Highlights from Last Night's Historically, Monumentally Unfunny "Saturday Night Live"
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Highlights from Last Night's Historically, Monumentally Unfunny "Saturday Night Live"

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | March 3, 2013 | Comments ()

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In the little that I've seen him in -- Think Like a Man, Laugh at Your Pain -- I've liked Kevin Hart. He's like a shorter, less obnoxious, funnier Chris Tucker. But on Saturday Night Live, he was downright terrible. TERRIBLE. It's been a bad season (save for Christoph Waltz's episode), but this episode was bad even by the year's low standards. I'm not sure what happened: If Kevin Hart was out of is depth, or if SNL simply didn't know how to write for him. But it all failed. Miserably.

You know how "SNL" will take a premise and beat it to death? Most of like night's sketches were one joke beat to death. Wouldn't it be funny if Quvenzhané Wallis was named the next pope? Let's devote an entire sketch to it, and Wallis will be played by Hart, and all he will do is mug for the camera like Wallis did at the Oscars. Wouldn't it be funny if Steve Harvey pronounced phobias as Pho-By-Ahs? Let's do a whole sketch about that. Hey! How about a sketch where a guy appeared on Shark Tank and pitched a lamp wearing sunglasses as a cool invention? Or, wouldn't it be funny if this other guy obnoxiously went through the alphabet ... oh, I don't even know how to describe this sketch, which gave me a brain hernia:

Basically, two things worked last night: Hart's monologue -- basically a bit from his stand-up act -- was OK, at least relative to the rest of the show.

And Seth Meyers was absolutely fantastic on "Weekend Update," and the "Really?!!!" segment -- which made fun of how racist the South is -- was hilarous (and maybe a little unfair), despite the fact that Kevin Hart nearly ruined it with his inability to read a goddamn cue card (at the end up "Update," Meyers looked unusually peeved).

There was also a Walking Dead sketch, and I thought: Perfect! Kevin Hart will play the token black guy. Maybe "SNL" will actually do something topical about how the black guy always gets killed off on the drama. But no: It was a tired, so very tired sketch about the prison gang's hesitation to kill a black zombie because they didn't want to be thought of as racist.

There was only one other sketch somewhat worth mentioning: A recurring sketch where two people think they're getting fired and call out everyone else on their way out. Kevin Hart was barely in it, so you'd think he wouldn't ruin it, but alas, he couldn't keep a straight face during a section of the sketch that wasn't even funny.

Maybe that's what went wrong with last night's show: The writers were too afraid to do anything actually funny because they knew that Hart couldn't keep his sh*t together.

Seriously, y'all: Kevin Hart got outplayed by Justin Bieber's episode. I couldn't help but think that Lorne Michaels, after dress rehearsal, must have at least floated the possibility that last night's show be canceled for awfulness. I would've. That was an hour and a half that didn't deserve to be on cable access.

Let's hope that Timberlake can redeem the show next week.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • doy

    You really have to watch Kevin Hart's stand-up before being so ridiculously critical. As a long-time Hart fan, I really resent the idea that Justin Bieber's episode was better. Hart is a funny guy and he obviously put his all into the show. If you knew anything about the host, you'd know the writing is what made the show suck. As usual.

  • ,

    At what age does life become too short to watch shitty TV?

    It must be under 55, because I know I'm long past it.

  • This has been a bit of a down season (although anyone who argues that the show absolutely isn't funny or worse, pretends that they forgot that it exists isn't really interested in any kind of serious discussion) but Cecily Strong has been a goddamn revelation. She'll deservedly get the Wiig/Pohler/Fey treatment and be the biggest star on the show in the next few years, easily. Although Taran Killam is pretty universally strong too.

  • Rocabarra

    I thought this was one of the better episodes of the season. I don't know who Kevin Hart is but I thought he was pretty charming. The funeral sketch - fantastic. And Kevin laughing at "Carl" in the Barnes & Noble scene was just as funny as when Fred and Bill get together and crack up (as they did in the Dove chocolate skit).

    I also enjoyed The Walking Dead sketch. You say that they took a single joke and hammered it to death for each skit, but how would Hart playing the 'token' black guy have been more multi-faceted than the angle they went with?

    There is no way in Hell that this episode was worse than Bieber. The ONLY thing I remember about his episode was Kate McKinnon as Ellen Bieber.

  • MissAmynae

    Next week, get ready to Bring it on down to Homelessville.

  • QueeferSutherland

    Yeah, there's no way this was the worst episode of the season. Maybe the worst written, but Hart saved some of the sketches through sheer manic energy. I can't imagine how bad this episode would have been with a lesser host.

