When the hottest sketch comic on the planet pays a visit to the most venerable sketch-comedy show in the world, expectations are going to be inevitably (and perhaps unrealistically) high. That doesn’t mean, however, we couldn’t hold out hope that host Amy Schumer would totally crush it in her Saturday Night Live hosting debut.
The bad news? The latest “Weekend Update” proved as tepid as a centimeter’s worth of coffee left in your cup at lunchtime. The good news? Schumer didn’t have anything to do with it! And even in questionable bits like that Bakersfield Citizen Forum, Schumer managed to shine brightly thanks to her fearless goofballery and unapologetic stance. (I couldn’t help but howl as her pageant-princess toddler, a throwback to an Inside Amy Schumer Season 3 classic, asked for permission to carry a gun in her elementary school — and called for a ban on same-sex marriage.)
Below, my picks (from a very deep bench) for best-in-show, plus one that makes the “worst of” cut. (Also here’s a link to the rock-solid opening monologue.)
BEST: DELTA AIRLINES WELCOME SONG
Schumer and Vanessa Bayer played flight attendants working to improve Delta’s standing as the “third most-fun airline” — via a little ditty set to the tune of the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.” But when one, then the other, got pulled out a faulty door and to the brink of horrifying death, the combination of pure panic and “it’s OK”/”you can all watch San Andreas for free” reassurance proved absolutely LOL-inducing.
BEST: GUN PSA
The tagline — “Guns: We’re here to stay” — may not be a laughing matter in the wake of far too many shooting deaths this year, but this pre-taped PSA shone a light on how absurd it is to act as if firearms make us safer all the time, in every situation. Watching the father of a newborn present his infant with a pistol, or a couple in love embrace after she receives a glock as a gift, had me wondering “is someone going to get accidentally shot?” even in the setup’s funniest moments. Which, I suspect, was exactly the point.
HONORABLE MENTION: HANDS-FREE SELFIE STICK
An ad for a selfie stick that gets planted where the sun don’t shine — “when you want to take a picture, just clench!” — the better to keep your giant noggin from taking up the entire frame. Best/naughtiest one-liner (via Schumer): “It takes pictures?” Runner-up: “I can barely feel it anymore!” Let’s just bow our heads and pray this doesn’t become an actual product 5-10 years from now.
HONORABLE MENTION: UNINVITED BABY-SHOWER GUEST
What happens when a friend of the mom-to-be invites her suspicious, loud-mouthed favorite bartender to a shower? Accusations of purse-snatching, general discomfort, and yet another win for host Schumer.
WORST: MRS. SANTINI ON “WEEKEND UPDATE”
All the crotchetiness of Olya Povlatsky and all the accented-absurdity of Cecilia Gimenez — and yet not even a quarter of the laughs. Be honest: Weren’t you worried this monologue from a subtly rageful NYC tenant might never end?