'Saturday Night Live' recap: Host Katy Perry was surprisingly restrained. Matt Damon, Val Kilmer, and Alec Baldwin? Not so much

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Image Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC

The word on the street about last night’s Saturday Night Live was that the show would be all about Katy Perry’s breasts. True, by “the word on the street” I really mean “something Katy Perry said earlier in the week to get people to watch.” But a heavage-heavy show wouldn’t have been a surprising scenario. After all, the last time the pneumatic hit machine appeared on SNL she was treated as something to be squeezed into a too-tight Elmo t-shirt rather than someone who could necessarily be trusted to bring the funny.

In fact, Perry’s chest didn’t really feature at all until the very last sketch, in which she and Bobby Moynihan played strangers who find they have everything in common and her character revealed she had a tattoo of Alaskan singer-poet Jewel on her right breast. And if you’re thinking, “Well, that’s kind of an odd joke,” then you clearly didn’t watch very much of a show which was governed not by randiness but randomness.

Yes, if you wanted a fake ad for the soundtrack to a film called Doggie Duty featuring tracks by Randy Newman (Fred Armisen), Meat Loaf (Jason Sudeikis), and Clint Eastwood (Bill Hader), then it was your lucky day, punk. If you wanted another fake ad for a star-filled, New Year’s Eve-style movie called The Apocalypse starring Drew Barrymore (Kristen Wiig), Alan Alda (Hader), Penny Marshall (Armisen), Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos (Armisen again) and “Aretha Franklin’s hat” then you would have been forced to give the show’s writers some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And if you wanted Armisen and Hader to revive their loutish impersonations of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip but this time have the sketch end with a brief musical tribute to Armisen’s beloved Two Tone record label then…well, you get the picture.

But the show’s most absurdly random moments came in the digital short, “Best Friends,” which found singing pals Perry and Andy Samberg befriending a “handsome drug addict” and a “brilliant lunatic,” played respectively by Matt Damon and the reliably bonkers Val Kilmer. For my money, the sketch was the evening’s comic highlight, although it’s possible I may have been influenced by my obsessive love for the Kilmer-featuring movie Tombstone.

Speaking of once-hot young things gone horribly, yet somehow marvelously to seed, Weekend Update featured a cameo by Alec Baldwin as the apologetic captain of the American Airlines plane Baldwin was removed from for a pre-takeoff game of Words with Friends. “Alec Baldwin is a national treasure!” Baldwin’s captain intoned, and it was hard to disagree. Update was also blessed with an appearance by Bill Hader’s sublime Stefon, whose baroque shtick involved a reference to a bulldog who resembles Wilfred Brimley. So that’s my holiday season already made.

As for Perry, the larger-than-life singer seemed oddly dialed down for the most part—in direct contrast to musical guest Robyn’s performances and stained glass pants.

You’ll find a selection of the best sketches from the show, plus Robyn’s performance of “Call Your Girlfriend,” below. What did you think of last night’s SNL?

Read more:
‘Saturday Night Live’ recap: Steve Buscemi did well with too little, and Maya Rudolph dropped by (yay!)
Poll: Did Jason Segel (and the Muppets!) steal the ‘Saturday Night Live’ spotlight?

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