Chris Pratt Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Saturday Night Live Pratt

We count him among the Guardians of the Galaxy (and as the nation’s newest box-office titan, to boot), but is Chris Pratt a master of the sketch-comedy format?

It’s not the easiest question to answer, honestly. The Parks and Recreation funnyman’s maiden voyage as host of Saturday Night Live (for the show’s Season 40 premiere) got off to a rocky start in the writing department — with a thuddingly unfunny cold open about the NFL’s domestic-violence crisis and then a monologue built around a barely amusing acoustic ditty and weak jokes such as Pratt noting his weight-loss plan was the “‘Hey, fat-ass, get into shape so you can be in my movie!’ diet.”

RELATED Saturday Night Live‘s New Weekend Update Team: Grade ‘Em!

The show perked up toward the midway point, however, with a fairly clever pre-taped piece about Marvel’s ability to turn even the lamest story into box-office gold — as well as a “Weekend Update” that went 3-for-3 in the commentator category (even if co-host Colin Jost continues to exhibit all the pizazz and energy of damp cardboard).

Below, my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches. (Also, side note: Was anybody in America asking for an encore of the “Animal Hospital” sketch? I didn’t think so.)

RELATED Saturday Night Live‘s Cecily Strong Addresses Weekend Update Exit: ‘I’m Genuinely Happy About It’

BEST: Pete Davidson’s Musings on “What Young Guys Would Do for $1 Million”
Brand new featured player Pete Davidson made his first SNL appearance a very memorable one, killing it with a “Weekend Update” riff on high-school and twentysomething fellas throwing out the question, “How much money would you go down on a guy for?” Davidson’s pragmatic approach — twice a year is totally OK: once for an awesome summer, the other time to help fund the family’s holiday season — had me howling. And his bottom line — “If you won’t go down on a guy for $1 million, you don’t care about your family” — was punctuated with a wry smile that I hope we’ll see plenty more of in the weeks to come.

BEST: Leslie Jones’ “Single Ladies” Monologue
Jones may not yet be in the opening credits, but her second appearance as Weekend Update’s relationship expert did not represent a sophomore slump. What began as an ode to living solo — “if you’ve got ION channel, [The Ghost Whisperer] is always on” — got darker and more manic with each passing second. By the times Jones hollered out a list of prospective questions for interested suitors — “Do you have any kids? THE BABY ON THE WAY COUNTS AS A KID!” — I wondered how “Weekend Update” would look with her in Jost’s chair. (Was that just me?)

BEST: Bar Flirtation
Sure, it was infantile in spots, but Bryant and Pratt spitting nasty hip-hop-inspired lyrics at each other as a form of ice-breaking seduction was pretty solid. Pratt killed it in particular as his character came to grips with demanding Bryant “Drop that ass low and shut the hell up” — and then inviting her to get freaky and (!) smoke some crack.

WORST: Old-School Sitcom
I’ve enjoyed some of Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s previous digital shorts, but this one — a stilted spoof of ’80s family comedies (and their obvious “life lessons”) — raised a scary question: The show’s cast and writers have been off for almost four months, and this was the freshest idea they had?

WORST: “NFL in Crisis”
One of the more dismal cold opens in recent SNL history found Aidy Bryant as newscaster Candy Crowley interviewing Jay Pharoah’s Shannon Sharpe and Kenan Thompson’s Ray Lewis about pro football’s domestic violence crisis. And while I understood the intent that there’d be something funny about the NFL’s mouthpieces completely avoiding Crowley’s questions, not a single punch line actually landed. Thompson’s extended shtick about a child getting onto a bus was particularly interminable. Didn’t anybody on the show’s staff raise a hand and ask, “Is this really the best way to start a new season?” Uff da.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Pratt as a host? What was your favorite sketch? Take our 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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91 Comments
  1. Tom says:

    Um……………………..Bar Flirtation amongst the best? Really? Why not replace it with the return of The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, because that was scores funnier than any of the sketches. This was a very poor opening to the season. Here’s hoping They can do something better with Sarah Silverman.

  2. Toia says:

    Leslie Jones needs to be utilized more as well as that new new guy Pete that was on the weekend update. They where the high points on a rather disappointing show. It felt like this was a plan B show and all there A material fell through at the last minute. Also there second attempt at a NFL dig was much better with the player announcing their crimes instead of their colleges that should have been before WI instead of after.

