SNL: Starring Jeremy Renner and His Special Guest Co-host, Dead Air

Saturday Night Live S38E08: "Jeremy Renner and Maroon 5"

Anyone who works a particularly hard job gets burnt out from time to time (especially the week before Thanksgiving), and that most definitely applies to the cast and crew of SNL. While they do take at least one full week off each month, those remaining three weeks seem tough as heck, and particularly by the third consecutive show it can sometimes feel like the cast is trying to just power through it. By Saturday night, many of them haven't slept or seen sunlight in days! If last week's Anne Hathaway episode felt a bit off, this week's was a full-blown snooze. Perhaps I'm imagining this, but did this week's episode seem full of dead air? Like maybe even the audience was eager to get out of there also? Host Jeremy Renner was a pretty major part of the lackluster nature of the episode, but not because he isn't charming. He is! And he's handsome and a good sport. But for a professional actor he seemed weirdly ill-at-ease in front of an audience. Mumbling, outright staring at cue cards. Plus the episode seemed particularly live this week—which, obviously it's a live show, but usually SNL's live-ness translates into an irresistible energy. This week it just made everything feel flawed and slapped-together. I don't mean to bum you guys out, but despite a few notable highlights, this episode fell pretty flat for me. Let's talk about it!

[Apologies to our international readers for these embedded clips, Hulu can be a bit of a jerk.]



Cold Open: Paula Broadwell's Book Reading


This sketch certainly set the tone for the weird energy that plagued the entire show. Because SNL is legally obligated to comment on headlines with its cold open, here was a riff on the General Petraeus scandal. Except there wasn't much going here other than Paula Broadwell reading very sexy passages from her biography of the fallen CIA director. Except it didn't make any sense because the whole reason this issue is exciting to us is that the stuff was secret, and the book itself was boring? I guess the one funny part here was when the audience walked out (jealous!) and Fred Armisen just sat there looking pleased. I laughed at that. Otherwise, this was just an exercise in tedium.



Jeremy Renner's Monologue


I wish this was online (music rights issues, I'm guessing) because it was just so strange. The idea was that Jeremy Renner—a professional actor who still looked so nervous on stage—wanted to sing his own made-up theme songs for movies he'd been in. But right off the bat, the piano he started playing remained silent and he just sort of charmingly did an aw-shucks type of thing while a PA fixed the issue or whatever. And even though he had a nice voice, the jokes were bafflingly lazy: His theme song for The Bourne Legacy was called "Shoot Somebody" and was sung to the tune of Kings of Leons' "Use Somebody." I don't know. I admit that I enjoyed Renner's awkwardness and the technical difficulties aspect was one of the more interesting things to have happened during an SNL host's monologue in years. But overall everything felt so half-baked.



Fake Ad: Your Hometown Tourism Board


This was a step up: A fake ad made by the tourism board responsible for getting people to return to their childhood homes for the holidays. Really well-written and perfectly observed. On the downside, it also wasn't hilarious? It was a warm cup of bittersweet cocoa, sure, but not the spiked punch we kinda needed at this point.



The Californians


Okay I officially hate this recurring sketch now. The premise has always been terrible but the humor has stemmed from seeing people like Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen put on their dumbest sounding voices; not even Fred Armisen breaking up on camera could make this thing seem remotely funny. But these sketches are probably super easy to write, so that basically confirms my suspicions of how uninvested the writers were this week.



The Situation Room


I can barely remember this sketch. I think it had to do with making fun of cable networks for only having a single piece of footage and then re-using it over and over. The highlight was probably Jeremy Renner as the self-proclaimed Mayor of Tampa. Credit where credit's due: It was probably the funniest bit he did all night.



The Standoff


I loved this, this was excellent. Taking a very simple and dumb joke, but stretching it out way beyond the limits of a typical sketch. I laughed a lot, especially when Adam Levine showed up as himself (with two guns!), and also how many gunshots happened at the end. Also Bobby Moynihan's Leon glasses. Yeah, this was a great sketch.



