Lady Gaga Hosts Saturday Night Live: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

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!

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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53 Comments
  1. Brendan says:

    The best was the Rick Ross version of Cups! I was in tears! It was the first time I’ve laughed at anything Kenan has done in years!

  2. I also really enjoyed the cold open with Bobby Moynihan as Rob Ford and Taran Killam as the catty, 19th century speech critic. Great episode…finally!

    • April says:

      That Taran Killam spot during Weekend Update was awesome! Most I’ve laughed all season during WU. I’m not a big fan of Cecily. She really makes me miss Amy Poehler.

      • snlmk says:

        My first actual LOL in a while. And Taran breaking character just made it better

        • PFitzDC says:

          I sooooo agree. Taran Killiam’s catty critic was a standout about halfway through….when he broke character at the end it was the icing on the cake. Favorite Update moment of the year so far…. (And I really want to like Cecily Strong as co-anchor, really I do, but I’m not feeling it…)

      • Tran 2.0 says:

        What are you guys talking about? I always have a crush on Cecily Strong and she needs to be 100x better than she was in her rookie season last year. As for the Weekend Update co-anchor situation, my money’s on Kate McKinnon to replace Seth Meyers this upcoming season.

      • S. says:

        Big fan of Cecily. I was surprised she’d take that on and still do the other sketches, but Amy did so I guess it’s possible. I just know Seth and Tina didn’t but probably because they were also head writers. I wonder if she’ll do it solo next year or with someone else. I enjoy the ability to cut to another person so it feels less like one teed up quip after another. Even on the Daily Show, they have only a few stories per show, not several, and spend time on each one so it doesn’t seem ADD. Seth could do it by himself but having someone to play off is better. Cecily has fun expressions and delivery, like the one where a guy got in trouble for some *ehem* self-massage at a McDonalds and was arrested on “one count of lovin’ it.” Still funny just remembering how she said it. I loved Amy but she regularly laughed at her own lines. Cecily just adds to it with her facial expressions so that it makes me laugh more.

  3. dude says:

    I have to disagree. I thought Lady Gaga was fantastic, she really put herself out there and committed to her roles but the writing was terrible. Rob Ford has provided comedians with so much material this month and THAT was the best they could come up with? Disappointing not to mention the terrible Canadian accents that don’t exist in Toronto (Rob Ford has a pretty distinguishable nasally voice, don’t understand why Bobby was talking like he was from Minnesota). I liked the Kimye sketch and the covers and the school recital one but that’s about it. I can’t agree that this was the funniest episode considering Kerry Washington’s had such better writing.

  4. Dani says:

    loved it! but once again kate mckinnon is being criminally underused, her bit about the lady who thought her baby was broccoli had me rollin’! it was an unfunny sketch but she was so great in it, she made it worth it (as she usually does). also, cecily strong as lana del rey was amazing, as well as kenan as rick ross singing Cups lol. Gaga was terrific, and her sketch as herself in the future was hilarious but also kinda sad?

  5. rebecca says:

    Was amazingly impressed with Gaga’s versatility and talent…loved the skit on Obama’s need for stronger anti-depressant in his second term

  6. Ben says:

    How is Taran Killan’s bit from Weekend Update not the best of the episode? HOW?

  7. Lisa London says:

    First time in months I’ve laughed out loud at the show, several times. A very good episode overall and great turn from Gaga. I’m not a fan, but the girl can laugh at herself (and she can sing!). She seems fun.

  8. Morgan says:

    I like your picks, but two of the best sketches of the night were the Worst Cover Songs of All Time and Taran Killam’s critic of the Gettysburg Address. The Lana del Rey/Nathan Lane cover of Shaggy still has me cackling, and Gaga poked fun at herself again. Killam saved a character I though was doomed for disaster and made it hilarious!

  9. EJ says:

    GO, ASHLEY!

    That was hilarious. And John Milhiser’s got a cute lil’ tush.

  10. cjeffery7 says:

    Taran Killam’s 19th century speech critic! it reminded me a smidge of Kristen Wiig’s aunt Linda but that’s acceptable. they were still different. and equally hilarious. though i’m not surprised, Gaga proved to be the funniest cast members last night. every character she played was HILARIOUS. girl’s got comedic timing!!

    • Jo Jonlison says:

      OFFENSIVE is the only way to describe Killum’s bit. 50th anniversary of JFK’s death and he’s making jokes? REALLY BAD TASTE!

