‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Season 40, Episode 15 with Host Chris Hemsworth

By March 9, 2015
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With Avengers: Age of Ultron coming up, Chris Hemsworth made his hosting debut on “Saturday Night Live,” and the God of Thunder certainly brought the hammer down when it came to giving 100% to comedy. Hemsworth turned out to be a great host, willing to make fun of himself and have a lot of fun while not creating any hiccups due to his inexperience with live comedy. And for those wondering, yes, there’s an Avengers sketch. So let’s break down the episode!

The Best

Spaceship – This could have been a direct parody of Star Trek (don’t forget Hemsworth played Captain Kirk’s father in the opening sequence of the motion picture reboot from J.J. Abrams in 2009), but thankfully, this sketch takes a direction beyond just spoofing Star Trek directly with Hemsworth as a crew member trying to make peace between his fellow ship mates and their captain, who just happens to be a chicken. The best moment comes when Hemsworth has a one-on-one with the chicken, and is actually convincing in his delivery.

Reality House – Immediately this seemed like it was going to be a normal pre-recorded sketch from Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett, but very quickly it turned into the perfect breakdown of the sheer stupidity and garbage quality of reality television. From talking heads recounting exactly what just happened as if no one was paying attention to the surprise competition elements, we wish people would just realize that all reality shows are this stupid all the time.

American Express Ad – Even though this works well on its own, it might help to know that this is a spoof of Mindy Kaling’s real commercial for American Express. But instead about the real struggle of breaking into the industry, it’s about how Hemsworth had just as hard of a time by being told he was too handsome, muscular and perfect. It’s easy, but Hemsworth’s narration sounds so earnest and naive that it makes it hilarious.

Avengers News Report – It seems like Chris Hemsworth got caught up in the fun of being an excited, victorious Thor that he forgot that the God of Thunder isn’t Australian like he is. But he’s so genuinely full of energy that it’s hard to hold it against him. Pete Davidson has the best line of the sketch as confused Bruce Banner who realized that he ate a guy as Hulk, but I like how Taran Killam’s Robert Downey Jr. isn’t all that dissimilar from Norm Macdonald’s impression of Burt Reynolds.

The Average

Brother 2 Brother – It’s Taran Killam’s reactions to this laundry list of things that make him different from his twin brother played by Chris Hemsworth that really make this work. Also, as one of the earlier sketches in the night, it showed us that Hemsworth has some solid comedic timing and delivery, and he wasn’t afraid to just put himself into every character he played.

Empire Promo – While this is a fine sketch poking fun at the melodrama of the popular and solid TV series “Empire” on Fox, the addition of Chris Hemsworth as a harmless white guy just trying to do his job amongst all the drama didn’t add much. There were a couple great moments in there that Hemsworth made work, especially him entering the scene of abuse with a birthday card and balloons and then slowly backing out.

Porn Stars: Dolce & Gabbana – As much as I love this recurring sketch, it’s starting to run its course. While this one wasn’t a total loss, it was really only saved by Chris Hemsworth’s perfect Southern surfer persona. It made me wish that as good as Hemsworth was as a host who wasn’t in the way and had fun with each sketch, he would have been better utilized by playing more defined characters like this a couple more times.

The Worst

Hillary Clinton – Kate McKinnon does her damn best as a Hillary Clinton who is a little creepy and intense about her public image while also trying to remind you that she hasn’t decided to run for president yet. However, the material just doesn’t seem to match her dedication to this version of Clinton that we’ll probably be seeing much more of as election season gets closer.

The Iggy Azaelea Show – This is a fine example of a great celebrity impression wasted on a poor talk show format. And while this is one of two sketches that allowed Hemsworth to play a weird character much different than himself and any characters he’s played, it was wasted on a lame sketch.

The Weird

Movie Set – If it wasn’t for Chris Hemsworth and Kate McKinnon’s weird mannerisms and facial expression, this sketch would have fallen flat on its face. Even the concept itself is a bit silly and juvenile, but Hemsworth and McKinnon still brought some laughs.

Weekend Update

 

The back and forth between Colin Jost and Michael Che about (former) presidential candidate Ben Carson was a great change of pace, and something that needs to happen more often to give these guys some chemistry. Plus, this time it was strengthened by a gaffe from Jost which he played off perfectly, especially since it was a joke that also bolstered the relationship he and Che have behind the desk. More of this, please!

Leslie Jones On Dating in New York – Though I find Leslie Jones to be pretty entertaining for the most part, sometimes it seems like she relies too much on her abrasive, bombastic personality for humor, especially with all the yelling in this particular segment. This one just wasn’t all that funny for me, even though I laughed a few times.

Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party On Boko Haram – This is always a reliable Weekend Update segment, and Cecily Strong does not disappoint with her commentary on Boko Haram and anything else that pops into this ditzy girl’s head.

The Host

Thankfully, Chris Hemsworth turned out to be one of those blockbuster stars who knows how to play in the comedy realm. Even though the writers didn’t give him much to do beyond poke fun at his own sexiest man alive persona and general handsome, muscular look, Hemsworth played along perfectly and clearly was having fun. He was dedicated to every sketch, every character and never seemed to hold any of the laughs back with his inexperience in comedy. It was a little worrisome after a super shaky and mostly unfunny Q&A monologue, but the show certainly picked up steam quickly  after this.

The MVP

Saturday Night Live - Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth – If Kate McKinnon hadn’t been in so many of the bad sketches in this episode, she would have gotten the MVP again. But even so, as a host, Chris Hemsworth really worked out better than I hoped. His dedication to the silly as well as the straight-faced side of comedy was impressive, and it makes me interested to see what he can do on the big screen with his first comedy role on film in the reboot of Vacation this summer.

The Final Word

While I wish the writers of “Saturday Night Live” did a little more with Chris Hemsworth than remind everyone that he’s Australian, handsome and one of the stars of The Avengers, the actor giving 110% made up for the lack of fun characters for him to play. Even just paying himself, Hemsworth was funny and having a good time. If only his Avengers co-star Jeremy Renner pulled off his hosting stint in 2012 this well. Now if we could just get former cast member Robert Downey Jr. to come back again, or even Chris Evans or Mark Ruffalo, we could keep this Avengers streak going.

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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.
  • Mildred

    the star trek skit got me baddd lol

  • ATL Newman

    omg the chicken……lmao

  • steeeeeeeve

    SNL rarely fails to make my sides burn like living hell

  • HalBDodgen

    That Iggy Azaela skit was so garbage when it came on I was like why did they do this?? to pass time?