  • duckandcover

    That makes me sad, because Kevin Hart can spin any story into something hilarious.

  • The z-shirt and voice over sketches were pretty funny to me. It seemed to be a pretty average episode overall.

  • dizzylucy

    The funeral sketch towards the end did make me laugh a little, because it was so unexpected. The rest of it I found pretty bad.
    I'm not all that familiar with Kevin Hart, and I generally don't like when the monologues is basically just a comedian doing their standup routine. But he did seem like he was trying and giving it his all, but drowning in bad writing. The getting fired sketch makes my ears bleed. Please stop doing that one, SNL.

  • John W

    Don't worry I'm next week's episode will be funny.

  • burgervan

    They're probably saving their good material for JT next week. Same thing happened last time he was on. The episode before his was just abysmal.

  • Mer Mullins Brumfield

    He is probably my favorite comedian, but that often does not translate to SNL gold.

  • A. Smith

    I saw it last night chuckled but all and all didn't really care for it. Sketches overstayed their welcome or went in a direction, that while having potential for being funny, weren't. If anything needs to be turned over next season the writing staff needs to go. Find people who know of the world outside of the Upper Northeast, the Ivys and bring people in who can be daring, funny or at the very minimum entertaining.

  • I don't know why people are still surprised that SNL isn't funny. At this point, spastics falling down would be funnier and all laughing at that does is mark you as a horrible person.

  • e jerry powell

    I haven't watched SNL since before Michael McKean joined the cast, so this was my first re-exposure to it.

    I got through the end of Weekend Update before I had to change the channel to ESPN to get the taste of the un-funny-ness out of my mouth.

  • Skyler Durden

    I can't bring myself to blame Kevin for this one. He was game, energetic, and read his cue cards like a pro, barring the one hiccup during the "Really" sketch.

    To me, this was a simple case of terrible writing. Kevin might not be my favorite person in the world, but I lay the blame squarely in the hands of the writers this week, not the host.

  • sean

    I had no idea of who the hell he was before this. I at first had assumed they decided to have another contest to have a member of the public host. He was bad. The writing was worse. Although I am sure that I am going to call someone "Jolly Green Dickhead" this week. This season has been terrible.The news was funny last night. Except for the Kevin Hart part. I think it is time for a complete overhaul of SNL. They haven't done that in a while. Keep Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Jay Pharoah. Then go out and find a bunch of young funny people to co-star and write. Find some ethnic variety as well. Or, even better, call all former cast members. Tell them to show up at 30 rock on Monday mornings. Anyone who shows up, gets to work for the week. Have a rotating cast.

    Cecily Strong
    Cecily Strong

  • annoyingmouse

    I was laughing my ASS OFF at that Z-shirt skit. I don't know what the hell was happening, but I thought the absurdity of it worked. I also enjoyed the stupid Steve Harvey skit, which was stupid, but what isn't stupid on SNL these days?

  • Creepy Carl

    Not going to lie, the funeral at the end cracked me up, as well as the BITCH sketch. Definitely not the best episode, but Kevin brought a great deal of energy and was trying, given what writing he had to deal with it. Pretty shitty review if you ask me.

  • logan

    SNL is still on? WHY?

  • phase10

    Isn't this like the equivalent of "First" on this site?

  • John G.

    There's really no reason for to make this comment. Yet someone always does. Let's just take it as read next time.

  • Clancys_Daddy

    Lorne Michaela has video of the NBC executives at a Bangkok brothel. You don't want to know the rest, I wish I didn't.

  • I always thought this site was above racially motivated criticism - sucks to be wrong about that.

  • L.O.V.E.

    This is a joke, right? Going for the meta angle, perhaps?
    I'll play along. I'll be an akward and nervous Mike Myers. OK, you were saying?

  • prince_of_montagu

    Spectacular jump to that conclusion. Someone's a future Olympian!!

  • Lotney

    Are you saying all black people are funny?

    Dude.. that's racist.

  • L.O.V.E.
  • JLH

    I didn't hate it at all. And it was NOT worse than JLaw's episode.

  • Melissa

    It was so bad , I was bored to sleep

  • Erich

    Yeah, I was disappointingly less than whelmed last night.

  • Green Lantern


    "Wazzit an 'M' shirt? No? Wazzit an 'N' shirt? No? Wazzit an 'O' shirt? No..."

  • [A]

    Why would you watch SNL anyway? Ohhh just to review it. Sorry.

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