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

SNL Chris Rock

Comedy may be tragedy plus time, as the old saying goes — but you’d better be mighty sure your punch lines are on point if you’re going to try to mine laughs from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, fear of repeat terrorist attacks at One World Trade Center, the current Ebola outbreak and the growing threat of ISIS.

That was a hard-learned lesson during this week’s Saturday Night Live, which found host Chris Rock sputtering through a mostly dismal monologue and several bleak sketches — none of which rose to the heights of last week’s frothy, funny Jim Carrey installment. (At least we had Prince as a musical guest, though, right?)

Below, my picks for best and worst sketches. Check ’em out, then grade the episode in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments!

BEST: SWIFTAMINE
Finally, a pill that helps adults navigate the internal battle where “Your frontal lobe says, ‘Uff. Taylor Swift. She’s always, like, wearing a 1950s bathing suit.’ But your ears say, ‘Shut up this is a perfect song.'” Beck Bennett was flawless as infomercial narrator “Dr. David Doctor,” while Leslie Jones in the “Shake It Off” ballerina costume provided the perfect last-second upgrade.

BEST: HOW’S HE DOING?
Not the funniest-ever rendition of this recurring talk show in which African-Americans discuss Barack Obama’s presidency, but the extended riff on what the panel might do if Sasha and Malia publicly disrespected their father had me howling. Moral of the story: You can never go wrong with a Scandal reference.

WORST: OPENING MONOLOGUE
I’ll admit, I chuckled at the line about how economists annually come onto our TV sets and bemoan how horribly “Jesus’ birthday season” was. But seeing how standup is what Rock does best, the overall performance felt stunningly subpar. The lack of audience reaction spoke volumes about the host’s tepid jokes about women’s “ti–ies” bleeding during cold-weather races, the new WTC tower being sponsored by Target, and the inevitability of 9/11 sales becoming an effective future marketing tool.


WORST: EBOLA COLD OPEN

This yucks-free bit continued Season 40’s trend of getting the show off on the wrong foot. Cecily Strong’s Megyn Kelly impersonation lacked any real specificity, while Kate McKinnon and the underutilized Bobby Moynihan never got to fully let loose as “Ebola nurse” Kaci Hickox and New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Rock 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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122 Comments
  1. ceymiss1 says:

    how come the husban-wife anniversary skit not make it onto the worst list? it was so boring…

    • Alichat says:

      And there was that moment where she seemed to either lose where the camera or cue cards were and waved someone off before continuing. Very weird.

      • Shazay says:

        How awkward was that?? She walked off set, everything went quiet with dead air for a long moment, and she came back again and they fumbled their lines. Weird indeed. She’s newer, so I’ll cut her some slack.

        • Dude says:

          It felt like that was the trend all night. I swear every sketch felt like it had just been written five minutes before and no one was confidant about their lines. They all seemed very nervous and unprepared. Leslie totally losing it mid sketch just confirmed that this was a really haphazardly put together show.

          • rowan77 says:

            Considering how bad this particular show was, I’m betting there was a lot of last minute rewriting between dress and going live. I usually find a few sketches funny, even on a really bad night, but I just didn’t do more than the occasional chuckle. Weekend Update has been my go-to segment for laughs since forever, but this season it’s just not gelling comedically. Not yet at any rate.

          • TD says:

            This is always the case and somewhat true. My understanding is that skits are often revised after the dress rehearsal, which is one reason why there is such a dependence on cue cards (and often very rough edges in the performances, let alone the skit itself).

          • Sanford Schimel says:

            But I have to say I’ve never seen anything like it on SNL. I can’t imagine Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Taran Killem, or any of the many fabulous performers stopping a skit cold. In 40 years on the air, there had to have been other instances, many perhaps, where the cue cards failed or people forgot lines but unless you saw the dress, you’d never know it. People who did Second City or The Groundlings are so good at improve that they covered all the mistakes. But a minute of dead air while people stared blankly and someone walking off the set and reentering is pretty egregious. I’m curious to see if there’s any fall out from it.

