Yay! Saturday Night Live is back, and look who’s hosting: It’s Charlie Day, lovable star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Charlie was an excellent choice of host. He’s clearly a comic actor who’s built up a lot of good will in Hollywood, but hasn’t quite yet had his “star-making” moment. In other words, his Jim Carrey-talking-out-of-his-ass moment. His Sharon Stone-uncrossing-her-legs moment. His Zach Galfianakis-making-a-baby-masturbate-itself moment. You get the point. It's Always Sunny is a beloved, cult-ish sitcom, but most of “mainstream America” (translation: your mom) does not know who Charlie Day is. But now they do! He’s a funny guy! Who doesn’t like Charlie Day? Nobody! (I think that logic is right. Did I have too many negatives in there?) Anyway, enough about Charlie Day. Let’s just get to the show!
The monologue was very fun and upbeat. Clearly Charlie was delighted to have the spotlight and definitely did not choke. He was just the right amount of excited to be hosting SNL. (Holy cow, can you imagine how much adrenaline you’d have if you were hosting SNL? Lots! Unless you are Paris Hilton or January Jones. Then you’d be like, "Huh. What? Okay. Cool. I have a perfume line! And a baby but I won’t tell you who the dad is. He might be in the SNL cast! Yayyyy.") Charlie started with a few cute jokes about having a two-year-old’s memory of living in NYC (I love how in the bit this is very particular to NYC, as if he literally couldn’t have been from any city where the people were “giant” and street signs were written “in gibberish”), then Danny DeVito popped up and just bounced around the set like a Pong ball. Then Charlie played the piano for some reason, but it really wasn’t necessary. He’d already won us over.
Okay, let’s just get to the highlight of the evening: "Kim’s Fairytale Divorce" was the skewering the Kardashians deserve, in that it was utterly vicious. Andy Samberg’s apeman Chris Humphries, Bruce Jenner’s psycho face lift glare, Kris Jenner insisting she and her girls are “just four sisters,” are just some of the delights awaiting you in this sketch.
I’m not a huge fan of sketches that just dump a bunch of jokes on stage and move through them one by one, without any plot or real character work. And that’s exactly what the Greek Gods sketch was—using the Greek financial crisis as a jumping-off point, it really just went through a cast of mythological figures and made silly jokes based on the ridiculous details of their stories. It barely had anything to do with economics. That said, Adam Levine’s Yanni cameo was pretty funny, and made up for Maroon 5’s performance a little later, which really screamed “wedding band” to me. Why sing a song about moving like the lead singer of The Rolling Stones, if the song itself sounds about as soulful as a cellphone commercial jingle?
But let's get back to something I loved, though: Bill Hader’s Drunk Rick Perry impression on "Weekend Update." This character was irresistible, with slight hints of Stefon, and even that alien sports announcer character he hasn’t done in a while. (Which, when you think about it, adds up to the perfect Rick Perry.) Great lines: “[The] pepperonis were Ambiens and the tomato sauce was beer.” Hader, waving a dashboard hula girl in Seth Meyers face: “Hola, Seth.” Meyers: “Hola?” And Hader miming of an airplane crash-landing on the anchor desk to mimic the trajectory of his campaign. Funny!
This next sketch, however, was not funny. In it, Charlie plays an actor who acts opposite a dolphin. The joke here was that the trainer said his commands too loudly. That’s it. It was a great setup and could have been really funny if they’d gone weirder with it. Maybe the dolphin speaks telepathically to Charlie, and tells him the trainer abuses him? Or it orders him to kill? Or it comes on to him? Or Charlie is really hungry and keeps fantasizing about eating the dolphin? Or everyone treats the dolphin like a huge, J-Lo-level star and treats Charlie like crap? I don’t know! The point is there are a million ways this could have gone that would have provided more opportunities for laughs than this sketch ultimately did.
However, if weird is what I wanted, then weird is what I got in this sketch, in which Charlie plays a detective who doesn’t watch TV. The crime scene looks exactly like the Seinfeld set (it was an amazing moment when Jason Sudeikis’s cop first pointed it out), but the detective doesn’t get the reference. Then the subject turns to baseball, and the detective doesn’t get that either. Then he says he’s never heard of WWII. Then he does a Kramer impression, references the Soup Nazi, and George Costanza comes running out with a knife. Does any of this make sense? Is it funny? The answers are "no" and "I don’t know." But I enjoyed watching a sketch play out on the Seinfeld set. So thumbs up for this one!
And that’s what I thought about SNL this week. What did you think?