Cold Opening – Kim Jong-Un
- It feels weird to review Bobby’s version of Kim Jong-Un after getting used to Bowen Yang’s more recent impression.
- Mikey Day!! I know that he joined the writing staff around this season or maybe the previous one, but I barely remember him making appearances this season, although I do recall him getting a speaking role or two just before he was promoted into being an on-screen performer.
- Cecily seems kinda miscast her, despite performing her role well. That’s one of the things that I recall SNL doing to Cecily in this season & the previous one, spreading her thin, giving her so much free rein, wasting her strong talents in laughless, cringeworthy sketches which we will be bombarded by in this season & upcoming ones, and failing to realize that Cecily is far better used in supporting and utility roles. Thankfully, SNL will drop Cecily as its “It girl” about halfway through this season and its designated star as a certain other female performer reaches her well-deserved stardom and becomes the show’s leader, to this very day.
- I’m not caring so far with how this dull opening is playing out, despite Bobby’s always-committed and solid performance.
- Yeah, this is a dud so far, with the gag with Bobby’s Kim Jong-Un being in pain and trying not to show it, but it’s repeating it to death and killing all the potential humor and satire.
- An overall huge waste of my time.
- Good laughs from Bill’s talk about his then-new movie.
- OH, NO. A Kristen Wiig cameo!
- UGH, cue the WAY TOO LONG applause break for Kristen like she didn’t cameo just a few episodes ago.
- No, another musical monologue, in 2-of-3 episodes so far.
- Ok, I have higher tolerance for musical monologues than some other reviewers, but you know I need some actual JOKES to enjoy them.
- I guess I should be happy to see a Harvey Fierstein cameo in this, but he’s being wasted in this lame, jokeless, dull monologue.
WXPD News New York
- The Bill Hader Nostalgia Tour begins with the return of Herb Welch.
- The usual laughs from Bill’s Herb getting into a verbal fight with the news anchor, this time played by Taran Killam.
- As good as Taran always is on SNL, he’s NOWHERE near as strong of a straight man to Bill’s Herb in this sketch. Jason would’ve been a laugh riot here. Yet, Taran is certainly fine on his own right.
- Good seeing Pete here, considering that he was nowhere to be seen in the previous episode.
- The usual fun, loose, and harmless Herb Welch sketch, with a great (as expected) lead performance from Bill.
The Group Hopper
- I recall reading that this short is supposed to be parodying dystopian teen adventure movies, like The Maze Runner & The Hunger Games, but I’ve always enjoyed this piece even when I did not know what it was spoofing. Again, dear readers, I don’t watch these genre movies nor read comic books, or watch sports, nor do I have an interest in gossip or celebrity news. Yes, I’m kinda under a rock despite being a Gen Z and merely a 25 year-old guy as I write this review.
- Bill look and voice here are absolutely hilarious. And I’m assuming that he’s dressed like how the elite members of society do in The Hunger Games world.
- Great straight man work from Bill in the scene in which his horns are hilariously stuck.
- Great direction & visual quality to this short by the way, perfectly capturing the feel of a typical teen dystopian movie.
- Very solid short overall, and a great usage of Bill’s fantastic straight man abilities.
Hollywood Game Night
- Kate looks uncanny as Jane Lynch, although the voice needs more work, it’s still decent enough.
- A fun-seeming, ensemble sketch.
- Solid Sofia Vergara voice & accent from Cecily.
- A freaking fantastic Christoph Waltz impression from Taran.
- Not impressed with Jay’s Morgan Freeman, and I recall hearing a FAR better vocal impression by Frank Caliendo.
- Pretty good Nick Offerman voice from Beck.
- The Bill Hader Nostalgia Tour continues yet again with the return of his Great Al Pacino impression.
- Good laughs from Bill’s Pacino first few lines.
- OH NO. Kristen is now in her obligatory starring sketch of the night.
- NOT caring for Kristen’s various muggings and vamping in this sketch. AND her lousy catchphrase “What am I saying?!”. Is SO lame.
- Oh god, my previous comment about Kristen starring in this sketch was sarcastic on my part, it turns out this sketch is all about HER.
