***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Memorial Service for President Hugo Chavez
• The opening translation bit with Fred as the Venezuelan was dull standard stuff that Fred could do in his sleep.
• This picked up with Justin as Elton John. He did a decent impression and although the lyrics of his song could've been a little funnier, there were still some good ones in there like the bit about Chavez's parrot with a matching red beret.
• I also laughed at the disapproving looks Justin gave to the camera in response to certain lyrics.
• Nice segue into LFNY, although the camera switch was a bit awkward.
Monologue - Justin Timberlake
• A very entertaining homage/follow-up/recreation/whatever-you-wanna-call-it of the classic Five-Timers Club monologue with Tom Hanks. Of course this wasn't as strong as the original one, but it was still very enjoyable and it goes without saying that all the cameos were very fun.
• Does the fact that Michael Patrick O'Brien played the doorman mean he's the current-era Conan of SNL's writing staff? That kinda makes sense, since MPO has appeared as an extra in lots of sketches, much like Conan did back in the day. Or maybe they had MPO take over the doorman role only because he and Conan have the same last name.
• I knew about most of these cameos in advance since I saw the spoilers, but there were still some unannounced surprises thrown in here like Alec Baldwin and Candice Bergen.
• Martin Short as the waiter was a nice subtle callback to the Platinum Lounge sketch from Alec Baldwin's 2006 episode. I just wish they had Steve Martin saying "Sad, isn't it?" again like he did in that sketch.
• They should've done more with Tom Hanks, considering that in the original Five-Timers Club monologue, it was HIM being inducted into the club. It would've been nice hearing him make a reference to that monologue or something.
• The deathmatch between Taran and Bobby was a hilarious original bit that brought this monologue into its own. And I liked Bobby's reaction to being complimented on Drunk Uncle. I always get a kick out of anytime the show throws in character references like that during backstage sketches. Like in one of Ashton Kutcher's monologues, he was talking to Will Forte backstage and said "Love that Falconer character, by the way" and Forte got all giddy in response.
Sketch - It's a Date
• This was the right way to use the two Dick in a Box guys tonight. Doing another Digital Short/music video wouldn't have worked considering the last short they appeared in (the 3-Way one with Lady Gaga) ended up being very forgettable and paled horribly in comparison to Dick in a Box/Mother Lovers. They came off fresher tonight in this live sketch.
• Seeing the Festrunk Brothers again was a nice blast-from-the-past and they were pretty funny here. And as an SNL nerd, I of course loved the line about how they've been living in America for "37 years", which shows the writer of this sketch did their research on when these two characters debuted.
• Despite just playing mere straight roles amongst so much star power, Bill, Vanessa, and Bobby each managed to hold their own in this. Bill did his usual strong job as a gameshow host, Vanessa was funny with her rejecting everything Bobby said while being inexplicably impressed by the other two duos, and Bobby was an awesome straight man as usual.
• Very fun ending with the Dick in a Box guys, the Festrunk Brothers, and Vanessa all singing together. And Bill's dancing during the fade-out was hilarious!
Sketch - Dancing Mascot
• Obviously, this appearing tonight was a given. I've never been a fan of these Dancing Mascot sketches, although I can't deny the fact that Justin always brings lots of infectious energy to these. Just think of how unbearable this sketch would be in the hands of a less-charismatic host.
• The song parodies tonight felt even weaker than usual, although at least they tried some different things with the experimental camera angles, as well as the ending.
• For some reason, I was expecting "Thrift Shop" to be one of the songs Justin parodied in this installment, but it didn't happen. That could've been kinda interesting, especially since that song was just performed on the show last week.
• Bobby was a great foil here and he got some good laughs of his own while playing off of Justin. Tonight's episode is slowly turning into The Bobby Moynihan Show.
Commercial - NuvaBling
• This felt like a leftover Tina Fey-written commercial. Lord knows that back in the day, Tina loved her some feminine hygiene product commercial parodies that showcased the entire female cast.
• This was nothing special and it seemed like there wasn't much they could do with the concept. However, this still got a few laughs from me, and this was helped by Vanessa, Cecily, and Kate's great performances.
• I laughed at Vanessa's uncomfortable expression when inserting the ring, as well as the bit about how you can reuse the product as an earring.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Stefon
• Best jokes: Fake bishop, the second Hebrew Playboy joke
• Whenever Justin Timberlake hosts, the writers usually bring out their big guns, so it makes sense that in tonight's episode, we're seeing the return of SNL's most well-known current character, the always-reliable Stefon. One of the things that's keeping Stefon fresh this season is the fact that they haven't been overusing him lately; tonight is only his second appearance of the whole season, and we'll most likely get only one more in the season finale.