      • cashclowncollegeprofessor says:

        Yea there seemed to be fumbled lines all night. A couple is fine because it makes it feel more “live” but too many and it becomes distracting and you end up feeling bad for the performers which is not conducive to laughs. Michael Che had some trouble with that update joke, but his “Prince, everybody!” joke was a fun way to laugh at himself. But that husband and wife sketch just was out of tune the whole time. There are funny people on the show, hopefully they just need some more reps to find their stride.

    • D. Perkins says:

      because it was soooooo boring that it was entirely forgotten about, AND it didn’t even make sense

    • Michael says:

      Yes, yes, yes! I was about to type the same thing! It was by far the worst sketch so far this season, maybe this decade. I think there were some cue-card mishaps, obviously punch line errors by all actors except Bobby, but the sketch on the whole just didn’t make sense and of course, it wasn’t funny. It didn’t hook me or bring me in and once I was paying attention, I said out loud to myself, “what is this supposed to be about?” Is it making fun of Uber or a cheap husband, what? Thoughts?

      • Jennifer W. says:

        There were a lot of Uber jokes last night, weren’t there? I thought the 90’s workplace diversity tolerance skit was at the bottom of the barrel. I’m not really sure how they managed to have Chris Rock on and not make that skit the funniest dang thing of the night. They ruined it. Tell me there is anything worse than that skit.

  2. SNL no says:

    This was an episode I was looking forward too….. This episode made Colin Jost as the star… Pete Davidson is starting to be over used… And where is Jebidiah Atkinson…Chris Rock was awful… I never want watch that disaster again

  3. androme3 says:

    I’m pretty inclined to say that all of this week’s sketches were really bad. The one with the Uber car was so damn cringing, with Lesie Jones’ looking around the set at different camera’s and Sasheer Zamata’s one line about actually wanting her parent to just divorce was just painful.
    I expected a lot from this show, but I left wanting a whole lot less.
    At least Prince was really amazing.

    • Patrick says:

      I can see why Leslie Jones was a writer. Her stand up ish bits can be good. But her acting ability is non existent. She doesn’t react well, can’t remember her lines or where to come in at, nor where the camera is. She’s funny as a stand up, or in a pre recorded bit. But unless she’s falling back to angry black female, she needs to be sparingly used in live skits.
      .
      Shasheer has star potential though. She is rapidly improving.
      .
      That early bit about her web cam dancing was hilarious. Rock sort of killed it though.

      • Dude says:

        Shasheer is not improving at all. She is horrible.

      • Jennifer W. says:

        Darling, Rock messing with the camera was the only funny bit of the skit, along with Kyle Mooney’s character. It was still a lousy skit all around. You must have a crush on Sasheer, because from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t think the girl would know funny if it tickled her feet. I can’t think of one funny thing she’s done. Sorry. I think they still need to unload a few cast members before they can revive the show.

  4. Rook says:

    Yeah, it was bad. I ended up fastforwarding though most of the episode.

  5. B says:

    The uber car married couple was definitely the worst sketch of the night. Did Leslie Jones forget her lines? It was just awkward and unfunny from beginning to end. Prince was definitely the highlight, absolutely fantastic!

  6. Cassandra says:

    I actually enjoyed most of the monologue and am surprised that the dancing vlog skit didn’t get a mention. I thought it was pretty good. The back half of the show was such a waste of time.

  7. Carl says:

    Tonight’s SNL has got to be one of the worst episodes I’ve ever seen in my life. From the usually good Weekend Update to the horrific sketches (ISIS/Sharktank and Uber) to the loooooong, performance by Prince…..just one after another abortion after another. Holy crap…..

    • Mary says:

      I agree on Prince. His song choice was way to long! He would have been better off doing two shorter separate ones. The highlight for me was his glasses.

    • RMD says:

      Did they get the writers from the day labor pool at home Depot? I’ve been watching snl since the beginning, and this was the worse on ever

      • D. Perkins says:

        Amen to all that ! #worstoneever

      • alex says:

        i too have been watching forever..last year was as bad as it got…or so i thought…this year is absolutey unwatchable…it looks more like a badly produced show from the wb…no spark at all…where is the political satire, the current events comedy skits that made the show funny…liberal=boringgggggg…it has finally jumped the shark…what a shame

        • Jennifer W. says:

          There was an interview done with Jim Downey after he left the show that’s right in line with what you said. Google it. I’ve had the same thoughts myself. When you lose the ability to make fun of everyone despite popular opinion, you’re done. It is a cotton candy coated playground for political humor right now, and they barely touch on it. What a comedic crime. I really miss Jim Downey.

