As far as five-timers go, Jonah Hill doesn’t exactly have the best Saturday Night Live track record. When the star of Netflix’s Maniac (and writer/director of the new film Mid90s) last hosted back in March 2016, TVLine readers gave the outing an average grade of “C” (which, in my opinion, was rather generous).
This time around, Hill was largely relegated to background actor following Weekend Update, and the sketches where he was front and center (including his induction into the Five-Timers’ Club, featuring cameos by Tina Fey, Candice Bergen and Drew Barrymore) were mostly mediocre. And the evening’s best material was all pre-taped.
Without further ado, my picks for the best, worst and somewhat in-between sketches…
BEST: MIDTERM AD
Of the handful of election-themed sketches, this one was easily the best. Heidi Gardner gave the funniest performance of all as a fidgety suburban mom who demanded her kids not play outside until Tuesday, worried that they might jinx the democrats and the so-called “blue wave.”
Aidy Bryant’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders is not a great character, but the concept here — that the White House press secretary would need a sleeping pill so strong that she violently passes out — was rather brilliant.
HONORABLE MENTION: ADAM GROSSMAN RETURNS
Hill’s portrayal of the 6-year-old Benihana enthusiast with the comedic chops of a Catskills comedian will never not be funny. And while it’s often hilarious to see cast members break character, Leslie Jones’ inability to hold it together here seemed to distract Hill, who felt off his game.
HONORABLE MENTION: WEEKEND UPDATE
As infuriating as it was to hear Michael Che dismiss the importance of voting (seriously dude, read the room!), Kenan Thompson (as retired Boston Red Sox DH-turned-pitchman David “Big Papi” Ortiz) and Melissa Villaseñor (as the teenage murder suspect in every episode of Law & Order) were both really good here. But best of all was Pete Davidson, who first came out to discuss some of this Tuesday’s congressional races (at one point, he alleged that a photo of a smiling Greg Pence was taken as he watched the episode of This Is Us where Jack died). He later addressed his break-up with Ariana Grande in the most dignified manner possible.
WORST: AMERICA’S GOT TALENT: WAIT, THEY’RE GOOD?
What better time to parody summer’s No. 1 reality show than… the first week of November. There was nothing timely (or particularly funny) about this sketch, which poked fun at the judges consistently being shocked when someone with genuine talent steps out on stage.
WORST: TEACHER FELL DOWN
Was I the only one waiting for the reveal that Kate McKinnon’s character was a struggling actress? The premise here — a melodramatic driver’s ed teacher takes a fall, then refuses to accept help from her students — could have lent itself to something genuinely funny, but the whole thing was just weird.
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Watch all the highlights above, then grade Hill’s latest hosting stint in our poll. (Next up: Liev Schreiber hosts on Saturday, Nov. 10.)