While most of the world’s attention was fixed on Sunday for a certain football game, Saturday night had plenty of energy on the most recent episode of “Saturday Night Live” with The Heat and Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy hosting the late night sketch series for a third time. McCarthy always brings the charisma and quirkiness to Studio 8H, but the sketches don’t always deliver in quality. Last weekend brought a mixed bag of comedy, but it wasn’t a disaster or anything (save for one sketch), and there were plenty of surprise guests.
Super Champions – Kyle Mooney used to do a person-on-the-street segment for the short-lived “Sports Show with Norm MacDonald,” but I’m happy to see it resurrected on “Saturday Night Live.” In fact, this was probably the best sketch of the night, and it was the only one that really got a rise out of me after Weekend Update. Mooney is just so delightfully awkward, and it’s hilarious.
Valentine’s Day Commercial – Anyone who has ever gotten a last minute Valentine’s Day gift for their wife, girlfriend, or mother knows that CVS is a lifesaver, but the ladies know when we’ve done some last minute shopping. And if they don’t, then this commercial ruins the secret. Poking fun at all the terrible and odd Valentine’s Day gifts you can get at the last minute at any local CVS is right on the money, and it’s both awesome and sad.
Women’s Group – Melissa McCarthy’s deadpan delivery as a woman seeking revenge on the man who killer her father is what really sold this sketch. Just look at the two visual charts for her bloodthirsty desires (and also yogurt). We just wish the ending was a little stronger.
28 Reasons – This sketch obviously feels that much more valid now that Sasheer Zamata is part of the cast, but the true comedy comes from the fact that it doesn’t take the obvious route with a Black History Month rap. There were so many paths this could have taken, but this one, focusing on the guilt white people feel because of slavery, was probably the most bold and satisfying.
Halftime Spectacular – The use of Broadway to bring the Super Bowl to life would be such a disaster, but we imagine this is exactly how it would go down: sequins on athlete’s “costumes” and a message that does away with the rivalry of the game. While the writing could have been a little funnier, mainly with a couple of the short songs, the energy kept it alive.
Delaware One – Using a character that McCarthy originated as an intense, abusive basketball coach, this sketch takes the insane woman and places her in the world of politics. Taking a cue from the threats of Michael Grimm against a reporter just trying to do his job, the sketch follows McCarthy as she blows up on anyone pointing a camera at her. For me, the best laughs came from how the situation escalated and we jumped between the different vantage points.
Guess That Phrase – If it wasn’t for Melissa McCarthy’s dedication to this odd character, this sketch would have been a complete failure. But her peculiar behavior and that balding wig saved the day. Maybe it’s because the game show seemed too sloppily thrown together, and everything besides McCarthy was flat. Thankfully, she made this amusing, but it barely scraped by.
Girlfriends Talk Show – More often than not, this sketch never works for me. And I’m hard-pressed to find where the good jokes are in this one. The Hawaii puns are predictable and old, and this premise has run its course. I love Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant, but it’s time for a new sketch idea, ladies.
Art Exhibit – What a practical and comedic disaster. From not being able to see or hear Melissa McCarthy at first, to some odd staging, this sketch was just an absolute mess. This one probably looked good on paper and sounded good at a table read, but the rehearsal should have given this one the axe. It’s just an absolute nightmare.
Summer in a Day – This was a great idea, but Bobby Moynihan just didn’t make it come together at the last minute. The timing between the audio and various cuts and actions on stage felt a little off, and timing is so important in live comedy. Again, McCarthy gave 110% as she gnawed at those ribs and Moynihan looked on earnestly, but the sketch sadly didn’t work, despite being the perfect tone and style for a 10-to-1 piece.
Farewell, Seth Meyers. While cast members like Bill Hader got a rather bombastic, spectacular send-off for their last show, it seems fitting that Meyers got a little more grounded goodbye with friends Amy Poehler and Andy Samberg showing up, complete with Bill Hader as Stefon and Fred Armisen as governor of New York David Paterson. It was more touching than anything with Meyers delivering his last joke and giving a fond thanks and farewell to everyone at “SNL.” He will be missed.
Buford Calloway – Well, this went on for a little too long. And honestly, I feel like something better could have been done with the ridiculous emergency situation caused by 2 inches of snow in the deep South. Taran Killam knows how to be dramatic and flamboyant though.
Melissa McCarthy is one of the funniest actresses working today, and her appearances on “Saturday Night Live” only further proved that. For some reason, the sketches have never really measured up to her comedic strength, making the episode as a whole fall short of greatness. The monologue above is a great example of that, as it goes on for far too long, when it should have ended after the llama theft rather than continue into the weird slapstick wire fighting.
Seth Meyers – Honestly, there wasn’t really any particular cast member who stood out enough to be the MVP of this episode, and while that usually means the host deserves the honor, this time it goes to the man leaving behind a legacy at Studio 8H. Seth Meyers was head writer on “SNL” for a decade, and his farewell was simple and heartfelt, and reminded me of just how important his level-headed, mostly dry approach to comedy has been on the series. Seeing him with the likes of Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Andy Samberg, and Fred Armisen made me nostalgic for times that aren’t too far behind, and happy that Meyers has found such a bright future and hopefully a pleasant tomorrow.
The Final Word
The episode as a whole was lackluster, despite the comedic charisma of Melissa McCarthy to heat things up a bit. I’m not sure what needs to be done to have the writers deliver more solid material for the comedic actress when she comes around to host, but there has to be better material to give someone as talented as McCarthy to work with in the future. On a general note, we’re interested to see what “Saturday Night Live” is like when Colin Jost takes over the Weekend Update desk with Cecily Strong, especially since we don’t even know who is hosting the first episode following the conclusion of the Olympics on NBC. Stay tuned.
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