Edward Norton may seem like a host out of left field, considering his lack of anything to promote at the moment, but the Fight Club actor gave a solid performance with his first-time SNL hosting gig. His aw-shucks manner carried several sketches without seeming too awkward or over-the-top. And no, Norton isn’t known for his comedic chops, so the decision to amp up his boyish mannerisms helped spotlight his strong suits, from his physical comedy to his impressions, including a take on Woody Allen in the opening monologue that was top-notch.
And speaking of the opening monologue, Alec Baldwin and Miley Cyrus stopped by (came in like a wrecking ball, if you will?) to give the first-time host some tips. While Baldwin’s more understandable — the guy’s hosted 15 times, has a talk show to promote, can play off Norton — Cyrus’ appearance is just a head-scratcher. Sure, she’s there to announce her 2014 tour, but her interjection and tongue joke fell flat in an otherwise well-done lead-in to the show.
Overall, this latest SNL had more hits (e.g., actual screen time for Nasim Pedrad) than misses (e.g., the “Drug Deal” sketch). That said, it felt like the show had more sketches than usual — following a two-week break, and a Halloween/autumnal theme to play off of, the writers clearly ended up with a lot of material. It even led to a shortened Weekend Update. And with a dependable actor like Norton, the show seemed to have an easier time integrating him into sketches without worrying about the characters he’ll have to tackle or the implications of his appearance on the show. His range certainly came in handy for two wildly different sketches of the night:
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