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Lena Dunham, Taran Killam and a Parade of Celebrity Cameos Turn in the Best 'Saturday Night Live' Of the Season

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 9, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 9, 2014 |

It was hard to know what to expect from Saturday Night Live after last week’s disastrous show with Jim Parsons, but they rebounded in a huge way. Lena Dunham not only proved herself adept at sketch comedy, but she was amazingly likable and self-deprecating in all the right ways. It’s as close to a perfect show as SNL has had in a long time. There were a couple of sketches that didn’t completely land, but there were no bombs, and quite a few huge crowd pleasers led by Taran Killam who may have also turned in his best overall performance in his run on the show with outstanding impressions of Harrison Ford, Adam Drive, and Matthew McConaughey.

Great f**king show.

Obama Ukraine Address Cold Open

In the Cold Open, President Obama discusses how the United States plans to deal with the crisis in Ukraine, and he calls in a special guest, Liam Neeson, to deliver a personal message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Neeson gets a 9 out of 10 for brilliant self-parody, while the rest of the sketch gets a more modest 6 for shirtless Obama, uh, fighting a bear.

Lena Dunham Monologue

First-time host Lena Dunham talks about the nudity in her show “Girls,” and SNL cast members tell her private stories about their sex lives. First off, Dunham gets a D for her walk down the stairs. That was terrible. As for the monologue, Dunham acquits herself quite nicely, and neither the premise nor the writing were embarrassing. It’s not must-see or anything, but it’s totally worth watching and best of all, we were spared another musical number. (Score: 6/10)

Biblical Movie

“Girl” is Lena Dunham’s unique take on the life of Eve, a struggling twenty-something in the Garden of Eden. It definitely feels like a sketch that Dunham came to the show with, and it’s a spot-on parody of Girls. Taran Killam also completely rocks it as Adam Driver. Terrific. Bonus points for Apple Shaming. (Score: 9/10)

The Katt Williams Show

On this episode of “Pimpin Pimpin Pimpin with Katt Williams,” Katt talks to some of this year’s most talked-about Academy Award winners, presenters and attendees. I have no fucking idea why they trotted out a Katt Williams sketch, but it honestly may be Jay Pharoah’s best, funniest impression, and Dunham does an OK enough Liza Minnelli. Killam, though? Holy Lord. He crushed it. (Score 8/10; Taran Killam’s Harrison Ford Impression: 100,000 Grumpy Stars)


A recent college grad joins Olivia Pope’s team of gladiators and has a lot of questions, and it’s yet another terrific sketch buoyed by Taran Killam’s brief appearance as the President, Sasheer Zamata’s nice impression of Olivia Pope, and Beck Bennett’s weirdly perfect likeness of Guillermo Diaz. Dunham clearly has sketch comedy talent, even if most of her characters so far are a variation of Hannah Horvath. (Score: 7/10)

Ooh Child

A car sing-along gets repeatedly interrupted by the voice of a GPS. Not just a hilarious sketch, but until this moment I didn’t realize how much I wanted to see a musical starring Taran Killam and Cecily Strong. (Score: 10/10)

What Are You Even Doing

Nasim Pedrad and Lena Dunham play teenage girls who welcome their friend from school and Jon Hamm to their show about flirting with boys. The sketch itself is equal parts obnoxious and funny, but the Jon Hamm appearance makes it absolutely worth it. (Score: 6/10; Hamm Drop By: 10 Fat Bettys)

Jewelry Party

A jewelry party gets siderailed when a male guest reveals his profession as a men’s rights activist. Awkward. But funny. Also awkward, but kind of how you might expect this real-life scenario might go. (Score: 6/10)

Weekend Update

Colin Jost has a much better, much more comfortable, more confident second stint as co-anchor, but again, Taran Killam absolutely slays it as Matthew McConaughey with a better impression than even Matt Damon. It is everything. It’s so good, in fact, that I’ll excuse the Fred Armisen cameo as one of Putin’s best friends from childhood. (Score: 10 out of 10 Yellow Kings).

What’s Poppin’

A less-than-great rap group is booked last-minute on MTV2’s show, “What’s Poppin’.” It may be the night’s worst sketch, but even still, I’ll give it a 5/10 for energy and white rap skills and rhyming talent.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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