Last week, Larry David returned to 30 Rock to host SNL. A frequent guest this season, playing Bernie Sanders, David gave a stellar performance from start to finish. His bitter, New York energy meshed perfectly with the cast, and he was backed by cameos from the Zoolander duo and the Bern-man himself. There wasn’t a bad sketch the entire show and ultimately, it was one of the best episodes of the season.
While this was his first time hosting, this was not Larry David’s first time as a part of the team. He was actually a writer on SNL for a year before hitting it big with Seinfeld. In 1982, a young Larry joined the writing team in hopes of getting one of his sketches on live TV. Unfortunately, after a few months without getting anything on air, he snapped. During one of the staff meetings, David got up and quit, cursing out the show, the head producer and the writers on his way out. Shortly after he left 30 Rock (like 3 days) David realized that quitting one of the hottest shows on television might not have been the best idea, seeing as he had no money or job prospects. So he did what any rational person would do after cursing out his boss, coworkers, and company: pretend it didn’t happen. David returned to work the next day and went on about his business. No one ever said anything and he ended up finishing the season. And on that note, somebody queue the Curb song.
Bern Your Enthusiasm
For those unfamiliar with Larry David, I don’t think there’s a better sketch that could tell you what he’s about. Finding the mundane absurdities of life and combating them to the point where he looks like an asshole. It’s what he did in Seinfeld, it’s what he did in Curb and it’s what he did in this sketch. Reprising his role as the Bernie Sanders, David spins the Iowa Caucus into a Curb Your Enthusiasm mini-sode. Pretty wild to think it only took them 5 days to make something this high quality. Just a fantastic piece of comedy all around and a reminder of how badly we need Curb back in our lives.
After a weak cold opening, Larry David delivered the most Larry David monologue ever. After deflating any and all expectations for the show to come, he launched into standup, which is how he got a job on SNL in the first place. For anyone else, it would be a bit concerning to hear a host come out so unenthusiastic and wishy washy about the show to come. I can’t remember the last time a host didn’t say “we have a great show tonight,” but that’s just how Larry rolls. If anything, it showed how comfortable he was on stage, being himself and musing about his transformation from a poor shmuck to a rich prick.
When this started, I thought it was just a rerun of the Totino’s commercial from last year… Oh was I wrong. This started off slow, then took a complete 180 from being a comedy sketch to a horror film to a TV promo. It hid the punchline to perfection, evident by the huge laugh it got at the final reveal. Vanessa Bayer shined, seamlessly switching her character from commercial mom to horror victim. I hope these Totino’s commercials become a Super Bowl tradition because they’ve killed the past two years.
What an Update! Jost and Che have come a long way from their stilted, nervous Update personalities. They bounce off of each other so easily and the quality of jokes has been terrific. We saw a culmination of this development in their actual breaking news segment to start off the Update, mocking the GOP debate from only a few hours earlier. It was the kind of risky bit that the writers may have been more hesitant to do earlier in the duo’s reign, but it payed off big time. It served as a nice reminder that Saturday Night Live is, in fact, live. The guests matched Jost and Che’s enthusiasm, all doing a stellar job. My personal favorite was Sturdy Barb, the rejected Barbie. However, props should be given to Jon Rudnitsky and his Dirty Dancing bit. The dude’s pretty much been unknown all season so to come out and give that type of performance was really cool to see.
This was another Larry David special, acting as a wealthy passenger on a sinking ship protesting the whole “save the women and children” idea. The sketch continues to escalate, as David calls the kids midgets and orders that someone “checks for pubes.” However, the real star of the sketch was Bernie Sanders, who came out to check Larry’s privilege after he bragged about his wealth. Sure, it felt a little forced when he brought up Democratic socialism, but it’s always nice when SNL can bring a politician on without compromising the entire show (@Trump).
A Few More Thoughts
Here’s a fun fact: this episode marked the first time in SNL history that someone named Larry hosted. Devastating blow to all the aspiring Larry actors out there.
At this point, it’s safe to say that Taran Killam’s Trump is dead and gone. But now he’s taken on a new presidential candidate, playing Ted Cruz in this week’s Cold Opening. It’s a pretty questionable call seeing as Killam is a tall, good looking guy while Cruz looks like a fat goblin. The fact that he doesn’t just play Rubio and Moynihan plays Cruz is outrageous.
See you next week when Melissa McCarthy hosts with musical guest Kanye West.