The Sarah Silverman hosted Saturday Night Live picked up where it left off last week, with a mostly strong first half (and a weaker back half), and a “Weekend Update” that is way ahead of where it was at the end of last season. Again, the cast is working well together, and there is great chemistry, but it still feels a little too large, if only because there’s not enough show to feature as much Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Taran Killam as we’d like (and last week’s break-out star, Pete Davidson, contributed nothing this week). There were quite a few low points in the show, but it was the kind of show that can boast a very strong highlight reel, thanks mostly to “Update,” the pre-taped segments, and the monologue.
Cold Open — A 60 Minutes segment in which Barack Obama (Jay Pharoah) suggests that ISIS is winning the war on social media. It is really, spectacularly bad. SKIP. (Score: 2/10)
Darrell Hammond as Announcer: Hammond still isn’t doing much for me as announcer. He’s flat. It’s not bad; it’s just not interesting. Also, this must be the first time ever that both Update hosts are featured players (and I just realized that none of last year’s cast members were elevated to repertory players).
Sarah Silverman’s Monologue — Much of Silverman’s monologue is improvised with a good-natured rando in the audience (and it goes very well). Later, Silverman works clips of her young self (from her stint as as an SNL cast member) into the monologue with amusing results. Decent monologue, but nothing to write home about. (Score: 6.5/10)
Fault in Our Stars 2: The Ebola in Our Everything Trailer: Wow. The title says everything. It’s very much a sketch you’d expect from Silverman. (Score: 8/10)
Joan Rivers in Heaven — Silverman plays Joan Rivers roasting others up in heaven, and Joan Rivers would totally approve of this sketch. The jokes are only OK (and Silverman trips over a few), but the conceit is well-intentioned. Ben Franklin loves it. It’s a nicely played tribute to Joan. (Score: 7/10)
Whites — A PSA celebrating the final years of White dominance. White People: The end is nigh! Amusing and cutting, and the kind of sketch you only see when someone like Silverman hosts. (Score: 7/10)
Forgotten TV Memories — Host Kenan Thompson looks back on the short-lived drama, “Supportive Women.” The conceit is amusing — a melodramatic soap opera in which women do nice things for each other — but the sketch itself definitely is not. Thompson is the only good part of it. (Score: 3.5/10)
Weekend Update — Michael Che is a goddamn revelation, people, and in only his second week, he absolutely owns “Weekend Update,” like he’s been there for years. Plus, they finally figured out how to use Colin Jost: As the hapless lily white butt of Michael Che’s jokes. I am loving “Weekend Update” again (even the Jimmy Carter joke that sounds like a joke Norm McDonald would have made 20 years ago). Watch all three vids. (Score: 10/10)
Reverend Al Sharpton — “They got this new virus, it’s called Ebola, that you can get through your email!” Kenan’s Sharpton is second to only Kenan’s Steve Harvey. (Score: 6/10)
Garage and Her — The important thing is that Kate McKinnon got a part in the show (she has been sorely missed this season, so far.) (Score: 5/10)
Riverboat Tina Turner Impersonators — This sketch is goes nowhere, for a really, really, really long time. (It uses Tina Turner music, so there is no video available for embed) (Score: 2/10)
Botched Proposal — Yeesh. Silverman plays a character whose brother picks her up at the airport, and she reveals that she cheated on her boyfriend, only for the boyfriend to pop out of the backseat with an engagement ring. Things get even more awkward from there. There’s a made-up break-up song involving fudge on the radio that is hilarious, but the rest of the sketch — which ends with Adam Levine being run over on the freeway — is the pits. It also is not available for embed. (Score: 3/10)
Poem — Two strangers (Sarah Silverman, Kyle Mooney) connect over their love of poetry … until her boyfriend (Beck Bennett) interjects. Another super weird Kyle Mooney sketch; this one worked for me better than most, but then, I like sketches where dummy doubles have to be used for comedically violent gags. (Score: 6/10)
Vitamix — Amusing but mostly forgettable take on an overly expensive blender that brings out the claws in suburbia. (Score: 5/10)