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‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: “Jonah Hill”

SNL Jonah Hill
NBC

On tonight’s all-new episode of ‘SNL,’ Jonah Hill drops by the 30 Rock stage for his third time hosting the show. Coincidentally, Hill also just received his second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor — this time for his memorable turn in Martin Scorsese‘s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ Hill has some serious chops, especially in the comedy department, so we can’t wait to see what he brings to the stage tonight. Read on for our full review!

The U.S. Men’s Heterosexual Figure Skating Championships

Taran Killam and Cecily Strong host this preamble to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as former figure skaters Scott Hamilton and Tara Lipinski, respectively. Since there’s been some trouble in Russia with anti-gay laws, this sketch puts together a heterosexual figure skating team. Particularly great is Bobby Moynihan’s snack-munching, homophobic slob. Also on deck are Jay Pharaoh awkwardly baby-stepping to some Warren G. and the duo of Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon as an AutoZone employee and an Applebee’s waitress. Fun work with what could be an offhand joke, guys.

Opening Monologue

Hill wants to talk about what it’s like to be a two-time Oscar nominee now, but the cast keeps interrupting him from the audience with questions about Leonardo DiCaprio — since everyone involved with this movie just keeps getting blasted with questions about Leo. It also gives Killam opportunity to do his Brad Pitt impression, which is always a win. But then SURPRISE! Leo shows up just as Hill’s dissing him, and the girls in the audience all just died. And then he does the ‘Titanic’ flying bit with Hill and I’m pretty sure I just died. The opening monologues this season really have been a vast improvement over last season — even if the middle of the show starts to get wobbly, as it often does, the show starts you on such a high that the lows don’t feel as low.

Adam Grossman

Yes! Adam Grossman returns! The joke-happy Jewish six year-old who goes beyond precocious to downright brash joins his stepmother for dinner at Benihana (or, to the ‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ F—ING BENIHANA) to hit on her friends and steal all the attention. If Vanessa Bayer wasn’t playing his mother, I wish her Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy would hang out with Adam. That would be one hell of a time, with Adam giving Jacob comedy lessons. Arigato and Mazel Tov, this sketch is great, and it really pops when Hill gets excited over his stepmom’s own attempts at jokes. His reaction face is hilarious.

The Hit

Pharaoh, Killam, and Kenan Thompson star in this pre-recorded bit as gangsters about to go pop some caps in some rivals, until Killam and Thompson get distracted by the whimsical snowfall outside. See, it’s just too magical outside to go kill some guys! It’s really cute hearing these tough dudes talk like little kids about how the snow is from angels or how they’d run out in it and frolic like baby deer. And Pharaoh just won’t get down with it until he sees an adorable little bunny outside in the snow, which melts his gangster heart. The ending is a bit predictable, but damned if it wasn’t clever.

Couples Quiz

Thompson hosts this game show in which couples must answer questions to see how much they know about one another. Hill is paired up with Strong, while Killam is with Sasheer Zamata. But the game doesn’t really go anywhere because one of the contestants clogged up the toilet and the host is intent on figuring out who did it. “Did you go on top of the clog?!” has a certain ‘Seinfeld’ ring to it, and I love everyone’s faces when they learn the truth. Thompson always plays a really good game show host, and Hill does a good conservative and uptight type, but it makes me think I’d like to see him play someone really repulsive and unkempt.

Weekend Update

I’m kind of disappointed that Kate McKinnon didn’t do her Justin Bieber this week, but maybe it was a little too easy after his arrest. That said, Thompson’s Officer Medina, who arrested Medina for the DUI this week, was pretty great and almost made up for it with some hilarious one-liners, like calling Bieber a “swaggy little leprechaun.” Most of the jokes focus on how tiny and non-threatening Bieber is, which is pretty easy in itself, but come on — it’s too funny.

McKinnon didn’t do Bieber, but she did bring back Olya Povlatsky, the woman from the small village in Russia, who is one of my favorite McKinnon characters. Side note: there is a woman who sells handmade necklaces on a street corner by the Whole Foods where I shop who is a dead ringer for Olya. Anyhow! Olya is here to comment on the Sochi Olympics and she’s pretty excited to share her quaint and hilariously dire perspective with us. If you didn’t know, Olya is known as a party girl in her village, and she regales us with a little tune: “They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said ‘is it warm?’” Olya is pretty sassy tonight, and I love how McKinnon has evolved and loosened up a bit with the character.

Sweetland Ranch

Nasim Pedrad plays Danielle, a girl who wanders away from her class trip on a ranch and into a stable to hang out with two quirky horse-handlers, played by Hill and Strong. But they’re not quite the horse whisperers they present themselves to be, and start getting beat to crap by the horse, though they do their best to explain it away with their folksy knowledge. It’s a bit goofy and thin, and while Hill’s reactions are great, they aren’t quite enough to sell it.

‘Me’

Hill plays both the Joaquin Phoenix role and the Scarlett Johansson role in ‘Me,’ a spoof of ‘Her,’ about a guy whose perfect operating system would be himself, which he obviously falls in love with. This leads to some awkward phone sex, hilarious interactions with his friends and, um, himself, and an amazing cameo from Michael Cera as the sex surrogate his OS hires so they can get closer to each other. Mustaches and high-waisted pants abound.

Dinner Party

Hill goes to dinner at the home of Mr. Banks, his boss, played by Bennett, and his wife, played by McKinnon. He’s joined by their friends (Aidy Bryant and Kenan Thompson), but things get awkward fast when he keeps getting names of things and people mixed up and runs to the bathroom to loudly berate himself. Hill taps into the straight-laced guy thing so well, but he’s also wonderful at exploding in terrifying ways, and hearing him yell about his “infant penis” or lamenting how he blew the chance to screw the one guy’s wife is great enough — seeing him emerge from the bathroom wearing make-up as some part of a self-shaming ritual is even more amazing. What the hell is this sketch? It’s insane and I love it. The back-end of ‘SNL’ is always ripe for weirdness. More weirdness! More!

Inside SoCal

Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s latest short is a web show hosted by two southern California dudes and skate-bros about their friends and stuff. But like, they talk about Oscar movies and stuff, like “Philomania.” (Nice Golden Globes DiCaprio joke, guys.) Their friend Keith (Hill) also pops in because it’s his house party, aka “kick-back.” Mooney and Bennett’s shorts are always pretty fun, but this one is a standout — their chill Cali white boys in skater clothing thing is so on-point. The more specific, the better. And Moynihan as the dad is a nice touch since he hasn’t been around much tonight.

Former Porn Star Commercial: Lamborghini

YES! Thank you, ‘SNL.’ These ladies are my absolute favorite thing on ‘SNL’ right now besides Aidy Bryant. Tonight they sell us “Lambertinis,” which are perfect for “escaping, fleeing, and cross country road head,” and “You’ll feel like you’re the conductor of running a train on the world!” Hill plays Martin Porn-cese, a retired porn director who now gets around in a motor scooter and directed porn classics like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ The writing in this sketch is so funny, even he cracks a little. What a perfect ending to the show.

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