Bill Hader Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

SNL Hader Wiig

This week’s installment of Saturday Night Live with host Bill Hader had the potential to go one of two ways.

On the optimistic side of the equation, what better choice of emcee than a beloved, eight-season vet of the show, a guy who certainly wouldn’t have any issues with the on-the-fly workings of Studio 8H?

Nevertheless, with SNL presenting its third fresh installment in a three-week period, the question loomed, would the show’s inconsistent writing staff have enough time to create memorable setups and zingers?

Thankfully, this was an instance where — despite a deplorably unfunny cold open and an opening musical monologue dubiously hijacked by Kristen Wiig and Harvey Fierstein — the majority of sketches proved solid, or at least not uninteresting. Heck, that closing scene with Cat in The Hat as the mom’s ex-lover may not have been perfectly conceived, but at least it spared us yet another turgid game-show parody, right?

Below, my picks for Best and Worst Sketches:

BEST: HERB WELCH
Hader served up his crotchety (and recurring) “WPDX News” reporter with a deliciously acidic dressing — randomly hurtling grampy-grumpy doozies at Taran Killam’s hapless anchor like, “I know you’re smooth down there!” and “Why didn’t your wife take your last name?” I laughed from start to finish, even if newbie Pete Davidson was essentially wasted as Hader’s straight man.

BEST: PUPPETRY CLASS
I almost awarded a “Best of the Night” to that viciously funny bit with Hader asking for famine aid of “39 cents a day” — and impoverished recipients demanding he start his plea at a higher number and railing against his inability to identify their location any more specifically than “Africa.” (Side note: How is Leslie Jones not yet a full-fledged repertory player?) But another of Hader’s returning characters, war-vet puppeteer Anthony Peter Coleman of “Operation Urgent Fury,” dropped too many dark and horrifying anecdotes — “Here’s a joke… God!” — to not take home top honors. Actually, would an “Urgent Fury” summer action-comedy be such a bad thing?

HONORABLE MENTION: STEFON ON “WEEKEND UPDATE”
I’ll say nothing about the thrill of Stefon on my screen, other than to repeat the following ingenious monologue: “If you’re some dumb folks looking to get murdered, I know just the place for you: New New York’s hottest club is ‘Jan’s New Backpack.’ Discovered by a lackluster gay realtor name Anthony, who’s late for every viewing, this Park Slope slop-bucket gives new meaning to the question, ‘Is that the little woman who played the principal in Kindergarten Cop?'” (And if that quote doesn’t at least make you grin, it’s possibly our senses of humor are completely divergent.)

WORST: KIM JONG-UN
Poor Bobby Moynihan — completely underutilized for most of Season 40, then stuck with the thankless task of headlining the week’s opening sketch about North Korea’s “supreme leader” being absent from public view due to gout and diabetes. This one was about as enjoyable as a pair of broken ankles — without any prognosis for recovery.

WORST: “Inside SoCal”
Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s digital shorts aren’t everyone’s taste — though admittedly, there are instances I find them uproarious. This revisited setup about San Diego kids aimlessly drifting through a public-access haze, however, felt more like two actual deadbeats who stumbled their way onto a TV set rather than a couple of actors mining laughs from two fictional deadbeats who stumbled their way onto the television — if that makes any sense.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Hader 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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

43 Comments
  1. TV Gord says:

    Here’s a synopsis of my Facebook posts tonight. I’m surprised how much they differ from this article (I say with respect):

    Bobby Moynihan’s making me chuckle in the SNL cold open. (A chuckle is a rave review in recent seasons.)

    Darrell Hammond is a great Darrell Hammond, but he’s no Don Pardo.

    The first sketch has Bill Hader doing Herb Welch…D-UHgain!!! Doing nothing new, just rehashing the same sketch they’ve done too many times before (one of the biggest problems with SNL).

    BREAKING: Jim Carrey is hosting SNL for the third time on October 25th. I really liked him at the start of his career, but now? I’m glad I’ve got other plans that night (I should be able to FF through Saturday Night Recorded in less than half the time).

    A Hollywood Game Night parody is funny (not laugh-out loud funny; smile funny) with some excellent celebrity impersonations.

    HelpFund tape piece is dead on! (God, I hate that guy in the real PSA/commerical!) Love this one!

    A nice tribute to Jan Hooks! (If they did this for her, though, where was the appropriate tribute to Don Pardo tribute two weeks ago?)

