First-time host Daniel Craig comes to the SNL stage this week to help promote November’s release of Skyfall. It’s always interesting to see how dramatic actors hold up in the SNL setting, so let’s see how Daniel fits the bill.
Cold Open: Jason Sudeikis’s Mitt Romney and Jay Pharaoh’s President Obama open the show with the inevitable presidential debate spoof featuring Chris Parnell as moderator Jim Lehrer, some intense Romney staring eyes, Denver altitude-induced Obama dizziness, and a Michelle Obama drop-by giving the president some “Really? A presidential debate on our anniversary??” looks. The sketch was decent; but in terms of debate parodies, I much more enjoyed the one on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last Thursday.
Monologue: Daniel Craig’s monologue wonderfully sidestepped a lot of the awkwardness that can come with being a serious dramatic actor hosting SNL and played it straight with a kind of “I’m British, and you’re not” tone. The monologue featured a touching In Memoriam montage of all the people he’s killed in movies, ranging from guesstimate mass murders to a dog that saw too much. A+, Daniel Craig. A+.
Construction Workers: Most of the SNL men gathered with Daniel for this construction workers sketch where one of the guys (Daniel) is just not too talented in the hitting-on-women department. I loved this switch-up of the guys playing straight man to Daniel, and how can you not laugh at “squishrags” being used in pickup line?
Bond Girls: If there was any concern that the current ladies of SNL were going to flounder without Kristen Wiig, worry no more. The impressions in this sketch of lesser-known Bond girls were absolutely perfect, from Vanessa Bayer’s Diane Keaton to Kate McKinnon’s Ellen Degeneres. Fred Armisen as Penny Marshall was just the icing on the cake.
MSNBC Debate Fallout: President Obama’s less than stellar performance in the presidential debate last Wednesday brought devastation on MSNBC in this sketch, parodying the various excuses Obama supporters listed as the reasons for the incident. The best theory of the night goes to Al Sharpton’s (Kenan Thompson) suggestion of a Freaky Wednesday incident, and Cecily Strong rounds out the ongoing list of awesome impressions for the night with a great Rachel Maddow.
Long Island Medium: Well, it’s official. There is no accent/impression that Kate McKinnon can’t do. Literally every line of this pre-taped sketch made me laugh out loud. The whole premise was dead-on, with great add-ins like the Long Island shared experience of a relative choking on a meatball parm. And certainly nothing beats Daniel Craig with a soul patch.
Mars Mission: This sketch proves to be Bobby Moynihan’s Chris Farley-est performance to date (and don’t forget Cecily giving off a real Anybodys from West Side Story vibe) playing The Weird Guy on a crew on a mission to Mars that misses his little kitty cat (named Fuzz Aldrin, natch). The repetition might make you cringe, but I have to say Ienjoyed it.
Muse: Muse returns for their second SNL gig singing new songs “Madness” and “Panic Station.” Lead singer Matthew Bellamy’s vocals and guitar solo both sounded great, but the real star of the performance was the space guitar played by Christopher Wolstenholme during “Madness”—a double necked bass featuring a Misa Kitara electric bass on top.
Weekend Update: My favorite joke of the night was Seth Meyers calling Jim Lehrer the loser of the presidential debate, saying, “He was like a ghost visiting a scene from his past life. ‘Hello? Mr. President? Governor Romney? CAN ANYONE HEAR ME??'” Every thing else that was said doesn’t matter because the cutest possible thing happened—BIG BIRD CAME ON AS A GUEST!! Ok, that wasn’t the only thing about Weekend Update that mattered, because Kate stopped by to solidify her queen status by appearing (and, of course, being hilarious) as the Spanish woman that “fixed” (uglified) the now infamous Jesus fresco.
A Sorry Lot We Are: This look at English everyman drudgery was one of my least favorite sketches of the night. It was really only worth it to hear Bill Hader’s accent (and also maybe Aidy Bryant’s cackle). This one did not live up to my personal favorite SNL fake British TV show, Fancy a Jar, Do You?
Loving Couple: It must be 12:30, because this was a last-half-hour sketch if I ever saw one. Daniel and Fred (with Fred basically dressed as Edna from The Incredibles) play a couple that can’t keep their hands off each other aaaaaaand I may be scarred for life. The most amazing part of the sketch is probably the fact that it took until the 3:50 minute mark before Bill started to break.
Undecided Voter: This was a repeat pre-taped piece from the Joseph Gordon-Levitt episode two weeks ago. It seems odd to end on a pre-taped sketch, especially a repeat pre-taped sketch, and especially a repeat pre-taped sketch from just the episode before. It’s very possible someone didn’t make it to their mark on time and the show had to throw to a pre-taped sketch and scrap the live one, but who knows. Either way, it still leaves us with the question all of America is dying to know—who’s the random guy in this video??
Overall: I really enjoyed this episode; I think only two fell flat for me. Daniel certainly proved he’ll commit to even the craziest comedic plots (I’m looking at you, Fredna), and he really was very funny in his sketches. He did forget to thank the celebrity guests that came by during the goodnights, but I’ll let it slide.
MVP: Giving this to anyone besides Kate McKinnon would be a serious travesty. She was killing it tonight. She was all over the show and was perfect in everything. I think the writers have definitely found their new muse.
Watch new episodes of Saturday Night Live on Saturdays on NBC at 11:30/10:30c. Next week’s episode on Oct. 13 is a new episode with host Christina Applegate and musical guest Passion Pit.
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