So much has happened in the 24 years since Bruce Willis hosted "Saturday Night Live." But one thing hasn’t changed: Willis is as charming and quietly funny as he was back then.
After two fairly strong episodes to start the season, "SNL" took a bit of a dip in quality this week, though that was through no fault of the action star. He did what he could — and some of his reaction shots nearly made us do spit takes — but the writing felt lackluster. That was evident when they reused the "E-Meth" digital short at the end of the show.
His monologue was merely OK, with a couple of cute quips. Willis himself joked about all the stuff that went on in the last quarter century — he made six "Die Hard" movies and had four daughters. Bobby Moynihan popped up as Willis's surrogate son and sang along as the actor jammed on the harmonica (he once wanted to be a music star, remember? Haha!). Mostly, the monologue felt a bit long and forced:
While there weren’t any horrific trainwrecks of sketches, there also wasn't one that is likely to get passed around on social media. Overall, it was an average outing for "SNL."
Here are the evening’s best and worst sketches:
Best (Tie): Boy Dance Party
Surprise, surprise (not). The best sketch of the night is a pre-taped segment. We're starting to wonder if "SNL" should just be entirely pre-taped. The men of the cast, led by Taran Killam (who’s becoming the go-to guy), act like manly dudes watching football, but as soon as their wives leave, they turn up the music and dance. The short reminded us of the Lonely Island days, and that is a very, very good thing.
Best (Tie): 24-Hour Energy for Dating Actresses
Where "Boy Dance Party" highlighted the men, this sketch shows off how great Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon are. In this pre-taped (of course) fake commercial, they play manic actresses whose boyfriends need an energy boost to deal with them. Strong and McKinnon just nail it at portraying mood swings and insecurities. Really hope we get to see the other version, 24-Hour Energy for Dating Comedians, sometime.
Naturally, the other good sketch last night was ... pre-recorded! (Are you sensing a theme here?) And better yet, it featured some of the new cast members, Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney, as members of a not-typical-at-all frat, who teach potential pledges Jay Pharoah and John Milhiser their very unusual rules to beer pong.
Worst: Centauri Vodka
"Let’s put Bruce Willis in a funny costume!" is the entire premise of this dud of a sketch. He's a spokesman for a vodka brand who is worried about the actor stuck in the back half of his costume. It seems like the writers didn’t bother with any jokes, merely relying on the image of Willis as half-man, half-horse to carry the entire sketch.
Best "Weekend Update" Bit
Bruce and Kris Jenner’s divorce growing pains? Gone! Strong proves she's settling into her role as co-anchor in this zingy back-and-forth with Seth Meyers about the Divorce to End All Divorces. Every joke just gets funnier and funnier, ending on Meyers's last, hilarious line — "It confirmed this week that the comedy and tragedy masks were getting a divorce."
Host's Best Moment: "Black Ops Command"
This plays into Willis's image as a tough-as-nails action guy. A squad of soldiers gets briefed on a mission, but Willis starts coming up with hypothetical scenarios in which he (gruesomely) kills bad guys. Of course, his job is to stay in the van.
What did you think of Willis as host this week? Sound off on the best and worst sketches of the night in the comments below!