As predicted, Jimmy Fallon was back to host Saturday Night Llive this week, bringing with him a few beloved alumni and a handful of rebooted classic sketches. There were only so many "Kristen Wiig plays a crazy woman" sketches that I was able to tolerate (though those little raccoons at the end of "1920's Holiday Party" were adorable), but all in all, "Jimmy Fallon/Michael Bublé" was a harmless trip down memory lane with a few notable highlights.
"Cold Opening: Sully and Denise"
These wicked smart Bostonians were always a favorite of mine, and I, for one, was glad to see that after 14 years, Sully and Denise are as in love as ever. Fallon failed to land a handful of punchlines, but whatever he was lacking was evened out by Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler. The opening monologue was also pretty great, but the video is unfortunately unavailable at this writing.
Who would say no to the cast doing dumb impressions to popular musicians? The highlights for me were Fallon's Justin Bieber, Taran Killam's Scott McCreery and Abby Elliott's Ke$ha. One thing that stuck out to me like a sore thumb here (and in the lackluster "Today Show" sketch) was the complete absence of women of color on the cast. Nasim Pedrad can pull off playing Hoda or MIA once in a while, but mostly the inclusion of these ladies just reflects really poorly on the cast -- especially since they're usually just played by Kenan Thompson in drag.
"One Man Show"
One of the best sketches of the night, and it didn't rely solely on nostalgia. Half Jewish, Half Italian, Completely Neurotic! nailed the spirit of the more terrible off-off-Broadway productions that I've been subjected to -- especially the part where Tony Palmese can't get the video to work, and where, for the first few minutes of the show, he pretends to be the venue's janitor.
I'd take the return of weird little number over anything "Dick in a Box" related. Tracy Morgan remained impressively stoic and Horatio Sanz looks great (!), but I was slightly peeved that SNL brought back Chris Kattan without giving us one freaking Mango sketch. Lame!
"Weekend Update: Joke Off"
Three funny people and Seth Meyers (see what I did there?) making pun-heavy jokes about strippers at Christmastime? Why not. I could probably listen to Tina Fey make up wacky buzz in noises all day.
I really loved the concept of this joke -- Beethoven introducing each member of his orchestra like an early 1800's jam band -- but it went on for way too long. Still, it was worth sitting through the whole thing, considering how dumb it got at the end.
This sketch included some of the best cultural commentary SNL has had in years. Jesus (played pitch-perfectly by Jason Sudekis in athletic socks) coming down from the clouds to help Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos -- as well as the Country Music Awards and any black event where food is served -- was not only a great idea, but the bit's writing was refreshingly tight, too.
When Fallon and the cast were saying their goodbyes on the ice rink, did anyone else notice Will Arnett (Mr. Amy Poehler) skating around behind them? Any positivity I had toward this episode was magnified after seeing that.
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