Julia Louis-Dreyfus Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches!

Worlds collided to great comedic effect during the opening sketches of Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘ latest Saturday Night Live hosting gig.

The Veep funnywoman’s co-star, Tony Hale, popped up during the best part of her opening monologue — channeling fawning “bag man” Gary as her cue-card handler. Before that, she also had a chance to reunite with Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who played Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Debate Cold Open, while Louis-Dreyfus, in a deliciously meta turn, revived her classic ’90s sitcom character (and New York primary voter) Elaine Benes (above). Good stuff!

Speaking of which, Louis-Dreyfus’ comedic brilliance also upgraded an ad for Heroin AM — in which she played a chipperly addicted school bus driver — and somehow squeezed laughs out of a one-joke “Cinema Classics” bit.

Below, my picks for the best and worst sketches from an above-average episode…

BEST: MERCEDES BENZ AA CLASS | I enjoyed the Heroin A.M. digital short, but Louis-Dreyfus’ ad for a Mercedes-Benz that runs on 9.648 Duracell AA batteries gets the edge for the actress’ spot-on parody of celebrity auto endorsements — not to mention the “Ribbon-release auto-dump feature.”

BEST: CHARLES BARKLEY AND SHAQUILLE O’NEAL ON WEEKEND UPDATE | The best “Weekend Update” all season found Jay Pharoah bringing to life the most unspeakably mean but tears-streamingly funny impersonation of the NBA star. That whole bit about Shaq’s endorsement for Icy Hot pain patches – “Mmm… it’s delicious! I put it on Texas toast: Toast is warm and cool at the same time!” — deserves a place on the show’s 50th Anniversary special.

BEST: THE ONE-DIMENSIONAL FEMALE CHARACTER FROM A MALE-DRIVEN COMEDY | Given Louis-Dreyfus’ excellent showing, I feel a little bad only including her in one of the three best sketches this week, but Cecily Strong’s finally perfect channeling of this recurring character — now the star of Bagging Heather – was too hilarious to ignore. How Strong managed not to break character and howl during that bit about turning off and having everything go black when her character exited her male lead’s story arc was viciously funny. But this followup — “At one point, I sneeze into a Kleenex full of semen… but nobody tells me” — was as perversely accurate as it was hilarious.

HONORABLE MENTION: THE POOL BOY | The writing could’ve been a tad sharper in this digital short starring Louis-Dreyfus as a bored housewife attempting to break off her affair with a blasé poolboy (Pete Davidson). But the actress’ obscenely funny parting shot upon spotting her new lawn-care guy (a scorching hot Nick Jonas) — “I’m gonna f–k that kid!” — made me laugh longer and harder than anything else from this week’s telecast (and at least a couple months’ worth of SNL, to boot).

WORST: HUGE JEWELRY | Our intrepid host and Kate McKinnon played Long Island store owners using their children and extended family to model their tacky accessories. I may have chuckled at the shoulder brace Aidy Bryant used to support her overzied earrings, but aside from that, the sketch was a laugh free blemish on Louis-Dreyfus’ excellent batting average.

WORST: “WHO WORKS HERE?” | I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again right now: SNL is far too reliant on the “faux game show” concept, and this bit — in which Louis-Dreyfus quizzed customers at a CVS about whether or not random passers-by worked in the drug store — viciously underscored that point with a fresh, red Sharpie.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? Grade it in our poll below, then expand on your thoughts 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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  1. Did julia bring her husband Brad Hall or write some sketches herself? A lot of it felt like old Snl which I loved@

    • sanchopanza says:

      Yes indeed. I didn’t even watch the whole show, but what I saw surprised me. Louis-Dreyfus seemed so much more professional and skilled compared to everybody else onstage with her.

  2. Phoenix5634 says:

    It may be entertaining now, but if one of these people become the next president of the United States, prepare yourself, cuz we’ll all be in for some not so funny times…

    • David4 says:

      One of these people being Trump who wants to deport everyone and kick out American citizens out of the country because of their religion or Cruz, who considers himself a Christian first, American second (which is funny being he’s Canadian.) yet is full of more hatred and crazy thinking than Trump?

  3. dan says:

    I actually liked the CVS sketch, thought it was funny in an awkward way. The pool boy short was just OK, but the Mercedes ad was clever and well-acted by JLD. I’m not into the Shaquille-Barkley Update bit, however Cecily’s one-dimensional movie girl was funny. Decent episode.

    • Carrie says:

      I liked the CVS sketch, too. It was amusing because it was so accurate. I never go into my CVS store anymore because there’s such a weird vibe in there. You never know what you’re gonna get with their employees. The whole episode was pretty great. JLD is one of the best comedic TV actors, and the writing was sharper than usual this week.

  4. Kevin K says:

    I give the Julia Louis-Dreyfus of SNL an A. This was better than her previous two outings and let’s hope that she’s two away from joining the Five Timers Club for the near future.

  5. colig says:

    the single best part of the show is that it had very,very little of that hack Kyle Mooney.

  6. Simon says:

    The God is a Boobs Man was the best. Why they put it at the end of the show is beyond me. If you may seen the trailer for Gods Not Dead 2 you would have loved it. But yes Strongs Female character on Update was once again brilliant.

  7. BarryFlash says:

    Even when they make fun of Hillary, they are easy on her and support her.

  8. GuessWhat says:

    Above average show thanks to JLD’s great comedic acting chops — and not the usual crappy writing. And yes, that CVS sketch was AWFUL.

  9. TJ says:

    I thought the whole episode was horrible and I’m a big JLD fan. The opening was the funniest thing for me. It went downhill from there and went downhill fast.

  10. hbeachman says:

    You didn’t rate Pete Davidson’s pool boy as the best? Okay (said cheerfully)!

  11. Josh Emerson says:

    I enjoyed the episode but I think your choices for the best of the night are far off. God Is A Boobs Man was both hilarious and accurate. I have no clue why they would air it at the end of the night while junk like the CVS sketch aired earlier. And the Weekend Update stuff is just completely overrated. It wasn’t that good at all.

  12. Bo says:

    As a former Dollar General manager the number 1 question: m’aam do you work here? My response; No I just come in 6 to 7 times a week, dressed in black, put an apron on with a name tag and hang out. Most people laughed. But once I got reported. Never enough staff to help the customers. CVS works thd same way. I found the segment funny .

  13. eli says:

    The only sketch I didn’t at least chuckle at was the aliens mating one. I couldn’t really figure out what the joke was supposed to be. Props for the acting though.