Maroon 5: "One More Night"


I don't get it. What the H was this song, screamy reggae? But I DO get matching outfits, and in that regard Maroon 5 knocked it out of the park.



Weekend Update


Some weekend update jokes 4 u.



Weekend Update: Winners & Losers


More of them.



Commentary: Katt Williams


Man, Jay Pharoah is very talented! His Katt Williams impersonation was essentially flawless. I usually object to comedians making fun of other comedy, but ever since I saw Katt Williams' most recent special Kattpacalypse and he ranted against evolution and also started talking about the 2012 prophecy being a real thing and claiming that the government setting up secret death camps to round up minorities, I started liking Katt Williams a lot less. Carry on, Jay Pharoah.



Commentary: Gov. Chris Christie


Wow! I did not realize how funny and cool New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seems. I know he is well-liked in his home state, but since I live in California I really had no idea. So at this point it's only a matter of time before HE hosts SNL, right? Yeah no he did a good job for a non-actor.



The Avengers


Oh my God, this sketch. You know, for about a half a minute I thought this sketch was funny—specifically the open acknowledgment of how lackluster Hawkeye is as a hero (and Jeremy Renner's willingness to make him seem like such a pussy). But then SNL tried to actually spoof The Avengers in totality and the sketch turned into this terrible, bad stunt-filled extravaganza. (They legit hired little people to attack Hulk so that he looked bigger?!) Man, I don't even want to know how much money and time SNL sunk into this cluster-eff. Get out of here, this sketch.



Movie Set


Hoo boy. Just when I was getting sad about Jason Sudeikis leaving the show, this sketch happened and I was like, "Well, have a good one, Jason Sudeikis!" Not gonna lie, I literally could not pay attention to this thing for more than 20 seconds at a time. A glorified extra who brags to and physically assaults Jeremy Renner on set? Perfect idea, perfect execution, perfect length (27 minutes).



Maroon 5: "Daylight"


Okay, this song was slightly less mind-numbing, plus the band went for a nice gray ensemble. Refreshingly inoffensive!



Midnight Snack: Drones


I like the idea of SNL incorporating animated shorts into the show (R.I.P. Robert Smigel's Saturday TV Funhouse sketches). It's just too bad that this cartoon was so boring. The one highlight was probably the incredibly long scene of drones shooting missiles at a tiny shack (a joke we'd just seen in the "Standoff" sketch). So yeah, this idea didn't work for me but I appreciated the effort.



Coroner


Congratulations, cast and crew of SNL, you made it to the end— Oh wait, no, just do this one last sketch and then you're off for the holidays. Don't worry, the premise is incomprehensibly ridiculous, it's not well-written and you don't even have to read the cue cards properly. And go!


Well, that certainly was an episode of SNL. Sorry to sound like a Negative Nelly (what is a Negative Nelly?), but I didn't love this episode. I'm just going to chalk it up to pre-Thanksgiving distraction/exhaustion and cross my fingers that everyone rests up for a much more fun return to form. Byeee!


How did YOU think Jeremy Renner fared? What was your favorite sketch of the night?

Comments (34)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
The Standoff was definitely the best thing I've seen on SNL in quite some time.
Reply
Flag
I absolutely love Jeremy Renner, and I think that he's great. It just felt like they didn't practice enough or something, which is weird because Jeremy goes above and beyond when preparing for roles, but maybe he didn't have the time to put in the necessary preparation for this. But I still loved it all because, hey, it's Jeremy Renner.
Reply
Flag
I didn't like most of this, but I did like The Standoff. And as a californian, I have to admit that I did do the "Wut're u dooooing here" bit, and it killed with my friends at TGIF...but even that was last year. Once. It was always stupid, and it needs to end. I'm not insulted because there's not enough truth to it. It's just bad and tired.

