Justin Bieber Hosts Saturday Night Live: What Were the Best and Worst Sketches?

justin bieber snl host whoopi goldbergI can’t lie and pretend I was excited when I heard the news that Justin Bieber was hosting Saturday Night Live, but sometimes low expectations can yield unexpectedly happy returns.

In that spirit, the good news for Bieber is that he fared funnier than fellow pop star Adam Levine, who hosted SNL two weeks ago. Indeed, Bieber proved a self-deprecating headliner, gamely allowing himself to be the butt of jokes about looking like he’s 11, still possessing his baby teeth and resembling talk-show maven Ellen DeGeneres (among other lesbians).

The bad news? The show’s ever-inconsistent writing staff trotted out another unwanted take on “The Californians,” totally fumbled the cold open, and pretty much wasted Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg’s in an opening-monologue cameo. In other words, Bieber’s installment ranks around mid-pack in the countdown of episodes this season.

Below are my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches:

BEST: Angry Brother
On paper, you wouldn’t expect huge laughs from a sketch about a loser brother ridiculing his college-student sister’s boyfriend for accidentally flubbing his words and saying “glice.” But Taran Killam’s sensationally rageful performance elevated this one to awesome heights. Bieber proved an excellent straight man, until, of course, he briefly broke character and began chuckling at the lunatic all up in his face. And who could blame him?

BEST: The Miley Cyrus Show
It seems like it’s been forever since we got to see Vanessa Bayer just bein’ Miley, and her always spot-on skewering of the now all-grown-up star included bits about her new hairstyle, possible marriage and (very wordy) tattoo. Bonus points to Killam (as Liam Hemsworth) for his priceless reaction shot to Miley’s vows.

HONORABLE MENTION: Bravo’s Newest Spinoffs
I wish this ad for copious/ridiculous Bravo reality spinoffs had been a little bit sharper, but a number of its scattershot punch lines landed nicely. Don’t be shocked if that tag line from Bobby Moynihan’s gay limo driver — “I drive men crazy…and also to the airport” — is the jumping-off point for a brainstorming session with Andy Cohen and his Bravo staffers come Monday morning.

WORST: Super Bowl Blackout
“That seems like it’s been about 15 minutes. No? It’s been less than one minute?” said Kenan Thompson, playing CBS sports analyst James Brown in a spoof about the network’s attempt to fill airtime during last weekend’s Super Bowl blackout. Unfortunately, that quote could also serve as a review of the entire cold open.

WORST: ’50s High School
The “joke” here centered around a Grease-esque, boys-on-one-side/girls-on-the-other singalong in which Cecily Strong’s teen beauty recounted increasingly weird details from her date with a boy who turned out to be a pre-teen. Exhibit A (for Awful): Bieber’s babyfaced “Billy” cried because there weren’t actual puppies down Angie’s sweater. Yeah, it was that pitiful.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Bieber as host? What did you think were the best and worst sketches? Sound off in the comments!

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