russell crowe snl monologue

Russell Crowe Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

It’s hard to believe Russell Crowe has never hosted Saturday Night Live.

He might not be known for his comedy — that is, until the forthcoming release of The Nice Guys, featuring alien-abduction survivor Ryan Gosling — but the one-time Gladiator could’ve fooled us, as he committed to a number of outlandish characters, from a holographic Henry VIII to a German professor who, let’s just say, grew up in a house full of old women.

Make no mistake: the Academy Award winner’s Studio 8H debut wasn’t a home run, but after a harmless (if forgettable) opening monologue that wisely kept Crowe far away from open mics (those Les Misérables vocals still haunt me to this day), the thespian did his absolute best to elevate some obscenely sophomoric humor involving gropey museum exhibits, Western-European accents and a mullet-bearing family friend.

Lo and behold, my picks for best and worst sketches:

BEST: 100 DAYS IN THE JUNGLE
We don’t know too much about Nathan’s uncle’s friend Terry, who has a mullet, loves duck vaginas and is dating a professional credit-cards thief, but Crowe’s most outrageous character of the night was an absolute hoot. A sketch loosely based on Survivor wouldn’t have felt fresh even a decade ago, but Crowe masterfully drove attention away from the conceit with a performance so enthusiastic that you couldn’t help but laugh at even the most juvenile of punchlines.

BEST: OPRAH WINFREY: A LIFE OF LOVE
This latest Mike O’Brien Picture was the digital short all of us knuckleheads deserved. This peculiar biopic fit perfectly at 12:55 am ET, with O’Brien assuming the role of the one-time talk show host who went on to build a media empire. It even managed to make Kyle Mooney funny (don’t tell TVLine’s regular SNL recapper Michael Slezak, who’s on vacation this weekend!) with a halfhearted take on Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. Most bizarre was the cameo by Jason Sudeikis, who assumed the role of Whoopi Goldberg during what was allegedly not a loose reenactment, but an actual scene from The Color Purple.

HONORABLE MENTION: MATCH FINDERS
This Game Show Network segment launched a not-so-subtle-yet-focused campaign to make me uncomfortable. Nevertheless, Crowe’s vagina-obsessed German professor (we’re sensing a pattern here) was so over-the-top, and so painfully inappropriate that we’re gonna have to give this Beautiful Mind an “A” for effort (and for not crawling out of his own skin as he described all of the ways he’d enjoy pleasuring every orifice on a woman).

WORST: POLITICS NATION
A cameo from the real Al Sharpton couldn’t save this miserable sketch, which never quite found it’s “Al Gore rhythm.” Though Kenan Thompson has previously done fine work as the polarizing MSNBC host, it’s perhaps time to retire this character, which at this point is just a series of unfunny pronunciation errors.

WORST: HENRY VII: THE EXPERIENCE
“Bear me a son!” was Crowe’s refrain in this sketch. More like bear me a better sketch, am I right!? There was nothing particularly smart or humorous about this horny hologram who yelled at female museum goers to have his child — before eventually fondling Aidy Bryant’s breasts.

OK, it’s your turn: What did you think of this week’s SNL? Grade the episode in our poll, 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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29 Comments
  1. tallsy says:

    Russell Crowe has the comedic timing of some of our greatest athletes.

  2. BooBots says:

    Even Crowe’s all-in energy couldn’t save these sketches from what they were: lame and dull. I could almost hear the writers chortling, “Ooh, can you believe we got that many vagina references on live TV?!” — This episode was a solid F, except Crowe’s game attitude barely raised it to a D.

  3. PatriciaLee says:

    He said Henry the 8th and he had 6 wives. VII is the 7th, making me think I was going to see something else. We laughed at the Vermont joke, liking Sanders but it did zing. It must be a good SNL episode, since the husband is laughing and saying, “What?!” a few times.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      The husband and I thought Al Sharpton did a good job as straight man for the very funny SNL’s Al. Some of the sketches we didn’t get, like the eating interview and the vanished heads. The ninja and her, “also working as a cashier…” line got a big laugh at the end, which is a HUGE compliment from the husband. Only the best gets his attention when it comes to martial arts on TV. Well done, ninja comic.

  4. Chuck says:

    The only good sketch of the night was the ninja sketch with Leslie Jones (and Crowe almost suck that one with his terrible Russian accent). The rest of the show sucked hard. Not even Weekend Update could elevate the mediocrity, and Crowe was barely there. Probably the worst show of the season so far.

    • dan says:

      Jonah Hill’s episode was the worst IMO. There were a few (and only a few) more laughs this week.

    • Patrick says:

      Mooney was awful during his bit. When he is the center of attention in a bit, that bit is horrible. When he does supporting work, he’s bearable. That said, I’d love to know what he has on Lorne or the PTB at NBC/Comcast. He’s awful.

      • Troy says:

        ^Agreed. I fast forwarded through his bit on Weekend Update. He’s NOT funny at all. He definitely has some dirt on Lorne or something.

  5. fredQ says:

    Al Sharpton’s head is the size of a basketball. I thought it was a joke. It looks like his head is made for a body 3 times his size as it used to be.

    • dan says:

      I actually rewound his entrance because I couldn’t believe how skinny he’s gotten (and how big his head looks in comparison)!

  6. Jackie says:

    The writing was subpar, but I thought Crowe did a great job with what he had. The Jungle skit was a hoot!

  7. mse says:

    Crowe was underused and very underdeveloped on this episode. There was no humor in anything he attempted. I thought the Donald Trump episode was bad, bc he’s obviously not a comic, but Crowe iscan actor that couldn’t act funny with horrible skits. Chris Rocks’ episode totally bombed and he’s a comedian, and I mentioned that bc it may not have been all to blame Crowe. I like SNL but this was epic fail.

  8. David says:

    What about the cold open? That was easily the best.

  9. A. D. says:

    Horrible episode! Worst Weekend Update of the Season…Mooney is HORRID!

  10. Deb says:

    I thought this weeks show was actually funny where I usually fast forward through most sketches the past few years. Love Russell Crowe.

  11. Kristine Snider says:

    It was awful from start to finish.

  12. PatriciaLee says:

    I’ll add this, separately, from my other more positive comments. The groping jokes were in bad taste, and I am restraining myself from letting loose with comments on the lack of judgement by the writers to include them.

  13. AngelWasHere says:

    I thought Al Sharpton thing was funny. I like the ninja one too. How can you pick that Oprah thing over that?! Anyway, I think Russell Crowe can be funny, but SNL writers are awful.

  14. jon anthony says:

    Egregiously, spectacularly unfunny.

  15. valerie tower says:

    Loyal snl viewer here terrible episode stopped watching half way through

  16. gdragon says:

    Seriously SNL writing staff? Last time I checked King Henry VIII had a son: who became King Edward VII when Henry died. So in addition to being a lame skit, the entire premise of it was just stupid.

  17. I thought Mooney’s “Comedian” bit during the Weekend Update was the most painful 3 minutes of my life. The audience was in stunned silence, and the terrible Michael Che had to force a few chuckles during this train wreck. Why is Mooney a cast member?

  18. Chaosrainz says:

    I haven’t watched SNL in years because it’s gotten so awful it’s sad. I watched last night because of Crowe. I had to wonder if he had approval of those skits before doing them. They were so ghastly it was painful to watch, and not because of his performance. They were just stupid and not remotely funny. I honestly don’t know why this show is still on the air.

  19. Troy says:

    This was probably the worst SNL episode ever. Russel Crowe was barely even in any of the sketches.

  20. flutiefan says:

    he did fine for the material he was given