As someone who grew up idolizing Jim Carrey when he was at the top of his game and the height of his fame, no matter how many bad movies he makes, I’ll always be excited when he returns to “Saturday Night Live,” even if I don’t care about the movie he’s promoting at the time. Thankfully, even though Dumb & Dumber To looks like a disaster 20 years in the making, this episode of “SNL” was extremely fun, not to mention being one of the weirdest overall episodes ever. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
Graveyard Song – Wow. An original idea, an awesome set, a funny musical number, and great characters. With the exception of some technical errors in the direction (there were some mistaken cuts to the wrong camera at the wrong time), this was a perfect piece of sketch comedy. Everyone should do the Paul and Phil at their next Halloween party.
Halloween Party – Starting with some quickfire costume jokes, this sketch was funny right out of the gate, but took strange unexpected turns in more ways than one. Even if you don’t know the Sia music video in question, the physical comedy in this sketch makes it work just the same. And while seeing Jim Carrey and Kate McKinnon dance their hearts out was already good enough, the moving around in Studio 8H pushed it over the top to greatness. Plus, we get to see the rare occasion when Lorne Michaels laughs on the air.
Lincoln Ad – Though “South Park” did a pretty good job skewering these weird Lincoln commercials starring Matthew McConaughey (the real ad is directed by Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn), these parodies are top notch too. The ads even turn into a way of spoofing “True Detective” in a way as McConaughey gets even more spacey with each installment. What was great when this aired was how the three segments played separately throughout the night, which made the last one even better to see live.
Carrey Family Reunion – We saw this reunion schtick when Christopher Walken hosted not too long ago, and the entire cast brought out their best impression of the uniquely voiced actor. This one was just as fun, with the cast playing the spectrum of Carrey’s better known comedy characters. Taran Killam and Kyle Mooney seem to have the best impressions, but Bobby Moynihan popping up as The Mask was great too (and Fire Marshall Bill!). As for the special Jeff Daniels cameo, well, it was fun, but he seems to be playing his Dumb & Dumber character Harry doing an impression of Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd, which was just weird.
Ghost Chasers – Though Leslie Jones made for some solid laughs in this sketch, the concept of spoofing this ghost hunters program seemed slightly wasted on a one-note joke of her being loud and scared, not wanting to mess with any of this spirit nonsense. The sketch wasn’t bad, but there’s plenty of untapped territory here that could have been utilized.
Secret Billionaire – This sketch almost ended up being one of the worst of the night, but the power of Jim Carrey brought plenty of laughs with his extended monologues as this weird old potential billionaire character. If it wasn’t for Carrey, this sketch would have fallen even more flat and it would been positively abysmal.
High School – We saw the end of this sketch coming from miles away, and it took far too long to get there. Granted, it was pretty amusing seeing Jim Carrey beat the hell out of Pete Davidson (he almost broke character towards the end), but alas, the sketch just didn’t land. As always though, great character work by Carrey.
Ebola Czar – Man, “SNL” can’t seem to crack the Cold Open. Maybe it’s because there aren’t any outlandish politicians to skewer. And by that, I mean there aren’t any big caricatures like Sarah Palin out there to make fun of. But man if these timely, political satire sketches just don’t feel right. Kenan Thompson as Al Sharpton brought some chuckles, but the sketch overall was thoroughly disappointing.
Geoff’s Halloween Emporium – While almost any of the sketches from this episode would have been perfectly fine as the 10-to-1 sketch, this was undoubtedly the weirdest one of the night. In some ways, this almost felt like a prequel to the porn star commercials sketches that Cecily Strong and Vanessa Bayer, almost as if this was the job they had before they became ditzy porn stars. Anyway, this was a solid, weird sketch.
Michael Che and Colin Jost have Weekend Update on lock, and they’ve gotten comfortable behind the desk much quicker than Cecily Strong did (though she ended up working pretty well once she got the hang of it). I missed the chemistry that these two showed in the first couple episodes with their interaction at the desk (though their interaction with the guests at the desk was great), but their delivery has vastly improved and they should be in this position for a while.
Romantic Comedy Expert – It’s not one of Vanessa Bayer’s better appearances on Weekend Update, but this was an amusing little segment poking fun at romantic comedies (Michael Che’s hesitation to her craziness was perfect). But at the same time, some of the jokes about romantic comedies just seemed too easy and familiar.
Drunk Uncle on Halloween – This is one of my favorite characters to recur on Weekend Update, and while they don’t seem to be as strong anymore, there’s always something that gets a big laugh from me. This time it was the Pearl Harbor joke, though there were plenty of other great standard Drunk Uncle moments, not to mention his perfect reaction to seeing Michael Che at the desk.
Jim Carrey has a rubber face and a million voices, and he used a lot of those talents to raise the quality of a few sketches that otherwise could have been terrible. Even his monologue, which wasn’t that funny, was elevated to being a fun time simply because of his dedication to Helvis, which almost felt like something Andy Kaufman would do. Along with that, his great character work also made the good sketches even better. Carrey might be a movie star now, but he comes from stand-up and sketch comedy roots, so this is just like riding a bike for him, and it’s always a pleasure to see him get back on.
Bobby Moynihan & Kate McKinnon – Since I loved Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle and The Mask, also loved Kate McKinnon in the Halloween Party sketch, and both of them made the Graveyard Song sketch work so well, they both get the title this week. These are probably my two favorite cast members right now, and it was wonderful to see them do so well.
The Final Word
As a kid who got endlessly excited when Jim Carrey was a hot tub lifeguard and nodded his head with Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell on the way to the Roxbury, seeing him in Studio 8H again is always a treat. This was a great episode with tons of weird sketches. In fact, almost all of the sketches were much more strange than normal, maybe because Halloween is coming up at the end of this week. Either way, it was nice to see Carrey do something really funny while his recent movies have left something to be desired.
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