Let's Shag Ass! Scoring the Pumpkin-Spiced Edward Norton Hosted 'Saturday Night Live'
The Cold Open — Kate McKinnon as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius coasts through a fairly mundane sketch about the problems with the Affordable Care Act website that limply goes exactly where you expect it to go. We’re off to a lackluster start on the night. Awesome. (Score: 3/10)
Ed Norton’s Monologue — Norton begins with a schtick about being a method actor who has been prepping for the last 13 years to host his first episode of SNL, but he’s interrupted by Alec Baldwin who walks him through the “Alec Baldwin SNL Warm-Up for Dramatic Actors.” Norton puts on a terrific Woody Allen impression before Miley Cyrus crashes to provide Norton with tips on how to stick out his tongue and announce her new tour because, why not? Norton has nothing to promote and the last “Ed Norton” movie anyone cared about was 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. (Score: 5/10)
Autumn’s Eve Pumpkin Spice Douche — Nothing says clean like “warm gooey pumpkin and hot itchy cinnamon.” Ick. It no doubt smells/tastes like the same chemically pumpkin flavor they use in pumpkin-flavored beers and leaves the same unpleasant aftertaste. (Score: 7/10)
Officer Rosen — Ed Norton talks to a classroom about stranger danger but the students don’t understand why they should turn down candy from nice men in vans. “You mean I get candy, and all I have to do is hang out with a guy for a little while. VANS ARE AWESOME.” The sketch meanders for a while and then fizzles out. (Score: 4/10)
The Steve Harvey Show — Ed Norton plays a costume shop owner who trots out a series of pun-related costumes that Steve Harvey doesn’t understand. Not a great sketch, but Kenan’s oblivious Steve Harvey impression never fails to amuse me. (Score: 5/10)
Wes Anderson Horror Movie — A trailer for a Wes Anderson horror movie! It’s called The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders, because of course it is. I suspect the internet has already done this, but they didn’t have Ed Norton’s brilliant Owen Wilson impersonation or Alec Baldwin narrating. It is spot-on, and hits basically all the Wes Anderson hallmarks. (Score: 9/10)
Critter Control Specalist — Ed Norton plays a hillbilly bumpkin and one of the new cast members does his best-worst Jason Sudeikis impression, as they both attempt to rid an air duct in a corporate office of its possum problem. I’ve seen better sketches in second-grade Odyssey of the Mind productions. (Score: 2/10)
Rain Man — Ed Norton impersonates Rain Man to help some thugs count drug-deal loot, only it turns out he’s a terrible numbers savant. The sketch doesn’t work, but like most of the night’s sketches, it’s very short, so at least they’re not overstaying their welcomes. Unfortunately, they were never really welcome in the first place. (Score: 3/10)
The episode is so bad that the Saturday Night Live twitter account, which typically drops screenshots from the show’s best sketches, has resorted to tweeting one of Ed Norton’s bumpers.
Weekend Update — When all else fails, at least Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong can salvage a few minutes with a few very strong “Weekend Update”headlines that are unfortunately way too short.
There was only one segment, Anthony Crispino, and the rest of the show has been so bad that I didn’t even mind him. (Weekend Update Score: 8/10; Crispino: 5/10)
12 Days Not a Slave — A freed slave decides to stick around the South obliviously under the assumption that being free means he will be instantly accepted. “I get that they would be mad for the first couple of day, but it’s been two weeks!” he says. The idea is not terrible, but it needs a lot more nuance and a lot fewer stale jokes built around stereotypes (like black men who love fat white women). As it is, it’s executed so poorly that it’s actually uncomfortable … and kind of racist. I can already sense that the Internet will be writing a few trend pieces about this sketch this week. (Score: 2/10)
Virgin Wait Staff — Four members of the wait staff, all virgins, talk about what it will be like when they finally have sex. It’s terrible, but the absurdity of it actually almost saves it. Either that, or it’s late and I’m getting loopy. (Score: 5/10)
Halloween Candy — It’s been a terrible episode, but I respect the fact that Norton was in all of the sketches. At least he went down with the ship. In this final sketch, he goes absolutely all in. It is dumb as hell, and yet, it actually kind of works. (Score: 7/10)