Josh Hutcherson Hosts Saturday Night Live: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

josh-hutcherson-saturday-night-live-snl-hostYou can be pretty sure it’s not going to be a stellar week for Saturday Night Live when “Girlfriends Talk Show” — current front-runner for Most Inexplicable Recurring Sketch of 2013 — serves as the lead-out to the opening monologue.

But wait…with Josh Hutcherson, charming star of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, hosting, how bad could the episode really end up being?

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Alas, bad enough that my single biggest laugh of the night arrived in the episode’s final moments, as Vanessa Bayer (dresssed as a massive turkey) ate corn out of Hutcheron’s palm. (More on that in a moment.)

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You’re only as strong as your material, of course, and in the case of this week’s show, said fabric was as flimsy as an off-brand paper towel being doused with a fire hose. But Hutcherson, truth be told, failed to make much of a comedic impression over the course of 90 minutes. Below, my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches:

Hands down, this was Aidy Bryant’s funniest work on SNL since coming aboard at the start of last season. Her neck-pillow-wearing she-devil shared her hilariously rude methods for enjoying a flight, including (but not limited to) using loose plastic bags instead of checked luggage, lining one’s seat tray with broccoli to mask the smell of Chinese-food farts, and tormenting fellow passengers with “unexplained adult laughter.” I loved Bryant decalring she’d only pipe down if someone finds the way to “make Monsters U less hilarious!”

This sketch — in which Hutcherson’s ’80s teen hit on his older sister’s pal (Vanessa Bayer) by speaking only with blasts of music from the Outfield’s “Your Love” — was more clever than hilarious. But on an episode this subpar, cleverness counts.
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Yes, it went on too long and ended dreadfully, but the sheer size and absurdity of Bayer’s turkey costume, and the horror of Hutcherson’s relatives trying to introduce their Thanksgiving dinner to the unexpectedly fowl visitor, did make me chuckle. “I’ve never had it cooked before,” Bayer’s bird declared of the corn that Hutcherson fed her. “It’s good!”

Hutcherson’s reactions barely registered while his young investment fund employee encountered newbie Beck Bennett as a financial genius who — from the neck down — had the lack of physical dexterity and impulse control you’d expect from an infant. But who can blame Hutcherson’s performance when the action playing out in front of him was both bizzare and pointless — and even botched the chance at a diaper-change joke?

Hey, it’s newcomer Mike O’Brien chasing after bugs, shoving his microphone up in their faces and trying to find out “where the heck do you gotta be?” Maybe this sounded funny on paper, but the end product was so insipid, I actually feel myself losing valuable brain cells with each word I type about it. J’enough!

What did you think of Hutcherson as SNL host? Grade the episode in the poll 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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  1. Paul Cox says:

    Banker with a baby’s body is probably the funniest sketch of the current season so far. Definitely the funniest starring a new cast member. I realize SNL tries to be all things to all people, but maybe you aren’t one of those people Michael.

    • DL says:

      Have to agree. The premise was atrocious (like something out of a nightmarish fever dream), but Beck Bennett’s commitment, along with Killam’s stoicism in the face of getting mauled with spaghetti, had me in stitches.

    • Yeah, with you. I thought the bug sketch wasn’t that bad, especially compared to any Kenan sketches. Also, 50 points for strong Cecily Strong carrying Hutcherson.

    • charles scrotum says:

      i completely agree. the authors choice of this being the worst sketch is ludicrous .. besides the “your love” skit, everything else was pretty unfunny or not clever.. these are all opinions, but i disagree whole-heartedly with the author (as i do with most internet articles, especially when they fail to proofread their own stuff)

    • Flygrrl40 says:

      Gosh, I agree, too!
      I follow Michael for AI and now the Voice and usually, he’s spot-on. But with SNL, huh? Clearly I wasn’t watching the same episode as Michael last week, and this week, I thought Hutchinson was great! First off, dude rarely looked at a cue-card all night. That’s more than I can say for 75% of the hosts who tend to use the cards as line-crutches all night. Next, imo – the fact that he was willing and able to pull a lot of weight – straight-man or comedic – apparently allowed many of the underused cast members to shine. I thought there was a BUNCH of funny stuff last night and I really enjoyed the episode.

