TV Recap: Saturday Night Live – Jonah Hill, Bastille

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Pre-Show Thoughts:

Jonah Hill appeared in two films last year: This is the End and The Wolf of Wall Street. While both are extremely hilarious films, they’re obviously very different. One is about the end of the world and the other is about taking over Wall Street in pure debauchery. To me this is the perfect example of the type of actor Hill has come to embody. He has the natural comedic talent to thrive regardless of how serious or insane the source material is. Can you picture Seth Rogen in The Wolf of Wall Street? Or how about Leonardo DiCaprio in This is the End? No you absolutely can’t because neither of them could fit naturally into those roles. But Hill can and has the success to prove it. It also helps that he can deliver some really heavy and well-acted stuff too. He didn’t get two Academy Award nominations for nothing!

Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC
Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC

So what does this all mean? Well outside of this making Hill one of the biggest comedic actors on the market, it means that he has what it takes to deliver a killer episode of Saturday Night Live. This episode was his third time hosting so he already has experience working in front of a live studio audience. I had complete confidence coming into this episode that Hill wasn’t just going to look comfortable on camera, but he was doing to give some awesome comedy. The musical guest was Bastille who has received an absurd amount of radio play for their song “Pompeii.” I literally know nothing about them so I was all ready to learn more. Natural comedic talent and a learning experience? What could go wrong?

The Good:

While the cold open was “meh” in every aspect of the word, the monologue was outstanding. After Jonah Hill started to brag about his talents and how much Leonardo DiCaprio sucked as an actor, DiCaprio himself dropped by to make the whole thing super awkward. Did you know that DiCaprio has never hosted SNL before? What’s up with that? Either way their awkward banter was absolutely hilarious. The real kicker though was these two buds reenacting the famous “I’m flying Jack!” scene from Titanic with Hill as Rose. Both Hill and DiCaprio never broke character either which is also extremely commendable.

The Weekend Update was once again in good graces last night with typical stand out performances by Seth Meyers (I’m really going to miss this guy) and Cecily Strong. Like I always say though, the guests can either make or break the Update. Thankfully the guests were absolutely spectacular. The first was Kenan Thompson as the Miami police officer that arrested Justin Bieber earlier this week. Now I’m sure some people are getting sick of Bieber bashing by this point, but I for one think it never gets old. He was almost completely overshadowed though with Kate McKinnon’s usual comedic excellence. This time she was Olya Povlatsky, a Russian woman upset with the upcoming Sochi Winter games. Her explanation about how she received a gold medal for fleeing from wolves was hilarious, among other statements delivered in a great Russian accent. McKinnon really knows how to bring her characters to life regardless of how ridiculous they are.

Photo Credit: NBC
Photo Credit: NBC

But let’s be serious here for a second. Nothing else matters from last night because everyone’s favorite former porn stars came back once again. That’s right! Vanessa Bayer and Strong came back to do a terrible job at selling high end products. This time it was Lamborghini’s, or as they like to call it, Lambortini’s. This duo is by far my favorite new recurring segment and I’ve been dying for more since their last appearance in the season premiere. As usual, I was laughing my ass off. Bayer and Strong once again killed it with their slurred and absurd delivery hitting all the right marks. It really ended the episode in the best way possible.

The Bad:

Hill playing an annoying 6 year old eating dinner at Benihana with his step-mother (Bayer) was just grating. It had some funny moments but it was mainly a mess of yelling and absurd leaps in thought. Also, was it really necessary to have Hill constantly repeat that he’s 6 years old? He said it with such frequency that it got tiring incredibly fast. I commend Hill for fully embracing his role but this was a frustrating one to get through.

Photo Credit: NBC
Photo Credit: NBC

Right after the Benihana skit there was a pre-recorded one with Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, and Thompson going to complete a hit on an unknown person. Yet the hit never happens as the men can’t stop talking about the beautifully falling snow. It’s obvious what comedic marks the writers were trying to hit but it never really felt like this skit took off. There was so much more that could have been done too instead of these three hilarious guys sitting in a car and talking about snow. It felt restrained and lackluster. Plus, Pharoah getting shot multiple times at the end was a real dark note to end it on.

The skit near the end with a horse hitting Hill and Strong was disappointingly predictable too. It really hammered home the same gag over and over, and it wasn’t even surprising to begin with. Strong gets kicked in the stomach and that sets into motion a lot of physical comedy with a fake horse beating them up. There was just no depth to this skit. What you saw was what you got, repetitive physical comedy that got old mighty quick. Strong moves her head close? Yep, she’s getting bit. Hill moves in? Oh he gets punched too. This was also the only skit Nasim Pedrad appeared in and she only had a few lines. Actually she was barely even comical. What’s up with that?

Overall Thoughts:

As expected, Jonah Hill absolutely killed it. Even when the skits were pointless or had very little depth to them Hill gave it his all and delivered an awesome performance. Can we get this guy into the five timers club? He has only two more hosting duties left to get in and he absolutely deserves it. There was also this parody of the movie Her with Hill as both Theodore Twombly and Samantha. It was extremely well done and had an awesome cameo by Michael Cera but just wasn’t that comical. The rest of the show was better than normal too but the almost complete absence of certain cast members was very notable. Again, there are just too many people on this show, but I know that can’t be fixed now. Yet a combination of strong writing and Hill’s comical talents was enough to make last night a great one.

Rating: 8/10

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