- Kate’s trying her best to hold this sketch together, and is her usual solid, professional, hilarious self in this, but the various annoying Kristen Wiig muggings & vamping is ruining the comedic promise of this potentially fun sketch.
- A weak sketch in general, ENTIRELY because of Kristen Wiig basically taking over this whole damn sketch. At least Kate was a great straight man throughout this whole ordeal.
- Oh, I recall this being an absolutely brilliant short when I first saw it.
- Great look & voice on Bill in this.
- A freaking priceless twist to this commercial, with Jay’s character asking for more money, and knowing this short, it will get even better than this.
- Bill’s very funny with his various annoyed reactions as the cast are continuing to interrupt his commercial shoot.
- Great argument about the value of 39 cents and why it needs to be a check.
- A great part with Bill assuming that he is in Africa.
- Not caring for Leslie Jones in this, and knowing that she’ll be added to the cast by the very next episode is making me shudder knowing the MANY shouting sketches, awkward moments, line flubs, and character breaks that I’ll have to suffer through for five full seasons. I’ll just say it right now: I have nothing against Leslie jones, but my biggest problem with her is that she thinks of herself as a FAR funnier person than she actually is. And we’ll get to that when we reach some of her showcases.
- Overall, this short most definitely lived up to the hype. A brilliant, sharp, and biting takedown of these types of ads.
Jan Hooks Tribute
- Hooo boy, this going to be heavy for me to sit through.
- Beautiful short tribute from both Bill & Kristen to the passing of the legendary Jan Hooks. You could tell, especially from Kristen’s face, how much Jan meant for both of them as a comic and an SNL legend, I could imagine both of them watching Jan on SNL for years and idolizing her and the cast of the 1986-1990 renaissance years.
- Great choice with the classic “Love is a Dream” which is actually one of the very first pieces that I saw both Jan & Phil in back in the summer of 2014 as my SNL fandom was growing by that point, and it really made me give SNL another chance after watching a certain 70s SNL episode. The season 3 Michael Palin episode, an episode filled with fantastic one-off, creative, solid, fun, silly, brilliant sketch concepts with a heavy focus on absurdist, creative humor, it made immediately start to watch several SNL compilations and best-of’s and the first five seasons of the show afterwards (full disclosure, the very first SNL episode that I watched was a rerun of the Alec Baldwin-hosted season 35 finale back in 2010, and yes that episode’s quality, or lack thereof, played a huge part in me skipping SNL for four years, although the main reason was my general disinterest in the show from what I’ve seen of at the time. Mainly the various wacky Armisen/Wiig mugoffs and one-note characters, which were even back then, as a 13 year-old, struck me as dumb, juvenile, and desperate attempts at laughs).
- Boy, such an emotional, fantastic turn with this short and Phil’s great, warm singing voice is perfectly solidifying the old-school, dream-like atmosphere of this legendary piece.
- Oh man, I’m slowly turning into a crying, blubbering mess right now as this fantastic short is concluding. I recall my heart sinking when I realized that these two performers who are so beautifully portraying their roles in this short are no longer with us. I miss them dearly, even when I’ve never met them, yet they still remain in my thoughts, like an old, distant memory of a place I miss, yet never visited. Goodbye yet again, Phil and Jan.
- Fantastic ending to a legendary, emotional, heartfelt piece, which is with the untimely passing of both Phil & Jan, feels even more meaningful in retrospect. An all-time highlight for SNL.
Rating: N/A (non-comedic segments are not rated)
Musical Performance – “Take Me to Church”
- Jesse Nathan: Not that I want to come off as a racist, but when I was a kid, I honestly thought Hozier was black when I first heard his voice. Not only that, but he sounded eerily similar to Aloe Blacc. I would have similar reactions when I first heard Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, and another musical guest from later this season, whose name I won’t reveal in any way (*coughGeorgeEzra*).
- Hozier’s vocals are mixed far better than the last two musical guests, which makes me wonder if it has something to do with the platform I’ve been watching these on, but I don’t think that’s the case.
- Were these lyrics altered?
- Oh, never mind, they just came later than I thought they did.
- I like how the instrumental starts building and building, and the addition of the cello sounds nice.
