***** = Brilliant, a possible future classic
**** = Great, but not quite perfect
*** = Average
** = Meh, but not complete crap
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - The Next President: Hillary Rodham Clinton
• When they showed the Presidential seal at the beginning, I thought they'd do a Bush sketch. Anyone else find it strange that they haven't used Sudeikis' Bush impression at all this season? I hope this doesn't mean that yet ANOTHER castmember got their Bush impression abruptly yanked from them.
• I’m really tired of these Hillary openings. Maybe because I’ve never been able to get into Amy’s impression of her (I’m still holding out hope that Kristen will take over as Hillary next season), or maybe because it just seems they do one every single week. But it’s just boring to me. It’s too bad Armisen's Obama impression sucks and SNL knows it, so we're now stuck with all these Hillary sketches instead of them balancing it out with an equal amount of Obama parodies (and they've certainly had lots of potential material lately with the whole Rev. Wright controversy).
• I only laughed at a few parts of Hillary’s list, mostly “My supporters are racist”.
• Amy has said LFNY a lot this season.
Monologue - Shia LaBeouf
• Strange that they used Sudeikis as the audience member; reminds me of when he used to play audience members frequently back when he was just a writer on the show. I laughed when he said he doesn’t know who Lucas and Spielberg are.
• All the cast’s impressions in this were good. Hammond as Sean Connery is always a welcome return and his “Pow!”’s were hilarious. Amy was also great as Short Round, and Forte looked funny as the melted-face Nazi.
Mini-Sketch - MacGruber #1
• Surprised they’re doing another MacGruber so soon after the last one with Jonah Hill. The ones with Jonah Hill weren’t too great and I thought MacGruber was beginning to run out of ideas, but they breathed new life into it tonight with the “gay son” storyline.
• This was a great start to tonight’s MacGrubers and Shia was a nice addition as MacGruber’s son. The anal lubricant/”who’s the lucky girl”/Scott bit was funny, as was Forte’s frozen facial reaction at the end.
Sketch - It's a Match
• These last two seasons have had a lot of gameshow sketches. This was kind of similar to the Super Buzzers and Charades sketches with the 70’s celebrities, except the cast weren’t playing the actual celebrities in tonight’s sketch.
• The murder mystery twist was a creative premise instead of just going with a straightforward gameshow parody, and they executed this well. And Hader was a great straight man. Although I thought they went on too long with showing the celebrities each having the same answers on their cards.
• Shia was hilarious as the Doug Henning-esque magician, and Armisen's Paul Lynnde/Charles Nelson Reilly-esque character got some big laughs, too.
Sketch - Lorenzo MacIntosh
• This almost seemed like Kenan was trying to do a black version of Matt Foley, especially the way Sudeikis introduced him before he came on. I guess his “cause this here is REAL" catchphrase is supposed to be this character’s version of “in a van down by the river”. I half-expected Kenan to do a pratfall through a table or out the window at one point.
• I never can stand when Kenan does loud characters like this, but he was given some very funny lines/threats, like the “Deposit here” tattoo bit, and the “beach party in yo ass” line. The movie references were okay, too. I probably would’ve liked this sketch much more, though, if someone other than Kenan performed the material. He just often comes off as trying way too hard.
Mini-Sketch - MacGruber #2
• The theme songs get funnier and funnier every time. “He’s batting for the right team now - MACGRUBER!!!!!”
• Shia’s “the vagina, MacGruber” line was really funny. And his blurred-out vibrator falling on the floor was just hilarious. I loved the look of disgust on Forte before the place exploded.
Sketch - The Suze Orman Show
• Great to see Kristen’s dead-on Suze Orman impression back. She was even funnier tonight than last time, and the writing was much better. She had some classic lines, like “I love the smell of a man” and the tip at the end on how to make your own maxipad.
• Shia was good as the club owner.
Digital Short - The Best Look in the World
• This reminded me of Jorma’s “My Pants” rap from the Lonely Island site (if you saw the ending of that, you’ll know what I mean). In fact, this was pretty much just a cross between My Pants and Dick in a Box, except nowhere near as funny as either of those two. While this short was certainly not as bad as “Daiquiri Girl”, I felt pretty underwhelmed by this. It seems like the Lonely Island are starting to repeat themselves. This felt too “been there, done that”, the song wasn’t as catchy as most musical digital shorts are, and the studio audience was not into it AT ALL. I mean, they were completely dead for this, which surprised me since they usually laugh at least a little at the digital shorts, even the weaker ones.
