The thing about Justin Timberlake is that he makes really enjoyable pop music and is relatively entertaining overall as a performer, very charismatic and with decent comic timing, but he is so aware of his abilities at this point that it translates into arrogance, which is the death of comedy. I’m not saying this weekend’s season finale of Saturday Night Live wasn’t good, because it was, or that Justin Timberlake didn’t do a decent job hosting, because he did, but his appearances now lack the fun and excitement of discovering that, say, Brian Williams actually knows his way around a joke (or the fun and excitement of discovering that Justin Timberlake actually knows his way around a joke). And truth be told, Justin Timberlake STILL isn’t the comedian that he seems to believe himself to be. He’s talented in other ways! And very rich! But there’s a certain laziness to his performing that is like Shaq putting out a hip hop album. Come on, dudes! It’s not that easy, and in some ways you are the proof of that!

Anyway, it may have taken a whole year (or 36 years?) but they finally got the cold open right:

Timely, relevant, funny enough, and not a million hours long! (I also liked Obama’s stand up comedy routine in last week’s cold open. Going out with a bang, cold open-wise, this show.)

There were also two recurring sketches that are always enjoyable: Herb Welch:

And Secret Word:

They also brought back the broken-down amusement park ride sketch that they did with Jim Carrey.

That is a good sketch! I am glad that is a recurring sketch now!

The episode was pretty light on celebrity cameos, especially for a season finale. There was a blah Bradley Cooper cameo during Weekend Update, and then Jimmy Fallon returned for an “episode” of the Barry Gibb Talk Show.

Jimmy Fallon hardly counts as a celebrity cameo since he is a celebrity BECAUSE of being on SNL in the first place. That is like your mom calling you a celebrity cameo when you show up for Thanksgiving. If we’re going that route, then there was another celebrity cameo this weekend: STEFON!

Of course, because it was a Justin Timberlake episode (I refuse to ever say or type “JT” — DAMNIT!) they of course did the advertising mascot sketch. I was surprised that they used it up right at the top of the show because that is the kind of thing I get surprised at now?

And because it was a Justin Timberlake episode, there was of course a Digital Short with Andy Samberg, bad r&b, worse (better) outfits, and helicopter dicks called “3-Way (The Golden Rule)”:

Very racy! Kind of too racy! A little gross, really!

As an easter egg for the superfans, there is also a sketch from the dress rehearsal that was cut for the actual show in which Justin Timberlake plays Mozart and talks about giving up music for acting. It’s not bad! They might have wanted to use this instead of the What’s That Name sketch, which was funny enough until Lady Gaga ruined it.

Well, that’s that. Another season of SNL down. Wrap party! Here’s to 14,000 more seasons, probably. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER, PALS, WE WILL SEE YOU IN THE FALLLLLLLLL!

Comments (57)
  1. Ugh, is Lady Gaga still a thing? Really? I’m going to buy a Lake House just so I can write a letter to Keanu Reeves to make sure Lady Gaga isn’t a thing anymore in 2 years. If she is, I’m just going to end it now; there’s only so much incoherent, borderline-yodeling, attention-craving garbage I can take.

  2. I don’t care if he’s arrogant. I would hit that. I would wreck that. JTim is awesome.

  3. While Lady Gaga ruined the What’s That Name sketch, can we talk about the Chris Kirkpatrick joke? So good! Even funnier because as I was writing this I wrote “Fitzpatrick” instead! So close. Still worth the $10M dollars to every charity?

    Also, there was SO MUCH BILL HADER in this episode. And IIIIII’M lovin’ it.

      • So this sketch reminded me of an old SNL Paul Simon sketch I saw on Comedy Central a few years back. He remembered random people who came to his concert, but then Garfunkel came out on stage and Simon didn’t remember him.

        I’m still trying to decide if that was intentional, a coincidence, or if I just watch way too much television.

  4. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  5. I gotta say, I thoroughly enjoyed this whole episode. I wasn’t bored at any point, none of the sketches were 20 minutes long for no reason, JT never drags a whole sketch down with him, and even Lady Gaga didn’t bother me (she was still way better than January Jones). You get an A! Congrats, SNL!

  6. I really loved the “What’s My Name” sketch. Lady Gaga’s part was definitely funnier on paper than in actual performance (because Lady Gaga) but it was a good twist. “I was in N’Sync with you!” made me bring sexy back by way of spitting coffee onto the table.

    • When JT couldn’t remember the name of the chick he banged last week…it made me wonder how many times that has happened to him in real life.

