Highlights from Justin Timberlake's Fifth SNL, aka, the Most Enjoyable Best-Of Compilation Ever
So, let me preface by stating that I am presently riddled with about 18 types of plague right now. I woke up this morning, quite late (sorry, Dustin), convinced that last night’s Justin Timberlake-hosted SNL was, in fact, a total fever dream, replete with awesome cameos, Andy Samberg in multiple sketches as though he’d never left, and that guy who ate Dan Aykrord.
But it wasn’t! It was real! And it was spectacular.
Yes, with two exceptions—one middling, one the night’s sole failure—every sketch was a re-do, a compilation of Justin Timberlake’s best characters (save for Robin Gibb, obviously, who I suspect is now retired for good), and, oddly but fantastically, the two best sketches from Jamie Foxx’s episode late last year.
No video is available of the cold open, an Elton John tribute to Hugo Chavez, but despite having a terrible spoken John impression, Timberlake nails the song, and that must be celebrated.
The monologue was majorly JT-light, focusing instead, rightly so no matter how good at this Timberlake is, on “The Five Timers Club”, aka, Paul Simon, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase (and a very Chevy but kind of weird bit with a phone), Martin Short, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks and an almost unrecognizable Candace Bergen. The monologue basically belongs to Steve Martin, but Martin Short wins the night by doing the Three Amigos salute.
The second sketch of the night, “It’s a Date”, seems like your standard SNL game show sketch, but then Andy Samberg and Justin show up as their “Dick In A Box/Mother Lover/It’s Not Gay If It’s In A Three-Way” guys, getting things properly ’90s sexual. Then, in an “I didn’t know how badly I needed this, but I really needed this,” we get an appearance by Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd’s Two Wild and Crazy Guys. The whole sketch is an excuse for the two pairs to have an amazing-off, and we are the winners.
The Nuva Bling commercial could have easily been forgettable, but Cecily Strong’s general superbness elevates it into hilarious. “Close. I got it from my vagina.”
Weekend Update was great, but it ascended into glory with the long awaited return of Stefon.
Sober Caligula was the lone failed sketch of the night. The whole sketch seemed like an excuse for Timberlake to say penis and talk about peeing on people, and to give us a shirtless Taran Killam, which was unexpectedly lion-moistening. You go, Cobie Smulders.
The SNL writers, clearly trying to appease the Rowles Gods, threw in another “Maine Justice.” It’s just as weirdly delightful as last time.
Finally, I am not sure how to express the level of hyperventilating happiness the last sketch created within me. My favorite sketch of this entire season, the Cryssals by Saboski girls, returned last night, this time shilling “Moey Chambim” champagne. It was flawless.
I actively loathe “Suit & Tie.” I only tolerate its popularity because it will lead to more Singer Justin Timberlake and less Movie Stahhhh Justin Timberlake. But even I have to admit that his performance (featuring Jay-Z) was so on point that it almost made me like the song. Almost.
The next song was way better in terms of “things I’d actually listen to” partly because it very easily could have been a mid-’90s Richard Marx or Jon Secada b-side and y’all know I dig that in a song.