It can be an odd experience when former 'SNL' cast members return to host the show. On one level, it's refreshing to see some of your favorite faces return to the stage. On another level, it's a reminder of what the show has lost (especially in a "rebuilding" season like this one). So the season finale's opening monologue was a bittersweet affair, with guest host Andy Samberg being joined by fellow 'SNL' veterans Seth Meyers, Bill Hader and Martin Short.
This season of 'SNL' has been all about truly weird and experimental digital shorts, so it only makes sense that guest host Andy Samberg (who helped pioneer them in the first place) would help make one of the strangest. There's almost no dialogue in this sketch and the joke isn't immediately accessible, but it's the kind of specific and eclectic comedy that 'SNL' tends to excel at when it wants to.
When Andy Samberg was a cast member on 'SNL,' he routinely set the internet on fire with his digital shorts, but none were as popular as his Lonely Island music videos, which saw him, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone performing hip-hop music that often sounded like the real thing. Well, at least it would sound like the real thing if the subject matter wasn't totally crazy. With Samberg performing hosting duties on the season finale, Lonely Island reunited for a new video (with a special appearance by Pharrell Williams), singing and rapping about what it's like to be hardcore huggers.
Big names popping by 'SNL' for brief appearances stopped being surprising a long time ago, but there's something really special about Barbara Walters stopping by Weekend Update. Maybe it's because Walters (with her 50 year television career) is a much bigger deal than a flavor-of-the-minute celebrity. Maybe it's because she's obviously a really good sport about how 'SNL' has mocked her over the years. In any case, it's an oddly sweet and weird scene in a season of the celebrated variety program that's pulled out all of the stops when it comes to being sweet and weird.
'SNL' is frequently at its best when it decides to go full gonzo and last night's episode featured a sketch that represents the show at its weirdest. Presented as a screening of an old '60s surfer movie called 'Bikini Beach Party,' the sketch features Taran Killam and guest host Charlize Theron as young lovers in a campy musical who decide to share a romantic moment on the beach ... next to the methane-filled corpse of a dead whale.
If you're an avid consumer of modern popular culture, you've watched your fair share of behind the scenes featurettes that offer a look at the making of a movie or TV show. In fact, this particular slice of modern marketing has become such a specific medium that it has opened itself up to parody ... which makes us wonder why 'SNL' doesn't take it on more often. Last night's episode featured a sketch that was structured like an HBO First Look, giving us a glimpse of a new movie called 'Dragon Babies' that looks hilariously awful before we meet the hugely inappropriate lead voice actor.
This season of 'SNL' hasn't been shy about getting truly weird with its digital shorts, but it may have reached its weird zenith with the fake trailer for a thriller called 'The Beygency.' Both a parody of dystopic thrillers and a commentary on what it's like to not be totally in love with Beyonce's latest album, the video stars Andrew Garfield as a man who makes the tiniest of slights against the work of Mrs. Carter and finds his entire life ruined by a powerful and mysterious group.
Like so many 'SNL' scenes, the "Celebrity Family Feud" sketches are essentially an excuse to let a bunch of different cast members try out a variety of celebrity impersonations. But hey, we're not complaining, especially when they give guest host Andrew Garfield a chance to play a spot-on version of his 'The Social Network' co-star (and frequent 'SNL' host) Justin Timberlake.
If you get Andrew Garfield to host 'SNL' on the same weekend that 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' opens, you need to put him in the costume for at least one sketch. More importantly, you need to bring in his co-star Emma Stone, with whom he has incredible chemistry. But most importantly, you need to make sure that their sketch together is impossibly silly and makes fun of their on-screen romantic relationship. Yep, they've gone and done it: they've made kissing Spider-Man weird.
Last night's 'SNL' had a digital short that had it all. Two characters speaking in a fictional language while wearing Halloween masks. Guest host Seth Rogen being racist against monsters. A surprise celebrity cameo. Children being scared. A minor rant about the inaccuracies of 'Monsters, Inc.' We're not sure what everyone was eating before they wrote this Monster Pals sketch, but they should order from there more often.
What begins as a fairly typical 'SNL' sketch soon transforms into one of darker sketches the show has put on in recent memory, exploring the dissolution of a marriage thanks to dog food choices. Guest host Seth Rogen and regular cast member Cecily Strong bring their finest comedic chops to the scene, wringing every possible ounce of discomfort out of every moment.
It really doesn't feel like 'SNL' unless there's a commercial parody video, which have been the show's bread and butter for decades. Last night's episode had the first memorable fake ad in awhile, offering a look at the thankfully fictional CNN pregnancy test.
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