It’s always fun when a former Saturday Night Live cast member returns to host the show. It usually acts as a good time to revive some old sketches and wax nostalgic. Is also usually means some cast members from their era show up making it a fun night of SNL times.
Maya Rudolph was the host of the show last night coming off Bridesmaids and currently doing kickass work on Up All Night. Rudolph is also known for her Whitney Houston impressions and with the recent passing of the singer, there’s definitely a possibility we’d see some sorta homage to Whitney. How many former cast members would arrive? Does Rudolph still have the sketch chops? Let’s find out.
COLD OPEN: LINSANITY POSTGAME
Touching on the rise of NY Knicks’ Jeremy Lin and all the insane quotes surrounding his name and blatant stereotyping that’s come with it. This was a solid idea for an opening. Also playing on other silly stereotypes pretty much shows how insane sports commentary can be.
Rudolph’s monologue was better than most. Breaking out a song asking, “Do you want to funk with me?” I thought I misheard her at first, turns out I was just tired. The monologue even managed to work some Paul Simon and Stefon into the action. It was one of the most enjoyable monologues in a while, which means the clip isn’t available online.
The first sketch of the night and we got ourselves an Amy Poehler drop in. We predicted last week that there would be a few guest drop ins and so far the night is delivering. The Bronx Beat sketch is always fun but this time around it seemed to have an even joyful tone with the Poehler/Rudolph play. Things got even better once another drop in from Justin Timberlake happened. That’s right, Timberface on set. Be careful not to pass out on a couch in the bonus room in a cloud of your own cold medicine farts, don’t miss this one.
MAYA ANGELOU PRANK SHOW
There’s no need for Ashton Kutcher to punk us when we have Maya Angelou herself right?
JAY-Z AND BEYONCE’S BABY
Here’s a chance to bring the whole cast on board for some great impressions. Jay Pharoah as Jay-Z was a plus… Fred Armisen bringing back Prince was priceless, in fact there probably wasn’t a bad turn in this sketch. Most notably Kristen Wiig’s killer Taylor Swift, Taran Killam’s Brad Pitt and more Timberlake. Bony Bear put himself to sleep!
SLEIGH BELLS “COMEBACK KID”
Sleigh Bells pretty much kicked the hype machine needle into the red in with their 2010 debut Treats. Now they are back with a new album to return with some more of their metal-techno-meets-angelic-vocals. I dig their stuff and this new song seems legit enough.
Weekend Update was a shorter in time this week but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t just as good as it normally is. With Amy Poehler roaming the studios, her dropping in was anticipated and loved. I also really love it any time there’s a “Really?!?!” segment.
WHAT UP WITH THAT? PRESIDENTS DAY SPECIAL
I always chuckle at this sketch. Yes it’s completely the same thing every time but the parade of random guest (this week Bill O’Reilly and Kate Upton) is always fun to see who is down for the joke. But perhaps the part that gets me every time is when Jason Sudeikis jumps in wearing the red jumpsuit and dances like a maniac.
This bit had the potential to not be that great, but it became chuckle-worthy because of the rare instance of Kristen Wiig breaking character and in turn Bill Hader losing it. It also allowed for more of the Rudolph/Wiig pairing we dug so much in Bridesmaids.
If you weren’t a watcher of The Cosby Show this sketch isn’t nearly as funny as it could be for you. From the perfect tone of the classic opening theme to the homage to the family singing Ray Charles’ version of “(Night time Is) The Right Time” at the end. On The Cosby Show, Rudy busted out the Mary Ann part but this time around they left that to Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton.
SLEIGH BELLS “END OF THE LINE”
I think I spotted a Minor Threat tattoo on lead singer Alexis Krauss.
HOW’S HE DOING?
This is a great sketch that plays on the idea of Obama’s approval rating among black voters in America.
And that’s it. The night feels like it barely began and here we are saying our goodbyes. It was a fantastic night with Maya Rudolph at the helm and we got ourselves one of the most solid shows from front to back since Jimmy Fallon hosted at the end of December. I’m all for former cast members showing up as hosts if it guarantees shows like this one. The reunions with former cast members are always fun.
It was a big night for Jay Pharoah who was the winner of the featured players after not being seen much lately. And Keenan Thompson showed up the most of the regulars after not appearing much in the past weeks. A returning cast usually brings back more than just one familiar former cast member making for a reunion of sorts. It also sometimes makes for less spots for current staff, so we didn’t see much of Bobby Moynihan, Abbey Elliot, and Nasim Pedrad this week, but that’s why there’s always another show. So let’s return on March 3rd with the odd pairing of Lindsay Lohan and Jack White are in charge of the show.