(Photo Courtesy of NBC)
Two SNL enthusiasts, Zac Hirschbeck & Marci Buehler, recap the week’s host, musical guests and sketches.
Zac: Hey Marci! It’s me Zac!
Following a four-week absence, Saturday Night Live returned over the weekend with Kevin Hart as host and Sia as musical guest. Despite their struggles with height (Hart), and apparently vision (Sia), I thought the pairing provided a fitting return for the longest-running variety show in American television history. Although there were a few missteps for me (I shall share those at some point later on), the night was mostly comprised of amusing sketches. Here were a couple of highlights for me:
“Kevin Hart Monologue”
I can’t say that I’ve really been much of a Kevin Hart fan to date, but I’m beginning to understand why he’s selling out arenas and appearing in so many movies. While I don’t think he’s appeared, or played starring roles in any movies that are particularly good (The Wedding Ringer looks to be more of the same), I did watch Hart in Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ and he was really likable. I thought his monologue was really funny in spite of the fact I had no idea where he was going with any of his storytelling. I think his monologue displayed what Hart exemplified throughout his turn as host. His energy, enthusiasm, and humor made him game to participate in anything and everything.
“Calvin Klein Ad”
Kate McKinnon, who continues to be one of my favorite current cast members, brought her Justin Bieber impression out for three separate mock-Calvin Klein advertisements. I particularly enjoyed McKinnon/Bieber’s athletic prowess and the line, “My Calvins: clothes for my big wiener.” In addition to McKinnon, I also enjoyed Cecily Strong as Bieber’s confused and uncomfortable model peer. Below is a super-cut of all three ads.
Much more to talk about, but I’ll turn things over to you.
What did you think of this week’s episode Marci? Did you like the job that Hart did as host? And what’s the deal with Sia?
Marci: Hey Zac! It’s me, Marci!!
I’m glad that SNL is back, giving us those oooo so fresh sketches week after week. Like you, I also enjoyed Kevin Hart’s monologue. I also haven’t really seen too much of his stuff, and always had kind of thought of him as a guy who is a bit over the top and annoying – but he was super charismatic and likable throughout the entire episode, highlighted by his monologue, which functioned as a sort of stand up routine. It was pretty funny, I thought. Warmed me right up to Mr. Hart, and I’ve gotta say, I stayed pretty hot on him for the whole episode. Kudos to K Hart for giving us a good show.
I also had the Calvin Klein commercial parody pegged as one of my favorite parts of the episode. Kate McKinnon is someone we both appreciate, and one of the best impressions she does is Justin Biebs, so this sketch was just spectacular.
There were a couple more sketches I enjoyed, as well.
“Get On Up”
This sketch highlighted Hart’s natural charisma, putting him in James Brown’s shoes onstage at the Apollo. It might go on a bit longer than necessary, but I think this sketch falls into the “silly” range of humor that’s really my sweet spot. Also it has Kenan singing, which weirdly always seems to be an ingredient for a sketch that makes me giggle.
“Bushwick, Brooklyn 2015”
Maybe as someone who lives in NYC and understands the gentrification of certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn, this sketch may have hit harder for me than others who live outside of the greater NYC area. But I thought this sketch was pretty hilarious and spot on – all the things they mention are becoming running jokes as more and more neighborhoods in Brooklyn are being invaded by the young, hipster crowd. I also appreciated the twist at the end when K Hart just busts a cap in a dude.
And for once I actually watched the musical numbers! Sia is… very artistic I guess! In the first song, the dancers really threw me off, along with her unexpected black blindfold sort of headdress she was sporting. I know that the dance was probably some sort of performance art, but the bigger of the two dancers looked like they were joking at some points, and at the very beginning I was like HOLD ON A SECOND! IS THAT AN SNL CAST MEMBER? It wasn’t.
I wonder if I was watching it from farther away, like at a theatre, if it would be more emotional for me to watch and less jarring, but probably not…Either I’m not sophisticated enough to understand, or this shit was fucking weird.
I enjoyed the second song though – I really like the song Chandelier and I think Sia sang it very well here, with lots of emotion. And to me, the mime looked more serious than the dancers (That’s a sentence I never thought I’d ever write)… Anyways I appreciated this second performance!
I also liked Sia’s commitment to not taking the black visor thing off her eyes, even at the very end of the show. WHATS UNDER THERE? Does she always do that or just on SNL?
What’d you think of Sia, Zac? And were there any sketches you thought didn’t work as well?
Zac: That black visor really through me for a loop. Is she blind? Is she self-conscious about her eyes? Does she have stage fright and prefers to not see the audience? I really need answers.
Despite the distracting headdress, and the odd inclusion of the dancers and mime, I enjoyed both of her songs. Sia has a good voice and both ‘Elastic Heart’ and ‘Chandelier’ are great pop songs. I wouldn’t be opposed if she just chilled out on the performance art though. Also, where was Shia LaBeouf?
As far as sketches that I really didn’t like, the only one that sticks out is the first sketch after the monologue. Hart hosted a show called “Why’d You Post That” that took a look at several individuals’ use of Instagram. I guess the premise was alright, but it didn’t really do anything for me. Thankfully the rest of the show upped the standard for SNL’s return show.
What about you Marci? Any sketches that you weren’t particularly fond of? Where does Episode 11 slot in to our Season 40 rankings?
Marci: On the whole, I enjoyed this episode, but I agree that the “Why’d You Post That” sketch didn’t hit so well. I liked the premise, but it just didn’t play out as hilariously as I would have liked it to! Also some technical glitches happening in there, with the first photo not showing up on the screen – but I think Hart handled that like a real champ.
The other sketch I wasn’t super into from this week’s show was Listening Party. It was the last sketch of the night, and it consisted of Hart’s character rapping about all the members of his crew and telling everyone about their secrets in the process. I dunno why, but the hook of the rap was a little annoying to me. Maybe it’s because I’m an old woman now and I don’t understand hip-hop. That’s what I’ll chalk it up to.
I can’t be that mad at it though, because overall I really enjoyed this episode, I’ve gotta put it somewhere towards the top of my running list…and would also like to note that the episodes on the top half of this list are all super close in terms of awesomeness for me.
Week 3 – Bill Hader/Hozier
Week 7 – Cameron Diaz/Bruno Mars
Week 1 – Chris Pratt/Ariana Grande
Week 8 – James Franco/Nicki Minaj
Week 10 – Amy Adams/1D
Week 11 – Kevin Hart/Sia
Week 2 – Sarah Silverman/Maroon 5
Week 6 – Woody Harrelson/Kendrick Lamar
Week 9 – Martin Freeman/Charli XCX
Week 4 – Jim Carrey/Iggy Azalea
Week 5 – Chris Rock/Prince
How’d this week rank for you, Zac?
Zac: Kevin Hart was spitting hot fire on that hook in the last sketch! Gunshots!
I think you’ve slotted Hart/Sia in a fair spot. It’s obviously difficult to recall the details of some of the earlier episodes, but I think I might bump up this week’s episode a bit. Like you said though, there isn’t much to separate the top half of the list in terms of awesomeness. Even the bottom three had a few memorable moments within them.
SNL returns this coming weekend with Blake Shelton as host AND musical guest. Last season, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Drake all similarly pulled double-duty and had varying degrees of success. Will Blake Shelton do the same? Time will tell.