Well, when you get to the peak, there's very little place to go but down.
After last week's very strong, very funny Melissa McCarthy episode, "Saturday Night Live" plummets back to mediocrity. The charming Vince Vaughn, returning to host the show for the first time in 15 years, couldn't do much to help the poorly-written, flat, and sometimes uncomfortable sketches.
His monologue, which relied on his effortless charisma, was one of the evening's better efforts. He came out and talked about how important the audience is to the show, then proceeded to talk to a few of them. According to "SNL's" Tumblr page, Vaughn was improv-ing and everyone he spoke to did not know they were going to get picked. One woman he called his "angel in the outfield," while he took another man's cell phone away. "It's OK to put down the phones and just make a memory," he said.
But Vaughn's innate likeability couldn't save the rest of the night.
Check out the best and (several) worst sketches:
BEST: "History of Punk"
It's very telling that the best sketch was a pre-taped one. "SNL" has done a fairly good job with these over the season, despite the absence of Andy Samberg and Lonely Island. Fred Armisen is Ian Rubbish, a monarchy-hating '80s-era punk rebel who ruins his career by writing nice songs about Margaret Thatcher ("You keep England safe"). The accents, "vintage" footage, and a cameo by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols are all very well done.
WORST (OF THE SEASON?): "North Side Junior High Prom"
OMG, WHAT WAS THAT?! Who thought this was a good idea? An old rich dude bankrolls a junior high prom and then proceeds to ask teen boys to dance? It's super creepy and incredibly uncomfortable. This may have been the worst sketch of the season.
RUNNER-UP WORST: "Roundball Rock"
First of all ... John Tesh? Really? Did they dig this out of a bin of old sketches? Second of all, it doesn't go anywhere. There's one joke -- that the classic NBA theme has awful lyrics. That's it. And yet it lasts for five minutes!
SLIGHTLY AMUSING: "Al Pacino's HBO Biopics"
After playing Dr. Kevorkian and Phil Spector, Pacino really does seem to have the killer biopic genre locked up. This fake promo for upcoming biopics is mostly amusing for the sight of Bill Hader in several ridiculous wigs. When he dons blackface to play Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, Pacino realizes he's gone too far ("You cool with this? Is this OK?" he asks.)
JUST BORING: "Short Term Memory Loss Theater"
On any other night, this might've been a "worst" sketch, simply because it has one joke -- short-term memory loss patients are trying to put on a play -- and doesn't go anywhere. Hader seems to think it's funny, since he starts cracking up, but his giving the patients their lines gets repetitive and dull.
PROMISING: "Stormy Skies"
Again, it's hard to tell if we liked this because everything was so awful, but this sketch weathermen and women cheerily betraying and cheating on each other made us chuckle. There were also some cute details, like using the emergency signal to beep out profanity. We have a feeling this sketch might come back at some point, and if it replaces "The Californians" in ongoing soap sketches, we're fine with that.
SHOWS IMPROVEMENT: "Cold Open -- Gun Control Debate"
In its cold opens, "SNL" has proven again and again that it's incapable of tackling current events in a funny way. But this one on the Senate opening up gun control legislation debate was slightly better than most. Still, the most amusing line wasn't even about the topic at hand: "It goes without saying, none of these restrictions apply to Florida." Overall, it was decent, which is more than you can say about their other cold opens (including the one from last week's great episode).