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Last Night on "SNL": Bruno Mars Was Forgettable, But Stefon Brought Down the House

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | October 21, 2012 | Comments ()


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Good morning, folks. Bruno Mars was the host and musical guest of "Saturday Night Live" last night, and I can't say that I knew much about the guy before his appearance, other than the fact that 89 percent of Top 40 radio was written, produced, or performed by Mars. After spending an hour and a half with him, my conclusion: Incredible performer, charming, endearing, crazy talented, and kind of a terrible "SNL" host. It's hard to put too much of the onus on Mars himself, who was spirited and good natured, and who clearly wanted to cement himself as "SNL's" next Justin Timberlake. The writers, too, tried to tailor the show around his particular talents, but with the exception of one sketch, it just didn't work.

That one sketch -- which had Bruno Mars playing an intern at Pandora Radio who had to provide the vocals for a variety of songs after the power went down -- was not so much funny as it was wildly impressive. The man can sing, and he can do so in a variety of genres. Sadly, due to copyright concerns, that clip is not embeddable (you can, however, view it here, for now anyway).

Fortunately, the only other major highlight of the night is: "Weekend Update" was as impressive as its been all season. Seth Meyers delivered a lot of great jokes crescendoing into Stefon, who -- as always -- lost his sh*t and brought down the house.

Weekend Update Favorites

Stefon

If you're only interested in what people might be talking about from the show today, you're hereby relieved of this post. If you're morbidly curious about some of the lesser highlights, you could check out Bruno Mars monologue, another singing performance in which he openly admits that he's trying to be the next Timberlake.

Or you could watch the disaster of a cold open, a spoof of the second Presidential debate that absolutely did not work, despite a guest appearance from Tom Hanks. I'm not sure what happened here, but it felt badly rehearsed, out of sync, and toothless.

Taran Killam did not one, not two, not three, but four Chanel No. 5 Brad Pitt perfume ads, and not a damn one of them was funny (click on the links to watch, if you must).

The Sad Mouse pre-taped segment featuring Mars in a mouse costume wondering around Times Square failing to elicit any waves from passersby was cute, but ultimately forgettable.

If there's one other segment besides "Weekend Update" that might actually be worth watching, it's the Underground Festival commercial, political edition. Spoiler Alert: Ass Dan dies.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    I just don't get why Stefon is funny. The entire skit seems to be him cracking up. People laugh at him laughing. It's the same thing each time. I want to like it, cause I like Hader, but it is just boring to me. Fortunately, as we see each week, different things appeal to different people on the show. It's just that in this instance, anyone who likes Stefon is wrong, and I am right.

  • Preach on. For the life of me, I fail to see what is funny about that character. His punch lines are non-jokes that people are only responding to the actor's inability to read his fucking lines. "Hobo-cops"? That fucking passes for humor now a days?
    I used to wish that "Kids in the Hall" and "In Living Color" were still on the air. At this point, I would give my left nut to have "Strangers with Candy" and "Upright Citizen Brigade" back. This is just terribly lazy writing. The whole fucking bit consists of the actor breaking character between lines. Its worse than Jimmy Fallon was on the show.

  • elirt

    You forgot my fave sketch of the night - the creepy animatronic singers who attack the riders. Although other versions have been funnier, it's still a great sketch for the sheer creepy factor.

  • LordTomHulce

    Oh, to be 22 and able to go to the Underground Festival!! R.I.P. Ass Dan

  • AudioSuede

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you're gonna have someone be a host and musical guest, make it Cee-Lo. And make sure he plays himself in every sketch. He doesn't even have to sing! He can just stand there and be awesome for an hour and a half, and I'll watch it.

    Also, I really liked the "Mouse" sketch. It had a surprising amount of sweetness to it. It think sincerity has been missing a lot from sketch comedy lately. Sincerity's about to make a comeback, and this was a good example of it.

    http://thisthepodcast.wordpres...

  • PuraPuma

    I adore Bruno Mars. He's an amazing performer and entertainer. I didn't see all the skits but wish I had. I thought he was an interesting choice. He's no Timberlake but he sure is darn cute!

