“Don’t get your hopes up,” said Zach Galifianakis, kicking off his opening monologue on this week’s Saturday Night Live. The question loomed, though, whether the Hangover funnyman was issuing a serious warning or just engaging in a bit of facetious humor.
Galifianakis’ episode kicked off pretty promisingly, with a loopy but occasionally hilarious monologue that followed a solid cold open spoofing Fox & Friends. (I can’t lie: The roll call of factual errors gets me every time.) Even the subsequent Game of Game of Thrones (must Bill Hader host every single game show spoof?) and Martha Stewart Match.com ad (why isn’t Kate McKinnon utilized more?) scored solid laughs.
But alas, the latter two-thirds of the episode proved to be a case of diminishing returns, including a bizarre but not at all funny Jennifer Aniston lookalike contest that wasted cameos from Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms. I mean, when Bill Hader’s typically awesome James Carville impression falls flat, you know that the mojo filter is broken.
Below are my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches:
BEST: Opening Monologue
Galifianakis’ stream-of-consciousness musings spanned everything from an impression of his dad acting out “tofu” in a game of charades to a bit where he sat at the piano, played some soothing background music and dropped a bunch of setups with no punchlines. Is it wrong that I laughed at the bit about the host being urinated on in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel?
BEST: The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party
Cecily Strong’s recurring “Weekend Update” character was on fire this week, with her heinous mispronunciation of “atrocity,” botched phrases (“all intensive purposes”), political babble and random party shout-outs to her gross friend Alanna. My favorite exchange?
Girl: Tell me this: True or false.
Seth: About what?
Girl: Ezzactly. And that’s a choice women have to make every single day, and they’re getting half as much to do it!
WORST: Racist Jim
Galifianakis played a greeter at the M&Ms store in Times Square, apologizing to his coworkers for a variety of offensive rants during his first day on the job. The zingers were about as fresh as the 2012 Easter candy you found behind the bookshelf last week, and the conclusion was so abrupt it felt like Jason Sudeikis (playing Jim’s boss) realized the lack of audacity and genuine shock-laughs in the writing and decided to pull the plug early.
WORST: Darrell’s House (just beating out Randall Meeks: Tech Correspondent)
A Knoxville cable-access show with Galifianakis as a guy inviting someone to his house for the very first time and micromanaging the shoot so that Jon Hamm and Live at the Apollo footage (among other things) could be inserted later. This was a flight of fancy that might’ve killed on paper, but in reality wound up at the corner of befuddling and deadly dull. The fact that a second segment of the episode was devoted to the “finished video” (with Hamm and hors d’oeuvres added in “post-production”) only doubled my negative feelings.
What did you think of Galifianakis’ hosting gig? What were your picks for best and worst moments? Did you “get” Darrell’s House? Sound off in the comments!