It’s been 22 years since Michael Keaton last hosted Saturday Night Live, and this time around, the Oscar nominee used the Easter holiday to showcase his brilliant comedic creepiness. Early in the night, Keaton played a spot-on grandfather whom kids call on Easter, and in the show’s closer, “An Easter Message From Michael Keaton,” he went in for the egg-hunting kill. As he sifts through a holiday basket while making disturbing commentary (cocaine, he says, is what he gave up for Lent), the odd dad feels one clone away from his memorable “Steve”-chanting personality in Multiplicity.
The show started off on a more normal note, as Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan interrupted Keaton’s monologue to perform a superfan serenade, just as the three-time host was telling the audience how his life has changed since his first go-round in 1982 (“I had a baby — he’s 31. I also have a new girlfriend — she’s 28,” he joked).
In hopes of living out their childhood fantasies, the duo begged, pleaded, and even cut together a secret video in hopes of convincing Keaton to reprise his iconic Batman and Beetlejuice characters for a game of make-believe. Keaton finally uttered the classic lines “I’m Batman” and “It’s showtime!” — which helped the show get off to a strong start. Watch the full monologue:
As the night went on, Keaton embodied a quirky set of characters in bits that mainly worked, but with his star power in the passenger seat, the topical skits emerged as highlights. From CNN to Scientology, no one was safe.
Best Sketch: “CNN”
While the news being “reported” is the extremely unfunny Germanwings crash, the writers effectively tiptoe around the tragedy to hit the comedic bullseye in this gag. Between Keaton’s dance-troupe dramatization and the absurd animated reenactments, SNL’s CNN — or as Cecily Strong’s anchor calls the newsroom, a “loose collection of daytime nonsense” — is a nonstop laugh.
Worst Sketch: “Wallace Advertising”
One day before the Mad Men premiere, the words “Wallace Advertising” seemed to signal a timely skit, but Keaton’s sophomoric and useless ad boss is out of place — he even bleeds through his shirt from a belly-button piercing, for some reason. Jokes about “knockers” and “boners” didn’t help.
Episode MVP: Kate McKinnon
The standout nailed every delivery of the night and no group sketch feels complete without her, including the one that will have everyone talking: “The Church of Neurotology: Always Believe Music Video.” A very, very, very thinly veiled jab at the Church of Scientology, the film short took on the style of HBO’s hit documentary Going Clear and then some by labeling singing members as “Missing,” “Thrown off boat,” “Chained to toilet as punishment,” and this doozy: “Left after Googling Neurotology.”
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.