***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Stranded Cruise
• Very nice to see another non-political cold opening for the second week in a row.
• A solid parody of the Carnival Cruise Ship debacle. Some of my favorite parts here were Jay's panicked "How does dookie get on the walls??!?" breakdown, the newspaper-reading bit, and Bobby freaking out over his monkey being eaten.
• Was Jay's stand-up character that only did the same-old predictable impressions all the time supposed to be a subtle dig at himself?
• Didn't care much for the bit with Tim begging the hypnotist to be turned back into a chicken. I felt Tim over-acted too much during his delivery of that line. Strange, considering I usually like him whenever he gets something funny to do.
• Very nice segue into LFNY. Reminds me of how they used to do it back in the early years of the show.
• Don Pardo must've been sick this week, because that was clearly Bill Hader's voice doing the announcing towards the end of tonight's opening credits. And, wow, his Pardo impression was not good at all; didn't sound a thing like him. I wonder why they just didn't get Seth Meyers to do it again. Seth previously filled in for Pardo in the Jonny Moseley/Outkast episode way back in 2002 and did a passable impression of Pardo's voice.
Song-and-Danceologue - Christoph Waltz
• Right off the bat, you could tell Christoph would be a very game and fun host.
• Loved the Casual Hitler bit with Taran.
• Unfortunately, this monologue died when the song started. The song wasn't that funny or entertaining, came off unnecessary & tacked-on, and should've had much darker lyrics considering the dark title. It seemed like the writers felt obligated to have Waltz sing here simply because most of this season's hosts have done it during their monologues.
Sketch - What Have You Become?
• An interesting concept and this featured a nice energetic performance from Christoph as the gameshow host, but the execution of this sketch didn't quite live up to its potential.
• They did try to keep the premise from getting stale by doing unexpected twists like bringing on the guests' relatives, and having Aidy turn the tables on Christoph. However, those twists were only okay, nothing as great as the writers were hoping.
• What was with the awkward silence when they revealed the show's title and displayed the graphic on-screen? Were we supposed to hear a fake crowd shouting the title?
• My biggest laugh came from Aidy's unexpected breakdown over being a mom, calling her daughter a bitch.
• Christoph's dancing at the end was pretty funny.
Commercial - Papal Securities
• A pretty funny & accurate parody of these types of retirement financial ads, although this came off a little too slow-paced at times.
• As expected, Christoph was perfect for the role of the Pope.
• Some of the shots of the Pope doing everyday activities were amusing, such as his groceries falling through the bottom of the bag and him playing guitar in a rock band.
• I also got a good laugh from the "No other testimonials available" bit.
Sketch - Tippy
• Last week, several people (including myself) pointed out that the voice & delivery Nasim used in the Principal Frye sketch sounded the exact same as Cheri Oteri. So how does Nasim follow that up this week? By going a step further and starring in a sketch where she plays a character that flat-out feels like a knock-off of an obscure recurring character Cheri Oteri used to play named Roberta (who first appeared in an early episode from the 95-96 season back when Cheri was a new castmember). Seriously, the similarity in appearance and behavior between Roberta and Tippy was too stark for me not to notice.
• To me, this Tippy sketch was like what would happen if you mixed Roberta with Nasim's Bedelia character. But most importantly, this Tippy character was simply not funny. The entire sketch was a waste and contained zero laughs from me. Only positive thing I can say is that the sketch was at least short.
• Nasim honestly has not been impressing me much this season, and this sketch did absolutely nothing to help her case. At this point, I have to side with those who view Nasim as an expendable castmember.
Commercial - Djesus Uncrossed
• A brilliant and ballsy idea for a Django parody, and several parts had me laughing my ass off, particularly the epic line "The H is silent" and the bit with Fred's head being split open in half.
• This lost a bit of steam in the last 40 seconds and kinda died towards the end.
• Jay's Samuel L. Jackson impression was TERRIBLE. The voice sounded absolutely nothing like him. I thought impressions were supposed to be this guy's forte.
Sketch/Commercial - JaMarcus Brothers CD
• Taran had me laughing right from the beginning with his funny delivery of the word "noice". I'm surprised that didn't get a bigger laugh from the audience.
• The set-up of this sketch felt very "been there, done that" for SNL, but there were enough funny moments to make this a decent sketch and Christoph's good performance as the "adopted white virgin" brother helped enhance the material. Even Kenan seemed amused by him.
• Wow, Jay has been in a lot of sketches tonight so far.
• Taran's ending line "I couldn't get a boner right now if I tried" capped the sketch off perfectly.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Sen. Marco Rubio, Olya Povlatsky, Stephen A. Smith
• Best jokes: Crippled ship returns, John McCain/Lindsey Graham, Saving cheetahs
• Taran did a fantastic job with the Marco Rubio commentary. He took a simple, predictable script and made it absolutely priceless with his performance. The dry, gaspy voice he used when he needed water had me in STITCHES, and he even made the "reaching far away to get the water bottle" gag hilarious.
