Can something that should be comedic yet ends up being more entertaining still fall into the genre of comedy, in particular, sketch comedy? Last night’s Saturday Night Live was more entertaining than it was humorous, and not for the sake of being odd like Melissa McCarthy’s episode last week. I didn’t laugh a whole lot, but I also wasn’t insulted by the fact that I wasn’t laughing because I was being genuinely entertained. For me, I think that’s okay, but for a show that should be constantly delivering laughs, is that okay? This is all rhetorical and I’m also hungover.
The political cold open was, per the norm, dull and unfunny. Jay is always game as Obama but there just isn’t anything there to work with. I was worried that this was going to set the tone for the rest of the evening but that wasn’t the case. I know I’m going to stand-alone on this one, but I didn’t hate last night’s episode. There were a couple of duds, but there were some really inspired sketches that showed off the cast’s acting skills. I’m talking about the Margret Thatcher taped piece (my favourite sketch) and the one with the actors forgetting their lines. In a standout episode, they’d probably turn out to be the weaker sketches but here they were able to have a moment in an uneven episode.
The Thatcher sketch worked for me because while not very funny, it nailed the ridiculousness of something like a VH1 Behind The Music type thing. I particularly loved the confessions with each artist, more so because of how it was really well edited. This sketch belonged entirely to Fred Armisen. The other sketch I enjoyed, the one introduced by Bill Hader about the actors knowing their lines worked simply out of the silliness of it all. I know it wasn’t anything revolutionary, and again, if it were in a great episode like Justin Timberlake’s (I feel the need to remind everyone that that episode was the best of the season and not McCarthy’s, which for some reason keeps being toted as the best) it would’ve been ridiculed, but I really liked this sketch. Just let me have this.
I also happened to really enjoy Vaughn’s opening monologue. I’ve never seen a monologue that so clearly depicted everything people either absolutely love or hate about the host. That was everything I love about Vince Vaughn and everything that is grating about him. The jokes didn’t really hit, but I don’t think that was necessarily the point (I mean, it is and it isn’t). I found it completely entertaining seeing him riff through the audience. The other above average sketch of the night belonged to the Al Pacino-serial-killer taped piece. I mean, at this point, there’s really nothing Bill Hader can’t do. His Pacino impression is always welcome and I loved seeing him in ridiculous get ups.
Other than that, the show wasn’t very strong. It was quite uninspired as a whole, and really uneven until the last sketch of the night. This sketch works because and only because of Kate McKinnon. She’s fearless, right? It’s just an absolute blast watching her play this insane character. I’d love to see this sketch more often.