With Chris Rock hosting, Prince performing, and an extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time, there were probably a lot of folks who tuned into Saturday Night Live last night who don’t normally tune into SNL. Unfortunately, what they ended up watching wasn’t indicative of SNL this season — that was a very bad episode, the worst probably since last season’s Charlize Theron episode.
They are not all that bad. I promise. Yes, there are occasional flops like last night’s, but the show — and especially this year’s cast — is much better than what you saw last night, which was a show with basically one sketch worth watching. Even “Weekend Update,” which has been reliable this season with Michael Che, was a disappointing shell of what it’s usually capable of.
It was a bad, bad episode, but I promise they’re usually not that bad.
Cold Open — A Fox News segment (The Kelly File) took up the Kaci Hickox issue, and made it about Chris Christie’s quarantine instead of the quarantine restrictions our buffoon of a Governor here in Maine (LePage) has been trying to implement because, I guess, Moynihan does a better Christie impression. Either way, aside from a fairly amusing Kaci Hickox impersonation from Kate McKinnon, there wasn’t much about this sketch worth watching. (Score: 3/10)
Chris Rock Monologue — Rock’s entire monologue is a stand-up routine, which sure beats the hell out of another musical number. I apppreciated it much more after having seen how awful the rest of the episode was, but watching it live, I didn’t realize it’d be one of the few highlights of the episode. He does a bit on the Boston Marathon bombing that’s funny (and uncomfortable), but not worth the set-up, and a bit on the Freedom Tower that was okay. The bit on the commercialization of both 9/11 and Christmas might elicited a few chuckles, and the gun rights bit was meh, too. (Score: 6.5/10)
How to Dance with Janelle — Aside from giving Sasheer Zamata a lead role in a sketch, this is not a particularly good way to start the show. It’s reminiscent of Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz’s webcast sketches, minus the unintentional laughter (which this sketch could sorely use). (Score: 2/10)
GoProbe — An ad for a camera designed for colonoscopies. The conceit is mildly amusing, but the ad is not particularly funny. (Score: 4/10)
How’s He Doing — A recurring sketch in which black people take an honest look at how President Obama is doing. There’s five black people in an all-black sketch, which is cool for SNL. Unfortunately, the novelty of the joke has worn thin. (Score: 5/10)
Prince’s Performance — Prince got a full, eight-minute set, and what did he do with it? Played some goddamn songs I’ve never heard before. They were noisy, but it’s Prince, so we give him the bad ass benefit of the doubt. The performance had more life than any of the nighit’s sketches. (Score: 6/10)
Weekend Update — After Michael Che’s comments this week w/r/t the catcall video, I was a little uneasy about the prospect of praising his usually reliable “Weekend Update” performance. Turns out, it didn’t matter, as it was a rare dud (for this season). Jost actually may have been slightly better than Che, which doesn’t speak well of “Weekend Update.” (Score: 5/10)
Pete Davidson on STDs — Davidson seems to be more amused with his bit on a condom allergy than anyone else. The sheen has already worn off the newbie. (Score: 5/10)
Katt Williams/Suge Knight — Listen, it doesn’t even matter what he was saying, Jay Pharoah’s Katt Williams’ impression is amazing, boo boo. The bit? Not so much. (Score: 4/10)
Shark Tank Parody — Uh, ISIS tries to sell it’s business plan to Mark Cuban, et. al. It’s a bold idea, but in execution, it is a lousy sketch from top to bottom. (Score: 2/10)
Swiftamine — The best sketch of the night: A medication for those who get vertigo when they realize they actually like Taylor Swift. It’s funny because it’s true. (Score: 7/10)
Anniversary Date — A couple bickers on their anniversary. The worst sketch in a bad night of sketches. Not only was it deliriously unfunny, but Chris Rock and Leslie Jones stepped all over each other’s lines and missed a couple of cues. A complete disaster. (Score: 1/10)
Polite Bank Robbers — During a bank robbery, the armed robbers are surprisingly polite to the customers. Meep. (Score: 3/10)
Women in the Workplace — It’s not the worst sketch of the night, but it’s not the best, either. (Score: 5/10)