Chris Hemsworth is Cock-of-the-Walk on SNL

Chris Hemsworth was an electric host, who was completely committed in everything SNL threw his way. He was so committed, in fact, that even less-than-great sketches with him were at least interesting to watch because of his engagement with the cast. He almost reminds me of Andrew Garfield’s first hosting gig last season, in terms of his charm, energy, and readiness to just throw himself into making anything work. Even the few things that I didn’t think totally worked at least had something interesting to glean from them – which is much more than we could say in recent weeks surrounding the anniversary show.

Kate McKinnon wins the role of Hillary Clinton, most recently played twice last season by Vanessa Bayer. Here, she deconstructs her emails and even Netflix accounts to prove she has nothing to hide except covetousness for the presidency – if she chooses to run. Kate McKinnon brings her own thing to her Hillary Clinton, and she is just a thrill to watch, making this work more than it probably should have.
Blackometer: 6.5/10

CHRIS HEMSWORTH MONOLOGUE (Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Luke Hemsworth, Thompson, Strong, Mooney, Moynihan, McKinnon)
This monologue had two gears: a nice moment with Hemsworth and his brothers (even the black one) on stage, and then fake questions. The material wasn’t great here, but it was at least better than last week’s. I wish more had been done with the Hemsworth family on stage instead of the questions we got, because Hemsworth showed that he really does have some pretty good charm with the cast. While there’s not much here, I will say that Kenan’s monologue appearances are pretty great.
Blackometer: 6/10

AMERICAN EXPRESS (Hemsworth, Zamata)
Somehow, I was waiting for McConaughey to show up here with Hemsworth. He does a pretty great job of capturing his “how did this happen?” fame.
Blackometer: 7/10

BROTHER 2 BROTHER (Hemsworth, Killam, Strong, Mooney, Bryant)
Incessant deconstruction at its’ finest. Growing up and seeing Disney Channel shows, I was always thinking, “this is what should be happening right now.” Taran Killam was a committed in this as he’s ever been in anything. The piling on of his character might have been a bit much at some point, but it did lead up to a better-than-average payoff. Finally, Cecily Strong’s teacher here more than makes up for last week’s retread of her Cathy Anne troll.
Blackometer: 8/10

EMPIRE PROMO (Thompson, Zamata, Hemsworth, Pharoah, Jones, Che)
I’ve seen some Empire. I don’t know that Taraji P. Henson is quite that violent. This reminded me of last season’s Scandal parody, taking a similar angle, except toning down Hemsworth’s happy-go-lucky-khakis-pants-wearing role to “so this is how you guys operate? Okay…I better stay out of the way…” Everyone is great here; I do wish, though, that there was more going on to Hemsworth’s newbie character to observe than just the characters being upset with each other. The show is actually pretty brilliant with great performances from what I’ve seen – yes, they have plenty of discrepancies, but I don’t get the feeling that they’re known just for being angry. Anyway, this is still good.
Blackometer: 6.5/10

SPACESHIP (Hemsworth, Strong, Thompson, Zamata, a chicken)
Okay – when I watched this live for the first time, I thought it was dead on arrival with the entrance of a live chicken. Then, something magical happened – Hemsworth sold it. His interaction with this live chicken proved how good of a host he can be, and single-handedly pulled the sketch into a stronger gear than it deserved. This is one that would only work with a versatile, engaging host, and having a solid actor here really made it work.  The individual lines weren’t that amazing (until Kenan’s “she’s done!” towards the end), but the commitment everyone had here (especially Hemsworth) made it work. Also: How bizarre. I’m beyond curious to know who dreamt this up mid-week, running on no sleep before the table-read.
Blackometer: 7/10

THE IGGY AZALEA SHOW (McKinnon, Pharoah, Zamata, Hemsworth)
Kate McKinnon went from playing Hillary Clinton to Iggy Azalea in half an hour. Meanwhile, there wasn’t a lot going on here other than a few fairly accurate impressions, but not memorable enough to be much more than that. It felt like just another branch of Vanessa Bayer’s Miley Cyrus Show sketches, despite how good everyone was here.
Blackometer: 3/10