        • Babygate says:

          Political satire is only fun if you dislike the incumbent.

  8. Pete says:

    I would have to say that this was a lazy show…… No flow no creativity no laughs, very sad. Used easy subjects that didn’t even hit the mark. At least Prince had glasses over 6th chakra, because it must of felt like a migraine that ended.

  9. cuius says:

    Thanks everybody – just downloaded it – sent it unopened straight to trash

  10. Teddy Riley says:

    I love Chris Rock, but that whole show may have been the worst SNL I’ve ever seen. Not one funny skit

  11. Bob says:

    I can’t remember where the musical guest only performed only one song. What’s with Prince with only one? And did he show up for the group finale? I sure didn’t spot him up there.

    • Mark says:

      Prince did more than one song. He simply decided not to split things into two sets. Who is gonna say no? Besides the news that NBC would allow him to do so was a good promo.

      Musical guests used to do one set all the time. On Prince’s first performance on SNL in 1981, Todd Rundgren was one of the guests. He did a song then Prince and his band did a song at the end. It was common practice for awhile for the show to have a big name and an emerging performer at the same time.

    • Jennifer W. says:

      I think it’s a Prince thing.

  12. JuR says:

    well we can see why Chris got fired from SNL and why fired employees cant ever return to an old office. Tired, Boring, unfunny. Not a Chris fan to begin with. Hated his top 5 Halloween costumes on Jimmy Fallon and his voice still irks me like bad fake nails on chalk boards.

  13. yes she is so beautiful

  14. Chris hosted once before in 1996. I remember the Wallflowers.

  15. Noclevername says:

    I like Chris Rock but the whole episode was flat. I also like Prince but I truly thought he was terrible.

  16. bjohns says:

    Best part was Prince hands down. SNL writing staff needs a rehaul. Or they need to close the show at 40. It is not getting better with age.

  17. Would never use ‘underutilized’ to describe Bobby Moynihan, who gets more screen time than most.

  18. brooke says:

    More like Kate McKinnon is underutilized. She gets an Emmy nomination and this is how they repay her? Backseat to who? People who aren’t making us laugh as being shown so far this season.

    • BeaAnn says:

      She’s the best thing on the show right now. Loved her Justin Beiber last year. I much prefer watching Key & Peele for laughs these days. SNL just sucks.

  19. Polly Morton says:

    Chris Rock can make you laugh so hard, that you actually might pee in your pants. My panties stayed dry throughout the entire show last night. The skits were horrible. No one knew their lines and it was obvious that they were reading from cue cards. I almost thought that maybe the comedy was how bad the show could be. Who are the writers this season? Someone needs to hire someone with a wicked sense of humor – pronto!

  20. sadly i fell asleep after the How’s he Doing sketch..and missed Prince..oh well there is youtube

  21. Laura Simpson says:

    Tuned in for the first time in a long time because Chris Rock was hosting…what a disappointing show….is there no one funny left in America? Writing was less interesting than most lunches with my friends…come on SNL, is this the best you have to offer?

    And PS Chris Rock…don’t think anybody is ready for 9/11 jokes, don’t know for sure if anyone ever will. Swing and a miss.

    • D. Perkins says:

      I agree that it is way too soon for 9-11 jokes, especially right in New York. I don’t know if there will ever be a good time….just too much loss of life and potential. However, he spoke the truth about the Freedom Tower needing to only have mandatory offices. Who would want to go there EVERY day for work? Who indeed would go to a Sunglass Hut in there ?

  22. tracy says:

    This snl with Rock missed the mark on every level. Suddenly puts Nadar’s episode a couple weeks ago in a whole new light. Shame on you guys letting him rag on NYC. And, Prince: was that a comedy skit? Music styles I know how to play? YIKES

  23. Tori says:

    This show was honestly just plain horrid! The opening by Rock was disrespectful to our Country and the rest of the whole show was boring! Even Prince was a fail! I think SNL should end with it’s 40 yrs. Not nearly as funny as the show use to be!

  24. Chris rock was fired for a reason….he is not funny AT ALL!!! he was not funny then, he is not funny now….he has obnoxious covered but he is not funny!!!