- Boy, the chorus was weakly executed. Not only that, but over the six or seven years I’ve known this song, I’ve never understood what Hozier is saying. That has not yet changed.
- The second verse honestly sounds pretty amazing in this performance.
- The lyrics in the bridge are pretty unintelligible, even when they’re performed live.
- That was honestly better than I thought it would be.
- Strong stand-up style rant from Michael in regards to gay marriage, an early glimpse of the usual brilliant, sharp, and consistently hilarious rants that Michael will deliver behind the desk in the coming seasons.
- Another Pete commentary, which is nice to see considering that I enjoyed his first one.
- The usual good laughs from Pete, and is coming off quite likable and relatable in this early stage of his tenure. If I have to decide on which season I started to REALLY absolutely despise Pete on the show, off the top of my head, I would say with the start of season 42, where I couldn’t STAND him on SNL, to the point where I mute his commentaries or even attempt to change the channel. I’ve been warmer towRd Pete in seasons 46 & 47, but don’t expect me to be kind to him when he annoys me, the same should be applied to Leslie too, as I, and many online SNL fans, consider both of them as the absolute bane of this era.
- Not getting as many laughs as this commentary of Pete as I expected. Some of the material here feels forced and kinda half-assed both in writing and performance. There’s still charm and relatability to be found though.
- Colin’s delivery is getting to the point that we are now familiar with, yet there are still those lame, corny, Seth Meyers-y style jokes from both him and Michael. Still, FAR better than setting through the usual endless, seemingly-never ending, smug, overlong Seth Meyers-anchored Weekend Update.
- The Bill Hader Nostalgia Tour continues with the obligatory return of Stefon. I enjoy this character a lot, but never had the undying love and devotion that many SNL fans have toward him.
- Already, a big laugh from Stefon’s lustful comment when seeing our new multiracial pairing of Colin and Michael, with him saying “Mhmm, one of each!”
- The usual hilarious, clever, absurdist lines from Stefon.
- A huge laugh from Stefon’s description of a club being located “where Donald Trump Jr.’s chin should’ve been”, and the running gag in mentioning Dan Cortese, which absolutely slays Bill and the audience.
- Yet another good edition of the Jost/Che Update team. I’m still waiting for the supposed shakiness to show up, and right now, I think it was never there to begin with.
- Oh, what are you doing SNL?! Why do you have to reprise this classic sketch for one more time without any reason? You should’ve kept this as a one-and-done SNL classic where it truly belonged.
- Bill‘s delivery is great and still on-point here, but the magic of the fantastic first is gone by this point.
- Yeah, this is going through the EXACT same path that the original classic did.
- This sketch is so far average, and nowhere as good as the original, and it should’ve stayed a one-and-done classic. It reminds of how annoyed I was when the classics Alien Abduction & Extreme Baking Championship got unnecessary sequels that follow the same exact formula and fail to capture the magic of the original sketch.
- Did we need a repeat of the hilarious gag from the original where the puppet blows real smoke out of its mouth?
- An interesting change with the flashback war sequence, which will bump this sketch by a full star.
- A weak ending.
- Great to see this segment once again.
- A pretty funny part with Kate & Taran. And by the way, seeing Kate here, immediately reminds me of a certain legendary sketch that she’ll be starring in the very next episode.
- Funny characterization from Bill in his report, and the unsure direction that his report is taking is giving me some laughs.
- Bobby is absolutely stealing this whole short with his heated fight with Beck & towards the very end.
Musical Performance – “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene”
- Jesse Nathan: Boy, that’s a pretty long title to spell out.
- This second performance is being introduced by Kristen Wiig instead of tonight’s host, Bill Hader. As Stooge pointed out in his review, the reason for this is because Bill is currently being applied with a shit-ton amount of makeup for a Cat in the Hat sketch that we’ll be seeing later.
- Nice humming at the beginning.
- Once again, Hozier’s vocals sound great.
- Boy, these are pretty deep lyrics.
- Okay, now this song is starting to sound more upbeat.
- I like how the female backing vocalists sound in between each line.
- What the hell does “codeine” mean?
- I like how the drummer is playing some other instrument (I don’t know what it is) at the same time.
