SNL’s 40th season is back in full swing with host Sarah Silverman and musical guest Maroon 5. Spoiler alert: this episode was shockingly, consistently hilarious. I know, right?
OK, that lead in was a bit mean. Throughout its 40 years, Saturday Night Live has always been hit or miss; it’s the nature of a live audience sketch show. But this episode had very few misses. Bravo, guys.
So how does this work? People like numbered scores, so I’ve chosen to rate every sketch at 0, 1/2, or 1 point. A sketch not worth watching at all receives a 0, a sketch that doesn’t stand out but didn’t totally flop gets a 1/2, and a sketch that does its job of entertaining and delivering a few laughs will earn 1 point. A standout sketch that goes above and beyond will receive the normal point plus 1 bonus point. Cool? Cool. Let’s talk about it!
Air Date: 10/04/14
Host: Sarah Silverman
Musical Guest: Maroon 5
Cold Open: Obama 60 Minutes
It’s a brave thing to cover ISIS in a comedy space, so I applaud the crew for the nature of the sketch. That said, most jokes relied too heavily on pop culture and iPhone app buzzwords. 1/2 point
Admittedly, I came into this episode wondering why Sarah Silverman was hosting. Yes, she’s hilarious, but what is she there to promote? Answer: a new comedy album. Other answer: who cares. The host’s energy and ability are two of the most important ingredients in a successful SNL episode, and Silverman killed. Genuine crowd work is extremely rare at SNL, and the inclusion of pre-taped cameos from Silverman herself (she was a brief cast member nearly 20 years ago) made this a solid intro to the show and to the host herself. 1 point
Fault in our Stars Trailer
Hooray for lampooning young adult crap! (Not sarcasm.) This was great combination of real-world events and current film buzz. Plus, Keenan Thompson did an actual impression–and it was pretty funny! This will be the video Tweeted and Facebook-shared. 1 point + bonus point
Bobby Moynihan’s boisterous Ben Franklin was the highlight of this sketch, as the remainder of impressions were either mediocre (Jay Pharoah’s Richard Pryor) or flubbed (Silverman’s Joan Rivers). 1/2 point
Sometimes the truth hurts, but it can still be hilarious. That was the biting punchline of this quick one-note sketch. 1 point
Forgotten Television Gems
Keenan brought the thunder again, causing serious laughs in between the actual meat of the sketch. Those soap opera cutaways were OK, but not the highlight. 1 point
Colin Jost and Michael Che are finding their stride–this Weekend Update had consistently funny jokes and genuinely funny guest appearances. Hopefully this trend continues. 1 point + bonus point
This is the Good Neighbor comedy we expect. Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney take a simple, cutesy premise and turn it on its head. Maybe one day stand-in dummies will look somewhat believable… 1 point
I didn’t expect much when this sketch started, especially with it being a closer. But what started as a take on “as seen on TV”-philes went so many funny places I did not see coming. 1 point
Total: 10/9 possible points
Yeah, I didn’t expect a score like this either–especially not so early in the season–but I hope it wasn’t just a fluke. And hey, Sarah Silverman (who I secretly believe punched up most of the sketches) was magical. Your mistake, Jimmy Kimmel.