SNL Viewers Club: Bill Hader & Hozier

SNL Viewers Club, SNL, Saturday Night Live, season 40, review, Bill Hader, Hozier, Laser Time

SNL’s 40th season is three episodes deep, and this week we were treated to host Bill Hader and musical guest Hozier. So that’s a legendary cast member and a singer-songwriter you’ve probably never heard of. How did they fare?

The usual SNL airing pattern is three shows and a two week break. Leading us into the first break of the season is Bill Hader, one of the greatest cast members SNL has ever had (seriously, when is that “Best of” coming out?). Then there’s Hozier. Yeah, I’d never heard of him either, but the dude’s music has such a nice vibe.

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: 10/11/14

Host: Bill Hader

Musical Guest: Hozier

Cold Open: Kim Jong-un

I do love Bobby Moynihan, even though he’s basically the white Keenan Thompson. That said, both have a habit of hamming it up in a sketch with little substance–this was a prime example. 1/2 point

Monologue

During Hader’s time on SNL, his female counterpart was Kristen Wiig. The duo tore through the show, bringing huge laughs every week–sometimes even the only ones to do so. So why, SNL crew, would you force these two powerhouses into a 10% funny musical number? Hader’s speech beforehand was funny on its own! 1/2 point

Herb Welch: Virginity Pledge Drive

If you haven’t seen the video this sketch is based on, do yourself a favor. Then go back and watch the other times Bill Hader has done the same sketch. Is it funny? Always, even though I wouldn’t call it the best of the night. Hader’s less-than-best is still better than most though. 1 point

Group Hopper

It’s young adult season, and SNL has taken that trite garbage to task for the second week in a row. This sketch proved two things. One, Pete Davidson can hold his own as a lead. Two, Bill Hader sells any character. Whatever that Maleficent/Hunger Games/Snowpiercer hybrid was, it was hilarious. 1 point

Hollywood Game Night

Did you know this is a real game show? Me neither. But the sketch worked, coming across as an update to the classic Celebrity Jeopardy. SNL’s impression-offs usually work well, and this was no exception. Cecily Strong’s Sophia Vergara is a standout. 1 point

39 Cents

I’m likely in the minority here, but something about this sketch made me extremely uncomfortable. It was clearly a Leslie Jones standup bit turned into a sketch, so that’s a plus I guess. 0 points

Jan Hooks Tribute

No score to be given here, as comedy wasn’t the point. This was a wonderful, heart string-tugging clip–it didn’t help that the departed Phil Hartman starred opposite Hooks. N/A

Weekend Update

Once again, Colin Jost and Michael Che made some solid jokes. One more week, and I think they’ll have it. Pete Davidson did some more standup, and though it wasn’t as good as his debut, it was certainly entertaining. And yes, we saw the (predictable) return of Stefan, possibly Weekend Update’s greatest character of all time. 1 point + bonus point

Puppet Class

Like Herb Welch, this sketch has been done before (though hosting duty is the right time for SNL players to revisit their classics). Once again, Hader’s wartime puppet took the sketch from lighthearted to quite dark–exactly what the show earned its early reputation for–and the new flashback took the sketch in a new direction. Well done. 1 point

Inside SoCal 2

Another returning sketch, this one from the Good Neighbor crew. Pete Davidson made a good addition to the Southern Californian doofuses, and Hader’s art review was hilarious. 1 point

Cat

Two weeks in a row, the closing sketch has gone places I didn’t expect. Well done making the “five to one” sketch worth it, guys. 1 point

Total: 9/10 possible points

With the show now in its two week break, we have a little more time before another episode. Hader and company made this one a good sendoff. This season’s off to a decent start.

Bonus: Coal Miners

This sketch was cut for time, but it’s so worth a watch. Check it out!

Tony is an Editor here at Laser Time, and he’d love for you to tell him he’s wrong on Twitter. If you’ve got an article you’d like to write, pitch it to him at lasertimesubmissions@gmail.com.

7 thoughts on “SNL Viewers Club: Bill Hader & Hozier

  1. Great piece. I’ll probably keep up with these so long as you do them. Agree about your assessment of the episode, Hader was great this episode and I thought that him breaking worked as an inside joke even though I tend to find it to be cheap laughs. Really liked the puppet sketch and agree about the charity one.

  2. The 39 cents sketch was one of my favorite of the night and I thought Hollywood Game Night was just full of wasted impressions, but still this was a fantastic episode.

  3. This section has got me back into watching SNL, so thanks for doing it. And yes that 39 cent bit was awkward maybee because South Park did it better with its spoof on Sally Struthers. In all honesty, making fun of people in that situation is just mean and Bill looking like a Colonial Sanders Kenny Rogers stunt double is what made it uncomfortable for me. One plus was the guy wearing a Buffalo Bills shirt. I did laugh at that for some reason.

  4. Not to get onto a whole tangent, but there has never been a more perfect tribute to both Hooks and Hartman than that short. I know it’s not funny by any means, but just seeing that again now hurts my heart.

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