Bruce Willis Hosts Saturday Night Live: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Bruce Willis Saturday Night Live HostBruce Willis attempted to channel a centaur, a neighborhood barber and even his old Armageddon astronaut in his first Saturday Night Live hosting gig since 1989. The question loomed, though, whether the return engagement would prove to be worth the 24-year wait.

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Unfortunately for Willis, most of this week’s sketches left him in straight-man or second-banana territory, while his one chance to truly nail an impression (albeit an oddly circa-2008 one) found him totally whiffing as Project Runway judge Michael Kors — and spoiling the otherwise hilarious concept of Vanessa Bayer’s Lady Gaga Talk Show. (“It doesn’t matter what’s on the out S-I-D-E, it matters what’s on the I.N. side.”) Based on Willis’ performance, in fact, I’d guess he’s never actually heard or seen footage of Kors; and no, trotting out his old “gay stereotype routine” that slayed ’em in the high school cafeteria back in the day isn’t gonna cut it for evolved late-night audiences in 2013.

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Nevertheless, Willis’ outing turned out to be a middle-of-the-road SNL affair — certainly not one of its all-time greatest, but not coughing up enough clunkers to qualify for the bottom of the sketch-comedy barrel. (Willis, to be fair, had some great reaction shots as a florist with designs on the divorced mother of Taran Killam’s rageaholic Eddie.) With that said, let’s cut to my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches:

Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon — who, along with Killam, are fast becoming the main reasons to watch the show — were uproarious as insecure thespians whose boyfriends needed pharmaceutical help to put up with their women’s professional insecurities. Best bit? Strong’s insane fluctuation between losing a part (“f*** my life!”) and getting a callback (“YES! YES! YES!”).

Strong and Seth Meyers were on fire with jokes about Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida Bonas (“who, judging by her name, is a mid-priced Toyota sedan”) to a timely zinger about the scientific murkiness of box-office smash Gravity (“no way Clooney would spend that much time talking to a woman his own age”). Still, the biggest triumph was the rapid-fire punch lines the co-hosts exchanged about the separation announcement of Bruce and Kris Jenner, which culminated with this side-splitter from Meyers: “The comedy and tragedy masks are getting a divorce.” FLAWLESS.

When bros are left alone by themselves to watch sports, they…drop it like it’s hot? Apparently so, according to this ridiculous pre-taped bit with Killam spitting rhymes like, “Not homoerotic, just a little brotherly unity/ To dance our stress away, without no womanly scrutiny.” By the time the gents got to the “shake that sack” portion of the video, I was doubled over with laughter.

There was a fleeting moment of funny as the gasping backside of Willis’ minotaur costume popped out of his prison for some air, but otherwise this sketch about a launch party spokesman worried about the health of his actor coworker was a concept without any meaningful payoff. I can’t imagine Nasim Pedrad stuck around for another season just to play a generic scold without a single significant punch line.

Based on last week’s Miley Cyrus shrug, and Willis’ nearly laugh-free harmonica duel with inept-but-worshipful Bobby Moynihan, I’m worried SNL‘s writing team is either unable or unwilling to dig past obvious tropes and create some magic with its guest MC and a single mic. Kinda sad, no?

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Willis as host? What were your picks for best and worst sketch? Take our poll, then hit the comments to expand on your thoughts!

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. Cori says:

    I thought tonight’s episode was pretty awful. :( I liked the three you ranked as the best, but unfortunately I didn’t care for anything else. What a disappointing episode!

  2. ceylan says:

    katyperry’s guitarists looked like they were having the worst time of their lives in those animal suits

  3. Dunnowhat says:

    I thought “Boy Dance Party” was one of the funniest bits they have had in a longtime. That final shake your sack part caught me by surprise. The monologue and vodka commercial were bad. I did like the cold open as well as the Armegeddon spoof. Moynihan pulls that silly thing off pretty well. Overall, the rest of the skits were mediocre at best, with the Lady Gaga show at the bottom with that horrific vodka thing. In Bruce Willis’ defense, many of the skits he was in were not great but he did what he could.

