Will Ferrell Hosts a Disappointing 'Saturday Night Live'

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Whenever a distinguished alumni like Ferrell turns up to host "Saturday Night Live," fans excitedly tune in to see if some of their favorite sketches and characters will be revived. Dana Carvey bringing back the Church Lady for a chat with Justin Bieber made up for about a hundred bad "SNL" sketches we had to sit through prior to that episode. Unfortunately for Ferrell, though there were some good laughs this week for the "Anchorman" star, it fell far short of the other nostalgia acts we've seen.

Best of the Night

The guest host did get to show off his skills at shameless comedy during the 100th "Saturday Night Live" digital short, whose running thread was about the insane topic of the dudes performing oral sex on themselves. The Lonely Island guys managed to pull together a pretty impressive reunion, including Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman, and Michael Bolton as Captain Jack Sparrow. This week's musical guest, Usher, also made an appearance, as well as a thoroughly disgusted Justin Bieber. Watch the madness at the "SNL" video site.

The awesome Ana Gasteyer returned to join Ferrell on stage at a the LGBT high school prom, showing they're still hip to all the latest teen lingo and putting their own crazily operatic spin on modern music. There was even a little vintage shout-out to Deee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart." If we could have had the host in a hot tub with Rachel Dratch, the night would have been even more satisfying.

Ferrell didn't always perfectly sell the screaming-sneeze on the mock "Saturday Night Live" commercial for cold medicine, but Kristen Wiig reacted as if he did, which made this funnier-as-it-goes sketch a total treat. As the weary wife tries to sell her product, she repeatedly attempts to get away from that lurking sick guy who keeps rattling the doors off the hinges. Watch it here.

The "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update was a big improvement this week, with a hilarious descent into inappropriateness for the "Really!!?" segment on Time's attachment parenting magazine cover. We also got another fantastic "Get in the Cage" appearance, with "Battleship" star Liam Neeson. The tall actor physically dwarfed Samberg at the news desk, and put in a wonderfully wry performance. Click the link to hear Cage's hilarious thoughts on a movie about a "rogue marble from hell."

Worst of the Night

The 25th anniversary party sketch was a bad way to end the live portion of the "Saturday Night Live" episode. The show has done this type of routine before, with random guests taking over the mic to spew nonsense, and it didn't need to be revisited here. Sometimes insane characters are just irritating, and not funny at all.

Although Ferrell's mom is adorable, his awkward "Mothers' Day" speech in the monologue just never took off. Like many of the sketches tonight, Ferrell seemed to be missing that little extra something that makes his off-the-wall humor work.

The host did his best with a sketch about Broadway hopefuls performing shot-tunes on stage for a shot at the big-time, but the one-note joke about singing songs "meant for a girl" just wasn't funny enough to sustain the sketch.

The Rest

How often does a host turn up in the Cold Open? The show got off to a promising start when Jason Sudeikis' pouty-boy-locked-in-his-room Joe Biden gets a visit from George Bush, who got lost in the White House and has been living in a closet for three and a half years. It wasn't knock-you-over funny, but it had some good jabs at the usual suspects and a funny dynamic between the two "Vice Presidents."

The "Funkytown Debate" show had some amusing costumes, but Kenan Thompson and Ferrell actually got overshadowed by Usher's feathered-hat-wearing character, possibly because he had way more funky vibes than anyone on the stage.

ESPN Classic, with another surprise visit from alum Will Forte, could have gone in the "Worst" column, except for a few good laughs from Forte's blindingly stupid character. The thoroughly obnoxious ads for the sponsor, Stayfree, was more uncomfortable than funny until I finally had to give them credit for the one about "The Shining" elevator.

"Saturday Night Live" musical guest Usher performed "Scream" and "Climax." The latter ballad would have had a nice ethereal, stuck-in-your-head melody, but was a bit of a falsetto mess in execution. The R&B star managed much better with the upbeat "Scream," nailing the vocals and breaking out some cool moves with his back-up dancers despite the tiny cramped stage.

What did you think, "Saturday Night Live" fans? Did you enjoy Ferrell's return to the sketch comedy stage, or did the night fall flat for you?

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