Remember when Kanye West scowled through a set of Saturday Night Live promos earlier this year? (You don’t? What, you have more important things to think about or something?) Well, this newest spot features upcoming musical guest Eminem basically doing the same thing — though this time, it’s at least part of the joke.
Tag: SNL (11-20 of 118)
Will Kerry Washington and Saturday Night Live be two great tastes that taste great together? We won’t know for sure until this weekend — but in the meantime, please feast on Washington’s new SNL promos.
They’re basically three minutes of the Scandal star playing the straight woman to Taran Killam’s loud buffoonery, though Washington does get a few moments to shine (“BUCK UP, TARAN!”). Let’s just hope that the show itself gives the actress more to do than stand around looking pretty. (Remember the great January Jones debacle of ’09?) Also: Killam does a pretty good Eminem impression, albeit a bit too Beavis-esque.
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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We could all use a little more Edward Norton in our lives.
Though the Fight Club star has had a few particularly zeitgeisty moments (see 1996, which brought us Norton’s Primal Fear/Larry Flynt/Everyone Says I Love You trifecta, or 2002, when he had big roles in four movies… one of which, granted, was Death to Smoochy), he generally keeps a pretty low profile by appearing in just a few carefully chosen films each year. This, plus Norton’s closely guarded personal life, mean that he’s sort of impossible to get sick of — and makes his first time hosting SNL something really worth looking forward to.
Since starring in both The Incredible Hulk and Pride and Glory in 2008, Norton has headlined only one widely distributed, big-budget studio project — last year’s The Bourne Legacy. Otherwise, he’s spent the last five years doing one of two things: making smaller indie movies and filming a series of comedic cameos for the likes of Modern Family, The Invention of Lying, The Dictator, and The Simpsons. So while he won fame as a dramatic actor, Norton’s clearly a funny guy — and if his occasional broad turns are any indication, he’ll fit in perfectly with SNL‘s comic sensibility. See also: This Lonely Island music video from last spring, in which Norton happily weds blushing groom Jorma Taccone.
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Make that “is flirted with by Bobby Moynihan” — the Academy Award-nominated actor doesn’t exactly reciprocate the Saturday Night Live cast member’s advances. The Japanese thing, though, is totally legit; Norton studied the language at Yale and worked in Osaka for five months shortly after graduation, and he’s still got a pretty good handle on the language.
Anyway, Norton’s promos are pretty endearing, and he seems pretty relaxed and confident in the following clip — especially for a first-time host (albeit one who’s done cameos on SNL before).
It doesn’t seem possible that Bruce Willis has only hosted Saturday Night Live one time in his lengthy career (back in 1989). There have been about 16 Die Hard movies to promote since then, though Willis doesn’t seem the type of guy who needs to break his neck promoting things. He’s Bruce Willis, that tends to be enough. Maybe that’s why no one really knew what to expect out of this show. While Willis is definitely a funny guy, he is a consummate straight man. I was not expecting such a high level of comedic commitment and I certainly wasn’t expecting a Michael Kors impression.
Last night’s SNL had a miss or two, but it was pleasantly original, showcasing a few new featured players and giving the more seasoned cast leaders a chance to settle into their veteran roles without the pressure of millions waiting to see if Miley rips up a picture of Sinead O’Connor. Willis himself is a litte short on celebrity beef right now. In fact, he didn’t even have anything to promote. He was just there to [boy dance] party!
Willis played an excellent parody of himself in this wannabe-Bond meets Zero Dark Thirty sketch. Though he was assigned to sit and wait in the van during an upcoming mission, Willis envisioned his call to duty with a little more pizazz. It involved a lot of kicking in doors and hidden knives in boots. The sketch also served as a good opportunity for Beck Bennett to give the role of “guy who perches on desk in front of other guys” left empty by Jason Sudeikis, a try. Success!
