Anna Kendrick is the perfect type of ‘SNL’ host – to the point that, as a performer, she could easily be a member of the cast. (I have no idea what her sketch writing ability is like.) Kendrick blends in with the rest of the cast so easily, it allows the show to be about the sketches and not about the host. Not to mention, she’s quite talented, which allows for a lot of singing and dancing – and there was a lot of singing and dancing last night (and a lot of Disney references). This was by far the most consistent show of the season, which makes it the best show of the season (even though I'm hesitant to use the word "best"). So much, in fact, that I wish I could set today’s Scorecard to the music of ‘Treasure Planet.’
Sketch of the Night
‘Flirty’ (Bayer, Mooney, Bennett) Even without the punchline of Vanessa Bayer and Beck Bennett having sex, this would have been wonderful. It’s always great when ‘SNL’ can pull off a sketch that would be great in any era of the show. And, most importantly, it’s great to see Kyle Mooney play a character in a pre-recorded sketch without using his go-to bro voice. Mooney is a charming guy! He should use that charm more often because it pays off for him here.
’Anna Kendrick Monologue’ (Kendrick, Ensemble) These are the best types of monologues. Now, at the time, I didn’t realize JUST HOW MUCH music would be in this particular show, but any sort of monologue that gets the whole cast involved in a huge dance number is a good monologue. It was reminiscent of when Mike Myers hosted – and sang about hosting – in 1997.
‘Les Jeunes de Paris’ (Killam, Kendrick, Wells, Pedrad, Milhiser, Moynihan, Wheelan, McKinnon, Mooney, Pharoah) I actually yelled “yes!” out loud when the ‘Les Jeunes de Paris’ title card came up. It’s actually been over two years since we’ve seen what was once Taran Killam’s signature sketch (as opposed to now just being the signature cast member). Though, in a week with so much music already, it’s funny that they decided to bring it back for this particular show. But, who cares? I hope it’s not another two years.
‘Fox and Friends: Obamacare and Climate Change’ (Killam, Bayer, Moynihan, Kendrick, Thompson) Bobby Moynihan just owns this sketch now. Actually, the reason ‘Fox and Friends’ always plays so well is that Killam, Bayer and Moynihan just have this format down to a science. Their interactions are so smooth and the timing is so perfect, these three could actually host a morning show together.
‘Big Joe’ (Killam, Moynihan, Kendrick, Milhiser, Thompson, Wells, Bennett, Mooney) Good grief, this was dumb. I mean, seriously, this was so dumb. Also: I could not stop laughing. Poor Big Joe can’t pick up the rocks and everyone else can! And the way Big Joe says “I can’t do it” just got me every time. You know what, sometimes a really dumb sketch can be a good thing!
‘Best of the White Guys’ (O’Brien, Thompson) The best thing about this video is that the basketball highlights are set to ‘Authority Song’ by John Mellencamp. (Which also means it’s not online.)
‘Principal Frye’ (Pharoah, Bayer, Kendrick, Thompson) I’m fairly sure Jay Pharoah tweeted during this sketch. He went off camera while Anna Kendrick came on, tweeted a line he just said, then came back on. Anyway, Pharoah always looks so happy while he’s doing Principal Frye, but this is a mid-level entry into the now expansive Principal Frye canon. Honestly, Pharoah is only a couple more away from having enough to fill out his own 'Best of Principal Frye' DVD.
‘Weekend Update’ (Jost, Strong, McKinnon, Wheelan, Moynihan) First, I really do hope George R.R. Martin names his next book ‘A Bunch of Clocks.’ So, this was a vast improvement on last week’s edition of ‘Update.’ And much longer, too, which seemed to let Jost and Strong have some more time to let things breathe, as opposed to rushing through deliveries. And it was nice to see Jost and Strong actually interact – and they seem at ease doing so! There should be more of this. McKinnon’s Angela Merkel is solid as always. And, hey, how about Brooks Wheelan? It is interesting that Wheelan’s most memorable moments on the show are the two times he’s played himself on ‘Update.’ We now know about his tattoo and we now know that in August of 2006 someone put a stick of butter in his pants while he was passed out.
‘Dongs All Over The World’ (McKinnon, Bryant, Strong, Zamata, Kendrick, Bayer) I suspect this sketch will be very popular on the Internet today. The production values are certainly great, but it felt like a one-note follow up to the much better ‘(Do It On My) Twin Bed.’ (Though, the look on Vanessa Bayer’s face as she sits next to Aidy Bryant is priceless – it’s too bad there weren’t more moments like that.)
‘Little Mermaid’ (Kendrick, Bryant, Pharoah, Moynihan) For whatever reason, this just didn’t land. It’s one of those weird sketches that feels like it should be great and certainly looks like it should be great, but the premise of Ariel singing Kesha (it’s without the dollar sign now, right?) seems funnier as an idea than it is to actually hear.
‘Audition’ (Kendrick, Bayer, Williams, Killam, Thompson) I honestly didn’t get the premise of this sketch until the very end. Which I think is that Vanessa Bayer is a bad singer, while Anna Kendrick is good? Did Vanessa Bayer pitch this while saying, “Guys, I’m a terrible singer. So terrible! Wouldn’t it be funny if I audition with Anna, who is such a great singer! Guys, seriously, I’m so bad!” In other words: has no one told Vanessa Bayer she’s not a bad singer?
(This sketch is not online due to song rights issues.)
’Cold Open: GM Hearings’ (McKinnon, Killam, Strong, O’Brien, Moynihan) I was strangely excited when ‘SNL’ opened with a congressional hearing – for really no other reason than it feels like it’s been some time since they’ve done that. But the choice of General Motors here seems like an odd way to kick off a comedy show. Maybe a large number of cast members own GM vehicles and want some answers! Who knows? Regardless, this came off very, very flat.
Average Score for this Show: 6.21
· Anna Kendrick 6.21
· Lady Gaga 6.06
· Melissa McCarthy 6.03
· Louis C.K. 5.93
· Edward Norton 5.91
· Paul Rudd 5.90
· Drake 5.82
· Jimmy Fallon 5.80
· Lena Dunham 5.77
· John Goodman 5.76
· Josh Hutcherson 5.75
· Jonah Hill 5.73
· Bruce Willis 5.68
· Kerry Washington 5.60
· Jim Parsons 5.51
· Tina Fey 5.35
· Miley Cyrus 5.20
Mike Ryan is senior editor of Screencrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.