I’m torn on Zach Galifianakis. On one hand I think he’s a pretty brilliant stand up. On the other hand some of his film roles have been slightly questionable. But comedy is the basis of Saturday Night Live, so everything should be kosher, right?
The last two episodes of SNL have been pretty solid and with a genuine comedian hosting this episode should stay the course. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
But first, our rating system;
Phil Hartman – Comedic gold
Chris Farley – Definitely funny, but kinda messy
Norm MacDonald – Funny, but not for everyone
Kristen Wiig – So-so premise saved by performer.
Tim Meadows – Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it, dripping with adequatulence
Darrell Hammond – Funny, but overstayed it’s welcome
Jim Breuer- Crowd pleaser, but a bit obvious
Robert Downey Jr – Brilliant performer, not a lot to work with
David Spade – Trying too hard
Janeane Garofalo – Weird weird, not weird funny
Fox & Friends – This is one of my least favorite reoccurring sketches. It rarely ever works for me comedy wise. The shots at the WNBA were pretty funny, but honestly this sketch is really all about the fact checkers. On the plus side it’s always good to see Armisen’s Bloomberg.
Rating: Jim Breuer
Monologue – Right off the bat, I get worried because I see the piano, but then I remember Zach’s stand up and I’m relieved it’s not a traditional musical monologue. I love that he’s doing his stand up material and that the audience is enjoying it. This is the Zach Galifianakis that I dig.
Game of Game of Thrones – Right off the bat, I’m groaning because Hader is playing the host of this game show parody. The sketch wins some points back by naming him O.J. Sampson and giving a slight back-story. The swerve of picking on Zach’s character works on two levels. Firstly it’s funny because he represents GoT fanboys at their worst and because who wouldn’t love to pick on them. But yeah, this sketch is very one note.
Rating: Darrell Hammond
Match.com – Topical and kind of funny, but ultimately marred by McKinnon’s way off Martha Stewart impression. Her impression reminded me more of Lorne Michaels than it did conjure up thoughts of Martha Stewart.
Rating: David Spade
15th Annual Jennifer Aniston Lookalike Contest – This is textbook Kristen Wiig. It’s mostly about a performer carrying the material. The different Aniston impressions were fully as were Zach’s rants. The Wolfpack reunion was slightly corny, but seeing Ed missing his cue made it work better than expected.
Rating: Kristen Wiig
Of Monsters and Men First Performance – I’ve been tired of this song for quite some time. But I will say that I’m a fan of the Amish beard. Also; female trumpet players are a plus.
Weekend Update – This was the first time that all three of the correspondents were pretty funny. I’m kind over “Girl You Don’t Want To Get In a Conversation With At a Party”, but it’s still slightly entertaining. Seeing Hader ham it up as Carville is always fun. And Armisen riffing as Randall Meeks killed me.
Racist Jim – The premise is pretty funny; apologizing for what happened before. It’s funny because of the ignorance being spouted and because it made the audience uncomfortable. I dig that it was squirm comedy.
Rating: Chris Farley
Darrell’s House – (I’m going to split this up into two takes; A; initial impression B; final impression)
A – I dug this sketch was because it was all performance. Seeing Zach switch between being Darrell the director and Darrell the host was dope bordering on brilliant. I’m not surprised that the sketch bombed, but I appreciated it.
B – So it was clearly all set up for the punchline, which comes later. I thought it worked well alone, but seeing the finished product was a nice touch.
Rating: Norm MacDonald
Of Monsters and Men Performance #2 – This song is pretty catchy. Clearly they have a distinct sound, but it’s not terribly offensive. I’m not going to seek out their album, but I’m very tolerant of them.
Lee & Leslie Ocean – This is slightly reminiscent of the John Tesh sketch from the Vince Vaughn episode, complete with Sudekis in the brotherly role. This sketch wasn’t insanely funny, but it worked well enough. The coked out jugglers was a funny image. Nice of Pharoah to appear as Mtumbo.
Rating: Tim Meadows
New Balance – This is a funny ad. (My problem is that I can’t help but remember how New Balance were popular with college kids from P.G. They might not get name-checked like Nike and Reebok, but New Balance have a following among sneakerheads.)
Rating: Tim Meadows
Darrell’s House Redux – Nice to see the finished product! It looked perfectly public access.
Rating: Phil Hartman
Final Thoughts – This was a funny episode not only because the material was strong, but because Zach has that nervous energy that makes you feel like things could fly off the rails at any given moment. He seems always on the cusp of a breakdown, which makes the show feel even more live than usual. The writers played to his strength and probably ceded him a ton of the power/responsibility.