Jesse Eisenberg was this weekend’s host of Saturday Night Live, a phrase I never thought I’d find myself typing. Not because I dislike the actor, in fact his awkward humor is quite great, Adventureland, Zombieland, Facebookland…all great films. With 2 of them pitting Eisenberg as a terrific straight man to a off-center cast of characters (and Zombies).
So JE got a chance to flex some comedic chops on Saturday Night Live. Along for the musical ride was the dreadful Nicki Minaj no seriously she was dreadful (more on that later). But here’s how Zuckerberg #2 fared…
After a solid cold open in which Kristen Wiig took the piss out of Teapartier Michele Bachmann’s response to the recent State Of The Union address. The one drawback to this bit was length, which is ultimately the biggest SNL skit-killer. Lorne Michaels, if you are reading this, take every skit your people write and cut at least a minute off it. Don’t worry about an ending, if you don’t have one, just stop ’em mid bit. Leave people wanting more.
This brings us to Eisenberg’s monologue…hmmm. I know we should have been excited about the guest appearance of Mark Zuckerberg or some grand joke about the 3 “Zuckerbergs” to be on stage but it was just okay like every monologue. I’m sure Mark Z is okay with not having comedic timing, he’s got billions of dollars to console him when he gets down, and it was good to see he’s okay with a movie made about him that doesn’t necessarily portray him in the best light.
On the Mr. Wizard spoof (man I loved that show) Eisenberg and Nasim Pedrad played perfect tweens who discovered their bodies and each other during a science lesson. It was howlingly funny as Bill Hader took us back to simpler times when Nickelodeon gave us not only Canadian teen schlock shows like Degrassi and You Can’t Do That On Television but followed them up with a healthy dose of Don Herbert (R.I.P.) wisdom.
Speaking of Hader, he killed it once again with another Herb Welch skit, which he recurred after it being gone just long enough for us to forget about it. And that’s how you properly do it folks.
On El Shrinko Eisenberg came back with a solid bit alongside Andy Samberg as the two pulled their money together to record a commercial to let the ladies know there’s nothing wrong with their anatomy.
With the Digital Short, The Lonely Island once again found a weird topic and made a song out of it, this time around they mimicked John Waters and did “the creep”. Somehow The Lonely Island guys consistently get musical guests to kill it on the digi-short. Which we can’t say the same for when they show up in bits. Such was the case for Nicki Minaj.
Other than the Digital Short, Minaj just didn’t work. Musically she was terrible, and the Bride of Blackenstein bit was just dreadful, then again any bit that ends with a close up of someone’s ass isn’t really shooting for the stars. This bit is a perfect example where length of a bit killed it. Clocking in at nearly 6 minutes, it was about 3 minutes longer than the premise called for. It was however good to see Jay Pharoah not perform an impersonations per say, he least channeled a pretty solid Bootsy Collins impression into a Dr. Frankenstein.
Overall, the night had some solid performances and I think Eisenberg would be fine to host again. But there were some terrible misses, may we suggest limiting musical guests without the last name Timberlake from acting? This week was also a pretty mediocre Weekend Update, it’s usually the highlight of the show but this week’s was just okay. It didn’t produce us any great cameos like Hader’s Stefon, or Fred Armisen’s Gov. Patterson, instead we just got a mediocre Keenan Thompson impression of Tyler Perry.
Also not worth mentioning were a Kristen Wiig driven Spa Talk bit and a plain ‘ol been done many times before Estro-Maxx commercial spoof, and a funny premise but poorly executed Skins parody.
That’s all until next week where we’ll see if host Dana Carvey still has the goods. We’re thinking there’s a 90% chance a Church Lady bit will surface.