  25. Mary says:

    I turned the channel after the women’s ti–ies comment — sorry, his jokes are never jokes to me. That fiasco sealed the deal. I will change the channel when I learn he will be on any show!

  26. Prince Sucks says:

    The Prince song was just horrible. All over the place with different styles, no tune and the waaaaay too long guitar solo. Never come back Prince.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Prince made a ears bleed; I hated the eight minute performance. Not only too long, but not enjoyable to listen to.
    Thought the monologue was hilarious. Chris talked the taboo subject.
    He’s right too, we are only a few years away from 911 being just another sale day.

    • Mike says:

      I agree. Way way too long and nobody knew the song? Prince? Why now in 2014?

    • Jean says:

      Finally… someone who saw what I saw. Chris Rock was taboo-but-true and Prince wasn’t spectacular.

      • flutiefan says:

        exactly… people only heard the words “9/11” and freaked out. they couldn’t understand the basis of his joke. in fact, THOSE PEOPLE are the basis, not the tragedy of that day. it’s the people that lose sight of what the day really was and will turn it into something entirely different. i thought the monologue was on point!

  28. Mike says:

    The very very worst SNL ever. Chris Rock single handedly ruined it. Horrible skits. Minutes of no laughter. During every single sketch.

  29. jack says:

    I thought the monologue was fantastic! Highlight of the show really. Prince was also great. Sketches were pretty bad mostly.

    • Timtrti says:

      You seriously LOL at that? Running 26 miles is a terrorist attack in itself? That’s funny? Commercializing Xmas? That’s new comedy?

  30. Tran says:

    Don’t know why the Chris Rock episode was the worst if not one of the worst episodes of SNL this season. It could have been way worse than the January Jones episode nearly five years ago. Really hope Mr. Rock won’t come back to host SNL again but let’s hope Woody Harrelson should do much better when the show returns in 13 days.

  31. Chris says:

    I disagree. I thought his opening monologue was funny and better than some of the lame guest-host openings of recent episodes. over all, however, SNL has lost it.. I think now they are just trying too hard.

  32. GuessWhat says:

    BEST: Prince’s 8-minute jam
    WORST: Everything else about last night — AND this season to be honest

    PS: NBC is doing a horrible disservice by repeating past seasons’ shows at 10pm — those eps all highlight that the show USED to work well through the ages. I have NO idea what is going on now at 11:30 — what a mess. So NBC is actually helping you realize how bad they are now. Dummies!

  33. Bill Sweet says:

    It helps to get past terrible issues sometimes by applying humor. Chris Rock did that on SNL. Comic Albert Brooks attempted to show humor in the Arab world through a movie he produced. It was a good movie. However, my theatre didn’t carry the Brooks’ movie apparently out of fear of a fatwa.

    • Daniel Walsh says:

      Sure it helps but Boston Marathon? We have ebola. We have tons of other current terrible issues. Hey let’s have a comedy sketch out of the blue about the 1972 Olympic Israeli team. Or about the 1994 Northridge earthquake. That should really be hilarious and current eh?

  34. sschimel says:

    IMHO, it was one of the worst episodes in years. The monologue not only wasn’t funny, it was dated. The sketches were badly written, and in the case of the one about the anniversary, poor Leslie Jones was left standing on stage, seemingly looking for cue cards. Do they want me to believe that neither Chris Rock or Ms. jones couldn’ t improvise for a minute? And don’t get me started on Michael Che clubbing the same joke multiple times.

  35. T.j. Sorrel says:

    It was not Chris Rock’s finest hour. He seemed off and so did his co actors. The skits were not funny and everyone seemed like they were meeting for the first go round of rehearsals. I was rooting for Chris because he is a very talented stand up comedian, but this was not a showcase for him.

  36. Roe says:

    My opinion: First, I couldn’t believe how Chris opened his monologue. The entire monologue tanked and it was downhill from there. Did he expect people to laugh about something so horrible as the Boston Marathon and 9/11? I’m guessing the “Applause” sign was blinking non-stop. Secondly, the skits were boring and seemed like they were unrehearsed? SNL is NOTHING like it started out to be and in the last few years has gotten progressively worse. Prince’s performance was the highlight for this particular show and Chris was the biggest disappointment.

