SNL Recap: Justin Timberlake Enters ‘The 5 Timers Club’

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With Justin Timberlake, there are always a few guarantees. The music he produces will almost always be great. His acting will almost always be atrocious. And when he hosts Saturday Night Live, like he did last night – for the 5th time – it will almost always be a fantastic episode. And last night’s episode was no exception.

The show opened with a cold open starring only Justin. Has this happened before where the host is the only person to do the cold open? Tell me if it has. I mean, his Elton John impression as a whole isn’t anything amazing but his impression of Elton John’s singing voice is. And it was fun! My rule is that if the cold open is solid the rest of the episode tends to follow suit and that happened here. So let’s get to it.

I had scrolled past a link yesterday that said something about the reuniting of the 5 Timers Club in it. I didn’t click the link and I had forgotten about it until the episode began. I kind of assumed that this opening monologue was going to happen but I was genuinely surprised by it and God those cameos were incredible. I mean, even Candice Bergen!  There are times when “the SNL cameo” is cheap and just there to help lift an otherwise mediocre episode and then there’s what happened in this episode where it was nostalgic and amazing and historic, even? The 5 Timers Sketch isn’t new, of course not, but it’s great when it does happen. GUYS, The Three Amigos were reunited! I’m going to need to be sedated.

The Dating Game sketch that followed is the best sketch of the night and for all the obvious reasons, but – and maybe this is just me – I thought it was perfectly edited and directed and with no technical mess-ups. I’m glad that they didn’t film another Dick in a Box digital short and opted to include the characters in something like this, that shouldn’t have worked but worked so incredible well, especially in combination with The Wild & Crazy Guys. And I’m not usually of big fan of Vanessa Bayer playing it straight but her acting was terrific in this sketch.

This was followed by a performance of JT’s “Suit & Tie” which he killed, of course. Midst performance my friend texted and said “If Jay-Z shows up, I’ll die”. Jay-Z showed up so my friend is no longer with us. OF COURSE Jay-Z SHOWED up. And it just added to the amazingness. His second performance of the night, “Mirrors” was solid and I’m growing to enjoy that song. Justin Timberlake is the ultimate showman. I love Bruno Mars, but he’s the Pepsi to Justin’s Coke. It’s just too bad about Justin’s film career…

Weekend Update followed and it was the most perfect Weekend Update in a very long time. Jokes were fresh & on point and they only had one, very good, character appear – Stefon. Weekend Update works best like this. I know there are those who have their issues with Stefon because they think the character is tired, that Bill Hader’s breaking is fake and if you were to take that away there’s nothing there. Tonight’s latest chapter in the book of Stefon squashed that notion. That Donald Duck bit? That’s Bill Hader’s Emmy piece right there. It was brilliant and not only showed off how good Hader is (seriously, he’s amazing) but that Stefon is more than just the silly bar names and breaking.

Rarely is any episode of SNL perfect. Besides the Maya Rudolph episode (for me), it rarely happens. So, of course Weekend Update was followed by two really mediocre sketches. Everyone was game in both of them (Kate McKinnon’s southern drawl is exceptional and she’s a genius) but they just fell flat. It happens.

There were two tape pieces for the evening and both were standouts. The first was a commercial parody for a vagina condom called NuvaRing and it was everything it needed to be and more (“Shine up that ‘gine”). The second was a parody of generic romantic comedies but with a twist, called She’s Got A Dick. I think that’s pretty self explanatory, right?

And then…and then there was the final sketch of the night. I’m so glad this is going to be a thing because I love this sketch. Does it have a name? I’m going to call it the Pornstar Infomercial sketch. Whatever it’s called, it’s pure gold. It doesn’t always hit at first with the audience and it’s something that ages well because the jokes are so intricate and played so casually that the vulgarity of them catch you off guard. Um, except for this amazing line “This one time I jerked off a horse”. Bayer & Strong are dynamite in this sketch.

Sigh. If only every episode could be like this.

Next up: Melissa McCarthy & Phoenix.

 

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