Oh me, oh my another week of SNL has gone by. This week’s host was Russell Brand who gave me doubts leading up to the show because, well he’s polarizing. Even I, who enjoy the man don’t know if I enjoy him for 90 minutes. Did Rusty Rockets kick ass? Did Katy Perry drop by? Here’s how he fared.
COLD OPEN: The cold opening was meh…the writers were spot-on with their choice to pick the Bill O’Reilly / Barrack Obama pre-Super Bowl interview. In real life O’Reilly was ridiculous and in love with his own voice, hardly actually caring what Obama had to say. But they could have taken it even more over the top with the opening. Oh well, not all cold openings could be winners.
MONOLOGUE: Brand’s monologue wasn’t particularly great, he basically just did a few minutes of his stand-up. Which seems to be something SNL often does when a comedian hosts (see: Dane Cook). This wasn’t particularly the strongest part of the show and definitely drug on a bit too long.
VACATION SWEEPSTAKES: The first real skit of the night, Russell put on his best Yankee accent for a bit we’ve all seen before. It’s obvious and wasn’t funny the first time, so it might be time to retire it.
BRITISH ACCENTS: There’s an unwritten rule, if someone British is involved…there needs to be a portion of the programming that involves showcasing said accent. Case in point, these three bits. Note: this rule also applies for Australian and Boston accents
STEFON: Hands down, the best part of any Weekend Update is when Bill Hader dons the swoopy hair and Ed Hardy shirt and does Stefon. I’m still not 100% sure writers Simon Rich and John Mulaney let Hader see the script before he reads it live on the air. For waiting for Hader to loose his shit (and he always does) as he describes what hot NYC clubs are up to with what kind of midgets they employ is the best part of the bit.
While on the subject of Bill Hader…was it me or was he in every skit on the show? It was the night of Hader, and he seemed to be the cast member doing all the heavy lifting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when he’s such a versatile player.
The musical guest was Chris Brown, and watching him on fast forward on TiVo worked perfectly. The show’s recently had a run of musical guests I don’t seem to care about. Not since The Black Keys and Cee-Lo kicked off the first two shows of the new year has the musical guest been intriguing. Hopefully that will be remedied when they return from next week’s hiatus.
LIVIN’ SINGLE: This late bit had a great idea with a fun twist as they cut to Taran Killam’s DJ but it kinda fell flat, which is unfortunate because I’m digging Vanessa Bayer’s youthful characters (which she’ll be surely taking advantage of when Miley Cyrus hosts in a few weeks. I think Brand’s attempt to be a seductive chef was the reason why this one just didn’t work.
All in all, it was a solid night with just enough of Russell Brand. He wasn’t too much in each direction really and there were a tremendous amount of new bits without much recurring sketches. Considering last week’s Dana Carvey episode was heavy on the recurring bits, this one put up a lot of new ideas. Even though we could definitely use one last What Up With That? before the season ends just to see Jason Sudeikis doing the running man in a red track suit.