  7. I laughed pretty hard at the “What’s My Name” sketch (esp. Chris Kirkpatrick) but this (very good!) episode, esp. the monologue, mostly made me annoyed that JT hasn’t released a CD in almost 5 years.

    Also, I love Gaga, but she is so much better when she showcases her voice (a la the Edge of Glory performance) instead of fake-giving birth in an egg.

  8. i didn’t watch the episode yet. not only am i trying to be a better monster and comment more (on things i haven’t seen?) but i’m halfway into a bacon coma and fear that SNL will knock me out

  9. Bradley Cooper was predictably bland, but it’s okay because for whatever reason, Samberg’s Nicholas Cage impression gets a laugh out of me every time. Nomadic Eyebrows, fellas.

  10. Oh thank you for that Mozart sketch! Totally worth it just for “You’re a hipster now.”

    • That might have been the funniest sketch from the show… why would they cut that?!

    • I thought that sketch fell flat, which sucks because I’m a big Mozart fan. I really think it would have been much better if when Salieri had come out he’d made fun of Mozart’s acting abilities with everyone else before taking him aside and whispering intensely in his ear, “You are the greatest actor known to me…” That would have been funny and, importantly, made sense. Also, Mozart should have acted something out instead of just telling people about how he’s an actor. The whole thing just sort of came off like a Justin Timberlake ego trip or something.

  11. OK, let’s talk casting predictions. Who’s in, who’s out? OUT: Bobby Moynihan (even though he’s awesome), Bill Hader (time to focus on movies?), Jason Sudekis (same), Jay Pharoah (probably not, but we can always hope) and Kenan Thompson (as he’s been there 8 years). These aren’t people I want to leave, excepting Pharoah, but I just think they’re possible. SURPRISE RETURN: Jenny Slate.

  12. I have not watched much SNL in a while. So you guys tell me: am I wrong to think that since Fey/Poehler left, the cast just feels like it’s missing an ace, maybe two or three aces? I mean, Bill Hadir’s a funny guy and a unique talent and there’s something universal about Kristen Wiig (although for some reason I don’t find her hysterical, personally). I dunno. Maybe I’m just getting older.

    If nothing else, can we at least all agree that Seth Myers is not the best choice for weekend update? In fact, maybe a lot of my beef with SNL is with Seth Myers. Isn’t he the head writer? Congrats to him, but I don’t find him to be especially funny, which is a problem for a comedy show. Sorry for being old and cranky. I’ll go take my diabetes medicine now.

  13. Meyers being head writer seems to show in the sketch quality. Nothing against him as a cast member per say, but Tina Fey he ain’t.

  14. I like SNL. I appreciate that it’s not the funniest show, and that (literally) everyone remembers it being better than it is now, but generally it’s a pretty decent thing to watch for 90 minutes (and DVR makes it way way better).

    That said, I kinda don’t like the current SNL blueprint. I think I’m echoing a sentiment of Gabe’s here, but it really seems like the show is completely comprised of recurring characters. Most episodes FEEL like they consist of 3 to 4 sketches featuring a recurring character and the host as some perplexed bystander. In doing so, the sketches lose a lot of their spark.

    Additionally, and this seems to be a bigger thing lately than I ever remember it being, the new celebrity cameo thing feels like it’s kinda warping the show. When a lot of celebrities get together in a sketch, the content of the sketch is almost invariably no longer the central attraction. It takes on the tone of a high school talent show, where the audience is MOSTLY entertained by simply knowing everyone in the show, and the content is kind of irrelevant.

    Justin Timberlake’s episodes combine the last two points pretty profoundly. He’s such a popular figure. He seems to be beloved by the whole audience. And he knows it. This all kind of echos Gabe’s point in this article, but it really makes the show feel like a high school talent show with a really really talented kid. The crowd cheers every time he grimaces or shimmies or whatever he does. The writers, or JT himself, seem to realize that they don’t have to do anything creative so they just roll out the exact same show every time he’s on. He does the mascot who dances to popular songs, the Barry Gibb Talk Show, the music video guy, and he sings/dances in every sketch.

    I guess I just feel like the show has been taking fewer ‘risks’ with their material and the show is feeling a little staid lately. I like Justin Timberlake, but I think he should maybe take a little time off from SNL or just join the cast so he can just do one of his sketches every week instead of cramming them all into one episode.

  15. You know, I don’t understand his gripe. Sure JT is no Louis CK or anything, but he’s pretty funny. I can’t think of a comedian as buff and funny as him. Not a one.

  16. Why doesn’t stupid Hulu play the entire episode?

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