  4. Joe says:

    I thought overall it was a decent episode…they need to give Nasim something to do

  5. Toia says:

    The episode was only ok. As someone who used to watch Project Runway religiously there is a lot of comedy to be mined from Mr. Kores all they needed to do was pull some of his one liners from PR, the tanned old queen route was a cop out. Like last weeks show the funnier skits didn’t make me laugh only think ‘that’s funny.’ Also it’s not a good sign that they are recycling old pre-taped bits this early in the season is it? I think they need to restructure in the writing room because they aren’t utilizing their guests well and half of what they are producing isn’t all that funny.

  6. DarkDefender says:

    The cold open was the best (and most relevant) in years.. Sadly it went downhill from there. Update was good except for Kennan’s bit, and boy dance party was decent. I do love Wiilis and his harmonica, but it isn’t good when the best line in his monologue was Moynihan’s “what you talkin bout Willis.” Which didn’t even garner a laugh.

  7. pete says:

    Aaron paul was a nice surprise during the emeth sketch

    • Evan says:

      That was just one of the sketches from Tina Fey’s episode re-aired. LOL and next week they’re re-airing the whole episode. Which is fine with me, I missed it the first time.

  8. Dave Smith says:

    Based on this episode, and the other two, I think I have figured out the issue with this show. They continue to throw characters at us that the only people that find it funny are the actors/writers who come up with them. If they stick with sketches about pop culture and test new characters, they might start getting better.

  9. Brandy says:

    Katy Perry’s performances (especially the 2nd) looked like something Kristen wiig would’ve done on Deep House Dish. I was cracking up!

  10. MC says:

    Katy Perry and her band of Furries? What was that?

  11. leigh says:

    It’s a Boy Dance Party!

    That skit was the best of the night! And the first half was funny. After Weekend Update, though…but kudos for getting Bruce Willis to rap! Much better than the Tina Fey Episode.

  12. Was a little skeeved that Vanessa Bayer played Bruce Willis’ girlfriend in the Boy Dance Party sketch. It was just sort of a matter of fact oh no big deal just dating someone 30 years younger than me. She was wearing a wig and minor age makeup in the later sketch they were opposite each other again.
    Really surprised Bobby Moynihan’s insipid ‘kitty’ guy wasn’t singled out as a worst sketch. I haaaaaaaaaaaaate that one-“joke” character and wish they’d bomb shut the hack mine it came from.

  13. I’m also surprised by how often I’m laughing at Update jokes compared to last year. Cecily Strong has to be the bright new influence that the writing needed. Can’t wait for Seth to leave.

  14. Tran 2.0 says:

    I give it a B. Kudos to Vanessa Bayer as Lady Gaga as well as Cecily Strong who still reign supreme as co-anchor of Weekend Update. The cold opening of that Gravity spoof was one of the best sketches of the night and Katy Perry totally brought the house down. Overall, the Bruce Willis episode did pretty good in my opinion. Can’t wait when SNL returns in two weeks to see how Edward Norton is going to fare as host.

  15. Walrus says:

    I’ll give Willis at least a ‘B’ just for knowing his lines (most of the time, anyway). Nowadays, it seems like hosts don’t even try and go straight for the cue cards.

  16. dude says:

    This was definitely their best episode of the season. The Tina Fey episode was dreadful and the Miley Cyrus one was absolute torture so it was nice to have an episode with some actually funny sketches. The vodka one wasn’t their best sketch and it was a pretty one-note joke but I did find it mildly funny whereas there were a couple early ones I did not. The Weekend Update was hilarious and I loved Boy Dance Party and 24 Energy for Dating Actresses.

    • MamaLis says:

      I thought the vodka sketch was funny, too. I actually laughed hard at the visual of the donkey/horse as it fell apart at the end. The skit didn’t have a lot of structure, obviously, but everything those “legs” were doing cracked me up!

  17. DavidSask says:

    I never laughed once and Bruce had no business being there. The Gaga sketch was okay an has potential for future but the actress never changed her speaking regular voice which ruined it so take that note if reading this and doing again on show!

