You’d think riding the wave of an Oscar nomination (his second one in three years!) for The Wolf of Wall Street would be enough to let Jonah Hill glide solo through his third stint as host of Saturday Night Live.
But was anyone really surprised when Hill’s friend and Wolf co-star Leonardo DiCaprio showed up to steal the show – playing the perfect foil to Hill’s burgeoning Hollywood big shot — during the opening monologue? And now that DiCaprio has finally graced the Studio 8H set for the first time, can an SNL hosting gig of his own be far behind?
Time will tell (how about the season finale, Leo?), but for now here are my picks for the bests and worst sketches of the night:
BEST: OPENING MONOLOGUE (OH, GOD NO, IT’S LEO!)
Hill’s intro began promisingly (and predictably) enough, as “audience members” suddenly peppered him with those annoying “what’s Leo DiCaprio really like?” questions. This eventually compelled Jonah into some minor Leo-bashing (“The truth is, Leo wasn’t even supposed to be in the movie, OK?”) until — we all knew this was coming, right? – Mr. DiCaprio casually strolled on stage to interrupt the proceedings. Busted! As the screams died down, Leo had only one question for his Wolf co-star: “What the hell are you doing, man?” Hill’s seemingly endless array of facial expressions betraying horror, shame and humiliation were priceless, and the duo’s “confrontation” played out as pure comedy gold — complete with a Titanic-inspired finale.
Hill’s scathing satire of Her turned the oh-so-sensitive Joaquin Phoenix film hilariously on its head (with the Michael Cera cameo a brilliant – and unexpected – addition). Best line: “I’d start by giving you little butterfly kisses to your testicles.” That said, it helps a lot if you’ve actually seen the movie.
BEST: OLYA POVLATSKY ON WEEKEND UPDATE
Kate McKinnon’s epic return as a disgruntled Russian woman discussing the upcoming Sochi Olympics was chock-full of classic one-liners (“I have been to Sochi one time, it was to throw myself into the sea, but I could not do it because the line was too long!”). Look away, Vladimir Putin, look away!
HONORABLE MENTION: COUPLES QUIZ
Taking full advantage of Hill’s prowess at milking humiliated facial expressions, this admittedly one-note skit was fueled almost entirely via juvenile (is there any other kind?) bathroom humor. As Kenan Thompson’s host interrogated each contestant to find which one clogged a backstage bathroom — “Who did this? Nobody? Somebody did it!” – all eyes ended up on Hill. Best (or perhaps some might say worst) line: “Honey, did you go on top of the clog?”
WORST: SWEETLAND RANCH
With Jonah Hill stroking a fake horse head and working a particularly hideous wig, this going-nowhere-fast sketch felt like the kick to the stomach (not to mention the headbutt) that the fake horse dished out mid-sketch. And the pointless lampooning of a classic Joni Mitchell song was pure sacrilege!
WORST: ADAM GROSSMAN
Hill’s eagerly expected (and anticipated) return as the wisecracking 6-year-old Adam Grossman fell curiously flat, and while it probably wasn’t the worst skit of the night, its dearth of laughs made it the most disappointing.