• Kate's segment reminded me a bit of her Cecilia Giminez commentary from earlier this season, but it was still good. Kate's performance was fine, and she had a couple of pretty funny lines regarding the poor condition of her village.
• I'm already tired of the Stephen A. Smith commentaries, and this is only the third one. Yes, I know Jay does a dead-on impression of him, but these commentaries are the same thing every time and the formulaic routine has already gotten worn out. These can only coast by on a good impression for so long. However, at least his commentary tonight didn't go on forever like his last appearance from earlier this season did.
Sketch - Regine
• Will someone at Studio 8H please kindly point Fred Armisen towards the exit door so he can finally take a fucking hint and part ways with the show?
• Oh, and by the way - Fred, stop trying to make Bill Hader the Jimmy Fallon to your Horatio Sanz. This season, you've been doing this practically every time you're in the same sketch as Bill, and it feels way too forced. The funny thing is, I remember back in Fred's first few seasons, Fred seemed annoyed whenever Fallon & Sanz would do their unprofessional antics whenever he was in a sketch with them... Fast-forward to 10 years later and Fred has now become what he once opposed.
• Oh, and I love how they re-use the EXACT same supporting cast from the first Regine sketch (Bill, Vanessa, Aidy, and Tim), yet their characters still act like they've never met Regine before. Makes no damn sense. That's recurring sketch writing at its laziest.
Sketch - Fox & Friends
• Strange seeing this sketch on so late tonight. Then again, last week they put the "Miley Cyrus Show" sketch on pretty late in the episode as well. This really shows how much SNL has been downplaying the recurring sketches this season. Last season, those two sketches would've been placed front-and-center right after the monologue.
• Anyone else find it funny the way Taran always rapidly says the name of his two co-hosts at the beginning of each Fox & Friends sketch?
• Tonight's installment wasn't anything to write home about; a step down for this sketch's usual standards. However, Bobby's dimwitted statements in these are always reliable for big laughs. Tonight, he particularly killed me with his line about being banned from an aquarium for eating a seahorse, as well as the part with him showing his pancake passport.
• The segment with Bill as Ted Nugent wasn't as funny as I was expecting it to be. I did like his rant about crazy people's eyes, but the rest of his segment was forgettable.
• Uh... where the heck was, you know, tonight's HOST during this sketch? I know it's usually kinda hard for them to work a host into these Fox & Friends sketches, but seriously, they couldn't have had Christoph playing Fred's UK character in this sketch or anything?
• The fact corrections list at the end wasn't as funny as usual. And I'm pretty sure they already used the "Bruno Mars is from Earth" fact in a previous installment.
Sketch - Secret Admirer Letter
• Yes! Now THIS is the type of creepy role that I was hoping to see Waltz get tonight. He came off very Christopher Walken/John Malkovich/Steve Buscemi-esque in this, which I had hoped we'd be seeing in several sketches tonight, not just in one measly sketch.
• Waltz even LOOKED kinda Walken-esque in this sketch; I can swear I remember Walken wearing that exact same gray wig/glasses in one sketch before, though I can't remember which one.
• Kenan's delivery of the line "And I'm looking right back at YOU, buddy..." was great.
• The peanut/ring proposal bit really fell flat and should've been cut from the script.
• The cutaways to Jason's character made me laugh simply because of the smug laid-back grin he had on his face the whole time.
• Ouch, Christoph badly screwed up that line at the end.
• Stranded Cruise
• Taran's Marco Rubio commentary
• most of Djesus Uncrossed
• the singing portion of the monologue
Best Performer of the Night:
• Taran Killam / Christoph Waltz
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Cruise, Songologue, Djesus Uncrossed, Regine, Fox & Friends)
BAYER: 4 sketches (Tippy, Regine, Fox & Friends, Secret Admirer)
HADER: 5 sketches (Cruise, What Have You Become, Regine, Fox & Friends, Secret Admirer)
KILLAM: 6 sketches (Songologue, Djesus Uncrossed, JaMarcus Brothers, Update, Regine, Fox & Friends)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (Cruise, Songologue, Tippy, Fox & Friends)
PEDRAD: 2 sketches (Songologue, Tippy)
PHAROAH: 6 sketches (Cruise, What Have You Become, Tippy, Djesus Uncrossed, JaMarcus Brothers, Update)
SUDEIKIS: 3 sketches (Cruise, Papal Securities, Secret Admirer)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (What Have You Become, Tippy, Djesus Uncrossed, JaMarcus Brothers, Secret Admirer)
BRYANT: 2 sketches (What Have You Become, Regine)
MCKINNON: 4 sketches (Songologue, What Have You Become, Tippy, Update)
ROBINSON: 3 sketches (Cruise, Tippy, Regine)
STRONG: 4 sketches (Cruise, Songologue, JaMarcus Brothers, Secret Admirer)
CHRISTOPH WALTZ: 8 sketches (Songologue, What Have You Become, Papal Securities, Tippy, Djesus Uncrossed, JaMarcus Brothers, Regine, Secret Admirer)