After the “let’s just get through this” host that was Justin Bieber, I was really looking forward to this week’s SNL with Christoph Waltz. There’s just something about real actors coming to do the show that makes it worth sitting through the teen idols. Waltz did not disappoint, at all.
The cold open was quite strong. I thought they were going to stick with a political open but I was pleasantly surprised when instead the show opened with Jason Sudeikis and Cecily Strong as cruise directors for the ill-fated Carnival Triumph. Unlike last episode’s Super Bowl cold open, the cruise directors were well paced, the rest of the cruise staff was quick and funny, and the jokes were good; sad that this is out of the norm, but it was and it was good. However Ms. Strong, as a daughter of the great city of Mobile, Alabama, it is pronounced “mo-beal” not “mo-bile”. Come on, we are always a little sensitive this time of year, given how no one ever remembers that we were the ones that brought Mardi Gras to America but to not even know how to pronounce our fair city’s name? Well that’s just rude.
As for the monologue, that made me nervous. Here was a great cold open only to have a visibly nervous Christoph Waltz come out and sing. How many musical monologues does that bring us up to for the season? Way too many. I feared that his nervousness would make the rest of the show laborious but thankfully, it was short-lived. Actually you could tell Waltz was battling nerves in many of the sketches but he did a great job despite it.
“What Have You Become” has the distinction of probably being my new favorite game show sketch. I would hope that it’d become a recurring sketch but it would be difficult to have the same payoff as the question being turned on the host so I’ll just have to re-watch this one numerous times. Christoph Waltz talking about his overbearing mother making him go to “game show school” was obviously the highlight but almost as good was Aidy Bryant having the chance to say anything about herself and choosing mediocre knitting. Well, mediocre knitting and her bitch of a daughter.
In the first of two pre-recorded bits, Waltz played the retired Pope Benedict. I’m not a retiring pontiff but I was seconds away from setting up a meeting with my local “Papal Securities” office. Something about Jason Sudeikis in a pair of glasses makes me want fork over money.
While I enjoyed seeing Nasim Pedrard getting her own character, Tippy just didn’t do it for me. I respect that it’s difficult to get out of the shadow of a personality such as Kristin Wiig but it’s probably not wise to try to use a character that she would certainly excel at, as a vehicle. That being said, perhaps if it’s a recurring character Nasim can make it her own and work her way out of that shadow. Best of luck.
The best part of the night was the second pre-recorded sketch, this time a movie trailer for the newest Quentin Tarantino film, Djesus Uncrossed. I am a huge SNL fan and usually laugh pretty heartily at various sketches, but I have not laughed as hard at something in quite some time that I did to this trailer. It was perfect. Anyone who has seen even half a Tarantino film recognized his style immediately, that style being very bloody, and often involving swords. Christoph Waltz was perfect as the freshly resurrected Djesus who sets out to take his revenge on the Romans. If there were any doubts about Taran Killam’s ability to impersonate Brad Pitt, they were put to rest as he did a great job and now I can’t even see the word “Roman” without pronouncing it as “R0-Mans”.
If the sketch itself wasn’t entertaining, the backlash certainly has been. Long story short, people are losing their shit. It has certainly kept my attention this morning and has been quite educational. Apparently if you thought the bit was funny you are either a god-less heathen, atheist, or a “libretard”. Oh and you are most certainly going to hell. I imagine the FCC is fielding their fair share of complaints this morning, and if this compilation of SNL complaints through the years is any indication, they probably make for fun reading. Good times.
By the time the CD commercial came up for the JaMarcus Brothers, the show was on a roll unlike one I’ve seen all year. You could tell that everyone in the cast knew it as well. JaMarcus Brothers was probably one of the funniest “Time Life Music” bits they’ve had in a while, thanks to Waltz as the adopted white virgin. Hysterical.
I’m a huge fan of Alabama Shakes so no surprise that I really enjoyed their two pieces of the night. Brittany Howard is amazing, and I’ve decided that I would like her to follow me around and sing-narrate my life.
Much in line with the rest of the night, Weekend Update was fantastic. No surprise to anyone, Marco Rubio (Taran Killam) made an appearance with his infamous thirst and dedication to maintaining eye contact with the camera. I wouldn’t have pictured Rubio as one to take on a YouTube meme such as the “cinnamon challenge” so you learn something new everyday. I’m waiting for his “Harlem Shake” video to hit the internet.
Kate McKinnon continues her campaign for full cast member status and this week, it came behind the Weekend Update desk. I don’t know if she’s writing these characters herself, or someone is writing for her, but whoever it is, they are hitting it out of the park. Ann Romney and Cecilia Gimenez were both great but they pale in comparison to the Russian woman hoping the meteor was there to turn her into dust so she could be eaten by a goat and finally warm. So good.
If I had to choose to low point of the night? For me it’d be the return of Regine. The only plus to Fred Armisen’s crotch flashing drag sketch is watching the other cast members trying to keep it together. Of course when Bill Hader is involved, there’s not much chance of him keeping a straight face, and this week was no different.
Fox and Friends may seem tired, but it still makes me laugh, no doubt thanks to Bobby Moynihan and his absolutely ridiculous character. He certainly has a talent when it comes to making the dim bulb, Brian Kilmeade, very entertaining to watch. I think we can all agree that it’s about time they start crediting the fourth host of the Fox morning show, Vanessa Bayer’s rack. Woowee she had the girls out for a walk this week!
I probably shouldn’t have enjoyed the “Secret Valentine Admirer” sketch as much as I did. Awkward Christoph Waltz certainly is adorable and the payoff with Keenan Thompson’s reaction to a second “valentine” was great.
Overall? Easily the best episode of the season, if not the best of recent seasons. Even though there are plenty of people pissing and moaning that they are no longer watching the show due to the whole Djesus thing, there were enough of us who loved it that hopefully NBC won’t see any substantial blow-back. It was nice to see the writers taking a step back onto the unsafe and daring ledge, a refreshing change of pace from the somewhat predictable and pedantic.
Next week is a rerun, likely due to the Oscars on Sunday night, but they return on March 2nd with what looks to be a promising episode with host Kevin Hart and musical guest Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Until then SNL fans!