I liked The Coroner bit, but that was through the "This is so Stupid" filter. Like The Neighbors, sometimes that filter works wonders for me.

Pharoah doing Katt Williams was damn good even if it was only a little funny. I think it might've worked better if people actually knew who he was. Anyway, I wonder if Pharoah only wants to do impressions, of if he's only allowed to to impressions to make Keenan stay relevant, because Keenan is frickin' awful. Awful!

Gov. Christie wasn't bad at all. I don't like the guy, but he totally sold it this week. I still want him to run in '16 so he can finally crash and burn, but I give him credit here.

I've never gotten Maroon 5, and nothing changed for me. Guess that's about it.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
I LOVED last week's episode with Anne Hathaway, dunno what you're talking about. And the politic opening are some of the most funny. This episode was fairly strong before weekend update, often times the sketches after are just there to finish off the show
Reply
Flag
Aw no... Jeremy Renner is just too damn cute and charming for this episode to be considered "bad". Was it awkward at moments.. yes. Did it contain one of the most annoying and in my opinion non-funny sketches SNL has ever written.. yes. (I was talking about The Californians there, do not understand why that's recurring) But I may have been biased by my opinion on how adorable I find Jeremy Renner, and his singing voice... amazing. Best sketch though was The Standoff, "was that Adam Levine.." Haha
1
Reply
Flag
I like Jeremy Renner. I truly do and I felt like he has a natural charm and wit and should have been funnier. I don't know if his not being funny was a result of him being uncomfortable and my having high expectations or if it was a result of the skits throughout the entire night being positively lackluster. I've seen funnier skits on reruns of ALL THAT. I wanted him to be funnier than he was, and I still feel like he's capable of it...but I don't know. The whole thing was weak.
Reply
Flag
All That >>> SNL
1
Reply
Flag
Loved the Avengers sketch...
1
Reply
Flag
I thought it was mostly hilarious. It's just considered cool to say that things suck for some reason but I think SNL is getting better with some of these new cast members like Jay Pharoah.
Reply
Flag
I don't hate Jeremy Renner but he is not built for this type of show.
Reply
Flag
Funny thing about the Avengers sketch is that the next night, Robot Chicken did essentially the same sketch, although theirs was more focused on how useless Black Widow was...then, after Widow gets killed, the focus shifted to Hawkeye.

I love me some Chris Christie, and though I've yet to pick a winner in presidential elections, I'd vote for him if he ran in 2016.

Standoff, albeit amusing, was no Digital Short, just like Drones was no TV Funhouse.

As much as I hate to say this, Maroon 5 should learn fro Nickelback...just keep releasing the same 2 singles over and over, because if you release a 3rd single, no one will understand nor remember it. (Although I do admit that Maroon 5's 2 singles are much better than Nickelback's 2 singles).

Cold open would've been better if someone had at least mentioned 50 Shades of Grey.

I'm surprised Hulu has the fake ad since there's licensed music in it.

And finally, The Californians needs to FOAD.
Reply
Flag
I felt embarrassed for Jeremy Renner while watching this episode. Just an overall unpleasant experience. The jokes were bad. The audience was dead. It was doomed from the monologue.
1
Reply
Flag
You are absolutely right, Price, this was a very awkward episode that even the audience didn't want any piece of, bad pacing and bad writing combined to form the mega-robot, Bad TV.

Paula Broadwell's book reading wasn't even a kernel of an idea, it was half a joke streteched for 4 unfunny minutes.

Poor Renner's monologue, holy crap did they sabotage him. How long did it take them to get the piano mic turned on? Felt like at least a minute. That was painful, and then he was pretty good but the joke was mixed at its best.

"It also wasn't hilarious" didn't need a question mark, that is a true statement, it was cute for a chuckle and then ran too long but at least stayed with its theme.

