That was the message of tonight’s Saturday Night Live musical monologue, but seeing how the Oscar-winning actress hadn’t hosted NBC’s sketch-comedy show in some 14 years, the question loomed: Could she kill it in a live comedy format?
The answer, thankfully, was a qualified “yes” — at least when Theron was given material that matched her goofball charm and ability to create distinctive characters. Heck, she even managed to score laughs in middling moments — like her “I’ve also never had bad sex — sorry, sorry, sorry” confession in the aforementioned opening act.
Below, my picks for the night’s best and worst:
BEST: WHISKERS R’ WE
Theron and Kate McKinnon emceed a feline adoption program, with the former focusing her energies on seducing her reluctant co-host, and the latter trying to convince viewers to take a second look at beasts like Damian, “a feline sociopath” who “goes into a dissociative state and committs atrocities.” Amazing. ButHhow come the episode’s best sketch got held ’til the penultimate slot?
BEST: GIRLFRIENDS’ TALK SHOW
Confession: I’m not the biggest fan of Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong’s recurring cable-access program run by a high school square peg and her self-absorbed-but-cooler pal. Theron’s presence as hyper-sexualized drama teacher Miss Christine (who only lasted two days on the job), however, injected new and amusing life into the played-out setup. “Beathe deeply from the anus,” Theron purred, at which point Bryant’s uptight Morgan shuddered, noting that area to be “near the underneath and the worst part of the privates.” Hey, if this movies-star thing ever loses its appeal, perhaps a Miss Christine sitcom pilot could work?
HONORABLE MENTION: “TOURISTS”
Kyle Mooney led this pre-taped bit with multiple cast members playing foreigners and interacting with real New Yorkers, but the best moments involved a fat-suit-clad Theron handing her camera to strangers then giddily walking away, Jay Pharoah asking for directions to seemingly twenty places at once, and Beck Bennett as a self-loathing, self-described dummy realizing too late that he’s in the Big Apple, not Chicago. Whoops!
WORST: BIKINI BEACH PARTY
One has to wonder how this limp twist on Annett Funicello-esque beach comedies made it out of the writers’ room — or what details the SNL team actually thought were funny. Taran Killam as a predatorial 22-year-old excited about making out with Theron’s 13-year-old? (Blech.) A beached whale, bloated with methane gas, exploding over the young lovers? Or Kenan Thompson’s totally random cameo as a hungry old man looking to feast on the carnage? I vote for none of the above.
WORST: HESHI’S “MAN PLAN”
Nasim Pedrad has been little more than a shadow this SNL season — save for her grade-school hellion Shallon, and Heshi, her optimistic but completely ineffective motivational speaker. Honestly, aside from synchronizing her moves to the superhero-y sound effects coming from her post-pubescent son’s computer, what exactly is supposed to be funny about this character? (I ask in all seriousness…so if you’ve got theories, I’ll read ’em in the comments section below!)
What did you think of Theron’s SNL outing? Grade the installment in our poll below, then sound off in the comments with your picks for Best and Worst!