I am a softie when it comes to SNL, and while I’m willing to admit its many, many faults and bad sketches, I have enough affection for the 40-year-old series to cut it a break on a bad night. There have been quite a few of those bad nights this year, but it still takes an unusually terrible sketch for me to give it the dreaded “1/10” score. I’ve only done that five times in 2014, which makes these the absolute worst sketches of the year.
Spotlight Salutes the Oscars — Kids at an acting summer camp (including host Jim Parsons) reenact scenes from Oscar-nominated films. Kind of. “Hey. I got an idea! Let’s sell drugs! To help us with our AIDS!” This sketch is playing on a loop somewhere in hell right now.
Living Art Exhibit — During a museum tour (led by Kyle Mooney) of people re-enacting famous paintings, Melissa McCarthy’s character persistently interrupts and then gets in a fight with the art subjects because she’s trying to install the wi-fi. Sometimes, I am startled awake in the middle of the night by a nightmare in which McCarthy’s character is still talking in this sketch.
Undercover Sharpton — Kenan Thompson plays an undercover agent badly attempting to get a couple of goombahs (one played by Seth Rogen) to sell him some cocaine. Thompsons’ goofy reaction shots and insane infectiousness can save a lot of bad sketches, but the material here just left him flapping like an unholstered dong in a hurricane.
Elevator — Jim Parsons played an executive in an elevator who tried to hide from his employee the fact that he shat his pants. That was the entire sketch. He shat his pants, much like SNL shat the bed for the entire Parsons’ episode.
Anniversary Date — People are already calling this sketch — with Chris Rock and Leslie Jones — the worst SNL sketch of all time. Somehow, in 40 years, I doubt that that can be true, but it was as awkward as it was terrible.
Honorable Mentions: Mother’s Day Game Show (Charlize Theron), Riverboat Tina Turner Impersonators (Sarah Silverman), which was both terrible and stolen from the Groundlings), Zombie High School (Jim Carrey), and the most recent Principal Frye sketch (which has been sorely played out) with Anna Kendrick.