Last night saw the season debut of “Saturday Night Live,” after an off-season with quite a few changes: Kristen Wiig, Abby Elliot, and Andy Samberg are gone, which means so are the Digital Shorts, Gilly, and whatever cute background characters Abby Elliot typically played. The other major change was promoting Jay Pharoah to Obama impersonator, a move that immediately paid off in the show’s cold open. This was maybe one of the best cold opens and best political skits in a long while, thanks as much to Pharoah’s impersonation of Obama as Sudekis’ awesome Romney. It was also our first look at Taran Killam as Paul Ryan.
The show also featured a Romney attack ad played to hilariously exaggerated effect.
Meanwhile, Hader’s impressions of Clint Eastwood is always great, but the Eastwood goes on the road with a chair skit didn’t land (apologies if that embed is gimpy).
The rest of the show, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, was far less successful. In fact, most of it reminded me of everything I didn’t like Seth MacFarlane before Ted came along, beginning with the monologue, which featured MacFarlane trotting out all of his voices as well as a few jokes typical of MacFarlane: More offensive for being unfunny than for being actually offensive.
Bill Hader managed to salvage most of Puppet Class, the most worthwhile non-political skit of the night.
Seth Meyers’ return to Weekend Update features a few decent headlines, but I won’t torture you with any of the lousy segments.
The Lids skit was lousy, but it did feature a cameo from the Gangnam Style guy.
I can’t recommend any of the rest of the show, but the last skit of the night, Wooden Spoons, was great if only because it was the perfect length for most “SNL” skit ideas: 45 seconds.