A strong set of Weekend Update jokes about Dennis Rodman, Old Chewbacca, and the Hebrew version of Playboy — “You look at the models’ breasts from right to left” — led into yet another triumphant SNL return when Bill Hader’s Stefon stopped by Seth’s desk. This could well be one of the character’s last appearances on the show, given that Stefon writer John Mulaney has a hot pilot at NBC this spring — so let’s wring every last drop of enjoyment out of clubs named “Your Mother and I Are Separating” while we can. P.S. Television Academy: If Bill Hader’s virtuoso performance as Donald Duck having a Vietnam nightmare isn’t enough to get him an Emmy, I don’t know what could be.
Alas, nothing gold can stay — and though Timberlake remained charming, the show seriously lagged once Stefon left the stage. While an ill-conceived sketch about the debauched Roman emperor Caligula trying to embrace a life of sobriety wasn’t very funny, at least it happened to be original; the show’s unnecessary reprise of “Maine Justice,” though, failed on both counts. And why ask Andy Samberg to stick around until the end of the show if you’re just going to make him play the straight man?
The short, goofy trailer for a fake romantic comedy that followed Timberlake’s second musical performance — memorably introduced by the Three Amigos themselves, in costume — played nicely with the genre’s cliches. (Kate McKinnon clearly needs to play a sage BFF in one of these movies, stat.) Still, it never rose above its low concept premise.
Thank heaven for Cecily Strong and Vanessa Bayer’s “Saboski” Crystals girls, who ended the show with another daffy endorsement of a quasi-luxurious product. This time, they peddled
Monica and Chandler Moet and Chandon champagne while peppering their sales pitch with horrific tales of their former lives as porn stars (“I got cut in half for real in a magic show. Now some of my middle parts are plastic bags… and I can’t wait to fill them up with Moet Chandon!”). Fun fact: This sketch, like “Maine Justice,” appeared first when Jamie Foxx hosted the show in January. Is JT secretly a big Foxx fan?
And thus ended Timberlake’s homecoming — a frequently hilarious evening that entertained even when it was uneven. Was the show as good as you were hoping it would be? Are you upset that “Barry Gibbs Talk Show” didn’t get a reprise? And how long do you think we’ll have to wait before JT comes back for a sixth round of SNL?
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