      So there.

    • murley says:

      Agreed. I don’t know if it is because we have a baby but my husband and I were in hysterics over that sketch. His movements were SO spot on and he was so commited. It was hilarious.

      • Chelsea says:

        Absolutely, his walking was hilarious. I was impressed, he looked exactly like my infant who just learned to walk. And the way he waved the folder around was spot on. It is a pretty silly premise, although my siblings and I have talked about how ripped adults would be if they waved their arms and legs around in the air all day. I definitely giggled through the whole thing.

  2. toia says:

    It’s was not good. Maybe everyone at SNL spent the week looking at black Friday deals, that’s why I haven’t been productive this week. They relied on some underwhelming reoccurring skits the girlfriends one and the two employees one neither one is all that good. The digital shorts also seem to play for length rather than laughs. After last week where there was good solid laughs it feels like they phoned this in big time

  3. Kat says:

    SNL is rarely funny to me. I don’t like physical/gross out/stupid comedy, and I feel like that’s what the show specializes in. Give me satire any day.

  4. Saabgirlatx says:

    Couldn’t even watch it to the end it was Sooo bad. Unfortunate because Haim is a really up and coming band and had this to showcase them.

  5. DarkDefender says:

    I get that he is a decent actor, but he is in no way dynamic. He blends into the woodwork like a Peeta camo painting. WU was great, as was the flight lady.. The Monsters Univ. joke had me in stitches. I also enjoyed the monologue Hunger Games bit, but they should have used HG as a full sketch. I suspect by tomorrow no one will remember much of this weeks show.. I just hope it’s not all filler until we get the Fallon/Timberlake extravaganza.

  6. xx says:

    Bizarre, not bizzare.

  7. TV Gord says:

    It seems whenever they have a good week (the last show), the next one is awful. I don’t know Josh Hutcherson, and nothing he did tonight makes me want to find out more about him. Weekend Update had some good jokes, and I’m glad they didn’t weigh it down with a bad visit from any of the frequently awful commentators. As for HAIM, they suffered from the poor audio work that has become a tradition at SNL.

    • S. says:

      Haim wasn’t the victim of bad audio. They were unintelligible because they’re bad live which in my book is just bad in general. If nothing else, you ought to be able to perform live. You’re musicians for God’s sake. Bad audio can be blamed for bombing on The Tonight Show. People known to be talented and good live can’t hear themselves there.

  8. LOL says:

    All of this will be quickly forgotten. Bennett’s physical comedy was impressive during the “Banker Baby” sketch, but I can see SNL trying to make this a recurring character and where can it go? HAIM was awful. Critics like them? Why?

    • Shaun says:

      I thought they had a unique sound,liked the 1st song better.Just wish they’d stop mumbling in their songs so I can hear the words.

  9. Jhutch fan says:

    I think Josh did an amazing.job! Yeah.there were some hits and misses but i cant be perfect! He handled everything well and his girl accent was hilarious:) He even made out with the chick who plays Miley, kinda jealous!! But overall great job Joshy #A+

  10. fran marino says:

    This episode should have taken more advantage of the Hunger Games instead of wasting it on the monologue. SNL really needs to sign on Dave Grohl as host with Foo Fighters as musical guest. He’d be amazing–just check out the times he’s filled in for Chelsea Lately.

  11. Evan says:

    Some of the stuff was ok, but they’re obviously saving the best material for when Fallon, Timberlake, and no doubt a ton of alumni show up for the Christmas episode.

  12. Hutcherson seemed interested in working and doing what he could; unfortunately SNL just doesn’t deliver. Individually, most of their cast are talented but they haven’t found the best rhythm or good recurring characters. I found a couple sketches really clever but just not funny. The Banker Baby sketch was amazing solely due to the physical abilities of Beck Bennett. The movements were spot-on and he fully committed to the character. The “Your Love” was clever but it’s not entirely fresh. They’ve done it with other songs and hosts before. It’s a recurring sketch I’m OK but not necessarily blown away. They relied too heavily on Hutcherson’s baby looks, casting him several times as a teen rather than trying to play him as a man. There were no real risks taken.

