Saturday Night Live needed a hero this week, considering its most recent episode (with Seth Rogen as host) received a grade of C or worse from more than 78 percent of TVLine readers — and an A from less than 5 percent of ’em.
And thus, the question loomed tonight: Would The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s Andrew Garfield prove to have sketch-comedy superpowers?
I got a little worried when the opening monologue was based around the idea of Garfield’s possible ineptitude in the hosting department — with his big-screen co-star Emma Stone and SNL regular Aidy Bryant repeatedly interrupting him with unwanted advice.
As is often the case on SNL, though, Garfield’s success or failure came down to the material he was given — which, in this case, included a couple of amusing interludes and several unsalvageable stinkers. Below are my picks for Best and Worst:
BEST: THE BEYGENCY
This mock movie trailer began promisingly, with Garfield playing a man who foolishly admits to not loving Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” and then discovering that his un-American utterance has put him at risk of being wiped from official existence — The Adjustment Bureau-style. From Taran Killam’s “Single Ladies” dance to a surprise appearance by 24‘s Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub (paying the ultimate price for their own musical opinions), this pre-taped bit was a total hoot.
BEST: OLIVER & DEIRDRE
Usually, Kate McKinnon’s Olya Povlatsky would be a shoo-in for “Best,” but the Weekend Update guest’s segment was a little less sharp than in prior outings. I thought about giving it to Celebrity Family Feud, but Garfield’s Justin Timberlake impression was far too toothless. Thus, I’ll give the hat-tip to this surreal reimagining of the famous “MORE?!” scene from Oliver — with Garfield in the titular role, and Cecily Strong as Dierdre, an adult woman (using modern self-help lingo and speaking in a slight southern twang) also fighting to get some extra gruel. “This is the year Dierdre whips back,” she noted when faced with the orphanage’s standard brand of punishment. “FYI, I whip the face!”
DID THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN?: LESLIE JONES ON “WEEKEND UPDATE”
Writer Leslie Jones took a spot in front of the camera to discuss Lupita Nyong’o making the cover of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful” issue. In a turn of events I didn’t see coming, though, Jones’ monologue quickly gave way to her notion that as a strong, six-foot-tall woman, she’d have been “the No. 1 slave draft pick” in the pre-Civil War-era, being paired up by her “master” with a strong man in order to produce babies named “Shaw, Kobe and LeBron” to name a few. Somehow, this particular vehicle drove well past the corner of Edgy Avenue and all the way down to Yikes Street.
WORST: OPENING MONOLOGUE
You could almost feel Garfield’s desperation trying to wring chuckles from a monologue that peaked early with this so-so bon mot — “the cat’s out of the bag, I’m British” — and only got drearier going forward. [Cue sad trombone.]
WORST: WEDDING TOAST
Garfield played a Best Man smitten for Cecily Strong’s brand new bride — and using his wedding toast to make his feelings known. I’ll admit I got a laugh at Garfield’s reveal that he had a wife and four kids, but ultimately, the energy level for the night’s final sketch had me nodding my head and agreeing with Garfield’s lovelorn fella: Party foul!
What did you think of Garfield’s SNL outing? Grade the installment in our poll below, then sound off in the comments with your picks for Best and Worst!