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Jones, Strong)
There truly are few greater things than the chemistry between Leslie Jones and Colin Jost. I’ve never laughed as hard at the two of them as I did at the very end of their segment here. Cecily Strong’s Girl at a Party character was as solid as always, which is no surprise.
Meanwhile, I think this Update features Che and Jost having the most fun we’ve ever seen them have behind the desk to date. Jost’s big flub on the joke he took from Che turned out to be the funniest moment of the entire night, and showed just how great and comfortable he can be! And man, the chemistry between the two of them just took off with that whole bit in a way we haven’t seen too much on air yet. If Che wants to punk Jost every week and it’s at least as funny as what we saw last night, I’m totally on board. Update has been pretty solid all season long, but this was definitely the best one yet.
Blackometer: 9.3/10

AVENGERS (Strong, Moynihan, Hemsworth, Killam, Davidson, Pharoah, Bennett)
Hemsworth was having a blast jumping around the stage in this one, which makes the entire sketch quite the joy to watch. I wish there was more going on here, but it was fun watching him bounce around.
Blackometer: 6/10

MOVIE SET (McKinnon, Hemsworth, Thompson, Zamata)
Kenan Thompson’s acting coach worked on The Jefferson’s for one day. This is pretty one-note and stupid, but I admit that Kenan Thompson sells it with each crazy sound he makes. Not an amazing sketch, but I can’t help it that I still laughed.
Blackometer: 6.3/10

REALITY HOUSE (Bennett, Hemsworth, Mooney, Killam)
This may be one of my favorite Kyle Mooney-Beck Bennett sketch of the season since “Bad Boys” from the season premiere. It was funny upon exposure of what it was mocking, it shifted into second gear and kept the hilarity going, and ended perfectly. Their reactions to each other in each sarcastically underrated situation (and that flashback) were the best parts. Sans Update, sketch of the night right here.
Blackometer: 8.7/10

DOLCE & GABBANA (Bayer, Strong)
By now, this has become one of the most reliable current sketches in SNL’s cannon. Bayer and Strong’s repartee and deliveries are fantastic, and I get the feeling that this is one of their favorite things to perform. Also Chris Hemsworth looked like he’s been doing these with them for 5 years now.
Blackometer: 7.5/10

Best Sketch of the Night: Weekend Update & Reality House
Worst Sketch of the Night: The Iggy Azalea Show
Joke of the Night: Leslie Jones yelling “SHUT UP!!!” at Colin Jost
Observations: As I had hoped (and anticipated), Chris Hemsworth brought a stronger episode to revival the previous episodes the show has had recently. He truly added a vitality to sketches to make some of them better than they might have deserved to be. The cast also didn’t look like they had to work overtime to compensate for a not-that-great host. Can this momentum sustain the rest of the season now that they’ve recaptured it? I definitely think so!


Image result for saturday night live chris hemsworth

*Please Note: I did my scoring math incorrectly prior to the initial post of this review, and it has since been corrected.

Martin Freeman
: 6.98
Bill Hader
: 6.91
Kevin Hart: 6.86
Chris Hemsworth: 6.81
James Franco: 6.81
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
J.K. Simmons: 6.70
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Amy Adams: 6.18
Chris Rock: 5.75
Dakota Johnson: 5.62
Blake Shelton: 5


Woody Harrelson’s Crack n’ Apples on SNL

When we last saw SNL, the material left much to be desired. This time around…it was pretty good! There was a consistent energy last week didn’t retain very long, and the sketch material was nearly solid. I laughed far more than I think I was prepared too. I’m not sure if this ends up being the best show of the season or does anything for the ratings (though, some of the cameos might certainly help…) but it definitely made me feel better about Chris Rock’s less-than-stellar show.