    I laughed at the puppet sketch (against my better judgment). Just the right amount of uncomfortableness that I’ve always loved from SNL.

  2. TV Gord says:

    Here’s a synopsis of my Facebook posts tonight. I’m surprised how much they differ from this article (I say with respect):

    Bobby Moynihan’s making me chuckle in the SNL cold open. (A chuckle is a rave review in recent seasons.)

    Darrell Hammond is a great Darrell Hammond, but he’s no Don Pardo.

    The first sketch has Bill Hader doing Herb Welch…D-UHgain!!! Doing nothing new, just rehashing the same sketch they’ve done too many times before (one of the biggest problems with SNL).

    BREAKING: Jim Carrey is hosting SNL for the third time on October 25th. I really liked him at the start of his career, but now? I’m glad I’ve got other plans that night (I should be able to FF through Saturday Night Recorded in less than half the time).

    A Hollywood Game Night parody is funny (not laugh-out loud funny; smile funny) with some excellent celebrity impersonations.

    HelpFund tape piece is dead on! (God, I hate that guy in the real PSA/commerical!) Love this one!

    A nice tribute to Jan Hooks! (If they did this for her, though, where was the appropriate tribute to Don Pardo tribute two weeks ago?)

    I laughed at the puppet sketch (against my better judgment). Just the right amount of uncomfortableness that I’ve always loved from SNL.

    I enjoyed the Cat In The Hat sketch, though I think many will say that’s what’s wrong with this show. Personally, I think they ended on a high note.

    Post-script: I was on the phone for the first part of Weekend Update, so I’m just watching it now. Solid jokes, Che is getting better, and Jost still looks like a deer in the headlights. Pete Davidson was funny for two shows in a row.

    Overall, I give it a solid B.

    • TV Gord says:

      By the way, I thought the Africa PSA plea was going to end with them revealing that they were actually in Detroit. I haven’t decided yet whether that was a missed opportunity or a rare of them not going for the obvious joke. ;-)

    • Cori says:

      I thought the same thing about Don Pardo.

    • Jake says:

      They gave Don Pardo a place card tribute going to commercial in the premiere. It would have been hard to do something similar to Jan as he wasn’t really in sketches, just occasionally the monologue

      • TD says:

        Pardo had decades of sketch announcements. It would have been very easy to put together a minute or two tribute.

        • TV Gord says:

          Yes, and he appeared on camera a few times during his almost-four-decades with the show! I saw the card tribute, and I was happy with it at the time, since that’s all they’ve done in recent years for other deaths. It’s just that when they do a small acknowledgement for some and a larger one for others, it starts to seem like the applause for some and not for others in those In Memoriam segments on awards shows.

  3. B.P. says:

    I don’t know what kind of hold over Beck, Kyle has, but please don’t credit Beck with the terrible sketches Kyle creates. Beck is hilarious, Kyle is not.

    After seeing both Hader and Wig in the monologue, I’m just glad there wasn’t a Californians sketch.

    And Pete Davidson is amazing, the guy can turn anything into Gold.

  4. Cori says:

    I agree with the choices for worst. Stefon was the highlight for me, but I loved the whole episode with the exception of those two skits. Even Hozier was wonderful. The Jan Hooks tribute was so beautiful it gave me chills. That was a perfect skit choice.

  5. Et al says:

    Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney ruin everything they touch.

    • Cori says:

      I’m that rare person who finds them hilarious. But the skit tonight was painful even for me.

      • Mike R. says:

        They’re hit and miss for me, last weeks bit with Silverman I actually thought was pretty funny, but I hated this weeks. And I hated their bit in the premiere, I just don’t think we need a bit with them every week.

      • TV Gord says:

        I thought that was kind of amusing, actually. It reminded me of being in college when we thought we were funny, but we really weren’t. I think that’s what they were going for.

      • BP says:

        Their ONLY good sketch was the beer pong sketch… But even that.. Fell flat on the end (which I guess is their signature)

    • Kenbud says:

      Beck Bennett was HILARIOUS as Nick Offerman …

  6. Andy J says:

    The Jan Hooks tribute was classy and touching; “Love Is A Dream” really showed her at her most beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes that Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman are gone far too soon.