      • tsg says:

        He just said the speech was too long, that’s hardly offensive. All those guys are long dead, that’s the joke. Was it more offensive than the Jesus critique?

  11. Kim R says:

    I thought Gaga was great. I thought the episode was not. And I felt the exact opposite about the Best Sketch being Kanye and Kim. I don’t get the writing and the way the skits, in general, seem to lack “punch lines”. I always like Weekend Update. I mostly always don’t like Keenan. Sorry Keenan. :)

  12. Aeol says:

    I didn’t want to enjoy it, but I did. Lady GaGA totally went for it and I really respect that. I didn’t even recognize her in the Kimye sketch until it was halfway through. I thought the cold open was excellent and I too loved the critic sketch from Weekend Update; one of the few bright moments from WeUp all season. Perhaps a nice consideration to fill the deep hole left in my heart by Stephon.

  13. MV says:

    Taran Killam on weekend update was probably the funniest thing to happen all season. Kimye was great until the end of the skit. They had no idea how to end it and it was very apparent which kinda ruined it for me. This is definitely the first time all season I laughed at anything Kenan Thompson did. Both the Rick Ross ‘Cups’ and Mr. Senior made me lol. Yes Mr.Senior was ‘obvious’, but the energy that Kenan used during the skit, especially when he was stealing the candy canes from the children and taking down all the decorations from the office made me laugh. Lady Gag was great too. Probably the best host this season, so far. Great episode.

  14. tara17 says:

    Fantastic show, I enjoyed most of the skits and Gaga won me over with her talent and commitment. Taran Killam can do no wrong and Kate McKinnon is hilarious. That broccoli baby, omg!

  15. Tran 2.0 says:

    Don’t know if the Lady Gaga episode was one of the best or worst episodes of SNL this season but I was OK by that. Waking Up with Kimye was the best sketch of the night and the worst sketch was something I can’t think of. I give the Gaga episode a B but I don’t care what you guys think. Wonder how Josh Hutcherson would fare next week.

  16. Et al says:

    Gaga blew me away. Best episode of the season.

  17. Kimm says:

    Gaga was awesome! I loved the show from beginning to end and that is really saying something. Now that’s how you host SNL.

  18. TheTVJunkee says:

    I’m still LOL’ing at the Rick Ross version of “Cups” a day later. I actually woke up thinking of it especially the part where he didn’t know what he was supposed to do with the cups.

    I hope we can find a way to make Taran’s critic character return to WU. When I first saw him come out I thought “Oh geez!” but by the end I was wanting the skit to be longer.

    Gaga was SO much better than I thought she would be. I loved her making fun of herself in future in the last skit and in the “Worst Remakes” skit.

  19. Sarah says:

    The sketch with elderly Gaga was so well played, I almost cried! It was so funny and so sad at the same time.

  20. bravo says:

    Were we watching a different show? That was awful. The cold open was terrible. As a Torontonian I was excited for SNL to tackle the mess that is our mayor. I’ve been laughing every day at the latest Ford news and didn’t laugh once during that sketch. Any time Jay Pharaoh or Gaga was on screen I liked them even less, which I didn’t know was possible.

  21. Eds says:

    Love Gaga, but I thought she was all over the place in this episode. She is multi-talented, but she’s not a great actress. She did give it her all though. She did fine, but she was not the best host of the season by far. Loved Tarran Killam and the critic sketch.

  22. JRMKE says:

    As a huge Lady Gaga fan, I had high hopes for this episode. I must say, I was highly disappointed! I’m not sure what episode all of you were watching. The material they gave Gaga was so weak and not funny. Taran on Weekend Update was the only time I laughed out loud. The Kimye skit was so poorly written and was just irritating. Normally the celebrity impressions get me rolling launching… The Celebrity Covers was dull and not creative. Lady Gaga deserved way better… And I’m a fan of SNL even at its low points.

    • Flygrrl40 says:

      Ya I agree. WTH? And why is no one mentioning the HORRID lip-sync attempt @ song #2 by Gaga? People get crucified the next day when they lip sync and here it’s not even mentioned? She even screwed the words up at one point. I for SURE had bigger aspirations for Gaga than last night.

      • DDB says:

        There were times when she let the backing track take lead, but that’s not what I would call lip-syncing. Gaga was singing live 98% of the time.