Welcome to the party re: The Californians. Even one of the key premises of the joke - that people from my state talk about their driving in too much detail - tapered off during this sketch very early so it was nothing for 5 minutes.

Situation Room, you nailed it, that was the whole thing. A pointless exercise in observational humor, this felt like the comedic version of table scraps - The Daily Show gets all the good meat, Weekend Update gets the sides, and by the time this sketch writing comes around all that's left is to mock the procedure of making cable news.

Standoff was cute, ending could have been tighter but it actually justified its runtime.

Somehow, Weekend Update turned the political meal's sides into flavorless mush, as usual, all while Seth yells at us in place of a nuanced performance.

Spot on with Katt Williams, that was an amazing imitation of a slowly self-destructing celebrity.

Loved Chris Christie here, he clearly is more New Jersey than politician, that was awesome.

The Avengers was funny with Renner being out of arrows (although the writers couldn't think of the word "quiver" for the "thing that holds arrows"?), the way he acted there was quite amusing in context, but I guess they felt like that idea wasn't enough to carry it and, like you said, just stomped this into the ground. I'm shocked to see it was only 4 minutes, felt like double.

Ouch, Movie Set did suck quite a bit, but damn, Sudeikis is feeling your wrath yo! I feel like the problem wasn't his work, but the writing, he delivered a whole character to the sketch, just a crappy one without a second joke.

Drones was a bad cartoon with bad ideas, the whole boy band thing felt like someone brought in a different strain of pot to the writers room and they really weren't handling it well.

Coroner was weird, I kinda liked it based solely on Renner's acting, he really seemed clueless and concerned. But not only did it lack a second joke, the punchline was entirely superfluous, and nobody did well with the cue cards.

If pre-Thanksgiving is the excuse here, then what about last week? Or is that just the excuse for every bad show of a season, they're worried about Thanksgiving in the far or not-far future?
More+
2
Reply
Flag
This episode was horrible.
5
Reply
Flag
The promos for this episode were actually hilarious! Usually they're kinda weird and funny maybe once. Maybe the quality of the promos and the show are inversely related?
Reply
Flag
Didn't laugh once.
2
Reply
Flag
SNL runs skits into the ground and once again they showed this pattern with the Californians. The sketch is so dumb to be hilarious but not every other episode and not if everyone is not focused and putting in a good effort. I enjoyed Fred cracking up which maybe I've seen him do once before in all the years he's been on the show but other than that the skit failed.
3
Reply
Flag
I think it's totally spot on that the Avengers skit started off with a good joke or two about useless Hawkeye really is (and Renner seemed more than eager to spoof it) but it died REALLY quick. For some reason I laughed more than I should have at the coroner skit. I think it was Hader who made it work, especially his "Dennis?" I do really think the Californias sketches go on waaaaay longer than they need to. 6 minutes? 3 is about as long as I can take them, and they are ALWAYS around 6 minutes. I guess in a lackluster show, it's maybe a good thing, but it really seems to kill the energy of the show.
Reply
Flag
I guess it doesn't matter like years ago when it happened but why isn't anyone talking about Jay Pharoah's F BOMB!?!?
Reply
Flag
There wasn't one.
5
Reply
Flag
Who is in the charge of the new short films? Not that the Digital Shorts didn't have their moments of brilliance (Natalie rapping), but they were funny more than they were good. The shorts so far this season have been amazing.
4
Reply
Flag
I thought the Californians was a terrible sketch the first couple times I watched it. I was like "this is just a sketch of people giving driving directions for 5 minutes". Then, I don't know when, but I realized ''this is a sketch of people giving driving directions for 5 minutes!!' And it's hilarious, every goddamn time. You probably take special offense because your actually a Californian. As the world title holders in self deprecation (Canadians), I can tell it's a lot easier to just go with it.
4
Reply
Flag
Aboot. Eh. Toques. Hockey. Maple syrup. Igloos. Dogsleds. Overly nice. Weirdly polite. Pet beavers. Loonies and Twoonies. Lumberjacks. Militarily weak. Moose hunting. Snow. Lots of snow ...

