Awe shiiiiiiit! SNL is back after a brief hiatus and who do my wandering eyes see as this week’s host? Why it’s Channing Tatum himself! My man C-Tates! Cool story bro! Tatum is hosting because he has a new movie coming out next week with Rachel McAdams called
The Notebook 2: Electric Boogaloo The Vow and he swung by 30 Rock to flex some comedy muscle and other muscles (ladies). It also made for a chance for us to preview his comedic chops before 21 Jumpstreet, um, jumps into theaters in a few weeks.
I can honestly say I’ve never seen any of Tatum’s films, he usually crosses between the romantic (Dear John), to the youthful (Step-Up), then over to action (G.I. Joe). Alright, well I did see G.I. Joe but I don’t remember anyone calling that thing a movie upon leaving the theaters. Heading into the night all I know about the man is that he’s a good dancer and there’s a story that before he broke into the biz, he served as a stripper (again…ladies).
However, I’m always down to see someone new try out SNL and we have first in the musical guest Bon Iver and and Channing so lets see how they made out.
COLD OPEN: SCI-FI
Newt Gingrich recently said some silly things about colonizing the moon by the end of his presidency if he were to be elected. Well sillyness thrives in the world of SNL and they came up with a great premise for what the moon would be like if Newt actually did such a thing. Cold openings are hit-or-miss and I think the tone of this was perfect. Bill Hader’s Reagan-style robot to “May the divorce be with you” line. We’re off to a great start!
And tonight we got our first look at the credits without featured player Paul Brittain in them. As we know, he departed from the show earlier in the week.
Channing’s monologue was just fine and the rumors of his past stripper-hood were confirmed. And what better way to confirm this but to have him take his shirt off amiright?
Boom, like clockwork we got ourselves a commercial for The Vow right as the break begins. Its like someone planned that.
GETTING FREAKY WITH CEE LO
I’m glad Kennan Thompson brought back Cee Lo. He did it properly by waiting long enough for us to forget about the character. This sketch wasn’t terribly strong but delivered some great one-liners such as, “when I’m not searching for my neck” and “pimples on koala bear”. Bill Hader’s Colonel Nasty character was just alright but Tatum’s Matthew McConaughey impression was passible alright, alright, alright. It also brings C-Tates Bare-Chested count to 2 of 2. He’s still perfect!
DOWNTON ABBEY ON SPIKE
There was a pretty spot on ad for the stuffy British PBS show Downton Abbey if it were to ya know, be seen on the men’s channel Spike TV. It was quick with the jokes and pretty chuckle-worthy. These types of clips never seem to be made available to stream, which is kinda weird because with their brevity, they’d probably stand the best chance to be seen and shared the fastest.
NBC FOOTBALL PROMO
This gets my vote for worst sketch of the night. Probably because there was nothing to it other than the realization that there was a big football game happening the next night and well, maybe acknowledging that probably made sense. But it does get points for utilizing Bobby Moynihan more as he’s been killing it with his characters on Weekend Update and the Cold Opening was great with him as Newt Gingrinch. It’s also good to see Jay Pharoah doing something that wasn’t an impression, so maybe those two factors made this bit a “push” rather than a “fold”. And the C-Tates Bare-Chested streak is over!
Can we please retire this sketch and perhaps have Mindy Elise Grayson appear somewhere else? I’m not against Wiig’s character, I just know what’s going to happen for the next 5 minutes as soon as I see the credits roll into the Secret Word sketch. Secret Word doesn’t have the broadness that a repeat game show sketch like Celebrity Jeopardy had.
BON IVER “HOLOCYNE”
I don’t know what happened to Bon Iver. To me he went from the fragile, guy with a guitar in a shack writing about a former lover to something of a Peter Cetera meets Don Henley’s “End Of Innocence”, Lite FM kinda guy (especially on the second song performance). I didn’t particularly care for either one of his performances from the night. But I totally dig his single-mic’d break down of “Skinny Love” live on Letterman a few years back. Where was that guy tonight?
Weekend Update was consistently strong as usual with Seth Meyers steering the ship. The always great Bobby Moynihan’s Guy Fieri was great and dropped “bucket of muscles” as an homage to Madonna.
It was classy of the show to come to Lana Del Rey’s defense with an appearance to defend the attacks about her recent appearance – like her name, her inability to perform on the hallowed SNL stage, and the ridiculousness of mocking her. Even so, I dig Kristen Wiig’s impression of LDR over the real thing.
C-Tates returns by dancing up a storm with Nasem Pedrad to LMFAO at a Bat Mitzvah. That sentence alone should describe how this sketch went down. It was bad, but I’m not sure because it was due to the sketch or the fact that the LMFAO song is terrible. I would find out less than 24 hours later when LMFAO showed up at Super Bowl for halftime they confirmed the song is indeed that bad. There’s no web video probably because they couldn’t get clearance of the song, the only downer to this fact is that we couldn’t see Keenan dressed as a Billy Ocean impersonator.
TOM BRADY & JANET
Oh that’s why Tom Brady lost the Super Bowl, he was hanging out late at night with Janet Peckenpore! Another great turn for Bobby Moynihan! Who I probably have to dub the winning cast member of the night. And we now have a new catchphrase and it’s “Throw one in me!”
GO-TECHS EXERCISE COMMERCIAL
This sketch was pretty much filler. SNL did it before and did it better. I do think that Kristen Wiig was able to save it just a bit with her random flailing of arms and legs to use the equipment. Take joy though…there was a random honey moment.
BON IVER “BETH/REST”
My statements about Bon Iver earlier, solidified…
Our last sketch of the night brings us back to the world of the Bongos Clown Room DJ. This bit seemed like just a chance to bring the C-Tates Bare-Chested count to 3 and nothing else. But it had its moments, particularly Jason Sudekis to give some oddly funny timing with pauses and glances. But Jay and Bobby dancing was kinda pointless and the sketch didn’t make me chuckle until Taran Killam showed up for the first time since the monologue as Chief Pumps with Gusto. Taran, you were underused tonight.
Well, that’s it folks, I have to say this coulda been a real train wreck of an episode and it definitely had its moments but the entire episode was a great example of the writers being able to write according to the strengths of the host (see also: Charles Barkley episode). Channing Tatum also seemed down for anything which made even the rougher sketches not as painful as they coulda been. At last he brought the C-Tates Bare-Chested sketch count to 3 of 7. A number he’ll have to work on next time he hosts (ladies).
Overall, the heavy lifting of the cast fell on Bobby Moynihan and Kristen Wiig, both delivered fantastically as usual. Biggies like Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Fred Armisen probably coulda taken the night off (oh wait, I think Fred did). And the winner of the featured players was definitely Jay Pharoah who netted 3 sketches, more than usual strong showers Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer.
Alright, let’s all regroup next week as the host will be the doey-eyed Zooey Deschanel with musical guest Karmin.