Seeing as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out this weekend, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect one of the stars to host Saturday Night Live at the same time. Who was going to do it really boiled down to two candidates: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Stone has already hosted twice before so she certainly has the experience to justify a third gig. Garfield however has never been on the show and is currently using Spider-Man to reach new heights of popularity. Needless to say, it was time for him. Along with Garfield is Coldplay performing tracks off their newest album Ghost Stories. I expected at least one Spider-Man joke, an Emma Stone cameo, and maybe something to do with “conscious uncoupling.”
What do you get when you mix unrelenting fandom for Beyoncé with a conspiracy thriller? You get The Beygency, one of the best skits this season. People go absolutely nuts for the Queen B. Who else can release an album at midnight without any promotion and have it become a Top 40 smash hit? This isn’t the first time SNL aired a bit where Beyoncé was considered someone bigger than life itself. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really care for “Drunk in Love” either, so I actually connected to Garfield’s character on a personal level. Looks like I better prepare for the impeccably dressed men in fedoras who can disguise themselves as little boys. Oh, and Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub appeared. It was awesome.
The Weekend Update really improved last night. Cecily Strong and Colin Jost felt more on point with their jokes than they have in recent weeks, and the guests were amazing. My favorite was naturally Olya Povlatsky, played wonderfully by Kate McKinnon. That woman could seriously play a talking garbage bag and it would be hilarious. Taran Killam returned with the spectacular Jebidiah Atkinson as well, this time judging the Tony nominees. What impresses me the most about Killam as Atkinson is his near flawless recovery from mistakes. Something usually happens that causes Killam to slip up in this role, but the man is always able to pull though. This time he accidentally said Tommy instead of Tony. One brief pause was all he needed to laugh the whole thing off and power through like a champ. Writer Leslie Jones also stopped by to address how she’d live during the slavery era based on her physique. It was entertaining despite the dark subject matter.
As I expected, there was a Spider-Man based skit last night. It revolved around a scene where Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy are supposed to kiss in a romantic night shot. Yet the filming isn’t romantic at all as Garfield and Emma Stone are terrible at normal kissing. What really made this skit great was how committed these two were to making this has absurd as possible. You can bet that their real-life relationship definitely helped removed some awkwardness. Also, Chris Martin came in to replace Stone and kissed Garfield instead. It honestly looked like Garfield didn’t know it was supposed to happen, which just added to the magic.
The cold open really didn’t start the show off on the right foot. It was all about the Donald Sterling fiasco which was ripe for parody considering how insane the whole situation is. Everyone was committed to the roles they had to play, especially Bobby Moynihan as Sterling, but the jokes almost always fell flat. Mid-way through I began to tune it out and was just waiting for the show to really begin.
Oliver Twist was the real odd skit out last night too. It was one of those completely random bits that can either be very funny or very terrible. Unfortunately it was the latter. Outside of the Update, this was Strong’s only skit that she led which is a disappointment in itself. I’ve noticed that she hasn’t been used as often since Seth Meyers left too. At this point, I guess we can expect at least one Strong lead skit per night that’s not the Update, and that’s a severe underutilization of one of the best cast members on the show. If you’re going to use the talent, at least give her some good material to work with. It’s like the Redneck Wedding all over again.
From time to time, SNL will re-air old bits to fill up time. Last night had a repeat of Bird Bible which first aired when Jim Parson was the host. It was an okay segment the first time around, but seeing it again was upsetting. If I really wanted to see the bit a second time (now third), I’d look it up on Hulu.
Honestly, that wasn’t a bad first outing for Garfield. He did a great job last night, naturally using the same comedic cues he uses to play a wise-cracking superhero. His impersonation of Justin Timberlake during Celebrity Family Feud was pretty solid too. I will say that the monologue didn’t appropriately set me up for the night though. Emma Stone dropping in was both hilarious and expected, but she single handedly stole Garfield’s spotlight. His first time out and he barely gets a chance for the audience to really see who he is outside of film. As much as I love Stone, it was smart for her sit out for the remainder save for that excellent Spider-Man bit. Coldplay was reliably entertaining as well. I’ve never been such a huge fan that I’d rush out and buy an album immediately, but I do enjoy their music. All in all, it was a fun show. Looks like that three week break did wonders!