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0No Kidding: Last Night’s SNL Was the Best in Ages

Photo: Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph reunite for 'Bronx Beat'

I am pretty glad I stayed up late to watch last night’s Saturday Night Live. And I do not say this lightly, because it’s a statement I seldom make.

Former castmember Maya Rudolph returned to the show as host (and in grand form!), with terrific assists from Amy Poehler, Justin Timberlake and, yes, Bill O’Reilly of all people. The episode itself was timely and topical, and better yet, it had teeth.

Let’s begin with the tremendous opening sketch.

I’m not sure whether you’ve been following the “Lin-sanity”—yeah, it’s weird for me to type that and not mean Lindsay Lohan—but there’s just something about Chinese-American basketball phenom Jeremy Lin that brings out the inner racist a—hole in everyone. (To wit: ESPN fired one of its headline writers today, and another commentator was reprimanded.)

The sketch itself is really edgy and, to be honest, you might not love it. In it, one of the sports anchors keeps digging himself into an ever-deepening grave; meanwhile, it’s inexplicably okay for the other commentators to make repeated references to Lin’s racial identity:

Rudolph’s opening monologue had tons of potential—the joke is, Rudolph diddled everyone at NBC during her SNL tenure, right down to Bridesmaids costar Kristen Wiig—but it was preeeeeetty awkward in execution. (Know who can sell sluttiness? Melissa McCarthy, that’s who.)

Amy Poehler makes her first big appearance alongside Maya Rudolph in a Very Special Episode of “Bronx Beat.” Oh, how I’ve missed this bit! I love their teased hair! And their sass! The episode is a one-two punch, too: Justin Timberlake appears in—oh, how do I even say this—a surprisingly supportive role? Like, he is not the star. At all. Mostly he stands there. It’s great.

This sketch was hardly my favorite of the night, but “How’s He Doing?” sent me into no fewer than two screaming fits. And yes, I would be mad if President Obama started dating Ke$ha. (And yes, if Obama were dating Ke$ha, I might still vote for him. So weird!)

OK, it isn’t as if SNL actually made fun of Blue Ivy Carter—I mean, who would make fun of a baby???—but the show did make fun of Beyonce. And Prince. And Taylor Swift. But it especially mocks Bon Iver.

Hipsters, it’s time to face the music: Bon Iver deserves it.

I’ve never fully enjoyed an episode of “What Up With That,” I think because it never quite lives up to its potential for surrealism. But this episode features Bill O’Reilly, along with Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton—what up with that indeed!

Adorably, O’Reilly never quite gets a chance to tout his new book before Kenan Thompson cuts him off:

This week’s Weekend Update was OK, but it kicked into high gear when Amy Poehler returned for “Really!?!” with head writer Seth Meyers.

I’m not sure whether you’ve been following all the birth control legislation happening here in the USA, so let me catch you up: it’s sick. It’s really effing sick.

Like, if you are a lady—or if you know and love a lady—you ought to be terrified about these legal precedents. (My opinions do not reflect those of the writers or employers here at Evil Beet, but since you care: I am morally opposed to abortion generally, and I am pro-abstinence-ish, but I also believe any effort toward making abortion illegal will criminalize and, eventually, kill a lot of people. If you’re opposed to abortion, the onus is on you to change minds, not law. That’s my stance. And don’t get me started on vaginal sonograms: they are pretty freaking “invasive,” even if you are only checking for cysts instead of babies, thanks. Also, TMI, sorry.)

Meanwhile, our president wants to make birth control free to women with health insurance, and certain political and religious factions are freaking out over this. And it’s so stupid! Like, as many as 10% of all women have polycystic ovary syndrome, which is a super-duper common reproductive disease, and once you are diagnosed with some metabolic or hormonal disturbance, the first line of defense any doctor recommends will be a birth control pill. Whether that’s appropriate, I don’t know, but it’s totally like $50 for a single month of please-I’m-already-infertile-and-not-sexually-active-why-do-I-have-to-also-be-fat-and-hairy-and-covered-in-cystic-acne. JUST SAYING.

(Yeah, OK, fight me in the comments if you feel like it, but seriously, don’t take this madwoman on, because I am SO MAD, and also I loved this sketch.)

And now for jokes! Jokes!

I hate to admit this, but during the “Cosby Show” Obama sketch—which has received a ton of online love today—Dish Network suddenly crapped-out. I repeatedly tried to reboot my satellite, but it was all “pixels!” and “blurp!” You can tell by the way it was shot, though, that it was nearly the Cold Open for the night’s show:

Toward the end—and this is not a “good” sketch, you guys, but stick with me—there was “Super Showcase.” Is there anything more charming than darling Bill Hader tee-hee-heeing on SNL? Anytime the man puts his hands over his mouth because he can’t keep a straight face, I pee the teensiest bit. Sorry! If birth control pills were free I’d pee slightly less, maybe.

This time, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are crawling all over the “Showcase” set in matching accents and dresses, and it’s wonderful:

Finally, the musical guest was “Sleigh Bells.” I have no idea who they are, and also, I could not stand them.

Stray thoughts:

- I noticed, only for the first time, that Paul Brittain is gone. I guess it was by his own choice, too, and I approve—SNL was totally stringing him along.

- During the interstitials, SNL announced that Lindsay Lohan is slated to return as host. Please, please just kill me.

- I don’t love Jay Pharaoh, but his stints as Jay-Z and Morgan Freeman absolutely confirmed the need for Jay Pharaoh.

- When are they going to officially add Taran Killam to the SNL cast? The writers give him crappy roles, but he has rapidly become fifty times as reliably funny as anybody on the show.

- Access Hollywood loved the Jay-Z/Beyonce sketch in a major way.

(Image via TVLine.)

February 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm by Jenn

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