- I’m finding myself digging this song the more it goes on.
- Nice harmonizing between Hozier and the female vocalists. It sounds like heaven to my ears.
- Oh HELL YEAH to the fuzzy guitar during the bridge.
- Okay, now the song is starting to sound repetitive as it ends.
- That was awesome! Not at all what I was expecting.
- Great Cat voice from Bill as expected. His ability to mask his voice into various celebrities and characters still astound me to this day.
- By the way, great makeup on Bill here, if it weren’t for his voice, I would’ve had a very hard time recognizing him.
- A huge laugh after the reveal of comedic conceit to this sketch with Bill’s flawless delivery of “Linda?”.
- Bill’s absolutely slaying me with his fantastic straight man performance in this.
- Big laugh from the cropped image of Bill’s Cat, with the visual of his hat barely in the photo.
- Bill is flawless in his seamless transition between his “jolly mood” and his “serious mode”.
- Taran looks hilarious as Thing 2.
- A great ending line “Oh, the places she let me go…”.
- Overall, a true hidden gem with a fantastic Bill Hader performance.
Cut For time: Coal Miners
- Already a laugh from Bill’s look in this.
- Oh boy, with that close-up on Bill’s sassy, gossip-obsessed character, this sketch is giving me massive Anderlette vibes.
- Is Bill breaking to try and “save” this sketch? I don’t want to be reminded of those unwatchable The Californians sketches, one of the very few things that I disliked Bill in from his otherwise strong tenure.
- Yeah, this sketch keeps going on and on and on and on…
- NOT caring for Bill’s monologue in this, despite him performing it well as always.
- A weak sketch overall, and it definitely feels like the typical muddy, confused, and unfunny Anderlette sketch. If anybody in the comments could find whomever wrote this, please share it and thanks.
Cut For Time: Alan
- I recall this sketch getting a lot of fame online due to Bill’s dance moves which became a popular GIF.
- Great characterization and eerily-accurate robotic movements from Bill.
- Bill’s smile is giving me my expected laughs.
- Yeah, this seems to be revolving around Bill’s funny dance moves.
- Taran is not as good of a straight as I recall him being, Beck would’ve been better in this role.
- An at least funny ending that will boost my rating for this sketch.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
The Group Hopper
WXPD News New York
Hollywood Game Night
CFT: Coal Miners
- An overall good episode. After starting very shaky and worrisome start with the first two segments of the night, the episode then stabilized mostly in quality, aside from the dull Hollywood Game Night (thanks Kristen!), and a weak & wisely CFT sketch.
- This episode has a lot to appreciate, we got a brilliant & biting short (HelpFund) that was this episode’s ultimate highlight, and a hidden gem with Cat. Also, a touching and well-deserved full-fledged tribute to SNL legend Jan Hooks.
- Bill Hader was a strong & fun host as expected and I was pleased that he was well-utilized tonight, and most importantly, the show didn’t do a cameo orgy filled with his former cast members, like what they did in the notorious Andy Samberg-hosted finale from the previous season.
- Sketch comedy legend Jim Carrey returns to host for the third time, in a Halloween-themed episode with musical guest Iggy Azalea.
9 Replies to “October 11, 2014 – Bill Hader / Hozier (S40 E3) ”
The Helpfund short is one of my all time faves. Love it. Like you said, despite Leslie Jones being in it.
“I’m assuming that he’s dressed like how the elite members of society do in The Hunger Games world” No, he’s dressed like one specific character, Effie Trinket.
I do recall kinda liking HGN and the monologue when I first saw them, but again, I was not the person I am now. Though I definitely recall HelpFund standing out to me back when it was still new, and it still does to this day.
Again, there’s sadly not much to add aside from those points. Like I said, I only saw parts of this episode, but I’m not sure if the parts I didn’t see are even worth seeing.
And as always, the averages:
Pratt – 5.3
Silverman – 6.2
Hader – 6.4
Overall average (so far): 6.0
Great review! I’ve always loved the Cat in the Hat sketch, and there are more than a couple gems in this episode. I love the Alan sketch, but the strange ending just leaves a sour taste in my mouth, it didn’t need the random “bleh!!!” or whatever.
