Let's be honest, whenever a host pulls double duty as the musical guest, everyone's expectations are pretty low. It's a tough thing to do for anyone who isn't Justin Timberlake -- who got a little shout out from Bruno Mars in his monologue. Lucky for us, after the mandatory debate cold open and an impressive if not very funny monologue, Mars lead a solid episode. Besides being Mars' debut as a host, this episode marked a few firsts. It was the first time new featured player Aidy Bryant was given more than one line and featured the season's first appearance of Stefon, who, of course, didn't disappoint. Here's a look at some of this week's best sketches that would make Justin proud.
SNL made the smart decision to let Mars use his strengths in this musical-impression sketch (which isn't online, probably due to musical licensing issues). While it's doubtful that the Pandora Radio offices run like NASA, Mars was fantastic as their diversely talented intern. His renditions of songs by everyone from Justin Bieber to Aerosmith to Michael Jackson were so spot-on they were almost more impressive than funny -- almost.
What started as a strange premise became a dialogue-less, adorably sad sketch unlike anything usually found on SNL. It was sweetly funny and who wasn't rooting for the dejected mouse by the end? Though unexpected and a little strange, the show should take risks like this more often, especially when they have a host who is up for it.
"Weekend Update: Stefon"
This season has been a mixed one so far and if it was missing one thing, it was Stefon. Bill Hader brought back his nightlife-loving character just in time to let us know where to go (or where to avoid) on Halloween. In addition to breaking out some of his best club names yet, Stefon even gave some insight into his daily life. Of course the best part, as usual, was Hader's complete inability to keep a straight face.
Another past favorite returned this week: those eerie, singing robots played by Hader and Taran Killam. For this haunted house edition, they were joined by Mars, who apparently can do a mean robot. The increasingly violent robots were funny enough on their own, but Tom Hanks as their last-minute handsy guest stole the entire sketch.
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