  18. cjeffery7 says:

    solid medium. you know it’s an off week when the best parts are Weekend Update and a pre-taped sketch.

  19. TD says:

    Did something go wrong in the barber shop sketch? The end seemed to fall apart (not that it was a very funny sketch, anyway). They took Bobby Moynihan’s apron off to reveal that weird red suit, which seems like it was supposed to mean something, and then nothing happened. Then Bruce Willis said he was going to a Sheryl Crow concert as if that was some kind of punchline (I know the shtick was that he didn’t talk much, but it seemed like something was still missing).

    • You’re probably overthinking it. Willis’ character was a straight-laced white guy barber in one of those stereotypical barber shops in the hood where it’s all old black guy barbers telling outlandish stories featuring celebs/athletes with the occasional wannabe white guy getting his hair cut. Bobby’s hairstyle in the sketch was clearly Eminem-ish, which jibes with the tracksuit.

      • TD says:

        I understand the premise of the skit. I’m just saying it seemed like something else was supposed to happen at the end of the skit. (Then again, that’s often the case with SNL skits!)

  20. vdofan says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing at the “Other blinds are too flimsy.”

  21. Jessica says:

    I loved the tattoo portion of update. It was just so random, and so true.

  22. Ruth Nieves says:

    The best part of last nights ep was Beck Beckett!!! This must have been his first show cause I don’t remember seeing him prior to this. He’s the guy who has the insurance company ads with the little kids. He was great in every skit he was in last night…..especially the black ops sketch.

  23. MamaLis says:

    Um…. I couldn’t understand a good 70% of the words that came out of Willis’s mouth. As my 11 year old said after his first sketch, “I don’t know a thing he just said. My mind went Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep during that whole sketch.”
    It was unbelievable.

  24. Betsy says:

    Did something happen – drop a sketch or Bruce wigged out that they ran the emeth “commercial” again? Did they just plumb get tired of writing sketches? That being said, the Boy Dance Party was the funniest thing for me since Dic* in a Box.

  25. Jazz says:

    The best part was most def Weekend Update. Specifically Brooks Wheelan’s bit on tattoos. It was great to see him work in a beloved bit from his stand up act into an update sketch.

  26. Morisot says:

    I thought Bruce Willis did a good job. And I laughed more than I have during other recent episodes.

  27. cyclone says:

    Someone needs to remember that the “L” in SNL stands for live. They had 4 (or was it 5) pre-taped segments including a rerun of the e-meth commercial at the end of the show. The barber shop scene was funny if you cut out all the Bruce Willis bits. It was Jay and Kenan basically playing the barber characters Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy played in Coming to America, Jay was even channeling some Eddie mannerisms. But couldn’t Kenan fake cutting hair a little better? He was waving that comb and buzzer about a mile away from the guys head. My other annoyance was that besides the opening and the Lady Gaga talk show (which I don’t get why Vanessa played Gaga) there was no real woman fronted sketch and really the only other major part for a woman in the live show was Kate as Penelope Cruz in that same sketch. Yeah Nasim and Vanessa were featured in the Vodka and the Crazy Eddie sketches but those sketches weren’t about them, they were basically scenery. Also they totally wasted having Katy Perry be the musical guest and not appear at least in 1 sketch since she has pulled double duty before (but it could have been her choice to only focus on the music side).

    • The pre-filmed bits are necessary to give the players time to get into costume/makeup and the crew to set up sets that need to be moved into position, powered, possibly rigged for special effects. They also serve the purpose of filling a finite amount of time to give time for other sketches to fit while killing a live sketch that would not have fit into the show. It’s also likely that there was something planned with Katy Perry but it might have been cut after dress rehearsal for not working or for time.

  28. Izzy says:

    Bruce various skits on David Letterman over the years have been funnier that those on SNL.

  29. Brendan says:

    Beer Pong had me in tears! haha

  30. Dr. Chameleon says:

    Huh. I thought “Boy Dance Party” was just a sad, failed attempt to re-capture the magic of Lonely Island now that they’re not working on the show anymore.