Lady Gaga lives for the applause, but did she actually earn it in her Saturday Night Live hosting debut?
In my opinion, the answer is a definite yes. The outré vocalist proved to be a goofy, committed presence playing a variety of roles in the funniest episode of the season. What’s more, she delivered the cheekiest, most laugh-packed opening monologue in recent memory. (That’s a low bar, yes, but I don’t mean it as faint praise.)
Below, my picks for best and worst sketches:
BEST: WAKING UP WITH KIMYE
Jay Pharoah and Nasim Pedrad were spot-on as a delusional Kanye West and aggressively vacuous Kim Kardashian — with wonderful little asides like Kate McKinnon as Kris Jenner struggling to clap her hands and Kim seeing an apple on her computer and deciding to dip it in caramel. Gaga’s stint as a gawky Genius Bar worker was flawless, too, especially this meta zinger: “I think people who try too hard with their outfits are maybe hiding something.”
BEST: BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO
Bobby Moynihan, Taran Killam and Mike O’Brien as Blockbuster employees mourning the loss of the jobs they’ve had since high school. The funeral pyre for the Croods cardboard cutout had me howling, but even better was Gaga as a sparkly hallucination from the land of VHS.
BEST: Rosé Zone
“Just got garbage 24/7!” “Because life’s short — and I shouldn’t have to watch Rob Kardashian talk about his sock line.”
HONORABLE MENTION: FOURTH-GRADE TALENT SHOW
Gaga and newbie John Milhiser killed it as parents whose encouragements of their wee one’s dance routine go hilariously, obscenely over the top.
HONORABLE MENTION: OPENING MONOLOGUE
Gaga tweaked her recent single “Applause” to signify her love of the audience cheering — even in instances where it’s cheap and pandering. Not only did Gaga serve up a tremendous vocal on the semi-parody, but her cheeky asides like “Can I hear it for the ladies?” and “Give it up for first responders!” were genuinely chuckle-worthy.
WORST: MR. SENIOR
Kenan Thompson raged against early Christmas decorations as Weekend Update’s “common sense correspondent,” but the setups proved too obvious, and Thompson’s standard-operating, self-satisfied grin was too irritating, to boot.
What did you think of Gaga as SNL host? Grade the episode below, then sound off in the comments!