After her stint as a featured performer in the ’90s, comedian Sarah Silverman returned this past week to host SNL, bringing her bold, racy sense of humor to the table. You can tell the show benefitted from having a smart and funny comedian to help write material, because overall it was a strong episode. (Before we start, I just wanted to share a neat tip for reading this article: if you click the sketch titles, they take you right to Hulu so you can watch them for yourself. How cool is that??) Anyways, here are the highlights from this week’s show!
In a film that could have easily been called “Boston College,” this commercial beautifully masks a very scary and real social commentary with the help of balloons, champagne, and Train. What really stood out to me was the entire cast’s enthusiasm and delusional happiness. It was so convincing that it felt like a real commercial for white people and it made me wanna go camp and hike. Also, when it’s all said and done, I don’t think there will ever be a song whiter than “Hey Soul Sister.”
SNL’s opening monologues are always hit or miss, but I think the key to them is just playing to your strengths. This is why comedians always have a leg up in this aspect of the show because they can just rely on their standup material. I love when comedians host SNL, because it reminds me of the old-school shows where legends such as George Carlin and Richard Pryor would open with a hilarious standup bit that set the tone for the rest of the show.
The only difference in this episode was that rather than standing up, Sarah Silverman told her jokes sitting down on the lap of a scared, nervous member of the audience named Lindsey. For the second half of the monologue, she answered questions from a younger Sarah Silverman with the help of some editing magic. Her cool, and calm persona helped relax everyone in the audience (except for Lindsey) and helped them laugh at her hilarious performance.
I’m on the record as saying that Ebola is a phony disease. Not phony like it doesn’t kill people (because it does) but phony like swine flu or mad cow disease where it’s just “hip” for everyone to be afraid of the same thing. That being said, I thought this sketch did a really good job of exploiting this fear and making light of it. Taran Killam was terrific in this, shifting from a goofy, stereotypical loverboy to terrified, exposed Ebola victim while Silverman remained blissfully ignorant thanks to the power of love.
This was another Beck and Kyle creation that mixed sight gags with straight ridiculousness. The sketch starts harmless enough, with three strangers completing each others sentences, but quickly devolves to them beating the crap out of each other. It’s weird and I’m not totally sure I understand it but the dummies made me laugh, ergo, it made the list.
This sketch makes light of society’s weird obsession with women being mean to each other. The old time soap opera “Supportive Women” depicts different scenarios in which–rather than try to destroy each other–women act like decent, rational human beings…and it was boring as hell. One problem with this sketch was the constant interruption of Kenan Thompson, whose commentary was just to make sure the message didn’t go over anyone’s head. But overall it was a solid sketch, and I could definitely see Forgotten Television Gems becoming a recurring thing.
A few more thoughts on this week…
In the first half of the show, SNL commemorated Joan Rivers in a skit where she roasted other ghosts of entertainment’s past. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very good. Now, this isn’t an issue of it being too soon or politically incorrect, because that would go against everything Joan stood for in her comedy. Simply put, it wasn’t very funny and Silverman kept futtering over her lines, which killed any sort of rhythm the sketch may have had.
One interesting thing to note is the banter between Colin Jost and Michael Che during Weekend Update. The writes are trying to establish Colin as the nerdy white guy and Michael as the cool black guy, which could lead to some very funny situations in future episodes.
Next week, Bill Hader hosts with Hozier as a musical guest and I for one could not be more excited. I know Stefon is retired and Seth’s got his fancy new Late Night job but hey, I can dream can’t I?