Kristen Wiig Hosts Saturday Night Live: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Kristen Wiig SNLThis week’s Saturday Night Live got off to a fairly sleepy start with a Cold Open spoof of the Benghazi Hearings that didn’t live up to its its solid premise (that adding true-crime players like Jodi Arias might improve ratings) and a musical monologue from Kristen Wiig that forgot to bring the punch lines.

If you stuck with the episode, however, there were several hilarious rewards in store — as well as mixed bag of return visits to Wiig’s more popular characters from her seven seasons as an SNL regular. (Was it me, or did the Lawrence Welk “doll hands” bit fall surprisngly flat this time around?)

Below are my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches. Note that “The Californians” escaped falling into the “Worst” category thanks to an awesomely funny cameo by a pregnant Maya Rudolph.

BEST: Aw Nuts! Mom’s a Ghost!
A new Disney Channel series in which the protagonists’ mother was drown in a river by her foreign lover and turned into a “Korean Water Ghost.” Ringu imagery + murdered science teacher = funniest thing on SNL in months!

BEST: Acupuncture
A fairly obvious setup — Wiig and Aidy Bryant as an acupuncturist and her novice assistant, and Jason Sudeikis as their profusely bleeding patient — made memorable by sheer volume of blood and terrific details (Kate McKinnon bringing in a ShamWow; Wiig offering her lightheaded client a glass of “ancient Chinese medicine water). Don’t watch if you’re sipping a Bloody Mary.

BEST: 1-800-Flowers for Mothers’ Day
Kate McKinnon (who’s been underutilized for months now) was brilliant as Wiig’s unintentionally aggravating mom, dropping details about a local business owner’s death and looking for dreaded nuts in restaurant dishes that would never have them. A funny (and timely) ad spoof.

WORST: Garth & Kat
I’ll admit it: I’ve never been entertained by Wiig and Fred Armisen’s make-it-up-on-the-spot (together!) Weekend Update musical stylings, but the duo really never seemed to catch a comedic groove this time around. This is one set of characters where absence didn’t make my heart grow fonder.

What did you think of Wiig’s hosting gig? What were your picks for best and worst moments? Did any of the former cast member’s “returning faves” particularly tickle your fancy? 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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57 Comments
  1. dude says:

    It was a good episode overall but I feel like they brought back the worst of Wiig’s stable of characters. The world does not need more The Californians or Garth & Kat or Lawrence Welk sketches. The only returning sketch that I laughed at was Target Lady and even that is a sketch I was reluctant to see them bring back. I would have preferred Two A-Holes, Penelope and Secret Password.

    • scooby says:

      Amen. Garth and Kat is just a (bad) dressed up version of an improv game they decided to bring onto the show–you probably remember Angie Miller doing it with Harry Connick Jr. during her mentor session so I’m guessing Angie did that in theater sometime. I wanted the “Just kidding” lady on Weekend Update but the 2 A-holes would’ve been great. It’s impossible for the Lawrence Welk sketch to fall “surprisingly flat” because that would assume it’s been anything other than godawful from the first time it aired. It’s not funny. It’s never been funny. The small hands are one note and stupid. Who pitched that at in an SNL writers room and how did it get enough of a laugh to go to dress never mind the show? I knew when the Garth & Kat bit and Welk sketch were on to mute the show. The problem with Kristen Wiig hosting is that as the host she’s got more say than usual about what characters she plays on the show. Those are the characters she wanted to do and I could see it coming a mile away. I really prefer her in movies, it’s better to see Kristen in longer material as the same person because the gimmick that they might drag out as a 3-5 min bit on SNL thankfully has to have more to it to make it as a 90 min film. She’s very talented, I just don’t enjoy all the choices on this show all the time. Obviously just personal preference, but when you know someone’s so good, you hate seeing them do stuff that’s not as funny.

    • forrest says:

      Ugh! Just a reminder episode why I was/am glad to see Kristen Wig go. From the monologue open cutaway of gilly to the target lady, ‘ect ect ect. Tired Tired ideas that have really been overdone. The accupunctureist tried for a slapstick running gag, but even that never really got off the ground.

    • Penelope is Wiig’s best character. I wish they brought her back.

    • Secret word!! Some people don’t like it but I find Wiig as Mindy Elise Grayson hilarious. And Hader is funny as the host, always admonishing “Mindy, You said the secret word!”

    • Tom Reynolds says:

      >It was a good episode overall

      That’s where you lost me. It wasn’t good, or even close. Wiig hosting made me remember why I was glad she left. Her characters are mediocre at best. Characters like the Target lady are a 1-trick pony with no depth. Korean ghost mom might have been relevant shortly after the Ring. This is one of, if the not the worst episode of season 38.

      Finally, too many cast members are playing up to the studio audience. The studio audience IQ is room temperature at best. They only laugh when something is exaggerated or the cast members crack up during their skits. They are tards. Please don’t debase the show by being stupid to amuse them. Overdoing the accent in Californians and Bobby Moynihan overdoing the high-pitch of the 2nd hand newsguy are just two examples.

  2. Amanda says:

    I always get the feeling that Seth loves Garth and Kat far more than the rest of us.