  7. BP says:

    Side note… Sasheer should ALWAYS wear a wig… She’s a 10 when she wears a wig

  8. Cassandra says:

    Tony the Puppet is probably my favorite skit from the last decade, so his return was the highlight of the episode for me. My other favs were the Hollywood Game Night, which with some tweaking could be there new Celebrity Jeopardy, and Bill Hader as some asexual version of Effie Trinket made me enjoy The Group Hopper promo.

  9. Tom says:

    Stefon was hilarious, and I LOVED The ending of the Cat in the Hat Sketch. Kate McKinnon was great as Jane Lynch as she always is

  10. Beck Bennett’s Nick Offerman impression is worthy of mention, so here you go. Jay Pharoah’s usually dependable impressions made his Morgan Freeman pretty disappointing, though.

  11. Joey Padron says:

    Episode was good and funny. There were couple of good sketches and a few okay ones. Glad Bill got to reprise some of his characters. It was good to see Kristen Wiig on the show again.

  12. PJ says:

    Gah! No Vincent Price Halloween Special? I’m out…

  13. Ron says:

    I thought it was the best episode this season–though that isn’t hard to do. Bill is pretty great in my book, so I was pleased. But aside from the sketches, I’ve been following Hozier for awhile now, and I’m glad he’s really starting to blow up. He’s easily in my top 5 artists of the past decade. He deserves to be known and recognized by everyone for his musical genius and phenomenal song writing abilities.

  14. Bartleby says:

    Herb is Hader’s worst character, by far. I can’t figure out what would have made you laugh from that sketch.

  15. jeanette says:

    Loved loved loved Hozier

  16. michael says:

    The movie preview parody was very funny. Hollywood game night wasn’t so bad either.

  17. cjeffery7 says:

    Inside SoCal was probably the first time I didn’t immediately change the channel during one of their shorts. I saw a faint glimmer of hope this style they’ve decided to keep trying might work. I can’t help but feel like however, that not only is the concept of 90s deadbeats outdated (if they want to attract a younger crowd for the ratings, though good luck getting them to come home from the bar), but also that Beck Bennett is actually TERRIBLE in them. Kyle Mooney plays the doofy braindead guy with a level of innocence that is THIS CLOSE to being endearing (its gonna take some more work), but Beck Bennett’s monotone jock just comes off as trying too hard. He gives off more of a monotone pretentious type rather than deadbeat, a la Seth McFarlane. He’d like you to think he’s an idiot, but he has trouble hiding his more intelligent/pretentious side.

  18. TD says:

    No one mentioned that, thankfully, Kenan Thompson was almost nowhere to be seen this week (except in the filmed 39 cents sketch).

    • notacareintheworld says:

      You’re totally right! I didn’t event notice it. I think his voice was in the puppet sketch as the war buddy that [SPOILER] “blew up”.

      If only there could be less of him, Kyle and Beck on a weekly basis…

    • Wayne says:

      With Bill on, I was secretly hoping for a What’s Up With That sketch with Bill reprising Lindsay Buckingham who doesn’t get to speak because Kenan’s host character always runs long on time. That sketch has run its course with Bill’s Lindsay, Armisen’s sax player, and Jason’s exercise guy all gone. Kenan is the senior member of the cast now at 11 years so he probably won’t be around much longer anyway.

  19. Tran says:

    I give the Bill Hader episode of SNL an A. So happy to see Stefon back.

  20. DarkDefender says:

    First great overall episode in a long time. The Stefon bit was hilarious. It looked like Hader asked to not see the writing ahead of time or they added stuff. He’s never broken character that often while doing his bit.

  21. IMHO says:

    Loved Stefon ! He is hilarious.

  22. cyclone says:

    I found the show overall to be funny which isn’t a stretch when you bring back a former (recent) regular and have him bust out all his old characters.

    They used the new kid Pete Davidson a lot in sketches this week and he’s okay but his self performance on Weekend Update is terrible. Speaking of Weekend Update Jost and Che are the dullest, monotone speaking duo and have no chemistry whatsoever.

    The same can be said for the “keepers” from last years class Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney. I thought Beck Bennett’s boss baby character from last was hit or miss depending on the host but he plays those straight laced news anchor types (hey maybe he should take over Update) in sketches or Masterpiece theater-esque MC. I don’t like Kyle Mooney funny at all and he has such an odd look that he sticks out in a lot of sketches. Also the digital shorts are not funny.

  23. Ann VerWiebe says:

    Hozier was great, too!