Yeah, if we couldn't laugh it off, we'd definitely have a problem.
2
Reply
Flag
It's pretty lazy when you steal jokes from the movie itself to make fun of the movie.
2
Reply
Flag
For me it was a fun episode of SNL.I agree that it wasn't the show's writers best effort (ughh, that dreadful The Avengers sketch) but the cast worked surprisingly well with what they had. I really enjoyed The Standoff, the hometown ad and even the coroner and The Situation Room sketches. Drones cartoon was smart and funny. Fred Armisen loosing his cool during The Californians cracked me up. And Renner did a good job with his material, though I'm pretty sure that if the script was any better, he could've been one of the best hosts of the season. After Anne Hathaway, it was another strong ep for me!
1
Reply
Flag
I dunno I thought the Californians was more hilarious than usual this week and I always think it's good. And the Hometown tourism ad killed me. Cuz it's so... damn... true.
4
Reply
Flag
I love the Californians, its hilarious. Its like The Hills, but intentionally funny, with more believable characters.
I felt uncomfortable every time Jeremy Renner was on screen probably because he was clearly uncomfortable. Definitely the weakest episode this season.
Reply
Flag
I liked it, it wasn't their best show ever. But it really wasn't bad either. Some sketches failed but that happens every week.
Reply
Flag
It was weird..but i loved the hometown sketch it hit home so right.. Jay Pharaoh as Katt Williams was amazing! though i didn't think the audiences got how dead on impression it was!..
Price, Seth was good..give him a break please!. For some strange reason i loved the last sketch "Coroner"..
Overall, while he is not known for comedy, Jeremy Renner is charming (and he can thing prettily!!) so i kept on forgiving him for every unfunny sketches he was in.
1
Reply
Flag
Enjoy the Californians, just should be done in small doses..
1
Reply
Flag
Agreed! If they just kept it to 2-3 minutes it would be a lot more tolerable.
2
Reply
Flag
It was preeetty bad. I like Jeremy Renner, but this episode kind of bummed me out :(

Standoff was easily the best part, and at least that was great! And JerJer was pretty funny! Maybe film really is the best medium for him.

I also liked the Hometown sketch because it was soooo acurate. Bleach-stained towels from 1994! Public places you used to smoke weed! Awkward run-ins with people you went to high school with! That is EXACTLY what going home is like for just about everyone ever.

Everything else was not great. And now I care about this whole Petraeus thing EVEN LESS than I did before. In fact I think I hate it. But I think I might like Chris Christie now... weird.
3
Reply
Flag
I feel like the good parts were good but the bad parts were REEEEEALLY bad. I completely agree about the Californians (really? Do we need to see that sketch more than Stefon?) and everything else except for the Drones cartoon. I actually thought it was some very sharp biting satire, that boy bands are mindless robots that are actually killing America. What was a little strange was that it was harsher on boy bands than on the drones that really do kill people.
I felt like the next best sketch was the Your Hometown thing. As a piece of comedy it was eh, but as a piece of satire it was brilliant. Everything about it rang very very true.
But the thing that actually made me laugh out loud several times was the Chris Christie cameo. Although I haven't forgotten about his controversial (and often declared unconstitutional) policy ideas, the man has a great sense of comedic timing. Every line of his was great, including that part when he slapped the table so hard that it looked like it might have broken a little.
Everything else was horrible, but I can live with those 3 highlights.
1
Reply
Flag
You aren't a negative Nelly, it certainly was awful, I mean every week it seems we are saying this is the worst episode of SNL, but this week may take the cake, it was bad, but I did enjoy Chris Christie, Stand Off, and Drones, but please just kill the Californians, it is bad, like really bad and I hate it soo much, and I feel like they've done it 5+ times this season, did I mention I hate it.
5
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook