skit felt longer than the actual Superbowl blackout. Maybe NBC should try airing “Do no Harm” at 11:30 pm on Saturdays. It might be an upgrade.

  31. the only good thing of the entire show was Kate McKinnon’s Ellen. The rest should’ve been scrapped.

  32. Babybop says:

    Gees, people, if you hate SNL so much then stop watching it! I don’t understand the appeal of watching a show you don’t like and then coming on here and writing a monologue about how much you hate it.
    I liked the episode. I laughed. Taren Killam is ridiculously hilarious.

  33. Smoker says:

    That garbage was deleted without watching from my dvr. No thanks SNL.

  34. Mike says:

    I still love Kate Mckinnons Ellen impression, but it says a lot that this little part was my favorite part if the show.

  35. cjeffery7 says:

    the only reason GLICE was funny was because Bieber broke. seriously, think about it. so many sucky sketches are saved because the actors break and they can feed off the crowd, even though the actual material they’re performing sucks. The Californians and Stefon would be good examples of that phenomenon.

  36. neoanakinpotter says:

    Lazy writing & very unfunny. The only thing even *remotely* funny on last night’s SNL was Seth Myers’ weekend update joke about the only way Honey Boo Boo’s mom could lose 100 lbs. was during a custody battle.

  37. Nicole says:

    I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the Biebs on SNL, but he was actually pretty decent. The only thing that really made me cringe was every time he broke out into some kind of song. It seemed like a corny way to show off his singing ability, except he wasn’t really that great at the whole singing thing in these instances.
    As for the rest of the show, I agree with all the “Best” and “Worst” choices above. I usually look forward to the Weekend Update the most each week, but this week’s wasn’t particularly outstanding. We need a return from Stefon or Ann Romney.

  38. A says:

    SNL is obviously not as funny as it used to be, and I was not excited at the prospect of a Beiber episode, but this was one of the funnier episodes this season. And I just have to add that I love the Californians. One of the only reasons I still tune in.

  39. Todd says:

    While JB did his best to pull his weight throughout the show, I thought the best skit was the Miley Cyrus one. He does well mocking himself, and can take a joke, as evidenced earlier this week on the Jimmy Fallon Show. “Glice” was almost immediately annoying, topping it with Tara channeling Chris Farley. AND PLEASE – no more Californians… and bring back Stefon!

  40. Bob says:

    How do you spell Justin’s last name? Oh, that’s right, S-U-C-K-S.

  41. Travis says:

    First time I’ve laughed during an entire episode of SNL since Betty White hosted in 2010! Justin was an awesome host! :D

  42. jeff says:

    has everyone forgot the valentines day skit with Beiber and his brother Taco? come on, that made me crack up….Taco, did you eat all the chocolates? funny sh*t! i still have faith in SNL…however you need the one- two combo of strong writers and strong performers….SNL is in serious need of an overhaul….

  43. Xwiseguyx says:

    My only laugh was the Bravo Sketch.

  44. Mindy Anderson says:

    Cut the kid some slack! I was in the audience for the dress rehearsal, and he was REALLY nervous! After each skit, as he was rushed off stage to run and change, he took pointers from the SNL cast. His acoustics in that small studio were actually GREAT! I was pleasantly surprised. The angry brother sketch was PRICELESS live! Loved it! All in all, for not being an actor especially, I thought Bieber did a GREAT job! Way to go Biebs…

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