  3. B.P. says:

    Am I the only one that hates Kyle Mooney’s digital shorts?!?

  4. mabell says:

    Like you, I can’t wait to see more of Pete Davidson. This guy has potential! I hope they use him more than they tend to do with the rookies. Lighten up on Colin, he’s a cutie. I think he and Che will make a good team when they get into their stride.

  5. HTGR says:

    Wow, Ariana Grande was terrible! I thought she was supposed to be a modern day pop star. But she kept singing well and, of all things, she even actually sang live for real! What was she thinking???? Gosh, she must be so embarrassed after that train wreck. Her voice sounded really good, she pretty much kept in tune, she sang live, and she hopes to be a modern day pop star?? Just awful.

    • eddie says:

      you’re funny.

    • Ricky Lee Jones says:

      I enjoyed her. And she is the modern day pop star so if I were you, I go to Vevo and avoid TV

    • GuessWhat says:

      I agree — I never heard her sing before — but then I realized by her appearance that she doesn’t really sing after all. There was lots of blahblahblah slurred together but incoherent sounds coming out of her mouth. But not words. WOW. Awful. It’s sad to me that you get these manufactured stars now — their backers keep them fit and style them up — and try to distract you with a “look” so you don’t realize there is no real musical talent there. But guess what, I am on to you. I can see through that facade.

    • Actually, she overused the backup track in the first song in an attempt to hide the weaknesses in her voice. She isn’t terrible but I’m not a fan.

    • Carrie says:

      Her performances were mediocre at best. I couldn’t understand what she was singing about and she looked like a 13 year-old girl dancing around at a sleepover. It was strange and uninspired. What was with the cat ear headband and this new thing where female pop stars don’t wear pants or actual skirts anymore?

  6. HTGR says:

    But as for the SNL itself. Pretty rough start for an opening episode where you had the entire summer to prepare.

    The 80s sitcom thing was OK, the second NFL bit had some funny stuff and some of the stuff during the news update wasn’t bad (I wasn’t so crazy about the what would a guy do for $1 mil thing part of it as rated above though), but the rest….

    They need to use Kate McKinnon a lot more. And with her Russian girl thing that works so hysterically well and what with all the news going on over there these days…. what were they thinking??

    I kinda thought Ariana Grande ended up being the only really bright light.

  7. The Truth says:

    Michael Che was horrible. They should have just let Colin Jost be the actor himself or kept did the way it was. Why isn’t Leslie Jones apart of the cast? I don’t know why they hired the other girl instead of her. She funny as heck

  8. Jared Munson says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get the love for Pete Davidson? He’s not funny. His stand-up isn’t funny either.

  9. livetwice says:

    Cannot stand Leslie Jones and Pete Davidson was just as bad.

  10. livetwice says:

    Can’t stand Leslie Jones and Pete Davidson is awful as well.
    Two fast forwards for me.

  11. Maria says:

    I’m genuinely surprised by the low rating in the poll. I thought this episode was hilarious, particularly the Toy sketch

    • Joel says:

      I’m with you. I don’t get all the hate. I laughed more last night than I have at an episode of SNL in a long time. There were definitely some bad parts, but there are always going to be bad parts. (Please Skurder the pet sketch. Get it? Skit Murder? Skurder? ugh.) But The He-Man sketch, The Cialis commercial, The Marvel sketch, The neighbor sketch. I thought they were all gold. And I’m starting to love Aidy Bryant.

      • Maria says:

        I’m a huge Aidy Bryant fan. When she first started, I was on the fence about her, but there is something so likable about her. Pam was hilarious!

        I would agree with the article citing the worst part being the 90s Sitcom – just wasn’t funny. and I agree with you about Skurder, didn’t quite get there for me.

        Taran Killan in the He-Man sketch had me crying with laughter!

  12. on hleda says:

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    Použijte proto seznamovací služƄy a získejte to, co
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    vy.

  13. Faye says:

    Writing…writing…writing.. so much of it is just pathetically not funny.
    And please show Colin Jost the exit door

  14. Lopez says:

    One of them worst SNL episodes ever. The writers, along with Lorne Michaels, shoul be fired immediately. They had all summer long to prepare and they came up with this crap?

  15. BFB says:

    No tribute to announcer Don Pardo, who died earlier this year? Shameful. The only “tribute” I saw was a still of him at a mic, as the show went to (or back from) a commercial. He was an institution at SNL, and deserved an “In Memoriam” segment.