  37. Barbara says:

    It was Bad ,the show is not funny at all.

  38. Tom Fleming says:

    After he see’s this episode, Chris Rock will realize he just may have ruined his career being on this train wreck of a show. Michael Chee is HORRIBLE, you can see him reading every line from the teleprompter. And to boot, he As a matter of fact, in every skit, every actor can be seen reading each and every line from a cue card. How unprofessional. How low has SNL sunk? Deeper than the Titanic! Not worth watching anymore. Oh, I almost forgot to state how bad Prince was! I didn’t pay to watch this(besides my cable bill), yet, I believe I am owed a refund for watching this!

    • Jennifer W. says:

      Yeah, SNL is not the right venue for Michael Che. He’s funny on his own, but doesn’t appear comfortable or natural during his SNL routine.

    • Wayne says:

      it’s well known that they read from cue cards, that’s not news. Many castmembers have mentioned in interviews that they are told NOT to memorize lines because things (sketches) change so much between dress rehearsal earlier in the night and the live show.

    • Mel says:

      Yes, 90 minutes you, and the rest of us, have been robbed of and will never get back. Worst. Show. Ever.

  39. Jim says:

    That monologue was great. Super edgy, high level of difficulty. I was uncomfortable at the start of each bit, and yet by the end he had me. Pretty genius.

    • Liekaish says:

      It’s guys like this who keep unfunny comedians in business. Send this guy a commission Chris

    • Bill Sweet says:

      Well put Jim.

      Humor in the context of the times more often works than not. Privately, I have heard that Freedom Tower joke many times. “I’m not going in that new tower for any amount of money. It’s sponsored by Target.” Hearing that joke on SNL just spread it out to the masses all at once.

  40. Jennifer W. says:

    I’m so disappointed in this one, I was really looking forward to Chris Rock hosting. Was hoping to see a reincarnation of NAT X at least. Was it NAT X? Anyway, Prince wasn’t even good. Concur that the Beck Bennett vertigo skit was hilarious. Only funny one of the lot. If it weren’t for the episodes with Bill Hader and Jim Carrey, the season would be a complete bust. Lorne needs to take a hard look at his current writing staff, and losing Sasheer Zameta would improve the cast by 50%.

  41. SJ says:

    I thought this was the best SNL in ages.

  42. Mel says:

    Quite possibly the worst in years. Chris Rock was offensive, the sketches were weak at best…this season, the 40th anniversary, is pretty mundane so far. Watching the highlights from past seasons at 10:00 reminds me of how low the show is sinking. Sad.

  43. Wiredream says:

    The only shocking thing about Chris Rock’s monologue was how sadly true it all was.

  44. Jackie says:

    boring get a real job Rock!

  45. Rose McDonald says:

    They failed because they’re supposed to be funny. They weren’t. They weren’t even close.

  46. Bryan G says:

    This may have been the worst episode EVER, and I’ve watched since the ’70s. Chris Rock: terribly written & performed monologue. And does he have to SCREAM all his lines in the sketches? (Yes, I’m familiar with his act…). He looked very amateurish in not knowing which words need to be heard to make it a joke. Michael Che: still not looking polished at all. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of sketch comedy shows. Act like it! (Beck Bennett should be doing WU, can’t Lorne see that?). Leslie Jones divorce sketch: WTF happened there? Staging/performance/writing = all terrible. Musical guest: this is always a problem for me. Not just the ungodly meandering medley, but the acoustics on that stage are terrible and always have been. Does anyone on the show have an ear?! Hey SNL, your best assets are Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon & Cecily Strong – remember that when you choose which sketches make air…

  47. Last night’s SNL was a wakeup call to the unintended consequences to the social shift in America and its impact on comedy. #WhatIsFunnyNow?

  48. wendy says:

    Long ago snl skits weren’t based on current events. Writers wrote about situations too crazy to be true. There was relief when watching in knowing exactly that. There’s nothing funny today about current events. Where’s the escape?

    • I totally agree with you, i am very disappointed in the SNL WRITERS. They should ashamed for putting crap on tv. First music NOW Saturday night Comedy? This world is falling apart…SLOWLY!

  49. STHU Crack Rock- not funny …ugh.