• Tonight's Stefon commentary got its usual laughs. My favorite parts were 1) the black voice he used when quoting blues singer Sweet Willie Walker, and 2) his impression of Donald Duck having a Vietnam nightmare.
Sketch - The Tales of Sober Caligula
• Very weak and disappointing. Not only was this lacking laughs, it also felt too out-of-place on tonight's episode. By that, I mean there was a fun, high-energy vibe throughout most of tonight's episode that was sorely missing during this Caligula sketch. This sketch felt lethargic and sluggishly-paced compared to the rest of the show.
• One of the few things I laughed at in this was Taran gently touching Justin's stomach before walking away, which I assume was an ad-lib because Justin seemed genuinely caught off-guard afterwards. Leave it to Taran to save a dying sketch.
• Tim Robinson also made me laugh with his line "It's muh little sex pig".
• This already-weak sketch seemed to REALLY die towards the end where even the audience wasn't into it anymore. And what was with that abrupt ending?
Sketch - Maine Justice
• I loved the first time they did this sketch, but I never expected it to be brought back, because the original installment felt like it was intended as a one-off sketch. The concept didn't seem like it would lend itself well to multiple appearances, especially with the surprising twist revelation that they were actually Louisiana citizens relocated to Maine.
• Tonight's sketch couldn't live up to the excellent original installment, and I would've preferred if they kept it as a one-off classic. That being said, tonight's installment was still pretty funny, so I can't complain too much. Jason continues to crack me up so much with the voice that he uses in this, no matter what his dialogue is.
• The alligator-feeding bit brought this sketch to an even weirder level, which I like.
• Casting Andy Samberg as the straight man kinda made sense, since he supposedly played the same role when this sketch was done in last season's Will Ferrell dress rehearsal. Andy did fine here, but he wasn't quite as strong in this role as Bobby was in the last installment. However, I did like Andy's delivery of the line "I got nothin' after that crazy gator thing..."
Commercial - She's Got a D!%k
• Wow, this was really, really dumb and pointless. Nothing much to say other than that. I was hoping there would be more to the surprise twist than her having a dick, but we were given nothin'. Was this commercial written by a junior high kid?
• Kenan was the only saving grace. He was funny in this, especially when he asked "Can I see it???"
Sketch - Moet & Chandon
• Earlier tonight during the Maine Justice sketch, I was thinking about the Jamie Foxx episode and I had this weird feeling that the Swarovski Crystals/ex-porn stars sketch from that episode would be brought back as the final sketch of tonight's show. I must be a friggin psychic or something.
• While not quite as strong as the original installment, this was still very funny so I don't really mind seeing it back. And this was a better follow-up than tonight's Maine Justice was.
• This installment offered a long string of funny random lines again, and these always feature great performances from Vanecily (which is what I'll refer to both Vanessa & Cecily as whenever they're paired up in a sketch together).
• I was very surprised the censors allowed that "jerking off a horse" line, and apparently the studio audience was just as shocked as me.
• Another risque line I was surprised made it on the air was Cecily's line about graduating "magna cum loudly".
• While Justin didn't get much to do here, he was still better than Jamie Foxx was in the first installment. And I got a good laugh from Justin referring to the Moet & Chandon name as "Monica & Chandler".
• It's a Date
• The Stefon commentary on Weekend Update
• Moet & Chandon
• She's Got a D!%k
• The Tales of Sober Caligula
Best Performer of the Night:
• Justin Timberlake / Bobby Moynihan / Vanessa Bayer
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 3 sketches (Hugo Chavez, Sober Caligula, She's Got a D!%k)
BAYER: 3 sketches (It's a Date, NuvaBling, Moet & Chandon)
HADER: 3 sketches (It's a Date, Update, Sober Caligula)
KILLAM: 3 sketches (Monologue, NuvaBling, Sober Caligula)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (Monologue, It's a Date, Dancing Mascot, Sober Caligula)
PEDRAD: 2 sketches (Sober Caligula, She's Got a D!%k)
PHAROAH: 1 sketch (Maine Justice)
SUDEIKIS: 1 sketch (Maine Justice)
THOMPSON: 2 sketches (Maine Justice, She's Got a D!%k)
BRYANT: 2 sketches (NuvaBling, Sober Caligula)
MCKINNON: 4 sketches (NuvaBling, Sober Caligula, Maine Justice, She's Got a D!%k)
ROBINSON: 1 sketch (Sober Caligula)
STRONG: 3 sketches (NuvaBling, Sober Caligula, Moet & Chandon)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: 8 sketches (Hugo Chavez, Monologue, It's a Date, Dancing Mascot, Sober Caligula, Maine Justice, She's Got a D!%k, Moet & Chandon)