After making a couple of memorable turns in an episode of “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Justin Timberlake, it seemed that Lady Gaga was ready to take on the late night sketch series herself. And not only did she get her time to shine as host this past weekend, but she pulled double duty her first time out as host and musical guest. The result was a show that made fun of her career and fashion statements, but also got her to threw on some normal clothes and wigs to make her look like an average person. Here’s our recap of the sketches:
Old Lady Gaga – Unfortunately, the sketch of the night isn’t legally available online due to music rights, but it deserves praise for being much more than just a comedy sketch. The premise finds Lady Gaga in the year 2063 as an old woman living in an apartment full of the relics of her pop star career that is long behind her. With wild hair, smeared lipstick and googly glasses, she’s desperate for her apartment complex’s handyman (Kenan Thompson) to remember who she is, dropping song cues and references to her many moments in the spotlight, including her infamous meat dress. The sketch itself is like a character study for how Lady Gaga (referred to by her real name in the sketch) will look back on her wild career, and it actually has a bit of a depressing end. The sketch isn’t officially available online, but find it right here while you can.
Rob Ford – Bobby Moynihan was made for this headline grabbing political cold open sketch as Toronto mayor Rob Ford, currently under scrutiny for tons of irresponsible behavior smoking crack, excessively drinking liquor and spending time with prostitutes. Moynihan plays Ford perfectly, calling back to Chris Farley’s outlandish portrayal of Ted Kennedy back in the day. It actually makes us think just how epic Farley’s portrayal of Ford might have been, but Moynihan handles the role splendidly, including a huge pratfall. Plus, we get a twofer with the mocking of “60 Minutes” and their inept reporting on Benghazi last week.
4th Grade Talent Show – Hey, give it up for John Milhiser finally breaking through without having to do an impression of someone. Paired with Lady Gaga as the parents of a fourth grade girl in a talent show, the camera focuses on these two overly supportive parents acting out all their daughter’s dance moves. They start out innocent enough, but then things get a little saucy and super flexible. It was a simple premise, but the beauty of this sketch lied in the fact that it didn’t rely on a pop culture reference to Lady Gaga’s career, or any other prominent figure or event.
Spotlightz Acting Camp -Lady Gaga and Vanessa Bayer come out on top in this sketch lampooning child actors and their penchant for overacting. This was one of a few sketches where Gaga seemed to disappear into the character, just having fun and really putting on a good show. Her deliverance of a G-rated monologue from Training Day was flawlessly executed, which isn’t bad for someone who isn’t known for traditional acting or comedy.
Anti-Depressant for Obama – Continuing to take aim at the Obama administration and the amount of fire they’re under for the Obamacare website flub, this faux commercial advertises a special anti-depressant for the President. Highlighting all the scandals that have put Obama on blast by way of the typical prescription medication commercial, this was pretty amusing. And the writers couldn’t help but take a quick swipe at Republicans at the end as well.
The Worst Cover Songs of All Time – While this was a fun premise, it ended up being a parade of impressions, and not nearly as good as previous displays like the Fifty Shades of Grey auditions. From the very beginning, Taran Killam’s Adam Duritz from Counting Crows made this feel rough, and throwing Bobby Moynihan as Nathan Lane with Cecily Strong as Lana del Rey didn’t make any damn sense, but Lady Gaga poking fun at the fact that her song “Born This Way” has been criticized for being a replica of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” was amusing. The real saving grace was Aidy Bryant as Adele singing a cover of the theme song from “LA Law.” Due to music rights, this sketch also isn’t legally available online, but you might be able to find it elsewhere.
Waking Up with Kimye – Nasim Pedrad’s dimwitted impersonation of Kim Kardashian and Jay Pharoah’s stellar Kanye West are great, but they couldn’t make this awkwardly paced and hollow sketch pan out. Of course, part of the issue might have been getting used to Lady Gaga wearing normal clothes, as opposed to the outlandish fashion choices we’re used to seeing her make. Anyway, this one was a dud.
Co-op Board – What started out as a promising premise quickly derailed into a mess of a sketch with what seemed like a slew of characters who didn’t fit into any other sketches from previous shows. Despite Lady Gaga doing an amazing impression of the character that Marisa Tomei played in the film My Cousin Vinny, what could have been a hilarious hodgepodge was nothing but sloppy and odd.
Red Zone – This sketch feels like it’s about a decade too late, taking aim at audiences’ obsession with garbage reality television – mainly the shows that have people getting into ridiculous fights, arguments, and overall stupidity. Really, the premise of this faux reality show highlight reel program just feels like it’s a pitch reel for “The Soup,” but that show on E! (the only show on that network worth watching) is infinitely funnier than this commercial parody.
Blockbuster – Something had to be done about the closing of the final Blockbuster stores, but we didn’t think it would go like this. Three bro employees from the out-of-business video store find themselves lost without the corporate rental store in their life, until they stumble onto a strange Where the Wild Things Are/Lord of the Flies party in the woods with a bunch of Blockbuster employees and videos, including Lady Gaga as the chieftain. These sketches that have basically replaced the “SNL Digital Shorts” have started to feel less like sketches and more like offbeat short films, and that’s not bad at all.
Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong are seemingly unstoppable. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Strong holds up once Meyers leaves next year. She’s got the hang of the format and delivery, and she has a clearly distinct style that doesn’t seem to ride on the coattails of Meyers or any previous anchor. Keep up the good work.
Mr. Senior – This off-the-cuff footage of Kenan Thompson as an old, annoyed man trying to stop people from getting in the Christmas season before Thanksgiving on the streets of New York City is awesome. Most of the time, it seems like people have no idea what’s going on. Or more likely, people in New York are just used to craziness and ignore the antics of a person knocking Christmas decorations and Salvation Army bells out of peoples hands.
Jebidiah Atkinson – This was one of my favorite sketches of the night. Taran Killam takes aim at the famous sketches from the past as this snarky critic from history. He’s like a Perez Hilton from the past, but far less annoying and actually funny.
Lady Gaga didn’t quite live up to the best combination host and musical guest (Justin Timberlake), but she certainly proved that she can do both with flying colors. While her monologue, which parodied her hit song “Applause” by highlighting the trick of “cheap applause,” got things off to a shaky start, pretty much every character Gaga inhabited was so odd and different from her large than life persona that it made for an entertaining episode. And we’ll definitely give her points for going along with a joke about her actually being a man and tucking back a penis.
Lady Gaga – Yeah, I’m giving the host the Most Valuable Player award this time because the show really worked because of Lady Gaga’s presence and surprising comfort and talents in comedy. And while about half the show relied on pop culture references to her career, she was really dedicated to the characters she played that didn’t rely on her fame. Even so, the best sketch of the night was one that was purely about her pop star status, so maybe it didn’t really matter after all.
The Final Word
This might be the new best episode of the season, if only because of how easily Gaga fit in with the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” Honestly, it would be awesome if Timberlake and Gaga got together for an epic tagteam episode. The only thing we miss is having Gaga do a song with the crew from Lonely Island. Otherwise, Gaga can come back and host anytime she pleases.
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