SNL Ranked: Chris Hemsworth Is an Electric Host
Chris Hemsworth has shown off his charisma, brawn and even a little wink of humor in the Marvel movie universe, but we’ve never seen him tackle flat-out comedy. Thor takes the SNL stage as this week’s host packing that signature charm and some solid comedic skills. The great time he has hosting the show is so infectious that it makes even the lesser sketches fun to watch. Read on for this week’s SNL rankings, from the best to the least memorable.
Avengers News Report (Moynihan, Hemsworth, Killam, Davidson, Pharoah, Bennett
Here’s what we never get to see in a superhero movie: the news coverage following the defeat of a villain and the total destruction of a city, which is always like an afterthought—oh well, we destroyed your city, but at least we killed the bad guy! Sorry? This sketch is a total blast, with Thor as a wonderfully obnoxious winner, dancing and giving shout-outs like the superhero equivalent of a frat bro, while Killam delivers Robert Downey Jr.’s affectations very well. Bennett’s Captain America is a bit of a snooze, but I suppose that’s the point. Davidson’s dazed Bruce Banner saying, “I think I ate a guy” got the biggest laugh out of me of the whole night.
Porn Stars: Dolce & Gabbana (Bayer, Strong, Hemsworth)
I was just thinking that: A. We haven’t seen these ladies in a while, and B. I really hope they do this sketch this week with Hemsworth around to play a male porn star. I got my wish. This time, the ladies are promoting Dolce & Gabbana (or Dolky and Gabbaba, or Douchey and Go Bye Bye), and they’ve brought their always hilarious bang-centric humor. Those “One time…” jokes kill me, but you really can’t top Hemsworth’s Don Juan De Dark Hole saying “Douchey and Go Bye Bye.”
Weekend Update (Jost, Che, Jones, Strong)
Oh hell yes, Leslie Jones pops in with some thoughts on relationships. Her chemistry with Jost is the new Stefon and Seth. And I’m totally with her on cardinal directions. I don’t get this east/west stuff either. Jost and Che’s takedown of Dr. Ben Carson is the beautiful back and forth saved for special occasions, and this one is worth it. Jost flubbing the penis measurement joke is particularly fun. He’s so much more enjoyable and likable when he loosens up, which is sadly very rare.
Strong returns as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, which is my personal favorite in her repertoire, mostly because we all know a girl like this. Search your heart, you know it’s true. Jenga.
Reality House (Mooney, Bennett, Hemsworth, Killam)
Um, did we see some Hemsworth butt in the shower? I do believe we did. A Bennett and Mooney short is always a treat, and while this one has them in familiar basic bro territory, it also gives us something a bit different with their take on the reality show format. There’s some hilarious melodrama over a dinner situation intercut with some brief, funny references to stuff like Survivor and American Idol. Bennett nails this character, even if we’ve seen a variation on it a few times.
American Express Ad (Hemsworth, Ensemble)
“If a jacked Australian with a perfect face can make it, anyone can.” I’m glad we’re addressing Hemsworth’s handsomeness up front with this fake ad, in which Hemsworth has a real casualness to his ego. He landed the Thor gig because he’s basically already Thor. He’s got loads of cash and a huge penis. Life is pretty great for Chris Hemsworth, and yeah, we should be jealous.
Empire Promo (Thompson, Zamata, Hemsworth, Pharoah, Che, Jones)
Hey! Michael Che is actually in a sketch! And it proves that this should happen more often. So to make white people like Empire, they’ve added the whitest dude ever to the cast, Chip, and he’s packing some serious khakis. The very presence of Chip interferes with all the glass-throwing and family feuding. I’ve never seen Empire, but this is pretty spot-on based on all the commercials for it. Also I’m not sure that white people don’t like it because at least 25 percent of the white people I follow on Twitter are really into this show. It could be the next “White people love The Wire.”
Spaceship (Hemsworth, Strong, Zamata, Thompson)
I was sort of hoping for Bobby Moynihan’s Kirby to return to space, but this is good, too. Hemsworth is a crew member on a spaceship piloted by a chicken. It’s so, so dumb, but so, so funny, especially when we find out Hemsworth has a bit of a…history…with this chicken. He’s having such a good time with this one.
Brother 2 Brother (Hemsworth, Killam, Davidson, Ensemble)
For the record, I would really like to watch Cody Pepperoni. Instead, we get Brother 2 Brother, in which Killam and Hemsworth play twins in a Disney show a la The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. It’s good to hear Hemsworth doing an American accent that doesn’t sound all gruff and stud-like. Listening to Cecily Strong and the cast of students dissect Killam’s appearance in comparison is like hearing the painful inner dialogue of every normal dude who’s probably ever stood next to Hemsworth in real life.
Monologue (Hemsworth, Thompson, Mooney)
Hemsworth doesn’t even lead with a Thor reference! He just comes right out with a Dancing With the Stars reference. Bless him. Things get off to a good start as Hemsworth introduces his two real-life brothers (yes, there’s another one besides Liam), joking that he can’t keep track of how many there are. Kenan Thompson joins as the other, other Hemsworth brother and McKinnon comes out as their mother—both with silly accents.
(Kyle Mooney really needs to knock it off with these norm-core short hair wigs because it gets me so worried that he’s chopped off his awesome hair.)
The Iggy Azalea Show (McKinnon, Pharoah, Zamata, Hemsworth)
I’ve only recently (like, today) become aware of this whole “Iggy Azalea is so humble” thing, which makes this sketch work a bit more for me, although it’s mostly one note until Hemsworth’s white rapper shows up. He’s like an Australian version of James Franco in Spring Breakers, but not as outlandish, which is too bad. Zamata’s Azealia Banks is the real highlight with her constant disgust and disapproval.
Hillary Clinton Cold Open (McKinnon)
Kate McKinnon does Hillary Clinton addressing her email “scandal,” but it’s no Amy Poehler, that’s for sure. Political cold opens don’t always click, and this one is fine, but it’s not hugely memorable. Her beach photo is pretty great, though.
Movie Set (McKinnon, Hemsworth, Thompson, Zamata)
I want to like this one more, which has Hemsworth and McKinnon as actors getting coached by Thompson’s eccentric director on a movie set. The end result has them reacting to each other’s lines with Jerry Lewis-level silliness. Those weird reactions are the only effective moments amid an otherwise blah sketch, but they’re not enough to sustain it.