Zach Galifianakis Hosts Saturday Night Live: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Zach Galifianakis Saturday Night Live“Don’t get your hopes up,” said Zach Galifianakis, kicking off his opening monologue on this week’s Saturday Night Live. The question loomed, though, whether the Hangover funnyman was issuing a serious warning or just engaging in a bit of facetious humor.

Galifianakis’ episode kicked off pretty promisingly, with a loopy but occasionally hilarious monologue that followed a solid cold open spoofing Fox & Friends. (I can’t lie: The roll call of factual errors gets me every time.) Even the subsequent Game of Game of Thrones (must Bill Hader host every single game show spoof?) and Martha Stewart ad (why isn’t Kate McKinnon utilized more?) scored solid laughs.

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But alas, the latter two-thirds of the episode proved to be a case of diminishing returns, including a bizarre but not at all funny Jennifer Aniston lookalike contest that wasted cameos from Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms. I mean, when Bill Hader’s typically awesome James Carville impression falls flat, you know that the mojo filter is broken.

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

BEST: Opening Monologue
Galifianakis’ stream-of-consciousness musings spanned everything from an impression of his dad acting out “tofu” in a game of charades to a bit where he sat at the piano, played some soothing background music and dropped a bunch of setups with no punchlines. Is it wrong that I laughed at the bit about the host being urinated on in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel?

BEST: The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party
Cecily Strong’s recurring “Weekend Update” character was on fire this week, with her heinous mispronunciation of “atrocity,” botched phrases (“all intensive purposes”), political babble and random party shout-outs to her gross friend Alanna. My favorite exchange?

Girl: Tell me this: True or false.
Seth: About what?
Girl: Ezzactly. And that’s a choice women have to make every single day, and they’re getting half as much to do it!

WORST: Racist Jim
Galifianakis played a greeter at the M&Ms store in Times Square, apologizing to his coworkers for a variety of offensive rants during his first day on the job. The zingers were about as fresh as the 2012 Easter candy you found behind the bookshelf last week, and the conclusion was so abrupt it felt like Jason Sudeikis (playing Jim’s boss) realized the lack of audacity and genuine shock-laughs in the writing and decided to pull the plug early.

WORST: Darrell’s House (just beating out Randall Meeks: Tech Correspondent)
A Knoxville cable-access show with Galifianakis as a guy inviting someone to his house for the very first time and micromanaging the shoot so that Jon Hamm and Live at the Apollo footage (among other things) could be inserted later. This was a flight of fancy that might’ve killed on paper, but in reality wound up at the corner of befuddling and deadly dull. The fact that a second segment of the episode was devoted to the “finished video” (with Hamm and hors d’oeuvres added in “post-production”) only doubled my negative feelings.

What did you think of Galifianakis’ hosting gig? What were your picks for best and worst moments? Did you “get” Darrell’s House? 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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  1. Jason C says:

    Honestly, I didn’t like Darrell’s House until the second sketch. The second sketch I thought was hilarious.

    • Ryan says:

      The set up was ok but the payoff was marvelous. Easily made me laugh hardest all night (just my opinion though).

    • Nat says:

      Completely agree. After the first sketch, I thought to myself “this will be on the worst list” but the second part did pay off wonderfully. It scored the biggest laughs of the night from me.

    • Chantal says:

      this was hysterical!!!! I loved it because I work for cable access TV and relate to the editing portion of it all.

  2. Toia says:

    It didn’t look good to me after the open, I didn’t find that funny and not much after was good. I think you nailed it although the monologue was just a mini version of his act so if you like that it was bound to be good

  3. J Mitchell says:

    I agree with Jason C, the second was better. I think the idea about a poorly-produced public access show would’ve worked just fine without using the first as a demo so we could see how it was assembled from all the “Leave that out” bits.

  4. J Mitchell says:

    I also expected the real Jennifer Aniston to show up in the look-a-like sketch. Would’ve been funny if she was 5th or 6th.

    • Aeol says:

      I literally said to my husband, “this can only be saved if the real Jennifer Aniston comes out.”

  5. Tricia says:

    I thought it was a solid episode. And I loved how Darryl’s House paid off. Then again, I’m a Galifianakis fan. He is so much funnier than The Hangover movies.

    I can’t wait for Wiig next week!

  6. John Crook says:

    I’m pretty sure Cecily Strong said “all intensive porpoises” in her Weekend Update bit.

  7. Cori says:

    I actually loved the tech guy. I saw a guy on the local news who was showing off Google Glass, and it felt exactly like Fred’s character.

    Overall I thought Zach Galifianakis was better than his material, but this was far from the weakest material we’ve seen this season. I love that ZG committed himself to the characters – that makes such a big difference in the enjoyability.

  8. Joe says:

    Ridiculous review. The 2nd Darrell’s House was hilarious.

  9. M says:

    As usual, I’m at odds with your best and worst. Maybe nothing was laugh out loud hilarious, but most of it held my attention and made me smile. The Aniston sketch was amusing, especially the impersonations. I was pleasantly surprised to see the follow up of Darrell’s House. Instead of the repetitive formats like the quiz show sketch, it was refreshingly different.

  10. EJ says:

    I thought the Jennifer Aniston Look-Alike Contest and the M&M Store employee sketches were the strongest ones of the night.

    “Keep reading your list, Mr. Schindler” “Thanks a lot, Been-a-bitch Arnold!” “Who are the judges? Mr. Magoo and Helen Keller? (groan from audience) Oh, c’mon, she knew what she was doing, she milked it!”

  11. Loved the fake New Balance commercial. Totally dead on (unfortunately). It should have been on much earlier in the show.

  12. GMom100 says:

    I couldn’t get through the monologue. I was channel surfing the whole show. I did see most of the News part. Cicely Strong was awesome as usual. She and Kate should be regular cast! My fave is definitely Bill Hader! So talented. I, too, thought the real Jennifer Aniston would be number 4 or 5. THAT would have been funny even though it would be predictable.

  13. Eli says:

    He was pretty good. I usually don’t find Zach to be that funny, but he was good tonight. Does anybody else miss Tru Calling Zach?

  14. Jake says:

    I am not a fan of Zach Galifianakis and have generally found him to be annoying, but I thought this was a really strong episode. I actually enjoyed every sketch featured above, with the Darrell sketch finally succeeding with the hysterical edited follow-up.

  15. Brendan says:

    I think if they wouldn’t have broken up the two Darrell segments then it would have been a lot better… But you’re right, the way they did it, it was pretty bad

  16. jennab says:

    Why does John Hamm look hungover all. the. time. His voice is always raspy now, like he’s been on a perpetual bender.

  17. Jinko says:

    Big fan of Zach, and was so disappointed with the show. Neither he nor the SNL cast were worth watching. On a scale of one to ten, the show deserved a rating of one.

  18. ES says:

    I think you’re all nuts. It was great and the Darrell sketch was one

  19. ES says:

    I think you’re all nuts. It was great and the Darrell sketch was one of the most creative I’ve seen in a while. I think everyone forgets that they start to create these on Tuesday and perform these live. Everyone has these great memories of former casts but those casts rehashed the same characters & catch phrases over & over. At least we didn’t see that.

  20. JJ says:

    This recap is a joke, right? ‘Girl at party’ is not nor has it ever been funny. It’s up there with the Californians on the ‘crap that needs to stop immediately’ list. Daryl’s House was awesome and the setup/payoff structure was unique and hilarious.

    • JLK says:

      So…either you’re a “girl/boy at a party” yourself and can’t laugh about it…or you’ve never been unfortunate enough to be dragged to a party with a bunch of idiot party girls who are half-drunk and trying to impress everyone with their intelligence. Because, you know, a rich guy will fall in love with her if she can just look hot and sound smart. I’ve had WAY too many of these conversations with these girls who are always trying to prove they’re better than I am…or who are trying to impress me so that I’ll put a word in for them with whichever one of my friends they’re interested in…but then they come across as complete dingbats by talking about things they know nothing about beyond a headline or a quick news bite or trying to use words they don’t really know the meaning of. I’m sorry, but it’s always hilarious. I just want to give them big hugs and tell them to stop trying so hard and be themselves.

      You’re right about Daryl’s House though. That was great. I even liked the delay because I didn’t expect it. I thought we’d see the edited piece immediately after, and when we didn’t, I just chalked that sketch up to a quirky throwaway. I think having to wait for it made it funnier somehow. :)

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Girl at Party was pretty funny. Maybe you are just not ever around that crowd.
      (same for Californians)
      Daryl’s wasn’t bad, wasn’t great.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        With the delay it probably would’ve played even better than just clicking above twice.

  21. Really, really weak. Monologue was OK, and Weekend Update was so/so. The second part of Darrell’s House (with Jon Hamm) was brilliant, but it was a lot of setup to get to the funny part.

    Didn’t laugh (or even smile) once during the Aniston skit. Men in drag are only funny if they have funny lines. Otherwise, I’d rather spend the three minutes just looking at Bradley Cooper smiling into the camera….

  22. Ed says:

    I FF through most of the episode but I generally laughed at SOME of the Jennifer Aniston look alike contest. The cast in the audience did real well Rachel impersonations. Loved when Zach said “Who’s Ross?”

  23. Nikki says:

    Actually LOLed for a good bit when Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms showed up. Zach had a lot of good lines in that skit as well and the impersonations were really funny. Loved the monologue. And the “edited” Darrell show was great – as they did all the editing during the show. Always love Cecily on Weekend Update and Bill Hader. The New Balance commercial was so dead-on as well.

  24. justin says:

    Game of Game of Thrones was funny as hell.