Elton John pulled double duty on this week’s episode of SNL serving as both the host and musical guest. And there were a few themes that ran throughout the night – 1) Cameos are easy to make happen when Sir Elton is in town 2) When a host has a British accent, at least a third of the show must include British humor, and 3) Elton John might be gay, it’s just a hunch I got.
Alright, here’s the lowdown…
The Cold Open: The Lawrence Welk Show is usually mildly amusing, but this one just fell flat. But Elton did appear early on and played a bit of faux piano. It’s also the sketch that puts the most women of the cast on stage at the same time all night.
Monologue: Usually the monologue is just a chance for the host to do what they do best. A comedian will do some stand-up, and actor that can sing does a musical bit, the athlete makes some sorta athletic thing…Anyway, this was a perfect chance for Elton to play the piano or sing. But rather than take the easy route, he ran off a series of jokes with pretty decent comedic timing. Go Elton.
ESPN Classic: Ladies Shot Put: Ladies and gentlemen, let the cavalcade of guest appearances begin! First up WILL FORTE! It was great to see him return but I’m not sure if the audience realized he actually left because there was no recognition of this fact. Usually a cameo gets an applause and well, Forte got nothing. Cameo #2 and #3 will come in the first sketch as well with Tom Hanks and Carmelo Anthony showing up.
Knights Of The Realm: Great premise for a bit here. Everyone offering up their wacky impressions with a wacky premise wedged in between a BBC show, Fancy A Jar. I do love the idea of gathering celebs that were knighted by the Queen being needed to actually help fight at some point. Tom Hanks again returns (was he a co-host?) with a pretty passable Michael Cain impression. This sketch has ’em both, a cameo and the use of the British accent. Bonus point for the jab at the Spider-Man musical.
Digital Short: Laser Cats The Musical: I have to hand it to Laser Cats, I groan when the I find out they are the topic of the Digital Short but end up laughing at least a few times once they get into it. And this time around, Tom Hanks (…again!? seriously, who’s hosting this thing?) But again, the jabs at the Spider-Man musical drew some serious belly laughs.
Musical Performance #1: We got cameo #4 with a Leon Russell duet, Elton has a new album out with Russell so him being there to perform made sense. But it coulda been great to hear a great classic or two.
Weekend Update: Cameo #5 was Jake Gyllenhaal, who appeared, probably to promote the release of Source Code as he did a great bit with Andy Samberg’s Nic Cage impression. Overall a solid Weekend Update, great jokes, and another great Moammar Gadhafi impression by Fred Armisen.
Elton Visits the Queen: I love it when so and so visits the Queen, ’cause Armisen and Bill Hader do some terrific tough guy British accents, this bit got lazy but it was saved with a great rock out by all involved.
Silver Screen: Taran Killam reappears, this time, not as Gandolf, but he and Elton played an adorable old couple that were too obnoxiously cute for each other. This bit was just meh and didn’t really go anywhere, but I guess that’s why it came later in the show.
The Old West: I have to give it to this sketch as a solid ending to the show, it was better than some others, but it did seem kinda predictable. I did chuckle as Elton rode in on a unicorn.
Musical Performance #2: Let’s throw in one final performance by Elton and Leon Russell, and call this thing a night.
Overall, Elton John’s performance was just swell. Obviously the show is written toward the subject matter of the host and this show did pretty much nothing to show a side of Elton John we weren’t already familiar with. It’s no big deal playing up your strengths or to your fanbase and this show was an example of that happening.
Let’s reconvene next when Helen Mirren shows up with the Foo Fighters, and see how awkward things get.