SNL Ranked: Jonah Hill Feels Weirdly Miscast in an Occasionally Hilarious Episode
Jonah Hill returned to SNL this weekend, and while he doesn’t have any new films to promote (aside from his small part in last month’s Hail, Caesar!) until August, an appearance from Jonah Hill is always a welcome one. So, how did Hill do in his fourth outing as SNL host? More importantly, did Adam Grossman make an appearance? Spoiler: Nope. Instead, we got three great sketches (all pre-recorded), one good Weekend Update, and a handful of truly baffling sketches — how do you miscast Jonah Hill in his own episode of SNL? Read on for our ranking of this week’s sketches from best to worst.
Inside SoCal Newer One (Mooney, Bennett, Killam, Hill, Strong)
A new Inside SoCal?! What a fantastic surprise. And seriously, it has been way too long since Mooney and Bennett brought us the latest news from their little corner of SoCal. This time they also try to deliver some world news and cover, um, women’s issues. Learn about some Indian food, bro:
The Champ (Hill, McKinnon, Bayer, Moynihan, Strong, Pharoah, Killam, Thompson)
What an amazing, weird and very funny short. Hill plays a high school wrestler who wins his big match, only to come home and find the top story on the news features everyone (students, the wacky janitor) claiming that he’s actually a total loser and the win was a setup. Hill and Moynihan’s reactions are fantastic, and the timing of that murder joke is great.
Voters for Trump Ad(Strong, Killam, Bayer, Moynihan, Bryant, Bennett, Mooney)
Just in time for that gloriously terrifying image of Trump rallying his supporters to basically give him a Nazi salute, this simple political ad gracefully captures the casual racism of his base. The visual punchline is revealed so perfectly, as his conservative followers embrace the idea that they no longer need to merely imply their bigotry.
Weekend Update (Jost, Che, Strong, Future, Bayer, McKinnon, Pharoah)
After some pretty good jokes about O.J. Simpson and Ben Carson, Cecily Strong FINALLY returns as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party and she has some Opinions about the Primaries, Africa, Zootopia, bears and, like, stuff. She also has an incredible Bill Cosby joke. Jay Pharoah also pops in to discuss secret black comedian meetings, giving him a chance to do some fun impressions we never get to see.
The field report with Bayer interviewing McKinnon (as the oldest woman in Washington, Flossie Dickey) is so sublimely cringe-inducing that it makes me wonder why they don’t do more of these segments during Weekend Update.
Monologue (Hill, Mooney, Pharoah, Future)
This is an early contender for best SNL monologue of the year. Too bad the rest of the show is rarely this funny. After addressing his recent lack of substantial movie roles and engaging in a hilarious back-and-forth with Kyle Mooney (A+ Andy Samberg reference), Hill brings Future out for a great (and short!) musical opener. SNL musical monologues are rarely ever a good idea, but I’ll allow it this time:
Murder Mystery (Thompson, Killam, Strong, Hill, McKinnon, Bryant, Bennett)
McKinnon is this sketch’s MVP (obviously), and although it’s not that funny, the absolute silliness combined with the riff on Clue / The Westing Game is enough to make it work. Mostly. If you like lace ladies’ bloomers and talk of pheasants and toilet flushes, anyway:
CNN Election Center Cold Open (Bennett, Hammond, Moynihan, McKinnon, Killam, Sudeikis)
I could watch Bobby Moynihan’s petrified Chris Christie stand behind Darrell Hammond’s Trump for at least five more minutes, easy. McKinnon’s Stormtrooper joke is going to launch an online petition to get her in a Star Wars movie, isn’t it? Hillary Clinton in a Star Wars movie would also be acceptable. Anyway, Jason Sudeikis makes a surprise appearance as Mitt Romney, and all of this is pretty much okay:
Silver Star Catering (Hill, Bennett, Strong, Killam, Thompson, Bryant)
This is like if Danny McBride tried to do an effeminate, obnoxious and narcissistic caterer, right down to the crass descriptions of how the corporate clients raped, finger-blasted and gang-banged the snack foods. This sketch would actually be better if they had Danny McBride. That makes two sketches this week that feature “edgy,” borderline material that results in something more baffling than offensive. Probably because Hill feels so miscast, and in a way, it kind of speaks to where he’s at as an actor right now.
School Auction (Bryant, Hill, Mooney, Zamata, Strong, Bennett, Moynihan, Jones, Pharoah, Davidson, Killam)
You know what, if this were a sketch in the ’80s with Bill Murray and Jim Belushi, it might be a classic (but it wouldn’t have the social media angle). Instead, Hill and Killam playing ambassadors for princes in Kuwait and Qatar and bidding on high school teenagers isn’t nearly as funny as it looks as I’m typing this out. The stereotyping feels incredibly outdated. It’s not necessarily offensive, it’s just sort of baffling.
Fond Du Lac News(Strong, Hill, Bryant, Bayer, Killam, Bennett)
The little digressions in this Wisconsin newscast whatever-this-is are amusing enough, but Bayer and Strong’s accents need some serious work. Killam basically imitates Bill Hader’s Herb Welch to less entertaining effect, and…this thing goes on way, way too long.