An unintentional Eddie Murphy impersonation from Jay Pharoah, a quirky character for Willis, and the extra on the far left whose face literally did not move for three minutes made for a pretty funny sketch. Willis’ Terry just can’t quite get the hang of “shop talk.” Funnier than his non sequiturs though, was Terry’s confidence that his conversation contributions were just as interesting as “chocolate nipples.” “You know who’s pretty in a real small way? Helen Hunt.”
Listen, I like Taran Killam’s arms as much as the next girl and vividly remember laughing at him screaming “GLICE?!” at a cherubic Justin Bieber, but the domestic violence themes in the Overprotective Brother sketch were a little too much. It was also Willis’ weakest sketch of the night, as he tends to get kind of whispery when he tries to play…not himself (see also: Michael Kors impression). Killam yelling out “Thank you, I need boundaries!” though, was the rare case of SNL ending a sketch better than it started.
On the Pulse of the Nation Sketch
SNL Writer’s Room: “Alright, we’ve only got the rental on these space suits for 48 more hours, let’s get in as many Gravity references as possible this week. And how do we non-depressingly talk about the government shutdown? I know! A cold open with Kenan Thompson as the only essential custodian left at NASA, taking phone messages from two astronauts about to float off into the galaxy. Let’s get Kate McKinnon with a Ukrainian accent in there too, just for kicks.”
Best Musical Moment
Katy Perry isn’t always known for vocals when belting her power anthems live, but belt she did on “Roar” in her first performance of the night. That song is just so damn catchy. Filling the stage with furries and a jungle backdrop was a good way to make the number seem like more of a production on SNL’s petite stage, as well. It was surprising that Perry didn’t make an appearance in any sketches, but perhaps she was as scarred by the Elmo shirt she wore the last time she hosted as I was.
I Don’t Know What’s Happening But I Think I Like It Sketch
Something about these end-of-the-night Good Neighbor-esque shorts that Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are doing is working. Last week’s sketch where Kyle couldn’t quite close the deal with Miley was odd but pretty funny, but this week’s emotionally engaged beer pong bit really clicked. Roller coaster design, pen pals, choose a lizard, and custom baseball card are the kinds of high stakes drinking I can get down with. “Bounce and blow” rules are for chumps.
Cast MVP, Old & New
It’s got to be the host. Taran Killam, Bobby Monynihan, and Vanessa Bayer did a good job of leading most of the sketches and moving things along, but Willis played a surprisingly varied number of characters and seemed to be game for anything, including “shaking that sack” in the guaranteed-to-go-viral-in-an-hour “Boy Dance Party.”
What happens when ladies leave men alone to watch football? They dance! Silly but catchy.
Brooks Whelan hasn’t established his own voice in the last three weeks quite as much as other new players, but he got a good bit tonight playing himself explaining his regrettable tattoos on “Weekend Update”. “Oh yeah, 17-year-old Brooks, you’ll love the Red Hot Chili Peppers forever. Those lyrics will never grow tiresome!” Cecily Strong also did her best yet next to Seth Meyers, tossing Kardashian jokes back and forth and crossing the line with NBC pages.
Best Line of the Night
Really anything from the Beer Pong sketch got me, but Bennett and Mooney’s deadpan delivery on the roller coaster rule was killer.
“Alright, just a few more rules. If you guys bounce it and we swat it back and it lands inside one of your cups, you have to design your ideal roller coaster.”
“Grab some markers and some colored pencils and just start drawing. Disregard the laws of physics and create the coaster from your wildest dreams.”
“If we like it enough, we’ll put it up on the wall.”
- Bobby Moynihan was hilariously enthralled by Willis’ mission predictions in the Navy Seals sketch: “Uh oh, wait – is the bodyguard big?!”
- “I’m going to say that Janet from Space called, and I’m going to say that this is very important. OK, all set, y’all have a good day now!” Always what you want to hear from the custodian you need to guide you back from space.
