The last new episode of Saturday Night Live opened with Justin Timberlake getting inducted into the five-time host club. After Melissa McCarthy‘s stellar sophomore outing as the show’s emcee this week, let’s hope it doesn’t take her too too long to achieve that milestone herself.
Right from the opening seconds of her monologue — as she staggered onto the stage in a pair of sadistically high, sparkly red heels — McCarthy displayed the game-for-anything brand of comedy that made her such a hit when she first took the reins back in October 2011. That committment to the cause managed to wring laughs even from the sketches where the writing wasn’t quite equal to the Identity Thief star’s skills (that Wheel of Fortune parody; the woman seeking a loan for a pizza-eating business). Below, my picks for the week’s best (hard to narrow it down to two!) and worst…
BEST: OPENING MONOLOGUE
McCarthy rode those hateful heels for laughs big and small, verbal and physical — and sometimes both at the same time, like when she face-planted in front of the SNL band after trying to prop herself up on a stool, then squeaked, “This smells like a lot of musicians.” And the award for the season’s best monologue goes to…
BEST: HONEY-BAKED HAM BAKE-OFF
McCarthy took the earnest enthusiasm and occasional ridiculousness of county-fair compeitions to deranged heights as her Jean Carrerra returned for another crack at glory, keeping in mind the judges’ request from a year prior that she “work on her presentation.” The ensuing dance routine — featuring Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan as choreographed pigs — included snippets of “Push It,” “Can’t Touch This,” and “Get Ready for This.” I lost it during the “reel ‘em in for slaughter” segment; now somebody tell me I wasn’t alone. (Video not available, probably due to song clearance issues.)
HONORABLE MENTION: JACOB, RECENT BAR MITZVAH BOY
Who knew Vanessa Bayer would be such a perfect vessel for capturing pubescent teenage awkwardness? Jacob’s utter inability to interact with Weekend Update host Seth Meyers — or ever divert from his pre-written script — was almost as impressive as Bayer not breaking character and busting out laughing.
WORST: THE VOICE SPOOF
The sketch got off to a bad start when Taran Killam flubbed his intro as Carson Daly, but the far bigger crime was the sinking feeling that perhaps only Kate McKinnon (as Shakira) had ever watched more than 30 minutes of NBC’s hit reality singing show. The usually terrific Bill Hader’s Adam Levine didn’t try to get a single detail correct (right down to wearing a jacket over his trademark white t-shirt), there wasn’t a whiff of the Adam-Blake Shelton bromance, and the central premise (The Voice lets everyone through past the blind auditions) felt too rudimentary a joke about a show now into its fourth season. Maybe I’m too harsh a critic seeing how I’ve recapped every episode of The Voice since it premiered, but this should’ve been much, much funnier, no?
What did you think of McCarthy’s sophomore hosting effort? What were your picks for best and worst moments? Do you think she’ll eventually become a “Five Timer”? Sound off in the comments!