I have to be honest with you: I didn’t watch all of last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live (hosted by the lovable Jason Segel!), but this was not entirely my fault. For instance: right after Segel’s monologue, SNL reaired “Red Flag.” And I was so confused! I initially thought this was an old episode, even in spite of the presence of Muppets. Muppets, everywhere! And then I discovered this was a new episode after all, and so I only felt shortchanged.
I did see the opening monologue, which was adorbs. (Segel is busily promoting The Muppets: Green with Envy, which he also wrote, so of course the Muppets turned up.)
Next came a sketch where they were auditioning celebrities for Regis’ spot next to Kelly Ripa. This skit wasn’t funny “ha-ha”—you could tell that the writers had made a list of every celebrity impersonation every current SNL castmember could do and worked from there. The skit was, however, kind of a barrage of awesome.
I was fairly wowed by Kenan Thompson’s Charles Barkley impression. I don’t really think of the kid as much of an actor, but it was funny.
I have intimated in the past that absolutely everything Bill Hader does will wreck me, and his Garrison Keillor impression was almost too much for my poor little heart. Abby Elliott’s takedown of Zooey Deschanel was pitch-perfect (Elliott is such a good whistler!), while Taran Killam’s Ashton Kutcher was on this side of amazing. Disheartening: Jay Pharoah’s Denzel. The kid is so talented, but this simply wasn’t up to snuff. The audience seemed to hear it, but I couldn’t.
The whole sketch, sadly, was proof positive that there is literally nothing for “featured player” Paul Brittain to do. Sorry, man.
The next sketch was a pretty great joke about married life and fervent masturbation. I giggled really hard at this because I am basically 9 years old. It was maybe the second-best segment of the evening. I’ve already said too much:
Then I left the room, and even muffled through the door, I knew SNL was doing its recurring “overly affectionate family holiday” skit. So I just didn’t come back. And I stopped watching the show for an entire hour. This had nothing to do with the earlier “Red Flag” fakeout! I just kind of zzz’d.
Anyway, during this usually-awful recurring skit, Paul Rudd appeared for a quick cameo. So if you’ve ever wanted to watch Paul Rudd and Jason Segel make out, now’s your chance, I guess. Which would be hot? If nobody had made mouth-to-mouth with Fred Armisen earlier?
I also deliberately skipped this episode’s Weekend Update. I don’t know—lately, Weekend Update has been lacking its impish shine. And I feel bad about being so disloyal! Because Seth Meyers is so smart, and funny, and he’s got that manly chin-dimple thing going. Anyway: Kermit the Frog cohosted Weekend Update with Seth Meyers. Not high-larious, but there was some really good muppeteering:
I did enjoy the Digital Short, “Seducing Women Through Chess,” except I was endlessly disturbed by Andy Samberg’s apparent resemblance to Carl Sagan. But look! Olivia Wilde! And she doesn’t utter a single word, which suits me fine:
Now I’ll skip over a couple sketches, pretending they never happened (Entertainment Weekly will back me up, as always), and instead cut directly to MY FAVORITE SKETCH OF THE NIGHT.
It was titled “André the Giant Chooses an Ice Cream Flavor”—like, there was an actual title card—and boy, it did not disappoint. I even scribbled down in my little notebook: “Really weird/all Segal’s.” (I misspelled Segel in my notebook, yes.)
SNL writers, I don’t mean to gush, but you have done something brilliant here. We need more of this. Survey your guest hosts; find out what they can do, what hidden talents they have. Can your guest tap dance? Yo-yo? Do a phenomenal André the Giant impression? Write an absurd sketch around this talent, and leave the rest of the muggy ensemble out of it. André lives on!
The episode concluded with a final sketch that I kind of adored. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, no. Instead, it was an astute, good-natured poke at how much people in bars love crappy jam bands. Everyone always gets really into it! It’s sort of like how the whole bar crowd might roar the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believing” together at the end of the night.
And it was very Muppetty, very “the gang’s all here” (you can see Paul Rudd sneaking in, totally reprising his douchebag Andy faces from Wet Hot American Summer). Just, very nice, very feel-good, very twee by its end:
(Edit: About that—I can’t believe it, but the intolerably snarky A.V. Club has finally matched my opinions, point-by-point. David Sims acknowledges the final sketch as “warm and fuzzy” and “an effective capper to a Muppet-inspired episode.” Awww!)
All in all, what a strong show! I only had to ignore a cumulative three sketches at most! Did you watch the show last night?