The God of Thunder returned to Studio 8H to host Saturday Night Live for the second time, which gives me the most convenient segue of all time. Can lightning strike twice for Chris Hemsworth?
Hemsworth’s first hosting gig was only 9 months ago, but he returned to promote In the Heart of the Sea. The first outing was good, so I expected at least the same from the (arguably) most successful Hemsworth brother this time around. Accompanying him was Chance the Rapper, an acid-rap artist who’s really come into his own over the past few years. Seems like a pretty solid setup for an episode, yeah?
George W. Bush Cold Open
It may have been little more than a rant against the right, but man, if it wasn’t great to see Will Ferrell back in his George W. Bush role. In a season full of political openers (some of which contained nary a joke), it was refreshing to break away from debates and CNN interviews.
Hemsworth’s original monologue featured his brothers and a lot of jokes about the rough-and-tumble life of Australians. This time, he wandered the studio, bullying the cast members. Perhaps half of Leslie Jones’ jokes about beating men up are getting a little stale, but otherwise this monologue felt like schoolyard fun.
Star Wars Toy Commercial
Very timely, and very accurate for many people. The kids were also perfect foils to the adults. I… I kinda want some of those toys.
On the Record
Kate McKinnon plays Greta van Susteren as more of a nervous wreck than Kristen Wiig did before her, but she only served as a bridge between political impressions — the highlight being Bobby Moynihan’s Chris Christie. I’m surprised (and happy) this wasn’t the cold open.
Time to Bleed
This pre-taped bit went on too long for a one-note sketch, but a few good lines and the ever-growing bloodstain make it a little better.
Brother 2 Brother: Wrestling Meet
We got this sketch (and many of the same jokes) last time Hemsworth hosted, but the slew of insults thrown at Taran Killam this time around were still hilarious. The wrestling team cutting off the twins’ catchphrases was great too.
Musical sketches are rarely actually funny (on any show), but props to Cecily Strong’s performance here. The party guests’ total confusion was a great foil to the song, and the subtle insanity from both Hemsworth and Strong was perfectly played. Great ending too.
Colin Jost and Michael Che have had a fairly consistent level of joke quality this season, and the same goes for this week. The Trump segment was great, only topped by the Jeb Bush “Arms of the Angel” bit. Thanks to Time magazine’s pick, this was a perfect time for McKinnon’s Angel Merkel to return to the Update desk too, and it was her best appearance yet. We also got a new Leslie Jones bit, though this wasn’t her best. Three out of four ain’t bad.
Step one: put Chris Hemsworth in a dress. Step two: get meta and make the sketch about that actually being Chris Hemsworth in a dress. A wonderfully weird post-Update piece.
I’ve got a feeling we’ll see more of Jon Rudnitsky’s Mark. None of his gags topped his initial swinging into the scene, but I’m interested to see where this character goes.
Yeah, this is pretty much what you expect from a 10-to-1. Non-stripping strippers is good for a chuckle, but nothing to go crazy for. Gotta love that Asian bit though.
Repeat: Aron’s List
This doesn’t count toward the episode score since it’s a repeat from a previous week, but it’s good for a laugh or two.
After an adequate start, this episode gave us some solid sketches. They say the host makes the show, and Chris Hemsworth definitely committed to each bit, even if the bits themselves aren’t always comedy gold. Is comedy silver a thing? In any case, we’re closing out this half of the season with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler next week. They’re my comedy crushes, but I’ll try to keep things civil.
Tony is Laser Time’s Saturday Night Live score master. Follow him on Twitter for the occasional sketch idea.