On to a re-enthused SNL Recap…

Okay, as far as all the political cold opens go so far this season, this was the first one to make me laugh a good few times. Something about Taran Killan’s Mitch McConnell belting “YOU’RE BLACK” just hit my funny bone. This was simple, and set a fun tone for the night. Far more solid than most previous season 40 political cold opens.
Blackometer: 7.8/10

WOODY HARRELSON MONOLOGUE (Harrelson, Hutcherson, Hemsworth, Lawrence)
Woody Harrelson is just so much fun with a crowd, and I get the impression that he’s really fun to be around in real life. We also got his Hunger Games stars to appear, first to reveal how much younger they are than him, and also to lead up to a Jennifer Lawrence line flub that ended up being rather endearing. Because that’s just how Jennifer Lawrence works. I could watch an entire half hour talk show of just Woody singing about 1989 and Jennifer giving him snarky sideye comments.
Blackometer: 7.5/10

THE DUDLEYS (Bennett, McKinnon, Harrelson, Thompson, Aduba)
Here’s the thing: I feel like this Dudley’s sketch was SNL openly reacting to their own twitter complainers about their ‘SNL stinks’ commentary – “we heard your complaints LOUD AND CLEAR.” Maybe I’m right, maybe not. But I don’t know…something about a show that tries to start out simple, then continually accomodate their audience’s gripes with the hope of pleasing everyone. But doing just the opposite…I don’t know. There was a certain bite to it, even in the voice-over narration. Maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe they’re just trying to cover a couple topical shows out right now. Either way, this sketch gave us Uzo Aduba licking Woody and visions of Woody being intimate with Kenan, so…there’s that.
Blackometer: 5.5/10

MATCH’D (Harrelson, Strong, Bennett, Mooney, Killam)
First of all, Mooney’s “from head to butt” made me laugh. Then, Harrelson’s host character rips the rug right under these guys with the twist…and I just kept laughing and laughing. Good grief, this was funny. Easily the funniest thing of the night – good premise, good comedy, good execution…and good grief. I would watch this show every week on MTV. (And I hate MTV. Cecily definitely sounded like an MTV personality.)
Blackometer: 8.5/10

A NEW DAY (Davidson, Killam, Bryant, Moynihan, Jones, Harrelson, Bayer, Thompson, Bennett)
I’m thinking this may be everyone’s favorite sketch of the night. Maybe, maybe not for me, but it was just so passionately put together. Pete Davidson continues to have that one thing a week that he just “owns” – I can’t wait to see how much SNL real estate he’s allowed to have in, say, two years. (I’m sure he spends his Sunday mornings watching Rugrats after an almost-deep thought.)
Blackometer: 7.5/10

FOOTBALL HALFTIME SPEECH (Harrelson, Killam, Pharaoh, Bennett, Davidson, Thompson, Mooney)
This was another example of a simple premise carried out well. Football players trying to play safely to avoid concussions (a growing paranoia these days) was pretty funny, I happily admit. Harrelson’s delivery of ‘cup the nape of the neck…’ got me. Kenan’s obviously-been-a-victim-of-a-concussion-before guy just about threw me off with how distractible he was…but all-in-all, the best of this was how into it Harrelson was. The sketch should have just been him giving a pseudo-uplifting halftime speech about being safe.
Blackometer: 6.2/10

YOUNG TARTS & OLD FARTS (Thompson, Strong, Killam, Lamar, Mooney, Zamata, Bryant, Bennett, Blue Ivy, McKinnon, Jones, Moynihan, Harrelson, Pharaoh, Bayer)
Good lord, they got Blue Ivy! I just…I don’t even know what to do with this. That’s incredible. It’s always fun to see everyone shell out some impressions once in a while in something like this…and while this wasn’t the best rendition of these, some of the pairings still made me laugh. And it’s worth noting that Sasheer Zamata is still slowly getting herself out there in bits and pieces. Not this show so much, but I hope she leads another sketch again soon.
Blackometer: 6.5/10
This sketch not online likely due to copyright issues.

