Except for a couple of notable exceptions, everyone seemed to be going through the motions last night. Look, this happens. Especially at the end of a three-show run -- near the end of a long season –- looking ahead to the final stretch of shows of this season, which begin on May 3. The end is in sight! But, boy, there were some dull moments during Seth Rogen’s hosted effort that played out, at times, in front of an almost-silent studio audience. (Shhh! Don’t wake them!) Here’s this week’s pretty mellow Scorecard…
Sketch of the Night
'Monster Pals' (O’Brien, Franco, Rogen, Pharoah, Wheelan, Killam) Mike O’Brien is currently doing the most interesting work on ‘SNL’ and ‘Monster Pals’ is, so far, his master stroke. While watching, I couldn’t help but think that, with a cast this large and everyone fighting for the same amount of airtime, it’s a shame that more things like this – a sketch that manages to be weird, sweet, and funny --didn’t make it to air this season. Here’s your first “10” of the season.
’Blue River Dog Food’ (Rogen, Strong) Where was this kind of chemistry all night? I think the biggest problem with this particular show in general was that Rogen was playing too many passive characters – the drug dealer, the “don’t do drugs” guy – as opposed to really engaging with the rest of the cast. Here we have Rogen and Cecily Strong engaging each other and it is fantastic.
'CNN Pregnancy Test' (Bayes, Bennett) This is an interesting sketch. And it wasn’t as much funny as it was extremely clever. ‘SNL’ found a way to a make a sketch about a home pregnancy test into a sketch about the tragic Malaysian Airlines flight 370 and CNN’s coverage of that missing flight, without becoming macabre. “It’s 2014, why can’t they find it?,” a line used by Vanessa Bayer to ask about her pregnancy is a line we’ve all used over the last, now, five weeks. Again, this wasn’t particularly funny, but it was ‘SNL’ delivering a message in a clever way.
'Steakhouse' (Rogen, Bryant, Strong, Mooney, McKinnon) Aidy Bryant sells a sketch that probably has no business being funny. Hey, there was a fart joke! But as opposed to some other offerings tonight, the cast seemed to be having fun, which made this fun to watch. You know, I’m not a huge fan of cast members breaking in the middle of a sketch, but we really haven’t had that this season and, gosh, if any cast needed that little dose of added humanity, it might be this one. And it almost happened here and I was kind of rooting for it to happen.
’420’ (Mooney, Bennett, Rogen) Rogen wasn’t kidding in his monologue, there were a lot of drug sketches. I mean, at this point, whatever. This wasn’t at all bad by any means, it’s just that I feel like I see this character over and over again from Kyle Mooney. That’s why last week’s ‘Flirty’ sketch was such a welcome change. Why come up with all of these interesting and unique ideas, then do the same voice, which makes them all feel like the same thing?
'Seth Rogen Monologue' (Rogen, Wells, McKinnon, Moynihan, Deschanel, Franco, Swift) Well, I’m sure the James Franco PR team is happy this morning. “Alright, we made light out of an embarrassing situation – I think we’re good! People were laughing!” As far as a monologue is concerned, what an odd concept. Why would Seth Rogen need help? It’s like they wanted to have three cameos so bad and couldn’t quite figure out how to do it in a natural way, so that was the excuse: Seth Rogen needs help and Taylor Swift is there to help.
”Weekend Update” (Jost, Strong, Thompson, Bayer) Lots of baseball this week, with Kenan Thompson’s David Ortiz and Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob crying at the mention of Derek Jeter’s retirement. And Strong did a pretty solid job of interacting with Jacob – even though it’s a little odd not having Seth Meyers there. Regardless, ‘Update’ as a whole came off as rather flat, which has been a problem the last few weeks. Then again, most of this show had a flat feeling to it, so perhaps it’s not fair to point any fingers at ‘Update.’ (Also, strangely, there was no fist bump to end the show between Strong and Jost.)
'Shallon: Drug Safety' (Rogen, Pedrad, McKinnon, Wells, Moynihan, Milhiser, Bryant, Thompson) Here we are with the third entry in the Shallon saga. I kind of like Shallon! And I’m certainly happy when the always-underused Pedrad get to star in a sketch. Though, this one seemed a little more forced than the previous entries – punchlines about smoking crack seems like low-hanging fruit.
’Cold Open: GOP at Coachella’ (Killam, Bennett, Zamata, Wells, Pedrad, Wheelan) It was a nice idea, because it is laughable when politicians – still wearing their suits – try to be “hip.” The problem is, this just didn’t go anywhere. It was just Killam and Bennett spouting Republican talking points. (Though, Nasim Pedrad’s Bobby Jindal was pretty great – where has this impression been hiding?) But, hey, at least Brooks Wheelan got to yell “live from New York.” He looked really excited!
'Herman and Sons' (Rogen, Thompson, Bryant) Semen and yogurt kind of look similar! That’s the punchline here. Anyway, whatever. I can see this kind of being a funny idea at 2 a.m. in a “If there’s time at the end of the show, sure,” kind of way. Hey, what do you know? There was time at the end of the show. Also, the funniest part of this sketch was learning that Kenan Thompson’s characters’ last name is “Sons.”
’Undercover Sharpton’ (Thompson, O’ Brien, Bennett, Strong, Zamata, Moynihan, Rogen, Milhiser, McKinnon) The studio audience was eerily quiet during this sketch. Perhaps they thought they were watching tennis, who knows? Other than a pretty jazzy intro theme song, there was just nothing here. It is a funny premise, but it wasn’t a funny sketch.
”Engagement Party” (Rogen, Strong, Bayer, Pedrad, Killam, Moynihan, Bryant, Bennett) Seth Rogen’s character performed oral sex on a man in 2011. Now he’s engaged to a woman. I’m not quite sure where anyone thought this was going, but the awkward timing and ending kinda made sure it had no chance.
Average Score for this Show: 5.68
· 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
· Seth Rogen 5.68
· Bruce Willis 5.68
· Kerry Washington 5.60
· Jim Parsons 5.51
· Tina Fey 5.35
· Miley Cyrus 5.20
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