  16. Briana says:

    I love that you said “uff da.” My Minnesotan/Scandinavian heart is warmed :)

  17. Jess says:

    No mention of the toy sketch?Taram Killam as Lion-O was awesome!

  18. Mont says:

    With due respect to the opinions of others, if you don’t get Kyle Mooney and the Good Neighbor team, you’re super lame. They’re the new era of comedy. The sitcom sketch was perfection on the season premiere. Intentionally dry, poking fun at 80’s/90’s sitcoms in all the right places. I mean, the kid had a gun! He flashed it to get his friend to steal a ball! The transitional cut-aways to random places (a castle – lol), the sitcom-omnipresent leather-wearing tough kids, the cliche peer pressure plot… Ok, you catch my drift. This sketch and Pete Davidson were the best moments of the night for me. There’s hope for SNL after all.

    • Jules says:

      I totally agree. The 80s/90s sitcom sketch had my husband and I tearing up we were laughing so hard. Maybe it’s a generational thing.

    • ES says:

      I’m with you, I thought it was good. It shouldn’t be done every week or anything but it was a great send-up of those shows.
      And saying they had “all summer”? All of these ppl just came from other jobs for the most part so I think we need to stop this belief that SNL cast members sit around all summer thinking of ideas because frankly they are busy doing other things and still only come together one week before.

    • JLK says:

      Agreed. The thing that made me laugh hardest was the kids running off after being caught with the ball. Kyle’s just standing there in the hallway looking bored, waiting for his cue and one kid didn’t bother with the door at all. Yep, you just run through the 4th wall there. Too funny.

    • HTGR says:

      agreed, that was the best sketch of the night

    • J says:

      Yep, easily my favorite segment of the episode. Good stuff. It sort of reminded me of Tim and Eric without biting too hard from that style. The people complaining about it are cranky old farts and this stuff goes way over their heads.

  19. Ralph says:

    Chris Pratt….A+ The writing still a solid D. Come on guys, really!!!!

  20. Sally Rebecca says:

    It was the worse ever, not on the mark. Where was the good satire? The new cast wasn’t ready for the big time. Writing was subpar. What a disappointment!

  21. Patrick says:

    I liked the second NFL bit. The player introductions were funny, but it was a bit too edgy/insensitive for the cold open. I like the episode over al. Che was a little skittish about being live, but it has potential.

  22. Joey Padron says:

    Marvels spoof, Weekend Update, and video game research were ones I liked the most. Leslie Jones stole the show on Weekend Update. Pete’s segment on Update was funny. There were a few funny sketches & couple of bad ones. Hopefully next episode will be better.

  23. Matt says:

    While they could have done better with the opening sketch. I would advise you to watch the actual Ray Lewis on ESPN this Sunday morning to understand the bus joke. The gag wasnt that NFL analysts avoid answering questions, it was that Ray Lewis never makes any sense.

  24. Tran says:

    I give the Season 40 premiere of SNL with Chris Pratt a B. I think Pete Davidson is going to be a breakout star on SNL ’cause he’s 20-years-old. The new Update team of Jost & Che looks OK with me but this wasn’t the premiere that a few sketches weren’t strong enough and I’m still sad about Cecily Strong being removed from her Update co-anchor job but at least The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party makes a triumphant return on Update. Don’t know how Sarah Silverman would fare next week and I can’t wait for Bill Hader’s return in 13 days.

  25. GuessWhat says:

    Who gave this an A?
    OMG it was awful. D+ at best.

  26. Saabgirlatx says:

    Have to agree with others-I laughed more at this episode than I had in a while watching SNL. The second NFL sketch was laugh out loud as was the bar sketch. Still missing Cecily on Weekend Update but glad to see her as a guest. Jost just looks zoned out reading the TelePrompTer. Che shows lots of promise, but give him some eye drops-his eyes were very glassy/distracting for close-ups.

  27. Sarabi says:

    I agree with your rating of the sketches, and I gave this episode a D. It could have been A LOT better, especially with Chris Pratt guest hosting! Pete Davidson was the only upside!

  28. Jennifer says:

    Am I the only one who feels like there are fewer and fewer actual live sketches?

  29. Steve Ungrey says:

    I’ll take an NFL cold open over a tired political opener that makes fun of Republicans every week. (Equal time, guys… although some of those Weekend Update Obama jokes were pretty damn funny.)

