‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Season 39, Episode 20 with Host Charlize Theron

By May 12, 2014

It’s the second to last episode of the season, and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” is certainly tired. But the peppy host Charlize Theron made for some fun sketches, even if there were some big misses from last weekend’s show. In what might be a sign of their fading energy towards the end of the season, two pre-recorded sketches were the best of the night. Check out the rest of last weekend’s best, worst, and weirdest bits of sketch comedy below.

The Best


Dragon Babies – Early in the season, I was pretty hard on Mike O’Brien, but in the second half, he’s delivered some truly incredible pre-recorded sketches like this. It seems like this kind of comedy is undoubtedly his strength, since he doesn’t ever really pop in any live sketches. They’re always the right amount of odd, and I’d love to see O’Brien tackle some kind of mockumentary feature outside of “SNL.”


Tourists – This week the-pre-recorded sketches took the cake. This too was another oddball sort of sketch in the form of a trailer for some sort of documentary about the eclectic tourists that can be found in New York City. Kyle Mooney flawlessly pronouncing certain American phrases while speaking broken English with a Russian accent was great, McKinnon was fantastic and looked like a bad ass, and Beck Bennett came straight from a Devo music video. Of course, what made this great was the recording of subjects from far away interacting with real people, especially Charlize Theron in a fat suit and wig. Great stuff.

The Average


Bikini Beach Party – You saw the punchline of this sketch a mile away, but what’s truly impressive is just how excessive the blood and insides of the whale were in execution. Charlize Theron and Taran Killam were doused in tons of blood and faux whale chunks, and it was extremely hilarious, despite being predictable. However, what made this more average than one of the best sketches was the strange end to the sketch, and the fact that the second whale explosion didn’t seem to work as well. Still, this one instigated a pretty big belly laugh.


Mother’s Day Game Show – While I’m not sure why the set of this sketch had to be so massive, this one just struck a chord with me. Maybe it’s because I have a mother and aunt who have done or said some form of these things over the years. And the reactions of the kids to their Mom’s weird game show was great. Really, what sold it for me, I think, was Kate McKinnon’s never fading dedication to any character.


Michelle/Hillary Address – Well, at least the cold open wasn’t one of the worst sketches again. This wasn’t awesome, but the interaction between Sasheer Zamata and Vanessa Bayer as First Ladies Clinton and Obama made for some entertaining banter. This made me wonder if there’s some kind of real rivalry that was the basis for the sketch, or if the writers were just having fun.

The Worst


Heshy: Dating Seminar – I didn’t like this character when she popped up towards the beginning of the season with host Kerry Washington, and I still don’t like her now. It’s mildly amusing to see Nasim Pedrad and Charlize Theron hump the air and do various other physical comedy to cheesy sound effects, but it doesn’t feel all that funny to me. Pedrad gives it her all, but it’s just not worth it.


Girlfriends Talk Show – Ugh. This sketch needs to stop. It’s used far too frequently with female hosts, and despite Cecily Strong’s always impeccable annoying teenage voice, it’s always a dud. Both Strong and Aidy Bryant would be better served finding something else for them to do as a recurring sketch.

The Weird


Pet Rescue Commercial – There’s nothing quite like an odd Kate McKinnon character to bring the laughs, especially when you combine that with some adorable kittens and an 80s-looking Charlize Theron. It’s hard to go wrong when you have someone like Theron looking like some strange form of her character from Monster, rubbing McKinnon awkwardly, and calling a kitten a dumb ass. Weird, but very funny.

Weekend Update


The pacing seemed a little off between Colin Jost and Cecily Strong this time around, especially when that “Breaking Nudes” joke came around. That was a silly, but funny tangent, but it felt a little awkward between Jost and Strong for some reason. Hopefully they have time to work on the chemistry while the show is on hiatus this summer.


Barbara Walters – Well, this was a nice little tribute to Barbara Walters, including brief clips from when veterans like Gilda Radner, Cheri Oteri and more brought Barbara Wa-Wa to life. And Walters had some fun ribbing “SNL” at the Weekend Update desk while still getting mocked for her time spent on The View.


Drunk Uncle on Graduation – This might have been one of the least funny Drunk Uncle segments I’ve seen. As a big fan of this recurring character, that’s hard for me to say, but it just didn’t seem to pack the same punch it usually does, and Bobby Moynihan seemed to be a little off his drunk game last night. Oh well, it’s not always going to be perfect.

The Host


Charlize Theron has dabbled in comedy, but her time on “SNL” is definitely the goofiest she’s ever been. It’s crazy to think it’s been 14 years since she hosted, but it was a fun return. She played some fun characters, and if she really sings that horribly, then she’s lucky to be so beautiful and having some solid acting chops. Theron certainly didn’t slow the show down, and even though it’s been awhile since she entered the comedy world, let alone hosted “SNL,” she seemed comfortable. And that can be hard when you know you’re going to get doused with a bunch of fake blood.


Saturday Night Live - Charlize Theron - Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon – She stole the show, as she frequently does, with the Mother’s Day game show and the Tourists pre-recorded sketch, not to mention the oddly hilarious Pet Rescue commercial. McKinnon is a chameleon, and we hope she finds some time to pop up in feature films while the show is on a break. We’re pretty sure she’ll be able to find a career like the female equivalent of Bill Hader when her time at “Saturday Night Live” is completed.

The Final Word

There were too many of the poorer recurring sketches to make this a hit episode, but Charlize Theron was adequate in the good sketches where she was able to cut loose, and even delivered in the less than stellar sketches. If anyone saw this episode, they’d likely be asking why “Saturday Night Live” doesn’t do a pre-recorded sketch show instead of live all the time, but that’s part of the charm, and the balance works out pretty well. This was the penultimate episode before the season finale next weekend, so hopefully we’ll go out with a bang after some not-so-stellar episodes have made it to air.

We’ll be back next week with a recap of the season finale with host Andy Samberg.

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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.