- “24-hour Energy For Dating Actresses” is a pretty niche market, but watching Michael O’Brien chug a pony keg of energy drink while “actors” scream “Anything Goes” in his face was entertainment for the masses.
- Bruce Willis continues to keep his harmonica playing skills under tight wrap in the super-short monologue. Are shorter monologues for non-comedian hosts a new rule of thumb now?
- That Lady Gaga talk show can be a one-time thing but it did get us a solid Aidy Bryant line: “What the hell?! I’m a high school principal, I cannot look like this!
- “In the olden days, the ladies stayed at home and boys went to work. Now it’s time for the ladies to get out so the boys can stay home and TWERK.” This episode was a definite boys club but watching Bruce Willis booty pop with the younger guys of SNL was worth it.
Don’t be alarmed if this week’s episode of SNL already feels like it’s going to be a bit of a letdown. The show’s 39th season premiere boasted six brand-new cast members, a new Weekend Update anchor, and Tina Fey. Last week’s Mileypalooza carried with it a feeling that anything was possible — and the football game that delayed the cold open for 27 minutes only stoked our anticipation.
Tonight’s episode, by comparison, seems much less exciting. The host isn’t a seasoned vet known for bringing out the best in SNL‘s cast and crew or an unpredictable pop wild child. Instead, it’s Bruce Willis. Don’t get me wrong — I like Bruce Willis! But given his sleepy presence in this week’s promos, I have a feeling that John McClane won’t exactly bring a high amount of energy to Studio 8H this week. In fact, I’ve got a sneaky premonition that tonight’s show is going to be a lot like the one Robert De Niro hosted back in 2010 — an uneven affair built around a stony-faced straight man. I can almost guarantee we’ll see at least one sketch starring Willis as Movie Star Bruce Willis, and another where he’s dressed in a skirt.
Say what you will about Miley Cyrus, but you’ve got to admit a few things: One, the girl clearly has a healthy sense of humor. And two, when she’s not distracting you with foam fingers and errant tongues and several square inches of bare skin, it’s a lot easier to appreciate how good her singing voice really is. (See also: Her cover of godmother Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” posted on YouTube just nine months ago.)
Both of Miley’s strong suits were on full display last night, making for an SNL totally worth staying up late for. Like, really late; the show’s live feed was delayed 27 minutes due to a college football game that just couldn’t stop. (Actually, maybe not that late after all — in true SNL fashion, the post-”Weekend Update” material was pretty weak.)
Miley didn’t quite prove herself a tour-de-force like Justin Timberlake, the last host-slash-musical-guest to come before her — but she was miles ahead of the guy who pulled double duty the month before Timberlake did. Anyone hoping for Sinead O’Connor digs must be disappointed. Everyone else should be pleased by Miley’s showing — specifically, her work in two straight-up great sketches:
Oh boy. Where do we even begin?
When Miley Cyrus first hosted SNL in 2011, she was a fresh-faced teenager with Disney Princess hair and middling name recognition among the over-18 set. (Hannah Montana‘s finale had aired just two months before.)
Sure, Cyrus’s reputation wasn’t exactly squeaky clean — not after her Teen Choice Awards pole dance, or that videotaped bong rip. But when Cyrus addressed her growing pains in a cheeky musical monologue, she seemed no different from countless former child stars who had followed similar rebellious trajectories. Plus, as she reminded us in song, it’s not like she had ever done anything illegal or truly harmful: “I never stole a necklace or got a DUI/Never cheated on my wife like that golfer guy/So what, you can see a little boob from the side?/I’m sorry that I’m not perfect.”
Thought things got weird at SNL last week? Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet — because this Saturday, the one and only Miley Cyrus will serve as both host and musical guest. And if there’s anything we’ve learned over the past few months, it’s to expect the unexpected from The Artist Formerly Known as Hannah Montana.
Thankfully, the girl clearly has a sense of humor about herself — as you’ll see in the following promos. Take, for example, the first segment, in which Taran Killam immediately addresses the foam elephant in the room:
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