Chris Rock is the third ex-SNL player to host this season, and he proves he’s still got it.
After the atrocious display from Jim Carrey last week, I wanted nothing more than for Chris “the Johnson” Rock to lift Carrey’s low, low bar. And he did! He was there to promote his latest film outing, Top Five (decent trailer, but one of the worst movie titles I’ve ever heard), and he did his job right.
So let’s break this down. 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: 11/02/14
Host: Chris Rock
Musical Guest: Prince
Christie Cold Open
This was just another obligatory political opener. Bobby Moynihan’s Chris Christie and Kate McKinnon’s Kaci Hickox were good for a few laughs at least. 1/2 point
Like Sarah Silverman last month, Chris Rock came out and did his thing: standup. Though it really seemed like he was trying out new material, he got a few great laughs from the audience (and myself). 1 point
Kyle Mooney can play an awkward friend with the best of ’em. Sasheer Zamata and Rock made a hilarious father-daughter pair, with Rock’s uninformed dad bringing the funny. What’s “fap?” 1 point
SNL commercial sketches tend to be little more than time fillers, but this baby was gold. For something that was clearly born out of a pun in the writer’s room, the sketch killed. Bonus points for the cutaway to “your grandpa’s colonoscopy.” 1 point + 1 bonus point
How’s He Doing (with Chris Rock)
We’ve seen this sketch before, and it did fall into the SNL trap of adding nothing since last time. That said, there were some decent laughs along the way. 1/2 point
Colin Jost and Michael Che have fallen into their groove–Che even saved a flub with a decent ad lib. Pete Davidson returned for some more standup, while Jay Pharoah and Keenan Thompson rocked their Katt Williams and Suge Knight impressions, respectively. This is how I expect Weekend Update to be: not the funniest part of the show, but definitely worth a watch. 1 point
First of all, I applaud the SNL writers for taking on a subject like this. Well done. Second, there’s something funny about people reacting as usual (the sharks) to a bizarre situation (an ISIS presentation). But I must say, this sketch had an unbelievably weak ending. 1/2 point
I feel like we’ll get a Leslie Jones standup-bit-turned-sketch most weeks from now on. This was a pretty solid, and “Dr. David Doctor” is a hilariously Mr. Show-like name. 1 point
Though the show was largely strong, this sketch baffled me. There was no point, the punch line was weak, too many lines were flubbed, and the audience was half asleep. Definitely the (one) low point. 0 points
We’ve seen better Good Neighbor bits in the past, but this was still good for a few laughs. As a film nerd, I’ll give props for the camera work and set design too. 1/2 point
Women in the Workplace
Kate McKinnon killed it in this one; I want to hear that egg voice from her more often. And the cutaways to the office were packed with hilarious awkwardness. 1 point
Total: 9/11 possible points
After the low point of last week, I couldn’t be happier to see a Chris Rock-run show take back the audience’s approval. Here’s hoping SNL stays on the roof it tripped and fell from last time.