Cameron Diaz showed up last night and, with an energized cast, brought us another strong episode of SNL! Not only was she game to try whatever, as per usual – the show also came with some pretty good/new sketch comedy ideas this week, one or two that make you wonder why they hadn’t been tried before. (I think Kenan’s ‘bill’ is still falling down the stairs.)
Here’s your fun, pre-Thanksgiving SNL Recap!
COLD OPEN: SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK (Mooney, Thompson, Pharaoh, Moynihan)
Kenan playing the “I’m just a bill” guy was just so much fun – I chuckled every time Obama pushed him down the stairs. And also I laughed out loud at Bobby Moynihan’s contrasting line “I’m an Executive Order, and I pretty much just happen.” This was a more refreshing format to deal with the immigration bill than ‘here’s Jay Pharoah’s Obama talking at the camera’ – which SNL has now done better two weeks in a row now.
CAMERON DIAZ MONOLOGUE (Diaz, Mooney, Bayer, Moynihan, Jones, Bennett, Bryant)
It’s been revealed in the past that when the writers don’t know what to do with their host in the monologue, they take fake questions from the “audience”. Most of these aren’t great and feel pretty short & lazy. Our host monologues have been pretty good so far this season, so I was surprised when this went as short and as lazy as it did. I mean, Cameron Diaz is a great personality and has been game for a lot of things in the past as an actress…and they couldn’t come up with anything else for her to do? So yeah…this was as phoned in as a fake-questions monologue can get. However, I did strangely like how Vanessa Bayer delivered her “I knew that.”
BACK HOME BALLERS (Bryant, Zamata, McKinnon, Strong, Diaz, Jones, Bayer)
The return of “Do it in my twin bed” – Thanksgiving edition! Having not had a large fill of the SNL ladies yet this season, this was so much fun. And it had some pretty good lines as well. I’m not sure yet if this as good or better than last year’s rendition…but in any case, it was good to see Lil Baby Aidy again. Also, I liked Leslie Jones’ bowls, Aidy’s neighbor, and Kate’s wifi password.
NEW ANNIE (Bayer, Bryant, McKinnon, Strong, Diaz, Pharaoh, Jones, Thompson)
Well, with Diaz hosting, an Annie sketch was predictable. But good grief – as per usual; this kicked into high gear when Leslie Jones hit the stage. Vanessa Bayer’s Black Annie was funny. Pharaoh’s subtle Jamie Foxx-isms were great. But it’s Jones’ energy that take it into the next level. I have no idea what happened at the end, but man, I couldn’t keep it together when Kenan showed up. This sketch had good material & such, but gets points mostly on the energy it had.
NEST-SPRESSO (McKinnon, Killam, Bayer)
Someone on twitter compared this to Mike O’Brien’s Bird Bible last season, and this felt like perhaps a “version” of that. Man, it was weird.It is the kind of weirdness that hides in the cloak of subtlety that we can identify with Mike O’Brien’s work having known him from last year, so maybe it’s his sketch? Not sure. Anyway, Vanessa Bayer was pretty committed to the weirdness, and that makes this work more than anything. (I’d seen her more in 15 minutes by this point than I had in the entire season thus far.)
HIGH SCHOOL THEATER SHOW (Diaz, Bryant, McKinnon, Mooney, Killam, Bennett, Thompson, Bayer)
This sketch was pretty brilliant. I’ve been to these kinds of “experimental theater” performances, and yes…this is rather accurate. Right down to moving box-type props and trying to ‘teach’ you something about society…even “stay in the your seats, because we will be walking around in character.” I didn’t know what to make of this until Kenan Thompson and Vanessa Bayer started asking the same questions I would find myself asking while watching this (especially if I paid to go see it). I was almost going to tie this with Black Annie, but I think this deserves the slight nod, because it’s true.
WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, McKinnon, Killam, Strong)
Well, I was curious as to how SNL would tackle the Bill Cosby story this week…and perhaps letting Michael Che handle this one may have been for the best. It’s such a delicate story/subject to deal with, and even Seth Meyer’s Late Night show struggled to joke about it in a ‘comfortable’ way (if there is even such a thing for shows that parody topical events). So appealing to Dr. Huxtable was…was okay, all things considered. It felt like a personal piece coming from Che rather than just a flat-out lampooning of either side of the story. (Also: why does the KKK have a twitter account???)
Kate McKinnon was great – maybe her best Angela Merkel segment yet, right down to getting Jost to do a German kiss face. GOOD LORD, Taran Killam’s Charles Manson was a sight to see. The hair/make-up department deserve a Thanksgiving bonus just for that. Especially whoever made those eyebrows.
OFFICE BOSS (Bennett, Diaz, Thompson, Zamata)
This was the perfect kind of premise to do with this character – take him out of the office and try something new. Between the new atmosphere/premise, the perfect kind of host to play opposite him as wife, and the news that threw this sketch into a new gear, this was very well done and funny. I laughed out loud at Kenan/Sasheer’s faces when they hear the news. Being the 3rd time we’ve seen this, it was cool that the host was the partner this time, rather than the straight man type of character trying to get through this respectfully, like Kenan & Sasheer. “I actually have a lot of questions about your relationship…”
DR. DAVE & BUGGLES (Thompson, Diaz, Pharaoh)
One joke. One dumb joke. I get it – the monkey ripped his genitals off. You know, I saw the pre-set stage/monkey and wondered why we were about to get a Brian Fellows sketch. I would rather watch one of those. (I really wonder if someone brought up the passing away of Zaboomafoo, and the discussion led to…this sketch.)
THE FIGHT (Mooney, Bennett, Davidson, Diaz)
This gets a spot in the ‘good’ based solely on the pointless/epic car crashing transitions. People say they knew people like this in high school…and I finally remembered my recollection from yesteryear.
POETRY CLASS (Bayer, Diaz, Davidson, Zamata, Thompson, Bryant)
I think I said it already – Vanessa Bayer was having a great night. And I feel like she really enjoys playing this character. The poems before Diaz were fine, but the reactions that Diaz’s poem was worth the price of admission. Kenan’s reaction faces are two-for-two in this show.
NIGHT MURMURS (Strong, Diaz, McKinnon)
Great lines, great prop work, good execution – I think this should just speak for itself. A perfect 10-to-1 sketch, and perfect weird way to end the night.
Best Sketch of the Night: High School Theater Show
Worst Sketch of the Night: Cameron Diaz Monologue
Joke of the Night: “Stay in the your seats, because we will be walking around in character.” – Aidy Bryant
Observations: Another solid show! We got to see some great work from our host and cast, especially the ladies! Outside of Back Home Baller, Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon especially had great nights. It’s interesting how the monologue, which sets the stage for the potential energy of the night, felt so mundane and tepid; yet the rest of the show had good material and great execution from the cast. Cameron Diaz was as game always, and she was able to not only rise to the hosting occasion (as she has in the past), but she also really let the cast shine to put on a solid series of sketches. The show was so good, we even got to see the full goodnights afterwards – a rare, but grand treat.
In other news: I really need to get my behind to a Bruno Mars show. This guy was electric last night:
BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.78
Next time: James Franco to start off the December Christmas shows!
Bill Hader: 6.91
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Chris Rock: 5.75