    • Bob says:

      Seth likes a lot of things far more than the rest of humanity. That’s why the show has been mediocre, at best, during his run as head writer. Something tells me he doesn’t like to hear the word “No” when he asks around the table about something being funny.

      • JLK says:

        That’s my impression too. He giggles like a schoolgirl at that Garth and Kat crap…and as far as I can tell, he’s one of about 10 people who have ever found them funny. I can’t believe that all 10 of them are in the writer’s room. I suspect they’re just afraid to speak up to the boss.

      • Tom Reynolds says:

        Not even close to mediocre. The show is sensational; Hader, Sudekis, Thompson are excellent. The writing is subtle and intelligent. The funniest jokes don’t get laughs by dim bulbs like the audience, and others. Acting and writing on SNL in the last few years has been amongst the best in the show’s history and I’ve watched it for twenty years. Yes, I know there are always critics who like to show off their “high standards” by saying something has fallen off.

  3. Mike says:

    I enjoyed the episode, but I was a bit dissapointed, I guess I expected a bit more with Kristen Wiigs return, and another rendition of The Californians really pissed me off, is that like a writers room favorite that no one else seems to like. The return of Target Lady made me happy and I loves The Mothers days ad.

  4. SNLDownwardSpiral says:

    Honestly — I was so looking forward to Wiig’s return — but once again, the writing failed.

    SNL seriously needs new writers.

    So many rehashed and recycled skits that were boring (Garth and Kat, Target, Californians).

    The best of the night were the originals — acupuncture and ghost mom.

  5. Jake says:

    I was really hoping for a two A-holes sketch. It’s been sooooo long.

  6. Danielle says:

    Acupuncture for best sketch!? What the what?! I don’t think I’ve ever even seen that much “blood” in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I’d definitely say that was in the worst category. Especially if choosing between that and Garth and Kat. But you gotta love that crazy Wiig!

  7. Jo says:

    Remember when Kristen Wiig was funny? Yeah neither so I…. This whole season besides for the Justin Timberlake episode was a bust… Hopefully Ben Affleck will be awesome next week. Last night was bad. And it might be just me but it seems Weekend Update is being cut short last couple of episodes

  8. Leah says:

    I’m usually the one defending SNL…but, man – this was crap. The flowers commercial was funny, but that was about it. All your “best of” was my “worst of.” Did you notice how little the studio audience was laughing?

  9. Sheila says:

    I was so hoping for a Vincent Price special w/ Wiig as Judy Garland, Penelope, the two A-holes, and Judy Grimes on Weekend Update (Just kidding. No I’m not). I feel like they picked from the weaker of KW’s menu of characters — I’ve honestly never gotten the appeal of the Lawrence Welk/Doll Hands sketch. Such a missed opportunity.

  10. John Crook says:

    Even 15 seconds of Gilly is 15 seconds too much.

  11. Guy says:

    Ugh, this was awful. I only really laughed at the acupuncturist one, which to me was actually really funny. And that’s about it. Every time SNL starts off with The Californians, you know they just gave up that episode.

  12. TV Gord says:

    Boy, is the word “hilarious” ever misused to describe anything in this edition of SNL. The only positive thing I can say is that the IDEA for the cold open (having the likes of Jodi Arias at the Benghazi hearings) was a good one, but even it wasn’t executed very well.

    I’m tired of SNL going back to the same well with the same sketches (only mildly altered) to milk (rather than mine) strained laughter from the audience. I hope Lorne hires some new writers next year who will come to the table with some original ideas.

  13. Glenn says:

    Surprised nobody has caught the reference in the acupuncture skit to the classic Julia Child skit from the original cast days. As an homage to that, I thought it was pretty awesome. A usual hit-or-miss ep. The flowers, ghost and acupuncture worked the best for me. Target was randomly funny, although I was hoping Justin Timberlake would return for this. His one-time appearance as Peg is worth repeating.

  14. Patrick says:

    I was worried that this would be a Wiig heavy episode. What with her guest hosting and all. I don’t like any of her recurring bits. The doll hands bit is only good if the singer has serious gravitas and class. A complete straight man to really freak out because of the freak. Sudeikis is good, but we have seen him freak out too many times for it to be new THIS time. The Californians wasn’t horrible, but only because they all kept breaking. That bit is only, and I mean only, funny to people who live in Manhatten but regularly deal with/travel to LA. The rest of us don’t get it. I mean, we get it, but it is just stupid. But that is a “safe” skit that will get a few grins that SNL puts on when it is out of ideas.

    To me, the weak link in the cast is Armison. He is OK in bit parts as a nebbish, but that is it. When he is featured, the whole thing dies. He goes from Quirky-funny to super annoying instantly.

  15. M says:

    It felt like an episode without a host. And I might be alone in this, but I find Wiig’s nervous chihuahua antics tedious. Last night’s show reminded me why I was happy to see her leave.

  16. Line says:

    I thought everything about last night was awesome.
    She played well with the cast, the sketches were great…it was awesome to see her monologue, she seemed to be truly happy to be back.
    She’s a great talented woman and she once again showed why she’s one of the greatest people to have been on SNL .

