Who? Oh, Bruno Mars. I vaguely know him as the young soul-filled singer who is on the radio right before I switch it, so I was surprised to see him pulling double-duty this week as both host and musical guest. While not unheard of (see full list here), it is usually for super famous people (Sting, Dolly Parton, Justin Timberlake, Mick Jagger) — people who are up the challenge of double duty.
I am going to shut up now and just say that, holy shit, Bruno Mars was awesome. Not sure if this is because of my lowered expectations, or because he was truly exceptional. Who cares, at this point, I will take it.
The Best of the Night
Political Cold Open: Aidy Bryant finally has a speaking role! The jokes about the audience, the fighting between the candidates and the inside jokes make up for the 90 minutes of my life I will never get back. If you watched the debates in full, you will enjoy this sketch more than the average person.
Pandora Intern: This was by far the best sketch of the night. Internet music site Pandora goes down, and the voice tracks are lost. Who can sing all these random songs? The Intern can. Every once and a while, there will be a sketch about Christmas Carols sung by your favorite stars and features impressions by the cast (here is an example). I have not seen a single performer (since perhaps Jimmy Fallon, as seen here) who has had the range to mimic such a variety of singers. NOTE: I tried to find a legal version of this video but could not. My thoughts are it has to do with copyright of the songs used. Sorry you missed it; if it gets posted on Hulu or NBC, I will add it.
Stefan: I love Stefan. He brings a joy to an otherwise dismal “Weekend Update.” This Halloween, Stefan will tell you where to go for random home invasion, hobo cops, Slurpees and a human pinata. The best part is of course when Bill Hadar inevitably breaks and has to hide behind his hands.
THE WORST OF THE NIGHT
Brad Pitt Commercials: I enjoyed the first part — mocking Brad Pitt in his Chanel No.5 commercials. With incoherent rambling and looking “super homeless” it is a classic SNL commercial parody. Then it just gets weird. The Taco Bell commercial is witty and makes fun of his brood, but the other two are strange. Dog Condoms? Pass.
Wilderness Lodge: Yeti Point is a placed where Yeti’s point to you before they attack. It’s rude and terrifying. Oh, and they also rape you. But apparently NBC censors won’t let an actor say the word “rape” unless they were actually raped. Or NBC used up its “rape” quota on Law & Order: SVU. Anyway, the premise is strange and not very well executed. Just not my cup of tea.
Sad Mouse: While I do miss the Digital Shorts of season’s past, this is a pre-filmed short about a sad man who is so desperate for money he stands in Time Square to wave at people. And he is utterly sad. Until he meets a sad frog. A little too…French for me?
Haters: Why does SNL insist on dressing every male host in poorly executed drag? This is a talk show akin to Maury Povich or Jerry Springer. You know, white trash. Bruno Mars is dressed as a young woman and for some reason, Bobby Moynihan is dressed as his mom. Were there no capable female cast members who could skank it up like Honey Boo Boo? Wouldn’t it be smarter to use those ladies to show the scope of their comedy? Putting a guy in a dress is a lazy joke. I demand better.
I have to say, Bruno Mars is not my favorite. There is something about the R&B, Soul, Top 40s mash-up that reminds me of One Direction or Flo Rida or Color Me Bad. Only this boy can sing. Sure, he uses his fantastic voice to sing lyrics like “Your sex takes me to paradise,” but other than that, he is one talented little boy. Watching him on SNL truly made me want to learn more about this guy, so I was on Wikipedia right after his monologue. It didn’t make me want to download his music on iTunes, but it will keep me from changing the channel right away when he pops up on the radio.
I also notice that I usually like the second song more than the first. I assume that the first song, on earlier in the evening, is a popular or soon-to-be released single. The second song (in this case “Young Wild Girls“) is picked by the artist, and since most of the audience has tuned out or fallen asleep by 12:50am, there is less pressure to be commercially successful, and the singer can show the world something a little different.
- Is it expected for every host to have a singing monologue? Seth MacFarlane, Christina Applegate, Joseph Gordon Levitt…all had musical monologues. I am not saying I hate it, but I also don’t really like it.
- Best line of the night: “Donkey Punch the Vote” Just so funny.
- Is Tom Hanks the best actor in the world? I guess Tom was too busy touring for Cloud Atlas to host himself, so he just pops in for a few sketches. I love him and even as a scary molesting robot, he has such depth and character. I could watch him in anything. Except Larry Crowne.