    Oh, and Don Pardo merited just a five-second title card?

  30. KND says:

    I blame the writing not Chris Pratt here.

  31. alexahoyle says:

    Pete Davidson just oozed confidence and charisma right from the start. This kids going to be a star, I can see it now.

    Also that Bennett/Mooney sketch was pure gold. Their sketches are always so absurd and I can’t help but enjoy the hell out of ’em. Why was Mooney wearing a toolbelt the whole time? What the hell was up with Bennett’s hair? What WAS that shot of a castle? Who knows! But it was great.

  32. Moriah Eisenhower says:

    I love Chris Pratt and obviously he has the potential to be screamingly funny but he wasn’t given much to work with. Weekend Update and the Marvel bit were the only times I laughed out loud.

  33. Vic says:

    Where was Amy Poehler ??

  34. Fabe says:

    How is there no mention of the puzzle video game sketch? I was dying. “We can’t, I’m married!” Upping the ante on the game play and storytelling, just genius! Vanessa Bayer is such a treat.

  35. Kari says:

    Wow. I was so disappointed with this premiere. Writers need to be fired. Do love the new guy Pete Davidson What young guys would do for a million. Pretty funny. But don’t like the anchors. Need some changes there. The sitcom parody with the 3 guys was so horrible. Who thinks this is funny? I just don’t get it.

  36. Ann V. says:

    It was not great. Was there something weird about the teleprompters? The cast could barely get their lines out.

  37. Sooo disappointed with this years opener. After hearing all the big changes and new writers i thought maybe a step in the right direction. Not al all, worse than last year. I hope it gets better with Silverman.Jokes are too crude and not funny at all. I hope it gets better or i will not be a viewer much longer. I have been with this show for 37 yrs.

  38. christopher bee says:

    Smiled two times, that´s all. Man this episode was boring.

  39. Zoe says:

    I was disappointed to see Che replacing Cecily instead of Jost. I thought Cecily had been doing alright as co-Anchor. Jost is the problem. (Also, just put Leslie Jones on the cast. Officially. She’s got more energy than I’ve seen on the show in a while.)

    And they underused Kate McKinnon, which always makes for a sub-par show. And Cecily’s “girl you wish etc” bit was actually kind of stale, but maybe it’s because she’s out of practice? Should’ve been Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle instead. Give Cecily some time to get her groove back.

    Also, the second NFL sketch was a Key & Peele rip-off. That is all.

  40. Jooshua says:

    That’s totally Chandler & Joey’s kitchen in the ‘Old School Sitcom’ skit.

  41. SAMMY says:

    LORNE: Have you considered hiring any new actors that can READ A SCRIPT?

  42. Ann says:

    The highlight of Weekend Update was definitely the times with Jost and Che weren’t talking…and that’s a shame. Jost needs to go back to the writer’s desk, away from the camera. I’ll give Michael Che a shot at this though. He seemed a little stiff but I’ll give him some time to grow into it. But if these Weekend Update anchors don’t improve, I hope they get replaced.

  43. DavidSask says:

    Pete was the best and hopefully will save SNL this year, the rest of show was crap no surprise! STOP TRYING TO MAKE ARIANA HAPPEN!

  44. The writing was really weak in this episode. It’s a shame, because Chris Pratt would have done great with some better material. Hopefully, they have him back as host when they’ve got some funnier material.

  45. Jonathan says:

    I’m a little stunned, Michael. I thought Pete Davidson’s bit was so awful I’m about ready to drop this show for good. That and the insipid criticism’s of Obama made me think they’ve really swung to the right on this show, or at least they’re aiming it toward ignorant teenage boys. The “old-school sitcom” video was weird enough that it felt like it was from a different show entirely, but in this case that’s a good thing.

  46. torimelching says:

    Couldn’t believe how bad it was. I don’t watch every episode only hosts I like. But this was terrible.

  47. E says:

    Leslie Jones needs to be a regular. She was the funniest thing about SNL this week. The Old Sitcom was awful. Still don’t like Colin on WE and was not impressed with Michael Che either…

  48. Bill says:

    Sitcom sketch was hilarious. You’re a big time turd.

  49. Paul Eckert says:

    Right now, it’s the optimal time to seek financial advice in a family finance commuter marriage,” You welcome! Debt tends to be, well, since they bought this one regarding catalogue and online purchases.

  50. Emg says:

    get rid of colin joost