Remember back in olden times when Alec Baldwin was considered a serious dramatic actor? Me neither! He's been comedy royalty for so long now. For example: Including Saturday's season premiere, Baldwin has hosted Saturday Night Live sixteen times. Sixteen! That is so many times! But there's a reason why he's now the record-holder for the number of times hosting SNL: He's excellent at it. Saturday's episode was what we've more or less come to expect from SNL: Uneven, slapdash, unexpectedly weird, and frequently hilarious—and Alec Baldwin was involved in many of its highlights.
So let's ignore the usual SNL shortcomings; that's become such a boring conversation anyway. Instead, let's go through the episode one sketch at a time and talk about what we liked! (Note: Sorry international readers, it's basically impossible to find YouTube versions of these clips that won't be taken down immediately. Hulu it is!)
The cold open may have been about twenty minutes long, but it was great! I don't mean to get all political on you, but the GOP candidates are kind of weird? So this sketch was basically a weirdstravaganza. My favorite part here was Taran Killam's impression of Jon Huntsman's Chinese influence. Also wasn't Bobby Moynihan's New Gingrich SO charming? Inaccurate, but still!
OBVIOUSLY Steve Martin swung by for the monologue. He and Alec Baldwin did a bit about how Steve Martin believed Alec Baldwin must be on steroids, which led to the cast setting up an impromptu science lab and Steve Martin pretending to drink Alec Baldwin's urine sample while Seth Rogen stared into the middle distance. I honestly didn't really understand what was happening at any given moment, but these guys are the best.
The SNL ad parody was a commercial for a perfume called "Red Flag," in which a beautiful woman was dismantled by whisperings of her reputation. I honestly thought this thing was vaguely misogynistic, but what do I know about misogyny, I am a fella!
Really dug this ensemble sketch about dramatic outbursts during an All My Children wrap party. I generally enjoy sketches which involve people in costumes one-upping each other with absurd one-liners... or was I PUSHED?
I laughed at the time-delay humor, but I think this sketch could have really benefited from giving Kristen Wiig a more obvious Botox-looking face, seeing as that was kind of the main joke. Oh well! A rubber snake eats her head! I would never not love that.
I like Radiohead a lot (I spent some time in college being sad), but I will never think The King of Limbs isn't boring. Sorry!
I'm not the hugest Seth Meyers fan. Not gonna lie, I fast-forwarded through most of his jokes.
Aren't there usually like three or four special commentators? Maybe that super long cold-open caused some cuts. Anyway, this dirty-talkin' Tony Bennet thing was fine.
This sketch made me uncomfortable. I don't know. There were certain silly things that were great: Jason Sudeikis walking out right off the bat, "still no sponsors," Alec Baldwin accidentally giving up all his prize money for no reason. I laughed at those parts!
In what's become an SNL staple, we got another audition sketch which functioned as a clearinghouse for all of the cast members' incredible celebrity impressions. Taran Killam's Bobcat Goldthwait is going to haunt my dreams. Also, I loved Fred Armisen's super shy Prince. Except, wait a minute, isn't Jay Pharaoh's sole function on this show to do impressions? Where IS he?
I guess Nasim Pedrad is going to be the head lady around SNL when Kristen Wiig takes off, and that's a good thing! Look at what a weirdo she can be! I'm not sure I was totally on-board with this sketch, but I admired how it kept upping the ante.
More Radiohead! "Staircase" is better than the other song, but keep in mind it's not even on their boring album. It's like they realized what they'd released? Whatever, I'm going to go listen to Kid A RIGHT NOW.
The last sketch of the night is frequently my favorite (they're usually the most surreal). This was was just fine though: It involved a soldier reluctantly agreeing to the bizarre dying wishes of his fellow soldiers. "Tell my wife's sister that I love her more than my wife. Make sure they both know." "Tell my son you murdered me." It was funny, but sometimes it bothers me when intentionally pointless sketches have such expensive-looking sets. In THIS economy?!
BONUS: Here's the second, unaired part of that Top Gun audition sketch. More people! Kristen Wiig as Paula Poundstone! And OHHHH, there's Jay Pharaoh! I kind of thought his only contribution was going to be the curtain-call wave.
IN CONCLUSION: A solid opening for a solid 37-year-old sketch show!
What was your favorite moment?