While Will Ferrell brought his typical irreverent style to his SNL hosting gig, the comedian spent most of the night on the sidelines. How could SNL possibly maintain a laugh-out-loud episode while keeping its iconic host in supporting roles? Why, by inviting more of his old castmates, of course!
100 Ways to Crack Up
Congratulations on 100 Digital Shorts, SNL and Lonely Island! To celebrate, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Justin Bieber (?) lead us through a "best of" round up through Digital Shorts history. But this is no mere highlight reel: Natalie Portman, Michael Bolton and another very special guest (hint: his initials are J.T.) all reprise their respective roles in this outrageous montage that only gets funnier as it moves along. And, going viral in 3... 2... 1...
Return of the Culps
What happens when Lady Gaga can't make it to her performing gig at the LGBT prom? Everyone's favorite music teachers Marty Culp (Ferrell) and Bobbi Mohan-Culp ('90s cast member Ana Gasteyer!) return with another one of their classic medleys. Ah, the '90s, how we've missed you. Scoring a laugh was so much simpler back then...
Weekend Update 2.0
In the greatest Weekend Update sketch in ages, Seth Meyers takes a moment for a hysterical segment of "Really?!" to address the controversial "Are you mom enough?" Time magazine cover. Then, after a handful of news stories that hit all the right notes, Liam Neeson stops by for an interview with Nicolas Cage (Samberg), who admits that two of his three testicles are named after Neeson's characters. I challenge you to find a better example of the best Weekend Update has to offer. SNL writers take note: this was comedic gold.
W. Comes Out of the Closet
We were practically guaranteed a sketch riffing on Obama's recent embrace of same-sex marriage, and the funny-ish opening number features Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis) pouting from his lack of recognition for the bold move and chatting about his imaginary friend George. But wait, the whiny veep isn't lying: Ferrell's George W. Bush is hiding out in his bedroom closet!
According to Ferrell's monologue, all his life has been spent reading other people's words from scripts and cue cards. But no longer! In honor of Mother's Day, the comedian pulls his real-life mother onstage, abandons the cue cards and speaks from his "brain place" to his "mouth hole." Ferrell pulls many a heartstring by touching on sensitive subjects like his mom's ability to produce milk and his willingness to fight "a dozen ninjas wearing crotchless panties" for her.
What a Slogan!
The second blast-from-the-past cameo came from Macgruber star Will Forte's Greg Stink re-teaming with Sudeikis' Pete Twinkle, our trusty golf announcers who belong in the dictionary next to the word "dim." But hey, at least they're satisfying their sponsors by promoting Stay Free Maxi Pads, a.k.a. "the downstairs patch for your baby hatch."
Usher: "Scream" for Something Interesting
Look, nothing against Usher, but the beefed-up R&B singer delivered a perfectly competent yet uninspired pair of songs. Could SNL be keeping our expectations low before blowing our minds next week with The Foo Fighters, The Arcade Fire AND Mick Jagger on the same show? Let's go with "yes."
Other than a couple of dud sketches ("Broadway Sizzle" and "Funky Town" barely included anything resembling a joke), Ferrell's return to the SNL stage was a definite success, and a great primer for next week's season finale on May 20 with first-time host Mick Jagger and his impossibly great fellow musical guests. Here's hoping that this less-than-stellar season ends on a high note.