Hey, that was a very good episode! I wish I could give this compliment in a way that isn’t entirely backhanded, but, because I can’t really, it was very nice to be able to actually enjoy watching almost all of an entire episode Saturday Night Live! This season has definitely had some high points — last week’s Zooey Deschanel episode being one of them — but I think we can all agree, all of us in the world, that Maya Rudolph’s episode was the HIGHEST of points so far. Great job, gang. It’s weird how having a host who is actually a comedic performer and former cast member seems to make it a lot easier for everyone to do their jobs really well! Also, Amy Poehler and Justin Timberlake were there! Everyone’s favorites! WOWOWOWOWOW! Last week or the week before, someone commented in some post (this is very good so far, I’ll keep going) about how they thought Maya Rudolph was incorrectly thought of as an “SNL legend.” Which I kind of agree with? Meaning, although she was obviously a great cast member, I do agree that her success outside of the show is more of what makes her return to SNL exciting. AND I think that the fact that she didn’t have any hugely memorable characters (except, YOU KNOW) that America wanted her to revisit in this episode made for a much fresher and more creative group of sketches. (Though the “Bronx Beat” sketch was great!) And ugh barf gross who even cares, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE STUFF!

The cold open was very good, ESPECIALLY for a cold open. I had been refusing to learn anything about Jeremy Lin because I am so mad about how much everyone talks about him, but this weekend I asked my friend, “What’s the deal with that guy?” Because I figured there had to be something ABOUT him, other than that he was just good at basketball? Since he’s a basketball player and he’s supposed to be good at basketball? Like, SOME sort of cool story? BUT NO! He is just good at basketball! Also he is Asian. This cold open made me wish that more SNL sketches had “something to say.” Even if it is about something as not particularly risky as racial insensitivity. It feels good to watch something that has something to say! Especially when it’s funny!

Ugh, Bronx Beat was so good, even though it went on for like 45 minutes. By the end I was like, “Give me another 45 minutes of this!” That’s how good it was! Remember when Amy Poehler offered Maya Rudolph the mug with no water in it? Let’s watch it again.

Oh, and the Maya Angelou Prank Show sketch was wonderful. It’s a little bit harder to talk about sketches that are great than sketches that have problems, because really the only thing that I want to say about any of them is “watch it!” “Wasn’t it great?!” It was maybe my favorite of the night, tied with–

THE COSBY OBAMA SKETCH! Fred Armisen as Barack Obama as Bill Cosby was perfect. The opening credits sequence was perfect. It was all the best. “Watch it!” “Wasn’t it great?!”

The Jay-Z And Beyonce sketch was very enjoyable, even though it was just a “people doing their impressions” sketch. I feel like those kind of sketches have kind of a bad rap, because certainly there IS an element of laziness in a short setup followed by the same impressions everyone always does, but — TO BE HONEST — I never have that much of a problem with them. I like impressions! Except for Jay Pharoah’s, really! Because even though they are always VERY good, they are always seem flat after a while. Maybe because they’re too good, for real? Too little of an element of parody, and too much of an element of “hey he sounds just like that guy.” But, whatever, anyway, Nicki Minaj and Prince were great and, of course, the big story of the night, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AS BON IVER!

And, of course, Amy Poehler and Seth’s “Really?!!?” Weekend Update is so much more enjoyable with Amy Poehler! It was nice to have her back!

Sleigh Bells performed, but I have to say that I didn’t really pay attention to them. I don’t like those guys. It’s great if you do, though! Enjoy it!

Next week: LINDSAY LOHAN and Jack White. Very weird! That’s going to be sadbad, I bet!

Comments (62)
  1. I laughed WAY TOO HARD at that Westminster Dog Show joke about Ralph, the last place dog. So good.

  2. I too enjoyed this SNL episode. True story. Not much to add.

    Will there be a re cap of the new eastbound and down season three premier? I watched that little number twice last night. Rad premier episode.


  3. I think that about sums up how I was during this episode

    • I want to be Bill Hader’s friend. This gif just reinforces that.

    • This was my favorite sketch of the night. It was like Maya and Kristen agreed that they had to abstract their accents further and further as the sketch progressed in some sort of cast member personal challenge of not losing your shit, and Vanessa Bayer was the only one who won.

  4. The Jay-Z imitation was perfect!

  5. I always like the Goofball Biden impression, this time with overalls! I’m going to miss Jason Sudekis.

    Also, I may not be the target market (I’m over 30) but has the musical guest on SNL been terrible for the entire year?

