Bilbo Baggins has returned from Mt. Rings to host Saturday Night Live. Is there a new season of The Office coming up or something?
After two sub-par episodes, I was very glad to watch Martin Freeman pick up the bar and raise it proudly. Freeman is a classically trained actor with years of comedy experience, so it only makes sense that he nailed it in this hosting gig. Shame we couldn’t get a Cumberbatch cameo…
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: 12/13/14
Host: Martin Freeman
Musical Guest: Charli XCX
Charlie Rose Cold Open
Of course SNL led off with politics, but this sketch broke far enough away from its original premise to make me forget–for a moment–that that’s where it started. Bobby Moynihan and Kyle Mooney make a great duo, and kept me laughing throughout. 1 point
In a season plagued by musical numbers, I want to thank the writers for giving us an actual monologue. While Taran Killam’s Alan Rickman was ridiculous, the remainder of the bit was funny indeed. 1 point
Originality is key in comedy, and this sketch had it in spades. Sure, it went on for a verse too long, but props to Keenan Thompson for an entertaining Katt Williams-like. 1 point
This has to be another Leslie Jones bit, right? I feel like she gets one a week at this point–and that’s not a complaint. This was packed with great lines, including “You just adopted the Wu Tang Clan!” Well done. 1 point
While it’s an obvious combination of Freeman’s credits, this is exactly the pop culture mix you want from SNL. There were great analogs of the characters with Gollum as Dwight/Gareth, Gandalf as Michael/David, and an Orc as Kevin/Keith. This is the one that will be passed around Facebook for a few days. 1 point + bonus point
Right Side of the Bed
There’s a great dynamic between Killam and Cecily Strong here, and the whole piece is a nice take on the awkwardness of local TV talks shows. And I never expected to see Kate McKinnon as Keith Urban, but wow, was it funny. 1 point
Fact: I was raised in church. This is a very accurate parody. 1 point
Colin Jost and Michael Che are back in their groove. Sasheer Zamata’s bit was a real think-piece–and that’s what comedy is supposed to do. Bravo. Strong expertly subverted female rom-com roles, another “strong” character from her. On the weak side is Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob, who has appeared about half a dozen times and never evolved as a character. But hey, it was a good Update overall. 1 point
Honestly, this sketch seemed like filler. Is this a new character from Killam? Either way, it went nowhere until the one dumb punchline at the end. Seriously, why was this here? 0 points
This sketch started out feeling a little too much like What Up with That (easily the worst recurring sketch of the last few years), but it picked up at the end when Killam’s Roman appeared. Still, it sits at about 85% weak. 1/2 point
Aidy Bryant will always make me laugh, but this sketch never went anywhere. A weak way to close the show, but at least Bryant singing through her own giant head was remarkable. 1/2 point
Total: 10/11 possible points
There was a clear dip in quality after Weekend Update, but the episode was entertaining overall. We’ll see what happens when Amy Adams takes us into winter break next week.