Despite having a legendary performer as the host–and not just a legendary performer, but a legendary performer of late night sketch comedy–this week’s episode was about the same as every other week, which is to say that there were some pretty funny moments, and some pretty unfunny moments, and a musical guest, and a surprise celebrity cameo. Can we talk about THAT for a second? Justin Bieber, who was not scheduled to host or play music on the show, appeared in two sketches and prominently on the stage to say goodbye? Huh? It’s not actually that impressive that Saturday Night Live is friends with famous people, so it would be kind of nice if they could ground their surprise cameos in some kind of logical context for them being on the show. (And maybe it’s just me, but personally I think it’s gross when Dana Carvey makes a joke about Justin Bieber’s effect on little girl’s vaginas? Even if he is wearing a pant suit.) Anyway. The saddest part of the episode was the very first second of it, when a pre-recorded Phil Hartman ghost voice announced the Wayne’s World sketch. It kind of puts a damper on tripping down memory lane when you’re immediately reminded that half of the houses have burned down. Eek! Oh well. As Deidra Wurtz would say, that is just the way it goes and we have to move on and it’s tough for all of us but that’s just how it is ok?

So, Wayne’s World:

And also the Church Lady:

Do these old sketches hold up? I don’t know. It’s certainly hard to imagine a modern teenager watching the Church Lady sketch and finding it to be particularly compelling (much less funny). Even Justin Bieber probably couldn’t correct for that. It is true that we still have a deep divide between the flagrant indulgence of popular culture and the rigidity of religious moralists, and there is probably some good comedy there, but it doesn’t really work when it’s also steeped in nostalgia. Wayne’s World maybe fares a little better, although mostly it’s just nice to be reminded that it existed. It’s like how a decent Zwan song will remind you of a really good Smashing Pumpkins song.

You can never go home again!

In the grand tradition of that Unstoppable movie trailer parody they did a couple weeks ago, there was a parody of the trailer for The Roommate:

It’s weird that more people will see this than will see the movie it is making fun of? It seems kind of like picking on someone way smaller than you. But it was funny. At the very least it didn’t have any celebrity impersonations in it. ENOUGH WITH THE CELEBRITY IMPERSONATIONS ALL THE TIME, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE! Good grief! Is this a generationally-defining late night comedy show that follows the zeitgeist in order to remain startlingly relevant over multiple decades, or an early bird dinner theater performance at a Florida nursing home?

This was the best sketch of the night:

And this was the best fake ad of the night:

Returning to the place where you once made a name for yourself will definitely earn you a hero’s welcome, but it comes with a cost, because it’s impossible not to also be reminded of the fact that everyone’s kind of doing fine without you. And that the world has changed. When Dana Carvey created the Church Lady character, he was in his 20s. Now he’s almost her age. It just gets real weird, real fast. That’s OK. It could be worse. Ask Phil Hartman. (R.I.P.)

Comments (67)
  1. Off-topic!

    Hey, look who’s in this picture with Donald Glover!

    That’s right! Max Silvestri on the top left and our own Gabe Delahaye on the bottom right! Check them out in this new New Pornographers’ video: (they’re at about 1:52). Videogum favorites Ted Leo and Julie Klausner are also in the video!

  2. Oh, Saturday Night Live, thanks for reminding us that pedophilia is hilarious and awesome. Just remember that it has to be woman (or man dressed as woman) on boy.

  3. Gab and Max! Max and Gabe! Music Video-Cameoooooooooo!

    Also Donald Glover.

  4. Was Linkin Park another part of the trip down memory lane?

  5. I didn’t see this, but I DID see The Biebs on The Daily Show. What with all the cameos on shows I like and surprising (to me, at least) ability to mock himself, I think the kid is starting to grow on me. He might be our generation’s Justin Timberlake; you WANT to hate him, but you can’t do it.

    • I’m sorry if you like Justin Bieber, I really do apologize, but that’s just the way it goes and you have to see both sides of it and, like, start trying to move on, you know?

    • I heard a little voice cracking going on.

      I’ll wait until after puberty to make my decision.

    • How about Justin Bieber’s cameo in his own Best Buy commercial during the superbowl? He’s dressed up in shaggy hair and a beard, and when Ozzy asks “What’s a Bieber?” Bieber says, “I don’t know, he kinda looks like a girl.”

      Not gonna lie, between that and the Daily Show this week, I’m like the Biebs this week.

    • I’m not sure if it’s ability to mock himself, or ability to follow orders.

  6. Did anyone else think it was weird that Mike Myers was still in the Wayne’s World outfit at the end of the show?

  7. “You can’t punch the handsome off Anderson Cooper.”

    • Seriously what orange stuff do they paint him with to make him “Snooki color”? Sprayed on liquified cheeto dust?

  8. That was the best sketch of the night? Was it just me, or did it SORK?

  9. “It’s weird that more people will see this than will see the movie it is making fun of?”

    Lyla Garrity and Blair Waldorf would like to point out they have the number one movie in America.

  10. OK Portlandia discussion corner:
    I enjoyed this weeks episode although definitely not as great as the first two. The Freegan sketch was my favorite. Armissen wearing the tiny sweater and Brownstein finding a new sleeve for her shirt killed me. Also: Amy Mann as a maid and Sarah Maclachlan as the gardener. I’ve been really impressed by their choices of guest stars.

    I just hope they do another Hide & Seek league sketch.


  11. It was nice to see Abby Elliot in more sketches than zero.

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  13. Hi monsters! Longtime lurker, first-time commenter. My question: did anyone notice how weird Mike Myers’ body language was? It looked like he was trying to hold his hands steady through the whole sketch, and then he kept his arms crossed in a very stiff, weird way during the goodbyes. Does he have Parkinson’s disease? Someone get to the bottom of this raging controversy, stat!

  14. I thought just about every sketch was hilarious. Maybe it was because I drank an entire bottle of Chardonnay that night.

  15. “At the very least it didn’t have any celebrity impersonations in it. ENOUGH WITH THE CELEBRITY IMPERSONATIONS ALL THE TIME, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!”

    ? There was a whole skit of celebrity impersonations (the celebrity teen crisis line), complete with Jay Pharoah flubbing a line.

  16. The opening monologue song was awkward because maybe ’86-’93 was actually the best. The cast is great now, some great characters, some great sketches, but pound for pound? SNL used to be better.

    • I think the general rule is that whatever year it was that you were 14 was the year that SNL was the best.

      Also, I can’t possibly be the only one who feels old after hearing Dana Carvey referred to as “a legendary performer”. Anyone? Please?

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