Looks like the arrival of Steve Buscemi helped the Saturday Night Live writers get their mojo back this week after a string of less than stellar episodes. Pretty much every skit had a few laughs, and even though they relied on some old “favorites,” they managed to put a little bit of a new spin on them to make them just a little more fresh. Check out the recap of this week’s sketches, and come back later for the embedded video clips!
Cold Open: Presidential Message– Fred Armisen again as Obama in a pretty decent opener. Loved the comment about the bad economy and people pepper spraying each other for Xboxes. Obama also gave a lesson on how country works, showing the top twelve most powerful institutions. Pretty funny chart (#2: Grover Norquist, #3: Oprah).
Monologue: Steve Buscemi — Buscemi proudly mentions his current leading man role on Boardwalk Empire and makes fun of his past roles as “creepy” guys and character parts, then gives advice to other stereotypical character actors on how to get a lead role. Loved the “Magical Negro” and the “Granny Who Uses Foul Language and/or Raps.”
Frozen Mexican Dinner — A guy in a recording studio looks to be in pain because … he’s constipated. The cure? Frozen Mexican Dinner! How does it work? “How does it NOT work?” Also available in Indian and Fish.
The Miley Cyrus Show — After not being able to do a Herman Cain cold open on the day he withdrew from the GOP race, they were at least able to address the Miley is a pothead “scandal.” Buscemi is her special guest, Jeff, a guy she met at Burning Man. They made a music video together, “Dancin’ With Dogs.” And then Whitney Houston pops in! She’s been clean and sober since 2013! I miss Maya Rudolph’s Whitney. I’m glad she comes back from time to time. SHOOP!
SNL Digital Short: Batman – What seems like a spoof of the new Dark Knight movie with Commissioner Gordon on the roof with the Bat Signal, turns into a pretty funny bit with Batman popping up out of nowhere at the most inopportune moments. I think the fact that the mask didn’t fit Samberg made it even funnier.
Dateline NBC — I love Bill Hader’s overly enthusiastic host Keith Morrison, with his “oooh” and “aaaah” in response to some titillating details of a horrific crime. We learn that he actually is turned on by the details and that Dateline is so cheap they only have one photo of the suspect, and they have stretch things to an hour after getting the confession interview five minutes into the show. Kristin Wiig was a hoot as the “beautiful” woman Buscemi’s character killed for.
Sexual Predator Investigation — Wow. Talk about taking on a touchy subject. I don’t know if it was funny, but it was uncomfortable enough to elicit some nervous laughter. Buscemi plays a coach who just looks like a predator (“Is it the mustache?”) so his school launches an investigation and finds … nothing. Except that he never washes his hands. Bill Hader was exceptionally creepy as the head of NAMBLA. Yeah, there was probably something here to offend everyone.
Musical Guest: The Black Keys — I liked the 50s rockabilly, grind house music more than the vocals, but not bad. Second song was more of the same. Not really my kind of music but I did dig them.
Weekend Update — In the headlines this week: Herman Cain suspends his campaign, Senators’ Secret Santa (the Democrats give the Republicans a gift, the Democrats get nothing in return), British crematoriums will sell energy generated by the cremation process (so, kids, your nightlights are powered by ghosts), Keenan as Cain, Hanson Bros beer, donkeys crossing the border from Mexico, urinal video games, Drunk Uncle gives holiday advice.
Playskool Promotion Surprise — Kristin Wiig’s overly excited Sue has to contain herself when a co-worker gets a promotion. This is one of those bits that has probably been used to death, but by putting Sue in a situation outside the usual home setting, it didn’t come off as another stale bit. I love to see what piece of the set Wiig will crash through every time they do this one. The fire extinguisher bits were pretty funny.
Ed Vincent’s Sex Symposium — I thought this was filler of a video piece we’d seen before, but it was new with Buscemi guesting as the Erotic Chef, showing people how to make food sexy. Shooting this in an actual hotel conference room really gives it some authenticity, and it’s just a really well-edited piece.
Christmas Ornaments — WTF was that? Buscemi takes out his Christmas ornaments, tells a little story about each one, hands them to Sheila (Wiig), who proceeds to put them all in one place on the tree, then around the window, and then … well, I won’t ruin the “punchline.” Strange little end of the night bit, but Wiig made me laugh. She plays vapid really well.
So what did you think of this week’s show? It seemed to fly by, but that’s a good sign that at least it was a funny show. Take the poll below at tell us your favorite sketches. You can choose two!