SNL Ranked: Chris Hemsworth Wields Some Mighty Humor
Chris Hemsworth (better known to some of you mere mortals as Thor) returns for his second outing as SNL host, following the utter giggle-fest that was last week’s episode, aka Ryan Gosling’s Laugh-In. Hemsworth absolutely killed it the last time he took the SNL stage, and he was certainly impressive again this week — particularly when paired with Kyle Mooney, whose particular set of goofy comedic skills worked incredibly well with the charming guest host. Read on for our rankings of this week’s sketches from best to worst.
Star Wars Toy Commercial (Moynihan, Killam, Mooney)
Mocking man-children who still collect action figures never gets old. This faux ad for new Star Wars action figures legitimately had me in tears, with the perfectly nerdy trio of Moynihan, Killam and Mooney obnoxiously interrupting kids with their insistence that the toys should stay in the box. No really, they should stay in the box, and if you have to take them out, you should at least use the right names (Doug Vader?!) and sound effects. “Does your wife like toys, too?” is an absolute killer.
Time to Bleed (Hemsworth, Mooney, Zamata, Bennett, Rudnitsky, Thompson)
Hemsworth stars in a near-perfect spoof of tough movie cops who refuse to get medical attention until they “see this thing through to the end.” This digital short takes that concept literally, with Hemsworth’s handsome, gruff cop suffering a bullet wound while he fills out paper work, receives a commendation, and hits on his partner with puns about his penis that are increasingly terrible due to his blood loss. Mooney’s brief work here as the typical action movie villain is superb, and I love how well his specific sense of humor pairs with Hemsworth’s talents.
George W. Bush Cold Open (Ferrell)
Will Ferrell is back on the SNL stage as George W. Bush to announce his unprecedented third run for President, and I never knew how much I missed this — especially when he starts singing The Fugees. Ol’ Dubbya offers some wonderfully silly commentary on the supreme idiocy of the current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls. It’s a disarmingly funny sketch, but it also inspires a sobering realization: oh god are these people really worse than George W. Bush?
Christmas Sing-a-Long (Hemsworth, Strong, Thompson, McKinnon, Zamata, Killam)
Kate McKinnon’s face in this says it all. Strong and Hemsworth play a couple hosting a holiday party with the latter playing the piano for some Christmas sing-a-longs, but then his wife suggests “Deborah’s Song” — and no one knows what that is. It just sounds like something these people made up, like a stressed out, upper-class housewife’s holiday show tune. Hemsworth’s piano face is stellar, Strong totally commits to her inner Anne Hathaway, and McKinnon’s dismayed WTF face is incredible.
Male Strippers (Hemsworth, Ensemble)
College theatre guys participate in an amateur night at a club, delivering a horrifically awkward Broadway-esque take on Magic Mike. It is terrible and wonderful at the same time, with McKinnon, Jones, Strong and Bryant’s baffled reactions making it even more hilarious.
Monologue (Hemsworth, Ensemble)
Oh boy, Hemsworth reminds us just how damn charming he really is. At first he seems to be teasing more Brothers Hemsworth action; instead he takes us on a mini-backstage tour, which really doesn’t happen often enough — when it does, it always feels like we’re peeking behind the Wizard’s curtain. Hemsworth treats each cast member like one of his brothers, punching and pranking all of them except for Leslie Jones because obviously you do not mess with LJ. The bit with Colin Jost is an exceptionally funny capper.
Weekend Update (Che, Jost, Jones, McKinnon)
See, this is how you clown on Donald Trump. Leave it to the Weekend Update desk and please take Taran Killam off Trump duty ASAP. McKinnon finally returns with German chancellor Angela Merkel, who ranks just below Olya Povlatsky as her best Update character. Leslie Jones also drops by to offer her commentary on the Golden Globe nominations, and if you’ve been paying attention to her Twitter feed for the last week or so, you know that she’s been binge-watching Breaking Bad for the first time and live-tweeting the whole thing. “Juggle them balls” was definitely the highlight of her live-tweet-a-thon, so I’m glad to see her bring it up here.
Brunch (Strong, Bryant, Bayer, McKinnon, Hemsworth)
A group of ladies are having dinner and debating hunky dudes in movies, when their friend Claire starts talking about how hot Chris Hemsworth is — and that’s when the girls start to wonder if their friend Claire is actually Chris Hemsworth in drag and if they can even remember when they met her (or him). Hemsworth gushing over himself while dressed as a woman is wonderful, and the rest is filler until he reveals his true identity and grieves for all the women lusting after Ryan Gosling and Chris Pratt and his brother, Liam. Aidy Bryant provides an excellent punchline.
Brother 2 Brother: Wrestling Meet (Hemsworth, Killam, Bennett, Mooney, Rudnitsky, Davidson)
YES! SNL revives Brother 2 Brother with Killam and Hemsworth playing twins and spoofing those Suite Life shows on the Disney Channel. It’s not as funny as last time, but still pretty enjoyable. Obviously they are not identical, and none of their switcheroo attempts work because everyone starts gleefully pointing out Killam’s physical failings in comparison to his hotter, more ripped brother. If you aren’t a big fan of Killam, you’ll probably love watching his fellow cast members criticize his pale, lesser-than-Hemsworth physique.
Pirate Ship (Hemsworth, Killam, Strong, Thompson, Rudnitsky)
Rudnitsky hasn’t really had a showcase, but he gets one in this zany sketch as the weird outlier pirate in their sea shanty — and his energy is very comparable to Andy Samberg. That’s really the big takeaway here.
On the Record (McKinnon, Killam, Pharoah, Moynihan)
Kate McKinnon is so good it’s unreal, and it’s enough to float us through Killam’s underwhelming Ted Cruz until we get to Moynihan’s more lively Chris Christie and Pharoah’s delightfully weird Ben Carson, with the GOP guys commenting on Trump’s outrageous suggestion to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. Ferrell’s cold open was a hard political sketch act to follow, that’s for sure.