    I’m hopeful for December’s hosts. They have a good batch (albeit white and male) with Paul Rudd, John Goodman, and super duo Jimmy and Justin. Goodman hasn’t been on in over a decade (the horror) but he is part of the 5 Timers Club so hopefully we’ll get something out of that.

    • Alichat says:

      I agree that Hutcherson was committed to the work. Frankly I was impressed that he did so well with the cue cards and laughter. I’m always astounded when seasoned actors come on the show and break scene with laughter or blatantly read from the cue cards throughout the sketch. I thought most of the material they gave him was weak. I laughed hardest during the baby body sketch and the turkey girlfriend, although it did run a little long. I agree they should have taken more risks.

      • Flygrrl40 says:

        See, exactly. I thought he did really well with all that stuff. Granted, he wasn’t the “starring” character in the each of the skits, but he allowed several of the other cast mates to do funny things. Things we haven’t yet seen. I think much of the time energy is spent pandering to a needy host or ‘dumbing’ material down to a host that can’t carry his/her weight. With Josh, these things weren’t an issue so I think the writers and cast were able to try some different things.

  13. Linda says:

    Can’t believe it – I thought it would be so bad I’d have to turn the channel. Instead I laughed quite a few times and thought Josh (at 21) handled himself pretty well. Maybe the fact I’d seen Hunger Games earlier in the day made me feel more charitable. I thought it was ‘not bad’ when I originally thought I’d have to ‘turn off’. :D

  14. Andie says:

    I thought the guy chasing bugs was hysterical. “I’m going to the supermarket!”

  15. karenb says:

    ** dressed Slezak :)

  16. Scott says:

    Totally gotta disagree with Banker in a Babies Body. At first I thought it was going to be typical SNL attempts a humor, which can be painful, but Beck executed it SO WELL. If they find a way to bring that character into other situations, I’m not upset about it.

    After all the praise y’all gave the tepid Lady Gaga episode, you were certainly too harsh on this one.

  17. GTS says:

    I didn’t get Banker in a Baby’s Body. The physical action was weird, and I didn’t find it funny, but I’m sure some people did. But why would they have Hutcherson be the straight man? I understand that he couldn’t do the physical stuff the Baby Banker did, but they should have at least made him the other guy in that sketch. When actors host, they just acct out the scene. Castmembers always make the straight guy part funnier.

  18. Kevin D says:

    As much as I didn’t want to, I really like the 80s sketch. Just so goofy!

  19. Shaun says:

    I liked their short about the break dancers on the subway and how they had to adapt to lack of space.Lil Peanut FTW!

  20. Tran 2.0 says:

    I give the Josh Hutcherson episode of SNL a C. Overall it was terrible and the Girlfriends Talk Show as well as the Banker with a Baby’s Body were both boring. The odds weren’t in Hutcherson’s favor but he wasn’t as good than his Hunger Games co-star Jennifer Lawrence was when she hosted back in January and I wouldn’t go above criticism about it.

  21. Chris says:

    It was ok, fairly par for the course for SNL these days. Hutchinson doesn’t have much in the way of comedic chops, but he was relegated more or less to straight man in a lot of skits. Low points for me were Haim and the throwaway bug sketch. The turkey dinner should have been funnier, but it was a setup that never quite paid off. High points were just about anything with Aidy Bryant.

  22. Morgan says:

    The turkey girlfriend sketch was terrible.. I didn’t like it at all. I’m actually a fan of Girlfriends Talk Show and think it showcases Aidy Bryant well, but she really shined as the worst lady on an airplane. MVP of the night. The Banker with a Baby’s Body was hilarious! I thought Beck Bennett did a great job with the sketch. I also enjoyed Mike O’Brien questioning bugs on the street; something about it made me chuckle. I would have put Hutcherson’s opening monologue as one of the best moments in place of the “Your Love” sketch – that one fell flat for me. Hutcherson what he could with what he was given – not much of a showcase for the host last night.