While I agree the abundance of Kristen Wiig cameos in the past few years gets annoying, I’m such a big fan of hers that it always brings a smile to my face.
Completely agree about Leslie Jones. I like her as a person, and she’s had some really great moments (the Jonah Hill sketch, House Hunters & Escorts are some really hilarious ones, despite her kinda off delivery at times) but I think she’s incredibly unfunny at times, and constantly fumbled her lines.
From what I remember watching
Cold Open ***½ (I always thought Pete looked funny with that hat for some reason)
Herb Welch ***½
Group Hopper ***
Hollywood Game Night ****
Help Fund ****
Jan Hooks Tribute (if I could) ***** (Im currently doing the risky challenge of watching every episode ever, which is the reason I am doing only the sketches I remember watching as I dont have enough time for watching the rest, and I enjoyed that Michael Palin episode I’m currently on season 10 just two more until mrs. Jan Hooks R.I.P.)
Cat in the Hat ***½
CFT: Alan *****
I’ve always seen Pete and Leslie’s tenures in the same way as 90’s bad boys David Spade and Chris Rock. Neither were great sketch performers but were stand-ups with distinct personalities. I never understood the hatred often aimed at both Pete and Leslie online. I fully understand their weaknesses. Pete’s apathy and constant breaking and Leslie’s line flubs were often frustrating. But when they were on their game both of them could make me laugh. Leslie had a strong Season 44 and Pete had a strong season 46. I would never call them MVP’s of their cast but they had their moments.
Yes, both did do solid work despite their limitations, I was positive towards Pete throughout the majority of season 46, and enjoyed him in several season 47 episodes. And Leslie is fine as a person, and she has her moments, which I’ll highlight in future reviews, but don’t expect to be nice when she performs awful material. I intend in these reviews to be honest with my readers and with myself. I’ll be giving both praise and critique to both in these coming seasons, so it’s going to be a fascinating journey for me.
Also wonderful tribute to the late great Jan Hooks. Her tenure is highly underrated by non-die hard fans but she was IMMENSELY talented . She’s in my top ten SNL castmembers ever 🙂
Here’s my third musical performance review of the season.
Take Me to Church
Not that I want to come off as a racist, but when I was a kid, I honestly thought Hozier was black when I first heard his voice. Not only that, but he sounded eerily similar to Aloe Blacc. I would have similar reactions when I first heard Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, and another musical guest from later this season, whose name I won’t reveal in any way (*coughGeorgeEzra*).
Hozier’s vocals are mixed far better than the last two musical guests, which makes me wonder if it has something to do with the platform I’ve been watching these on, but I don’t think that’s the case.
Were these lyrics altered?
Oh, never mind, they just came later than I thought they did.
I like how the instrumental starts building and building, and the addition of the cello sounds nice.
Boy, the chorus was weakly executed. Not only that, but over the six or seven years I’ve known this song, I’ve never understood what Hozier is saying. That has not yet changed.
The second verse honestly sounds pretty amazing in this performance.
The lyrics in the bridge are pretty unintelligible, even when they’re performed live.
That was honestly better than I thought it would be.
Rating: either ***½ or ****, I can’t decide
Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
Boy, that’s a pretty long title to spell out.
This second performance is being introduced by Kristen Wiig instead of tonight’s host, Bill Hader. As Stooge pointed out in his review, the reason for this is because Bill is currently being applied with a shit-ton amount of makeup for a Cat in the Hat sketch that we’ll be seeing later.
Nice humming at the beginning.
Once again, Hozier’s vocals sound great.
Boy, these are pretty deep lyrics.
Okay, now this song is starting to sound more upbeat.
I like how the female backing vocalists sound in between each line.
What the hell does “codeine” mean?
I like how the drummer is playing some other instrument (I don’t know what it is) at the same time.
I’m finding myself digging this song the more it goes on.
Nice harmonizing between Hozier and the female vocalists. It sounds like heaven to my ears.
Oh HELL YEAH to the fuzzy guitar during the bridge.
Okay, now the song is starting to sound repetitive as it ends.
That was awesome! Not at all what I was expecting.
I’ve finally decided my rating for Hozier’s first performance: ***1/2