Christoph Waltz hosting Saturday Night Live sounds like an amazing idea. He is an Oscar winning actor who has shown his comedic side on many occasions and with a questionable SNL season already underway, mixing him in seems like a safe bet. Oh and the Alabama Shakes are one of the freshest musical acts today, so let's see if Saturday February 16, 2013, got any laughs out of us.
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The cold open, as usual, took a hot topic and went with it. This week we saw jokes about the Carnival Cruise incident. The reading of the headlines was enjoyable and Cecily Strong teaming up with Jason Sudeikis is always a good idea. Then Christoph Waltz did what most hosts do with the opening monologue: turn it into a song. Only this song was incredibly strange and not even that funny. An Austrian song translated into "Smile Damn You, Smile" seemed like it could have played on Waltz's darker side, but it was just a strange song. That is it. The first sketch of the night was SNL game show sketches are pretty hit or miss this season. That said, "What Have YOU Become?" started off very strong. Asking each contestant "What have you become?" was funny enough just to see excessive fake crying, but, as usual, it went on for too long. Luckily, closing the segment with Christoph Waltz dancing off of the set was the best way to end such a weird, existential sketch. (Highlight: "Kitty Purry") SNL capitalizing on the first Pope to retire since 1415 was easy and funny enough. Set up as a retirement commercial for Popes, "Papal Securities was mainly just funny to watch Waltz dressed up as the Pope and doing stereotypical retired man things such as cooking for the family and joining a band.
Oh man, is “Tippy” the next character that SNL is going to try to make us like, like “Gilly.” Nesim Pedrad is definitely one of the players that can maintain a character, so it looks like we will have to keep watching to see how annoying “Tippy” gets.
(Highlight: “What like a big ol’ dildo or something?”)
Keenan Thompson’s Ving Rhames impression was very good. Everything else about this was good, too. I thought the “JaMarcus Brothers” sketch was going to be disappointing off the bat, but then Christoph Waltz jumped in and, well, it was still bad but Waltz was making Keenan laugh most of the time, so that was fun.
Alabama Shakes took to the stage for their first performance and played their hit song, "Hold On." To be honest, it felt a little underwhelming. Then "Weekend Update" hit on some fun points: Terran Killan was a great Marco Rubio, Kate McKinnon did her best "poor Russian woman," and Jay Pharoah did a Stephen A. Smith impression. The next sketch has Fred Armisen in drag. We can't get through one SNL episode without this happening. He did make everyone else break character, which is always the best.
SNL's "FOX and Friends" sketches usually have a lot of takeaway quotes and such, but the highlight is always Bobby Moynihan, for me. Also the list of corrections they run every time is the best.
Now that's more like it, Alabama Shakes. So the last sketch was an absolute train wreck and I loved every second of it. SNL returns March 2 with host Kevin Hart and musical guest Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (for some reason).