  23. estee says:

    i honestly feel bad for most of the hosts it’s usually not their fault the writting is really hit or miss anymore
    i’d also like to see them use beck bennett more his at&t commercials are a hoot

  24. dude says:

    Baker with a Baby’s Body was extremely unfunny but I was impressed by Beck’s ability to capture the mannerisms of a baby which I guess was the point and I was amused by his dismissal of Josh offering to “kiss it and make it better.” Girlfriends Talk Show is a sketch that was pretty funny the first time and has been so unnecessary since because they copy the formula exactly. I actually found this one pretty funny because they switched it up. The fired employees one though should have stayed as a one-off.

  25. Cori says:

    I admired Beck’s commitment to the banker with a baby’s body. It wasn’t the most hilariously written skit, but it was an accurate portrayal of a toddler. We’ll definitely be talking about it at my preschool on Monday. I also enjoyed the bug interview, but I have a soft spot for Mike O’Brien.

    How awful was that vet sketch? All your animals are dead…just kidding! I thought it was awful. Overall I gave the episode a D. It felt like a chore to watch. Even Haim had a weird vibe. The song sounded fine, but you couldn’t understand a word they were saying and parts of their performance felt like a sketch.

    I’m super excited for all three of December’s shows though!

  26. TheTVJunkee says:

    Aidy’s The Worst Lady on an Airplane was the highlight for me. It was the second week in row that my fave part of the show was part of WU. Last week it was Tarin’s speech critic.

  27. Wow, I have to completely disagree with the best/worst summation. I thought the best was clearly the Banker with the Baby’s Body, and the roving reporter trying to interview where bugs are headed in such a hurry. Aidy Bryant was clearly the night’s MVP though. I’m so glad they are finally giving her more to do.

    • S. says:

      Yeah, plus the turkey sketch at the end was one of the worst of the season, not just that episode. Honorable mention? What? If the baby sketch happened during Gaga’s episode, it would’ve been around stronger everything and the audience would’ve been in stitches. Instead they smelled the fear and desperation of an imminent trainwreck and just chuckled their way through the sketch. The physicality of it was brilliant. Sure the concept was silly but what SNL sketch these days isn’t?

  28. Fernando says:

    It wasn’t all bad, The Subway dancer , Best Buy, and the part at the vet was funny

  29. cjeffery7 says:

    with a few exceptions, i feel exactly the OPPOSITE. this was the perfect example of why Girlfriend Talkshow IS funny. it wasn’t as good as gaga but it had enough funny sketches to keep me interested the entire show.

  30. Jo says:

    Anyone who thought banker with a baby’s body was funny needs to be put in a special home immediately.

  31. hipster says:

    save for the monologue and the bug sketch, it was all pretty blah. they pretty much just had hutcherson play the straight man in most of the sketches.

  32. justagirl82 says:

    Beck, Kyle, and Mike crushed it last night. The choices, the specifics, and the control they all possessed were impressive. Baby, Dancing, and Bugs were three of the funniest sketches SNL has done in a while. I LOVE the new, weird, alt-comedy direction the show is taking this season, especially with the newer cast members. Refreshing and much needed.

  33. I thought SNL was interesting. Cicely, Aidy and Beck were really showcased and every member got on this week. 80% of the show seemed like After Update type sketches and I wonder if that is due to almost all of Good Neighbor being on the writing staff now. Of course, those kind of surreal sketches really need strong endings, and only the Banker Baby one did. Josh seemed down for anything as the host, which is always good. It felt very Kids in the Hall-ish, which I am completely okay with.

  34. Babybop says:

    The banker sketch was sorta funny. I didn’t laugh out loud, but he did a good job. This was the first Girlfriends Talk Show that I laughed at. Aidy killed it in this episode.

    Though I must admit, Josh butchering that line in “Only You” was the time I laughed the hardest.

  35. JenInChicago says:

    Gotta agree with most….Beck Bennett’s Banker with a Baby’s Body was very funny. Don’t know what you’re looking for in a show if you don’t find that sketch funny. I didn’t much care for the Outfield sketch….I agree – clever, but not really funny.

  36. flutiefan says:

    i love Girlfriends talk show, every time! and Josh did a great job… really committed to the material, as did the Baby Banker. i think TVLine got it wrong this week.