It was good to hear the audience love on "Saturday Night Live" for guest host Melissa McCarthy. The TV and movie actress dove headfirst into the sketch comedy, owning every role and displaying sheer joy at being on the "SNL" stage, acting like a lunatic. It was definitely one of the late night show's better episodes, with some explosive laughs, quirky surprises and no real bombs.
To start, it was nice to see a cold open that didn't involve politics this week. Instead we got the beloved Lawrence Welk show sketch, with Kristen Wiig's freaky girl group singer with the giant forehead and tiny hands. McCarthy joined in the fun as another family embarrassment, this time with giant arms and teeth large enough to chew a tree in half. McCarthy gave it her all, and she and Wiig had a fun moment devouring a pumpkin, but it wasn't quite as hysterical as we wanted it to be--possibly because there is absolutely nothing that can top Wiig's tiny hands and all the inappropriate things she does with them. Extra points for Taran Killam and his delightfully smarmy crooner full of farm puns.
The guest host teamed up with her "Bridesmaids" costar again for the monologue, which focused on McCarthy's small town dreams of becoming a dancer. The sketch's joke, that had them stalling repeatedly and not doing any actual dancing, went a bit long, but the two gals were having such a good time up there that it sailed by on pure charm.
The "Saturday Night Live" commercial was a brilliantly twisted shocker that advertised a cute doll named "Lil Poundcake," with brushable hair, earrings you can wear, and a hidden syringe to dispense the HPV vaccine to girls under 10. Perfectly cutting satire that went all the way with it, down to side effects and disposing of the doll in a biohazardous waste container once her mission was complete.
McCarthy had her best sketch of the night after the break, as a super horny office worker trying to get with her married and unwilling coworker, played by Jason Sudeikis. McCarthy was unstoppable here, her character showing no shame as she flirted, fondled, gyrated and did unspeakable things to a horse balloon. Credit to Sudeikis for not completely losing it, as we all were at home. You can watch all the hilarious horror on "Saturday Night Live" video.
The set-up was funnier than the punchline in the "Saturday Night Live" digital short, which featured Andy Samberg and Bill Hader as police officers who start up their own version of "Stomp" in the precinct. The variety of musical sounds from everyday objects was clever and amusing, and ended with all of the cops firing a million rounds into two guys from Blue Man Group that they thought were aliens. Like I said, all the clicking and stomping and Hader's "whoo" sounds were a lot more entertaining than the sudden violence.
Our favorite "Mike and Molly" star returned for a sketch with Killam and Bobby Moynihan as Internet trolls who get called out on a show hosted by Jason Sudeikis. It was a satisfying slap at the idiots who post political rants on completely unrelated videos, make obnoxious sexual remarks and hide behind their anonymity. I still can not believe, however, that they passed up the perfect opportunity to have guest number one shout "First!"
Jay Pharoah finally got a sketch on "Saturday Night Live," playing Chris-Rock-does-Broadway. It was a solid impression with a biting hint of has-been-desperation, thrown in with a few jabs at idiot audience members who thought the plays were "blacktastic." Check out Rock's take on "Oliver" and "Annie."
Seth Meyers had a solid night with Weekend Update. Highlights included recent retiree Andy Rooney taking time out to work on his "role in the live-action version of 'Up,'" and the Chinese space station "Heavenly Palace" being the place, "judging by the name, all the other space stations will order take-out from." Seth also uncharacteristically choked on a punchline about France, where "unprotected sex just means without deodorant," getting more laughs as he played out his chagrined reaction to the slip-up.
His first guest commentators were the whispering friends of dictator Gadhafi, played by Vanessa Bayer and Fred Armisen. Not my favorite guests, but they do seem to get a little funnier each time they come out, especially when Seth joined in with his own whispering about his new boss. Kenan Thompson's Tyler Perry was hilariously on target tonight, including explaining his secret formula to being the highest paid entertainer: "I write, direct and star in all of my films. They cost $400 dollars to make, and every black person in American goes to see them."
The Hidden Valley Ranch test group sketch was either extremely gross or hysterically funny, depending on your threshold for salad dressing chugging. As usual, McCarthy went for it on every aspect of her obnoxious food taster with a desperate need for the cash prize. Aside from the physical humor, she also nailed the sad, pathetic yet earnest nature of her underachiever in a Spock sweatshirt.
McCarthy brought out the physical side again with a movie classics episode, featuring a Mae West doppelganger exchanging sexual innuendoes with her "closeted gay" male costars, right before she falls down the stairs. The heartless studio bosses of course keep forcing her to do sequels despite her injuries, so each subsequent film ends up in increasingly damaging slides down the red carpeted staircase. Like "Saturday Night Live" stars Chevy Chase and Molly Shannon before her, McCarthy is willing to take those hilariously painful tumbles that we can't stop laughing at.
The end of the night sketch had one joke that went on too long, as Samberg's lothario tried to pick up McCarthy's lonely girl in a bar--all the while hampered by his ex-conquests coming over to file complaints about his lousy love-making. There were a few chuckles as the offenses got weirder, but it would have been nice to see some better banter between the two comedians, and less cue card reading from the other characters.
Lady Antebellum put on two quality performances tonight, with "Own the Night" and "Just a Kiss." Considering the cacophony of noise that often ends up on the "Saturday Night Live" stage, it was refreshing to hear people that can actually harmonize. The group is always solid, and the two singers put a little extra sexy flirtation in their "Just a Kiss" number to keep things interesting.
Overall, an entertaining night and another sterling credit to McCarthy's comedic prowess. What did you think, "Saturday Night Live" fans? Which sketches were your favorites?
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- Melissa McCarthy