It’s her party and she can do what she wants.
As the host of this week’s “Saturday Night Live,” Miley Cyrus got the last laugh over the so-called controversy over her MTV VMAs twerking appearance. She not only (very gamely) made fun of herself, she made fun of everybody who made it A Very Big Deal.
Cyrus has always been a bright performer, both as a child and now as a young woman. She’s “on,” 100 percent of the time. And she brought that high level of energy and personality to “SNL,” which definitely needed it. Just like last week, the writing was pretty lackadaisical, but both Cyrus and the cast members were able to wring some laughs out of us.
It all started with her cold open and monologue. The cold open was, thankfully, not directly about the government shutdown; “SNL” has shown, time and again, that it’s terrible with current-event cold opens. Instead, this one was set in the future, in the year 2045. Kenan Thompson detailed just how modern civilization came to an end — all beginning with that VMA performance.
Vanessa Bayer trotted out her awesome Miley impression, while Jay Pharoah (freed from having to play Obama) did a dead-on Will Smith:
Then, Cyrus continued to make fun of the VMAs hullabaloo in her short but sweet monologue, promising not to twerk. “Now that white people are doing it, it seems kind of lame,” she snarked. And it was all capped off with a shot of Bobby Moynihan, naked, on a wrecking ball:
All in all, Cyrus proved herself a capable host. Here are the best and worst sketches of the night:
Best: "Fifty Shades of Grey" Screen Tests
This cast is absurdly good at impressions. Newcomer Noel Wells is a great addition. (If you haven’t seen her do Zooey Deschanel, run to YouTube!) But Killam was tops here, with a killer version of Christoph Waltz. Kate McKinnon ran a close second with her Jane Lynch, while Cyrus did a decent Scarlett Johansson.
Runner-up: Last Night
Not sure why this pre-recorded sketch was held until the end of the show, but it was a great note to go out on. Cyrus tried to hook up with new cast member Kyle Mooney in his office, but he very comically blew it. Once again, “SNL” showed how much better it is at doing digital shorts over live sketches.
Second Runner-up: We Did Stop
Not only was this parody of Cyrus’s hit song another example of a digital short featuring better writing than live sketches, it showed that “SNL" can, in fact, tackle current events (in this case, the government shutdown). Killam was John Boehner, while Cyrus played Michele Bachmann. There were some clever lines, like “If you’re not ready for healthcare, can I get a hell no?”
Worst: Cheer Squad
Ugh. Where do the writers come up with these lame premises? Like, someone actually pitched: “Cheerleading practice is invaded by aliens! Hilarity ensues!” And everyone went along with it for some reason. Cyrus was alright, but the “jokes” (if they can be called that) fell totally flat.
Best Weekend Update Character: Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy
When Bill Hader and Fred Armisen left, they took a lot of stock “Weekend Update” characters with them (RIP, Stefon). But Vanessa Bayer is more than ready to step in with Bar Mitzvah Boy. Her repartee with Seth Meyers was crackling last night. We’ll probably be seeing a lot more of Jacob this season, and that is fine with us.
Biggest Surprise: Mornin' Miami
Perhaps this one seemed funny only because it came after “Cheer Squad.” But we were pleasantly surprised by this late-in-the-show sketch featuring McKinnon, Moynihan, and Cyrus as peppy morning hosts who become extremely bored when they’re not on camera.
"Saturday Night Live" airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.