‘SNL’ Scorecard: Sarah Silverman Will Sit On Your Lap
The energy level from last week’s ‘SNL’ season premiere wasn’t quite there with Saturday night's Sarah Silverman hosted effort. It was almost like last week felt like “we’ve got a cast we’re proud off; let’s show it off!” and this week was almost a little more experimental. (I realize, most likely, none of this was intentional.) Silverman was good in the respect that it at least appeared she was certainly trying, but sometimes stumbled over some lines (hosting ‘SNL’ isn’t easy!) and she would go back and forth from looking, at times, confident – obviously she was comfortable doing her standup act in the monologue -- and, at other times, looking a little off ... which all seems really reasonable. Oh, hey, here’s a scorecard for your Sunday morning...
Sketch of the Night
‘Whites’ (Mike O’Brien, Ensemble) So, this is encouraging, as 'SNL' Scorecard favorite Mike O’Brien plays a prominent role in ‘Whites’ – which is a good clue that he had a lot to do with this short film – and it gives me hope that we’ll still be seeing him the rest of the season. I’ll admit, I was fooled for the first few seconds; I really thought this was a commercial! The jovial tone is just dead-on perfect for what is actually a fairly sinister and biting commentary – with some added hiking and camping.
‘Fault in Our Stars Trailer’ (Silverman, Killam, Thompson) This wasn’t as much funny for using the Ebola scare to use our fear against us to make us laugh (yes, we all realize it’s hard to catch Ebola, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worrisome), but more just the way Killam and Silverman play the Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort roles (boy, Taran Killam really does do a killer Ansel Elgort). Hey, even ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ co-writer Michael Weber is on board!
‘Forgotten Television Gems’ (Thompson, Silverman, Strong, Killam, Bryant, McKinnon) This was pretty great. Not just the concept of looking back at a low rated television show in which women were actually nice to each other – there’s a message here! – but also that the sketch is so goofy. The message is there, what makes it land is that the sketch is funny instead of preachy. (This could easily have been “funny idea; terrible sketch,” but it worked!)
‘Sarah Silverman Monologue’ (Silverman) Sarah Silverman took a page from prior ‘SNL’ stand up hosts and basically just did her current set as her monologue – and at one point sitting on a terrified looking audience member’s lap for an extended amount of time. (I do wonder if that audience member was warned before this happened.) Silverman looked a little nervous and stiff when the monologue started, but settled into a grove by the time she was sitting in that poor woman’s lap.
‘Weekend Update’ (Jost, Che, Thompson, Silverman, McKinnon) This week’s ‘Weekend Update’ wasn’t quite the revelation that last week was – the individual segments just weren’t as strong – but Jost and Che did something interesting: About halfway through ‘Update,’ they two started to banter with each other, basically Che was playing the “in the know” guy and Jost was playing “dorky dude” – and, hey, this worked! In real life, I get the sense that Jost isn’t all that dorky, but, on television, he looks a little dorky. He really should try to own this persona because it really worked, especially next to Che’s “all knowing” shtick. Anyway, that was great.
‘Poem’ (Silverman, Mooney, Bennett) This is almost a tale of two sketches. What Mooney and Bennett did here with the meet-cute, finishing each other’s sentences trope was sketch comedy at its best. The problem is they got too caught up in the masochistic, “let’s beat the hell out of Kyle Mooney,” aspect – which looked like the two were having fun, but it was just a little bit too much.
‘Vitamix’ (Silverman, Bayer) Yep, yep, this was a 10 to 1 sketch. It’s about a woman who paid way too much for a blender and she’s trying to justify her purchase to a friend. There is a lot of passive-aggressiveness in this sketch and, yeah, it gave me the giggles and it has a pretty fantastic abrupt ending. I am happy this exists.
‘Traffic’ (Silverman, Killam, Moynihan, Bennett, McKinnon, Levine) A sketch about a man stuck in traffic with the woman he was just about to propose to, before finding out she cheated on him in Amsterdam, almost made it into the “good” section on the strength alone of my new favorite song, ‘You Cheated on Me and Then You Gave Me Fudge.’
(Not online due to song rights issues.)
‘River Sisters’ (Thompson, Silverman, Zamata, Strong) Sasheer Zamata needs a defining character. Maybe “defining” is a strong word, but something that stands out. It’s nice that she got some serious airtime in this sketch, but it wasn’t particularly memorable. Of all the cast members, which even includes newcomers Davidson and Che, I feel like I am least familiar with Zamata’s style than anyone else. I don’t feel like I know her (in the sense that we know anyone who is on our television). She still seems new in a way that Davidson and Che (or even Leslie Jones) do not feel new. I’m sure this will change over the course of this season, but I guess this is a long-winded way of saying that I hope we get to see more of her personality soon.
(Not online due to song rights issues.)
‘Cold Open: 60 Minutes’ (Pharoah, Bennett, Killam) President Obama gives an interview about the United State’s efforts against ISIS, lamenting how good they are at social media. I don’t know, there just seemed something weird about this sketch about cute tweets right after that organization beheaded another human being. It wasn’t the worst of ideas in terms of being critical of the Obama administration, but it just maybe suffered from bad timing.
‘Joan Rivers’ (Silverman, Zamata, Pharoah, Moynihan, Mooney, Strong, Levine, McKinnon) NBC is airing classic ‘SNL’s in the 10:00 p.m. timeslot. Last week was the Richard Pryor hosted show from 1975. And it kind of encapsulates just what this 40th anniversary of ‘SNL’ means as we now see Pryor (Pharoah) back as a ghost. There are a lot of ghosts now. This sketch was a sweet idea, as a tribute of sorts to Joan Rivers, but it just didn’t land. Silverman stumbled over her lines at least three times, which unfortunately throws the whole thing off. I suspect a perfect line reading wouldn’t have mattered much anyway. There’s not a lot here other than, “Here are some people who have died.” (Though, Bobby Moynihan’s Benjamin Franklin is a delight.)
Average Score for this Show: 5.86
· Chris Pratt 5.99
· Sarah Silverman 5.86
Mike Ryan is senior editor for Screencrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.