‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Season 39, Episode 19 with Host Andrew Garfield

By May 5, 2014
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While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit theaters last week, Andrew Garfield was busy preparing for his debut turn as host on “Saturday Night Live.” Thankfully, the charismatic actor fit in with the cast spectacularly, which, as we’ve seen countless times before, isn’t easy for even the most talented of actors. But Garfield brought the same natural charm that he does to all his roles, making some sketches that otherwise might not have done so well, work a little better. So let’s run through what did or didn’t bring the laughs in Studio 8H over the weekend.

The Best

 

The Beygency – Everyone loves Beyonce, so it stands to reason that this organization, presented in a film that crosses The Adjustment Bureau and The Bourne Identity, could very well exist. Original, funny, and made even better with a timely cameo from Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub as Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brian from “24” spouting off Beyonce lyrics, this was far and away the best sketch of the night. Though we wish that Taran Killam would have led a little more extended of a dance sequel from “Single Ladies.”

 

Spider-Man Kiss – You know what, despite a forced and odd ending, this was still a favorite sketch of mine from the night, only because Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are just so comfortable together. They feel like friends who have known each other their entire lives, and their chemistry (the only remarkable thing from The Amazing Spider-Man franchise) made it that much more funny. And while the cameo from Chris Martin was totally tacked on, it was funny to see him engage with Garfield in that way.

The Average

 

Celebrity Family Feud – This is normally the kind of sketch I love, but some of these musical celebrities just felt lazy and easy, especially Kyle Mooney just dressed as Skrillex and Nasim Pedrad looking and sounding nothing like Bruno Mars. But Andrew Garfield gave 110% to mock his The Social Network co-star Justin Timberlake, and Taran Killam’s incredible impression of Russell Crowe’s less than stellar singing in Les Miserables. In fact, I wish we would have gotten a whole sketch of that when it was a little more topical.

 

Donald Sterling – We all knew this was coming, and surprisingly, this is one of the rare cold opens this season that has actually delivered. Bobby Moynihan was great as the despicable Donald Sterling, but it’s just a shame that a lot of his racial cluelessness in this sketch is probably genuine and could be real words coming out of the man’s mouth.

 

Stanx – Fart jokes are always stupid, but sometimes they’re funny too. This was fairly amusing, even if the ultimate end was chidlish and over-the-top. At the end of the day, maybe I’m just disappointed that this product isn’t real, because it would be pretty damn useful.

The Worst

 

Wedding – Despite the efforts of Andrew Garfield, this felt like a sketch that would be written in some kind of class for sketch writing. It’s timeless, and lacks an edge, but it’s not without charm. But it also just feels like it was incredibly easily written and lacks any big laughs. This is a sketch that I wouldn’t call terrible, but it’s just not “SNL” quality, and was easily one of the worst sketches of the night.

 

Oliver – Honestly, the character of Dierdre wasn’t unbearable, and it’s not hard to see how she could recur in the future, but this debut appearance just didn’t work for me. Strong’s character is funny and could easily work in other scenarios, feeling almost like a character Kristen Wiig would have come up with a while back, but the setting of Oliver Twist was a weird place to start.

The Weird

There wasn’t really a sketch this week that stood out as an oddball. Bird Bible aired again towards the end of the night, but that doesn’t count, even if it’s one of the best sketches of the year.

Weekend Update

 

 

This might have been one of the better overall Weekend Update installments of the season. Cecily Strong and Colin Jost still need some more interaction, but each of them were on the ball tonight, and had some fantastic one-liners. But the real wins came from the guests this time.

 

Olya Povlatsky On the Ukraine – Kate McKinnon almost deserves to be the MVP every single time she plays this tragically hilarious character. All the Russian sadness is just perfect, and this is one of my favorite new recurring characters.

 

Leslie Jones – Well, this was a surprise. Leslie Jones has stepped out from behind the writers table to make an appearance akin to what John Mulaney used to do back when he was writing for the show. And thankfully, Jones has enough energy and attitude to make it work, and this was a hilarious little segment. Made me want to check out some of her stand-up material.

 

Jebidiah Atkinson Reviews Broadway Plays – And to put the icing on what was already a great Weekend Update cake, Taran Killam came back as Jebediah Atkinson to skewer Broadway. Aside from these segments always being great, this one was made all the better by a line flub from Killam where he said “Tommy” instead of “Tony” and was able to turn it into a joke.

The Host

 

Andrew Garfield is already having a big weekend with the box office success of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, even if the film itself is far from great, and his debut as a host on “SNL” just had to be icing on a very sweet, amazing cake for someone his age. The guy has charisma, real comedic chops, and seems fearless as a performer in any scenario. It was nice that Emma Stone came along for some fun too, but she was by no means a crutch as Garfield showed his impressive range as an actor. We certainly hope he gets invited back when The Amazing Spider-Man 3 arrives in 2016.

The MVP

Saturday Night Live - Jebediah Atkinson

Taran Killam – From his turn in The Beygency to what might be the best use of Jebediah Atkinson yet (that included the incredible recovery from a big mistake), Killam was the top performer of the night. Again, we just wish we got to spend some more time with his stellar rendition of Russell Crowe in Les Miserables. Plus, there were some shots in The Beygency that still have us itching to see if Killam can become a true action star, because he’s certainly got the look.

The Final Word

Andrew Garfield made for a solid but not spectacular episode of “SNL.” The sketches didn’t really seem to be up to their usual level of greatness, even though the writers and cast have been on a break for a few weeks, but it’s getting towards the end of the season, so they’re still probably exhausted. Anyway, there were a couple standout sketches and maybe the most well-rounded Weekend Update run since Colin Jost joined Cecily Strong at the desk. If anything, this also showed us that Emma Stone needs to come back and host again immediately.

Come back next week after Charlize Theron hosts “Saturday Night Live” on May 10th.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.
  • Deb Wiseman

    Did you see that Leslie got some flack from people on Twitter? She really let the critics have it too.