    It was a truly amazing episode, they did a great job, I loved all of it. Especiallly the monologie. Kristen is extremely sweet

    If you can’t laugh about Kristen, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

  17. Valrie M says:

    I thought the opening was horrible and I love Bill Hader! In fact, the show was about as bad as Vince Vaughns and Zach G’s. I hate hate The Californians. I think KW is overrated. She was good in Bridemaids, tho. It reminds me a little of Chevy leaving years ago, for some reason.

  18. brandon says:

    So happy for the returns of Lawrence Welk and Target Lady, but c’mon. Garth and Cat instead of Judy Grimes or Aunt Linda? And The Californians AGAIN instead of Penelope, Surprise Sue, Shanna, any celebrity impressios (Bjork, Kris Kardashian, Drew Barrymore), Triangle Sally, and I could go on…

  19. autumndreamer76 says:

    “The Californians” needs to be buried somewhere and never be let out ever again. It sucks every single time.

  20. John says:

    That was probably the worst SNL I’ve seen in a long time. It’s probably time to just grow up and stop watching. Overall, the show was just flat. I was never a big fan of Wiig, but coming back less than a year out was a bit much.
    The opening and monologue were awful.
    The strange cougar skit was just plane gross.
    It’s like SNL tried to be edgy, but came off as horribly out of touch. If they can’t step it up, the will be on the chopping block next year.
    KW is overrated.

  21. Jake says:

    No Judy Grimes :-(

  22. Robin E. Mathis says:

    I wanted to see KLG. I wasn’t very impressed with the show.

  23. tara17 says:

    I was meh about the episode overall, but I had high expectations because of KW. Opening was lame; monologue lacked imagination, but KW sold it well. Also to say I’m one of the few people who actually likes the Californians… Was also hoping for a digital short, somehow.

  24. The Squatch says:

    I have to say, I was way put off by the whole skit towards the end where they were on a date with a couple of 14 year olds. I mean, other than being every teenage boy’s fantasy, I thought the whole thing was just kind of weird and inappropriate. Yes, I do have a sense of humor and like my share of tasteless comedy from time to time, but this whole skit just had me cringing. I have no idea how that ended up on the air and I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned it as being so… wrong.

    • Tracey says:

      I totally agree! If they had switched it out with 2 adult men and 2 sixth grade girls people would be turned off yet for some reason people seem to think it’s okay when the role is reversed. It’s not! I never understand this double standard, pedophilia is pedophilia and I find nothing funny about it.

  25. Sascha says:

    I loved Acupuncture. Was crying and laughing at the same time. Good job!!!

  26. zoot says:

    Can anyone tell me who the weird guy in his underwear was in the Ghost Mom skit? He was just random in the back and have no idea what he was doing in the skit.

    • justin says:

      Dude…that guy in his underwear is freaking me out. Aw nuts moms a ghost. He doesn’t look like anyone from the cast. And his face is blurry. I need an answer cause I can’t sleep at night now

    • wanda says:

      I noticed that also. I googled to find if anyone else notice but seems like nobody did. Maybe he is a ghost like in the movie 3men and a baby.

    • Destiny says:

      Not sure who the guy was, but I agree that he is creepy looking and doesn’t look like any of the cast members. I am beginning to wonder if is a ghost or stunt.

  27. JuliasG says:

    I had such high hopes knowing Kristen Wiig was hosting, I wanted to love it but sadly I was soooo disappointed. I liked the CSPAN and the Ghost Mom and that’s it, everything else pretty much sucked. It’s like every skit is too long. The Acupuncture skit, Garth and Kat, The Sixth Graders Date and the Californians went on FOREVER.
    This show has gotten so hard to watch.

  28. Tedwin says:

    Can’t stand Wiig, o avoided this one. Her only character I like is the Target Lady

  29. Faster says:

    The Californians is the only skit I still watch the show for, and I always love it. Acupuncture was hilarious though.

  30. Sarabi says:

    The acupuncture bit and 1-800-flowers were funny, the rest was MEH. The reastaurant bit was weird, although I can’t say if it was good weird or bad weird.

    As always, I want to see more of Kate McKinnon! You go girl!

  31. Danielle H. says:

    Went by awfully fast… wasn’t terrible but wasn’t great either. Cold Open, opening monologue, Californians were horrific. Please punch whomever keeps putting the CA on.. Maya was helarious though and the only one who did the voice right. I just wish they would punch up SNL and make it a truely great show. I hope we can find some good players to fill the void of all the decent and great (bill hader) ones leaving.

  32. Cindy says:

    Any answers as to who the guy in the under is in the ghost mom scene??

  33. Ronnie says:

    One question………….how many of the people here who so harshly criticize the SNL cast are themselves funny people? I mean, like, professional, paid, acknowledged by others, funny people? I’m guessing not too many. Seriously, every show can’t be 100% hilarious to every single one of us – some of you are just way too critical! Those guys are geniuses. We’ve all got our “favorite” skits and characters, but that doesn’t mean the other ones are BAD! Then again, maybe I’m wrong – I apologize if this is a comedy writer/actor’s message board and you actually DO all know what you’re talking about!

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