Oscar winner Christoph Waltz’s opening monologue on this week’s Saturday Night Live turned out to be all too prescient. “I’ve wanted to host for a long time, but they always said to me, ‘Why you? You don’t have a sense of humor. You’re a serious German actor.’”
Okay, so the star of Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds is actually Austrian. But unfortunately, those digs about his comedic abilities seemed to be mostly on target. Waltz brought pretty much the same energy level and delivery to characters as far-flung as a game-show host, a party guest and a lovelorn security guard. No, the writing in many cases wasn’t stellar, but the episode certainly could’ve used a more skilled captain to steer the ship toward laughter.
Below, check out my picks for the weeks’ best and worst sketches:
BEST: Russian Woman on Weekend Update
Kate McKinnon’s been a little underutilized in recent weeks, but her Weekend Update bit as Olya Povlatsky should serve as a reminder to Lorne Michaels that she shouldn’t be stuck warming the bench. That old legend about the little girl who works hard without complaint being struck by a meteor, turned to dust and eaten by a goat — “and it was there in the goat’s belly that the girl was finally warm” — was the first of many punch lines that struck with the force of a shooting star from space. Excellent stuff.
Fred Armisen’s acerbic girlfriend with the runaway superiority complex and the way-too-sensitive body returned for more hijinks. A rock-solid bit from the moment Regine responded to a “nice to meet you” by snapping, “Based on what? You don’t even know what I’m like!”
HONORABLE MENTION: Carnival Cruise Debacle
Cecily Strong and Jason Sudeikis kicked the week off as desperate cruise directors watching the ship’s various entertainers fall to pieces. Kenan Thompson scored some big laughs with his offstage shout-outs (“There is no God!”) but best of all was Bobby Moynihan as Dan the Animal Man and his ill-fated monkey Coco.
WORST: What Have You Become?
Anyone else feel like SNL relies way too often on half-baked game-show setups? This sketch about a competition with an existential twist suffered from faulty execution (Waltz’s host never announcing the name of the show, but various chyrons and logos splashing it across the screen) and an ending that found Waltz unleashing his inner nutjob to totally clichéd effect.
WORST: Opening Monologue
McKinnon and Moynihan were admittedly pretty funny with a goofy “Who’s on wurst?” aside, but the centerpiece of the intro — a musical number called “Smile, Damn You, Smile” — contained not a single solitary laugh. File this one under Rated W…for Why?
What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Waltz as host? What did you think were the best and worst sketches? Sound off in the comments!