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Jones, Harrelson, Killam)
Man, I just love it when Leslie Jones comes on Update. And good grief, I missed Taran Killam’s Matthew McConaughey – even if he wasn’t in the white tux this time. The segments were great this week! Moments of Leslie’s material had show-stopping greatness in them. And hey, there were quite a few good jokes from Jost & Che this week too! All in all, a good week for Update. By this point, it was a pretty good night. It’s worth noting that Jost had another pretty solid week with his deliveries & interactions w/Leslie. (Finally: our favorite tall glass of almond milk said the word ‘gangsta’ and it sounded just as nerdy as I always thought it would. That is all.)
Blackometer: 8/10
Not sure why Part 1 isn’t online…there’s some good jokes missing from the first half.

 (Thompson, Killam, Moynihan, Harrelson)
In the midst of this quartet’s nostalgia for the olden NY days, Harrelson’s character really misses crack. That’s really all there is to it – and then he shows a ‘Vote for Nader’ button. I feel like this sketch was written for people like me. (In terms of my line of humor…not because I like crack. ‘Cause I’m anti-crack. Moving on…)
Blackometer: 6.8/10

CAMPFIRE SONG (Harrelson, Bayer, Mooney, Jones, Moynihan)
Well, they couldn’t all be great. Not the best material, but despite Todd’s friends making the same faces I was making when he just kept singing his song, Woody just kept on trying to sell it. I didn’t think much of this one, but I could see it working as a 30-second passing background thing within a sitcom scene…not a 3-minute sketch so much. But whatever. I think I’m the only one who didn’t laugh at this…alas, the song is darn catchy. (I have a personal thing for when people fake playing instruments, and Woody & Vanessa didn’t do a great job of hiding how one of the SNL band members was really playing…but I digress.)
Blackometer: 3.5/10

LAST CALL (Harrelson, McKinnon, Thompson)
This was a good sketch to do with this host. It was weird, but I’m not sure yet if it’s any better than the others yet. It was up there, through. Kenan holding the Bible in innocence and then prepping to burn the bar down were my favorite parts. Kate & Woody were fully committed in this (she always is), but if the jokes in these sketches aren’t for you, the Kenan reactions are the next best part for you. (I’d have a Bible and gasoline ready too if I were him.)
Blackometer: 7/10

Best Sketch of the Night: Match’d
Worst Sketch of the Night: Apples
Jokes of the Night:
“I’d you the ride of your life…from head to butt.” – Kyle Mooney
Leslie Jones: “Look at my breasts, Colin!” Colin Jost: “I feel like I’d have to talk to HR first.”
“…All while Jimmy Carter spent his week plowing through Tinder.” – Michael Che
Observations: This was a pretty consistent show, and Woody was a fine host who had a blast, meshing in with the cast rather well. With the given material, he didn’t really have to work too hard to seek anything other than just be his fun self at times – and at times he went beyond just enough to really push it to the top. The battles with the cue cards continue for everyone. It is interesting that similar to last year’s Bruce Willis-hosted show, we saw mostly the guys this week, and the most notable female leads this week were Kate in the final sketch & Leslie on Update. (Cecily was seen twice tonight, both times just doing “a voice”, and Sasheer did a brief Michelle Obama & Diana Ross.) I know this isn’t the point and likely doesn’t mean much, but I do miss having Aidy Bryant being the over-the-top put-upon character. But anyway – yeah, this was a fun show! I hope things will continue to be as consistent as possible in the next week for SNL.

Also, Kendrick Lamar was on fire last night! (Here’s his first song…I didn’t like the female singer from his second song, who sounded like she pre-gamed with sandpaper down he throat…but that’s just me.)


Next time: Cameron Diaz for the pre-Thanksgiving show! Also, I’m sure Bruno Mars shows up in a sketch. (I hope he comes back as host sometime as well.)

Bill Hader: 6.91
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Chris Rock: 5.75

hunger games cast snl