Larry David Hosts SNL

Larry David Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Larry David refused to promise a great episode of Saturday Night Live during this week’s opening monologue, instead suggesting the end product would be “so-so.”

Nevertheless, it was more than a case of lowered expectations that led to the Curb Your Enthusiasm star presiding over one of the funniest, sharpest-eyed episodes in recent memory.

Sure, there were a couple of low points — that Learning Annex songwriters’ workshop was a kernel of an idea gone fetid — but when Bernie Sanders shows up and lands a one-percenter punchline (in a very funny sketch opposite David’s ship passenger questioning the “women and children” first rule) without leaning too hard on his cue cards, you know you’ve got a winner on your hands.

Below, my picks for the episode’s best and worst sketches (BTW, the Zoolander-on-Weekend Update wackiness just missed the cut):

BEST: BERN YOUR ENTHUSIASM
David reimagined Democratic presidential candidate Sanders as the star of a Curb Your Enthusiasm-style comedy that found Jay Pharoah doing a stellar J.B. Smoove and Cecily Strong scoring chuckles as a foul-mouthed, hyper-critical Susie Essman. Still, it was David-as-Sanders’ awkward blunders — refusing to shake Leslie Jones’ hand after she coughed, and walking away from Aidy Bryant’s car-accident victim – that sealed the candidate’s narrow Iowa caucus loss, and solidified the pre-taped sketch as best-in-show.

BEST: DIRTY DANCING AUDITION
I had my doubts at the start of this “Weekend Update” bit with SNL‘s newest cast member Jon Rudnitsky — who’s made almost no impression in Season 41 thus far — wordlessly shimmying his way through Patrick Swayze’s Dirty Dancing choreography. But when his imaginary dance partner took a tragic tumble — and Rudnitsky took the bit all the way to dousing “Baby” with gasoline, then setting her ablaze with his cigarette, I couldn’t stop laughing. Welcome to the show, young man — hope to see you again next week!

BEST: TOTINO’S PIZZA ROLLS
Vanessa Bayer was brilliantly benign as a spokeswoman for the frozen party snack in this Super Bow; season — until she realized her husband and his buddies were whooping and cheering robotically while watching a blank screen. Her “grab the scissors, pack up the kids!” response was priceless, but the “X-Files” ad tag upgraded the sketch to classic SNL ad territory.

HONORABLE MENTION: TED CRUZ
One of the best cold opens of the season found Taran Killam hilariously portraying the Republican presidential front-runner as a man admitting that “from the side, I look like a Far Side cartoon” — and to filling the “sneaky little stinker” role in the GOP race. Mean? Perhaps. LOL-inducing? Most def.

WORST: LEARNING ANNEX SONGWRITING WORKSHOP
This bit with Pete Davidson as a songwriting coach struggling to get David’s character to rhyme the words “log” and “frog” started out pretty painfully. But just as things began to show some promise — with David’s fellow students falling under the spell of his toad-war visions — the sketch was over… with not enough laughs to justify its existence.

QUESTION OF THE NIGHT
Where/why are they hiding Sasheer Zamata?

Your turn. What did you think of this week’s SNL? 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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21 Comments
  1. meeeeeeeeeam says:

    This has to be one of the best episode from the whole season!

  2. Danny says:

    So far…

    1. Tina + Amy
    2. Larry David
    3. Amy Schumer
    4. Ryan Gosling

  3. Raftrap says:

    Just a great episode, laughs all the way.

  4. Magali says:

    Hello and welcome Jon Rudnitsky! That Dirty Dancing miming extravaganza was simply hilarious. Did not see that coming.

  5. OhMy says:

    Good episode (though one of the worst musical performances in SNL history).

  6. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give the Larry David episode of SNL an A. One of the best episodes this season and it really bounce back from the Ronda Rousey showing two weeks ago. The Peyton & Cam sketch was great.

  7. Andrew says:

    Are you nuts? Learning anex was the best sketch of the episode! Over the “Tall frog building!” If it had went on any longer it woulda spoiled it. I was laughing from “cool hair!” on.

  8. Joey Padron says:

    Good episode. I agree with best picks those are my favorites from the episode.

  9. Scott Marvicsin says:

    Jon Rudnitski??????
    Where the HELL HAS HE BEEN????
    That was some funny stuff!!
    I posted on FB THE NEW GUY!!!!
    My new Favorite NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME PLAYER!!!!
    JumpRoping with INTESTINES!!!! Classic sicko!!!! LOVE THAT GUY HOPE TO SEE MORE OF HIM!!!!!
    From TAMPA FL,

  10. TD says:

    I thought “Sturdy Barbie” with Kate McKinnon was pretty good, too.

  11. EJ says:

    Check out the extra on the far right of the screen at 4:12 in Bern Your Enthusiasm. He’s obviously getting off his phone because someone off-camera told him to.

  12. Maria says:

    What about the Kevin Roberts skit?? That one was really funny!! CAN A BITCH GET A DONUT?!?!?!?!

  13. ncmacasl says:

    I thought politicians’ children are off limits for parody.