• I still got a few laughs from this like the Donald Duck Strut, the “Cool Down” part, and Armisen, Forte, and Hader’s scenes. But this short as a whole wasn’t all that great, and the ending back in the locker room wasn’t funny.
• I’m not happy with the direction the digital shorts seem to be going in recently. I just never know what to make of them anymore. If Jorma’s absence is indeed the reason for all of this as others have been saying, then he needs to hurry back.
Weekend Update - Poehler & Meyers, featuring Vlad and Niko, Jean K. Jean
• Best jokes: Pope robe, Trifecta, diabetes, R. Kelly
• Hader and Armisen were awesome as the Grand Theft Auto characters. Their arm movements and accents were dead-on and hilarious. The ending should've been funnier, though; it seemed to end kinda abruptly.
• I liked the Weather Channel sexual harassment bit between Seth and Amy, even though Seth almost messed up a line.
• Oh, no, not the French comedian again. I’m not even gonna bother saying anything about it this time.
Sketch - La Rivista Della Televisione con Vinny Vedecci
• This sketch was really getting stale the last time they did it with Bon Jovi, but tonight’s was the funniest Vinny Vedecci in a while since they actually changed it up a bit and did some different new things with it this time.
• Best parts included the Transformers/penis or vagina part, the “He hates snakes!”/falling rubber snakes delay, and the cigarettes bit, especially Lorne’s hilarious appearance.
Mini-Sketch - MacGruber #3
• The ending with Shia trying to kiss Kristen, then suddenly starting to vomit on her right before the quick cut-away to the explosion completely caught me by surprise and had me on the floor laughing my ass off for about 2 minutes straight. This is the hardest I’ve laughed at SNL in quite a while. Excellent work, guys.
Sketch - Admirers at the Restaurant
• This was really, really silly and random, but I admit I laughed a lot. Maybe I was still on a natural high from the preceding MacGruber short, I dunno. But all the guys’ facial expressions were hilarious to me, especially Hader’s creepy gleeful open-mouthed expression. And I couldn't help but crack up at the “doy doy doy” musical at the end.
Sketch - Funky New York Style
• A very blah closing sketch, and a poor end to a mostly-funny episode.
• Amy sounded way too much like her Nancy Grace impression for my likes. The whole repetitive “No…YES!” thing get really annoying, too.
• Shia walking out as the ugly daughter got a quick cheap chuckle at first, but that was it.
• Vinny Vedecci
• Weekend Update, minus Kenan
• The Suze Orman Show
• Shia and Fred in “It’s a Match”
• Hader's expression in Admirers at the Restaurant
• Funky New York Style
• Kenan on Weekend Update
• Cold Opening
Best Performer of the Night:
• Bill Hader
A strong episode, with a good number of hilarious moments throughout and only a few poor sketches. The writing seemed sharper, too. The best sketches of the night surprisingly came from MacGruber and Vinny Vedecci, both of which seemed to be losing steam before tonight’s show.
Shia was a decent host last season, but he was even better tonight. He blended in very well with many of the castmembers, and got some really good laughs with almost all of his characters. I definitely wouldn't be surprised to see him host a third time.
CASTMEMBER/HOST COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (It's a Match, Digital Short, Update, Vinny Vedecci, Admirers)
FORTE: 7 sketches (Monologue, MacGruber #1, MacGruber #2, Digital Short, Vinny Vedecci, MacGruber #3, Admirers)
HADER: 6 sketches (It's a Match, MacIntosh, Digital Short, Update, Vinny Vedecci, Admirers)
HAMMOND: 1 sketch (Monologue)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
POEHLER: 6 sketches (Hillary, Monologue, It's a Match, Update, Admirers, Funky)
SAMBERG: 5 sketches (MacIntosh, Digital Short, Vinny Vedecci, MacGruber #3, Admirers)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Monologue, MacIntosh, Digital Short, Vinny Vedecci)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (It's a Match, MacIntosh, Digital Short, Update, Admirers)
WIIG: 8 sketches (MacGruber #1, It's a Match, MacGruber #2, Suze Orman, Vinny Vedecci, MacGruber #3, Admirers, Funky)
WILSON: 3 sketches (It's a Match, Admirers, Funky)
SHIA LABEOUF: 11 sketches (Monologue, MacGruber #1, It's a Match, MacIntosh, MacGruber #2, Suze Orman, Digital Short, Vinny Vedecci, MacGruber #3, Admirers, Funky)