  • dizzylucy

    I didn't mind this one, and wasn't looking forward to Bruno Mars but he actually impressed me. For someone who's had no acting experience, he did better than some seasoned actors who have hosted in the past. And Pandora did go on too long, but he was pretty great in that.

    The debate was pretty good too, and I loved the mic drop.

    IMO, SNL often repeats their skits and characters too often and they go on too long, but Stefan seems to be the one exception for me. It always amuses me.

    Sad Mouse was weird, but surprisingly touching at the end.

  • John W

    Hmm I thought Bruno Mars was another Sacha Cohen character.

  • Green Lantern

    R.I.P. Ass Dan. Again.

    And Butt Dave.

  • spoobnooble

    'Sad Mouse' reminded me of the strange short films they used to run on SNL back in the late seventies: a bit weird, a bit funny, and oddly touching. It'd be nice to see more of these bits on the show, as opposed to that awful 'Haters' sketch that Rowles had the good sense not to mention in the review.

    As for Mars: not the best host they've had, but he seems like a nice guy and he had enthusiasm for the work. And he's earned a lifetime pass for his Billie Jo Armstrong impression in the 'Pandora' sketch.

  • Erich

    Who would have thought "Sidney Applebaum" would be the punchline that pushed him over the edge?

  • Salad_Is_Murder

    YOU KNOW I'M GONNA LIVE FO-EV***

  • Annoyingmouse

    This ep was hilarious what you talkin bout Dustin ?

  • lian

    Oh please forgettable are you kidding me, he was amazing and very funny, he nailed every character even melody the dropped-out teen. I couldn't ask for anything more from him and he could easily become an actor.

  • Erin S

    Oh man, I kind of loved the debate sketch. The "Candy, is he bothering you?" was perfect, and two words: Mic drop.

  • I have to disagree with just about all of this. The Stephon sketch was just one non-sequitur after another, and I seriously doubt that here was enough context to make it one bit funny. Bruno Mars was talented and charming, and no-one expected him to be a comedy genius. 'Sad Mouse' was a little weird, but typical Digital Short stuff. And the debate sketch was incredible and hilarious. Mic drop.

    Edited to add: There was nothing interesting or funny about that Underground Festival garbage.

    So, this was a surprisingly good episode.

  • Masterpiece

    I thought it was the best episode so far of the season, behind only the Joseph Gordon Levitt episode.

    Also the cold open was hilarious if you watched the debate!

  • The words 'Bruno Mars was forgettable' applies to more than just last night's SNL.

  • idiosynchronic

    Whatchu talkin' about? That cold open was perfect in tone and the character of the real debate. I particularly loved that warning about assaulting former Massachusetts governors without a license being a class B state misdemeanor.

  • kilmo

    Ahh, I really enjoyed this episode. I laughed much harder than in previous episodes this season.

    The 'Sad Mouse' thing was super weird. It kinda felt like they were going for a Digital Short vibe, but failed.

    The Pandora sketch went on too long, but was pretty enjoyable.

    Mars' performances actually made me want to see a show. They look like they have a good time.

  • Green Lantern

    Mmm...I'm pretty much in tune with everything you said, kilmo. I was sorta "meh" on Mars before hand, but I'm kindof a fan now. I think he killed it in his first performance.

    But "yes" to your Sad Mouse analysis, and "yes" to the rather funny Pandora sketch going on about two minute longer than it should've.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Me too. Though I hoped the numbers he would do during the show would be more like his opening song. I kinda dug the gospel flavor.

    And he's so tiny & adorable! (though I had hoped they'd toss in a mention of him being in Honeymoon in Vegas as the 3 year old Elvis impersonator.

  • PuraPuma

    I had no idea he was in that.... going to YouTube...

  • Sara_Tonin00

    he's adorable! also: looks exactly the same.

  • PuraPuma

    I found it! I then spent an hour watching various clips of him growing up. So adorbs!!

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