SNL Featuring Tom Hanks, Lady Gaga: Watch Video of the Best Sketches

No, that wasn’t just a perfect illusion: Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga actually presided over a near-perfect 90 minutes of Saturday Night Live.

Hanks, who has previously hosted SNL eight times, returned to Studio 8H in support of new film Inferno. And though he hasn’t hosted since May 2006, the versatile actor was at the top of his game, thanks in part to an episode where just about every cast member and every sketch was firing on all cylinders. Similarly, Gaga wowed with the one-two punch of “A-Yo” and “Million Reasons.”

Hanks’ energy never wavered, even during the few less-than-stellar sketches that called on him to reprise his role as Captain Sully Sullenberger and impersonate frequent collaborator Ron Howard. On that note, we’re doing away with our tradition of picking the best and worst sketches, and simply highlighting our faves.

This commercial — which served as both an indictment of the Television Academy, and a satire of the “dramedy” genre — was absolute gold. It consistently served up belly laughs as it mocked the decision to keep nominating shows like Transparent for Outstanding Comedy, and CBS for its failure to produce more cutting edge half-hours. While we doubt we’ll see Broken, a series about “a family of adjunct professors all diagnosed with depression” on the air anytime soon, we wouldn’t put it past one of the broadcast networks to develop something similar in an effort to rain on Transparent‘s award season parade.

We’re still on the fence about Colin Jost and Michael Che as anchors, but there’s little doubt that Leslie Jones and Cecily Strong did some of their best-ever work this week behind the Update desk. Jones’ monologue on cyber security and her own nightmarish hacking scandal was equal parts funny and courageous; Strong’s “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With At a Party” had us ROFL-ing as she barked at Che about how “Kevin Can Wait, but Syrian referees can’t.” (Watch and discuss Jones’ segment here.)

If you loved Larry David’s Kevin Roberts (“Can a bitch get a donut?”), you probably enjoyed Hanks’ David S. Pumpkins, the least scary attraction at “100 Floors of Flights.” It’s the type of sketch that requires you to turn off your brain, but if you do, you can easily appreciate a man in a tuxedo covered in jack-o’-lanterns doing “his own thang” with two B-Boy skeletons. Its juvenility is what makes it great.

Hanks was perfect as a Trump supporter who, instead of being nervous about being the only white contestant, wound up doing better than his African-American competitors — that is until it came time for Final Jeopardy. The category? “Lives That Matter.”

Unlike most hosts, Hanks was present even before his opening monologue, turning up as Chris Wallace in the third and final presidential debate sketch. Though admittedly not as strong as the previous three cold opens to feature Alec Baldwin, we continued to be tickled by his performance as he embellished on The Donald’s “bad hombres” and “nasty woman” gaffes, and went meta when naming his favorite Baldwin brother. (Watch and discuss the sketch here.)

What were your favorite sketches of the night? And what missed the mark? Grade the episode via our poll, then hit the comments and make your picks.

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. HeyThere says:

    I enjoyed this episode very much! The haunted attraction is funny, especially the two skeletons. And Gaga’s both performances were amazing!

  2. Mo says:

    what is a best-worst column without the worst?

  3. The Girls Halloween bit was my personal favorite. And I thought the French women narrating the pet bloopers was really fun too. Overall, the best episode in a while.

  4. Snoots57 says:

    Wow. Is the bar for SNL now so very very low that this tepid episode qualifies as a ‘near perfect 90 minutes’?

    BTW Lady Gaga wowed? More like Lady When-am-I-gonna-have-a-hit-again, amiright? :-)

    • Aubrey says:

      More like Lady “worth $275M, sold 160M records WW in 8 years, 3 #1 singles (two of which are certified Diamond), soon to have 4 #1 consecutive albums, winner of 6 Grammy awards” Gaga.

      I liked the episode a lot and gave it an A overall, but the only sketch that wasn’t so funny was the elevator scares.

      P.S. The song Lady Gaga performed second song is titled ‘Million Reasons’ not A Million Reasons.

    • TD says:

      Or Lady “Lip-Sync” Gaga…the first song, anyway.

    • flutiefan says:

      i’m not to be mistaken for a Gaga fan, but you screwed the pooch on that assessment. she was stellar.

  5. Kelli says:

    What were you watching? The debate skit was okay. Weekend update was okay. The professor commercial was mildly amusing. Black Jeopardy was funny and that was it. The skit about the Halloween block party was cringe-worthy, the David S. Pumpkins thing was AWFUL. Tom Hanks is charming, but even his monologue was sad. I thought this episode was horrible.

    • Grim Reaper says:

      Oh good I thought I was the only one who thought this episode kind of sucked. I barely laughed,even in the Debate skit. I hated David S Pumpkin and the Halloween block party was just plain stupid. Even Weekend Update was bad, but to be fair it hasn’t been good in years. Che and Jost are just not funny

    • MMD says:

      Add me to the list of those not impressed. Stopped watching SNL years ago and have only watched the last few about the debates. I had the bar set really low but even Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga couldn’t save this episode.

  6. Emily says:

    I honestly don’t know why but I keep re-watching the Haunted Elevator sketch. I’m cracking up and I have no idea why!

  7. Kevin K says:

    I give the Tom Hanks/Lady Gaga episode of SNL an A+. The Black Jeopardy sketch is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

  8. Caroline says:

    Girls Halloween was laugh out loud funny, Leslie jones was great, Black Jeopardy actually made me think and David S Pumpkins was kind of giggle worthy. I thought Lady Gaga was superb. Her voice is on point and the drama she brings is terrific. But I thought Tom was largely wasted. That Block Party sketch sucked.

  9. Kenbud says:

    Have you noticed the shorts are focused more on the SNL women creating them/acting in them? and MUCH less on the Kyle Mooney/Beck Bennett ones?

    That alone makes the show better.

  10. lisasride says:

    I loved all the skits. The French Funny Pet Video and Black Jeopardy skits had me laughing out loud. I even loved Gaga’s new music.

  11. Shaun says:

    French ladies on pet show and Halloween Girls was so funny.The rest was mostly meh.

  12. LAwoman says:

    Girls Halloween was my favorite. Also liked pet bloopers, Black Jeopardy, Broken, Leslie Jones on Update.

  13. Morgan says:

    I think if, after this long, you’re still on the fence about Che and Jost then you probably get a good idea of which way they’re leaning. Weekend Update, especially in presidential election years, is supposed to be cutting edge and reliably good. These two are consistently flat and obnoxious.

  14. DL says:

    In general I think this has been the best season in a while. Hopefully the writers can keep up the good work!

  15. Does anyone know or speculate as to why Bobby Moynihan’s role has been diminished lately? I miss Drunk Uncle, Riblet, and Anthony Crispino on Update.

  16. flutiefan says:

    “Sully” sketch was hilarious! You dropped the ball on that one!

  17. Dude says:

    I don’t know how you can honestly say that David Pumpkins is SNL firing at all cylinders but their awesome Melania Lemonade spoof was a “Worst”

  18. Ruston says:

    Good episode overall. The French TV hosts were great. Cecily Strong has got some serious legs on her!