  6. I didn’t know Maya Rudolph had such a good voice. This whole episode was so good from beginning to end! I love it when random people just show up. Was that Paul Simon in the beginning? And JT should just join the cast already!

  7. I made my friend watch the Maya Angelou sketch and introduced it with “This is brilliant, and you need to watch it.” Followed by, in an attempt to temper expectations: “I mean it’s not like riotously laugh-out-loud funny, but it’s worth seeing.” Followed by us watching it while I laughed so loudly I was almost crying, and he stared blank-faced at the screen.

    The points: 1. Cool fact: Some people have different senses of humor. 2. It’s even funnier the second time around.

  8. The Maya Angelou sketch was unbelievable! “Hello, child. I am the rock. I am the river. I am the one who put a pie under the butt of Morgan Freeman.”
    I was almost on the floor laughing, specially on the heels of the completely unexpected greatness of the cold open… where it actually felt like, for the first time, Jay Pharaoh really nailed the timing and feel of the sketch and wasn’t just doing faces and a voice.

    Next week is probably going to be the worst though… it might not be, but it probably will be. Can’t wait!!!

  9. Two things about these recaps:

    1) I love hearing Bill Hader give the Hulu opening
    2) I loved loved loved this episode

    Oh, and Taran Killam’s Pitt never gets old (BAHHHHH!)

  10. Hey everyone…LiLo doesn’t host until March 3. So just cool your jets for two weeks.

    Also, Jack White is on there too. Won’t he offset some of the weirdness/badness? Me thinks yes.

  11. I think Maya Rudolph is the female equivalent of Jimmy Fallon on SNL.

    The majority of people did not like Maya or Jimmy much on SNL. But in the years that have passed, they are both now very well liked.

  12. “Gonna add a little salami to the hoagie… THWAAAMP!”

  13. Loved this episode! Admittedly, I fast forwarded through both of the Sleigh Bells performances after hearing about 10 bars of the the first one. But other than that, I enjoyed every single skit and Weekend Update for the first time in a loooooong time!

    PS Maya Rudolph is hawt, y’all. Seriously, so beautiful! And smart! And talented!

  14. “Soon we battle Dallas and I will try my tiger claw technique!”

  15. More Joe Jamal-Biden, please!
    Hopefully Lindsey can keep herself alive for the next 2 weeks!
    Without dying! Of the drugs!

  16. I never noticed how eerily similar Bill Hader looks to Stephen King. It’s ridiculous.

  17. I thought nothing could top Maya Angelou’s prank show until Geoffrey Canada showed up on What’s Up With That. Raising expectations!

  18. my favorite moment: Kristin Wiig doing anything anytime
    my least favorite moment: ALL/MOST OF THE MUSIC ACTS
    underrated moment: Kenan’s Cornel West

  19. <– actual, real screengrab. I was glad to see SNL taking on the weird racism surrounding Jeremy Lin’s story.

  20. Great show. This is the way impressions should be done, quick and with a point. The talk show format is so played out.

  21. Your friend (unlintentionally I’m sure) left out some very linteresting points about the story of Jeremy Lin.

  22. No Whitney Houston sketch: missed opportunity or smart and respectful decision?

  23. I like how Bill O’Reilly got the hell out of there before the part where everyone gives everyone hugs, probably because he had a well founded fear that no one would give him a hug. I mean, Kate Upton stuck around for hugs, and I’m not confident that she said a single world

  24. Sleigh Bells was the worst and full of suck.

  25. LOVED the cold open. Jeremy Lin isn’t just another basketball player…he was undrafted and cut from many NBA teams. He finally got on a team and injuries put him on the court. His first five starts were the best five in the history of the NBA for any point guard.

    I also thought the cold open made an excellent point.

  26. Julie Klausner interviewed Maya Rudolph for BUST magazine, and what Maya had to say about impressions/characters really resonates and makes sense, and I think is kind of the key to why Jy Pharaoh is a gifted impressionist, but his characters suck or are absolutely non-existent:

    JULIE KLAUSNER: Your impression style has more to do with just creating a character than mimicking the person precisely.
    MAYA RUDOLPH: I think that’s exactly what it’s like. Like Whitney Houston. It’s a character. The way I do her, it’s not a real person anymore. Sometimes when you’re doing an impression of a person based on something they just did, it feels kind of mean-spirited, like you’re attacking somebody. As opposed to when we did Donatella Versace: we created a world where she was capable of anything. We made her this weird vampire. We had a talk show where she was in the bathtub, and then she got electrocuted—and she loved it.

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