  23. Taylor says:

    I thought the opening about the Canadian issues was funny, and I cracked up when Bobby posed for the photo, and when he jumped into a fall, it reminded me of Chris Farley. But the comments after about his d** are what makes the show not as funny anymore. Crude humor isn’t always funny and I feel like the writers at SNL think it’s hilarious. Thus bringing us to the sketch about the apartment. Not funny AT ALL. I LOVED the talent show sketch, but once again, the crude humor came in to play with them ripping off their shirts and the weird leg thing. Would have been far better if they just danced very in sync. Keenan has about 70 characters, but I always just see him… didn’t laugh. Weekend Update was good, I liked the Blockbuster thing, and the trash TV thing was funny too. Kimye was my favorite sketch, but my favorite moment was Gaga’s monologue. She is so talented and genuinely witty and funny, I feel that this episode could have been completely great because Lady Gaga is such a person to make fun of! And she is willing to make fun of herself. The cast is wonderful, the hosts are wonderful, the writers have a 14 year old boy sense of humor. I still enjoyed it because it had good moments, but it really could have been a classic episode.

  24. CJ says:

    I loved it. Lady Gaga did a phenomenal job, and the episode as a whole was very strong. Incredibly enjoyable.

  25. hipster says:

    John Milhiser is kinda adorable…

    Anyway, episode was okay. Like all things Gaga, it was very self aware. Per usual, ust wish the writing was better…

  26. Ceylan says:

    can’t lady gaga host again instead of miley cyrus?

  27. james says:

    I loved EVERY. SINGLE. SKETCH. Cannot even remember the last time this happened. (I even LOLed at your worst pick, Mr. Senior.)

  28. Flygrrl40 says:

    I don’t get it. And again, the lip sync. Not only that it occurred, but that it was deployed as BADLY as it was. UGH! In fact, when M&M sang against a track, people were going crazy the next day. And he wasn’t even as bad! And what was with the hideous jumpsuit during Song #1?

  29. Flygrrl40 says:

    I have to add one more thing, then I’ll stop. I just watched Taran’s piece and the “Old Gaga” sketch – to see if I missed something worthwhile. Taran’s piece was indeed, AWESOME. Loved that and can’t believe I FF’d it the first time. I hope that comes back.
    But the “Old Gaga” sketch? While the idea was interesting, Gaga’s deployment of the character was the exact same as the Apple Girl! That bent over, hands-in-front, awkward-mealy-winey “person” – that was Ashley! So.. I don’t know. Not so good.

  30. Trista says:

    Gaga was awesome! I did not expect that. She rocked it!

  31. Jack S says:

    Does anyone know why the “full episode” on the NBC site isn’t actually full? (Gaga monologue cut out + one or two sketches, the Eminem performances weren’t included two weeks ago).
    That said, I loved the 50 minutes I could watch. Great performances, the Kimye sketch was fab. Most consistent episode of the few I’ve seen.

    • TD says:

      Often sketches do not make it online because of music copyright issues.

      • pallas says:

        so this means we’ll never be able to see The Old Lady Gaga 2063 sketch (it wasn’t included on the 50 min SNL online full episode) …at all? That’s heartbreaking for me …

  32. My favorite sketch was the worst cover songs sketch. I hope they make that a regular!

  33. Elaine says:

    I’m not the biggest Gaga fan, but I thought she was the best thing about the show and the show itself was great. This is my favorite episode this season. Everyone was right on par and even the worst sketch was better than some of the better sketches from other episodes. That Gaga is one talented woman. Doing the Madonna/Gaga cover was hilarious. I love a star who can laugh at themselves. Right on.

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  36. toia says:

    This episode was the first time this season I laughed out loud. It was a genuinely funny episode for the most part. None of that ‘I see what you are doing and I know why it’s funny,’ that I have felt most of this season. Even the skits that didn’t land quite so well where amusing. And the drop off after Weekend Update wasn’t so steep, it wasn’t like I was being punished for my insomnia like past weeks. Hopefully this isn’t a fluke. Also I think a fine needs to be issued every time Keenan pulls that face in one of his skits, calm down sparky it’s not that funny

  37. A says:

    Jebidiah Atkinson was amazing

  38. I got to attend the SNL dress rehearsal, and I must say seeing that in person made me appreciate how tough it must be to put on a variety show like this almost every week. Two of my favorite skits didn’t even make the final version! The female sea captains (can be found as a web exclusive) and a humorous take on two unusual Hooters waitresses (Kate McKinnon and Lady Gaga).

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