Welcome back to Studio 8H Seth Rogen! Last night was the comedic star’s third time hosting since his big breakthrough in 2007’s Knocked Up. This time around he has Grammy nominated artist Ed Sheeran in tow. While I am generally indifferent to Sheeran’s musical stylings, I’m a big fan of Rogen. This is the End was one of my favorite films of 2013 and I thought Rogen was wholly underrated in 2011’s 50/50. I don’t readily remember how Rogen did during his past two appearances but his comedy is right up my ally. I had no doubt that I was going to both love this show and see a fair share of cameos. Also pot jokes.
Vanessa Bayer and Beck Bennett having to deal with a CNN based pregnancy test was outstanding. CNN’s constant coverage of the missing Malaysian plane without any actual results has been lampooned a lot recently but this was one of the more clever parodies. Every single time an update came up like “Breaking: Search for Pregnancy Underway” and “Search for Pregnancy Reaches Third Week,” I absolutely lost it. This is probably the best way to describe everyone’s frustrations with CNN’s coverage too. Just like a pregnancy, no one cares about constant updates about progress. They only want answers. Really awesome job SNL.
Monster Pals is easily a top contender for my favorite pre-recorded bit of the season. Whoever wrote this was an absolute genius. Two monsters walk into a bar but feel so left out that they choose to get facial reconstruction surgery. It was one of those tragic examples of judging someone based on outside appearances. You actually feel for these monsters, but still crack up when random people get scared in New York by seeing them. Seriously, Mike O’Brien terrifying random bystanders in a monster mask was awesome. James Franco even came in for a great cameo too. This bit was basically magic from start to finish.
I’m always a fan of the bits that require the cast members to reach their absolute breaking point and last night we got that thanks to Aidy Bryant, Rogen, and a pair of broken arms. The entire premise of this segment was Rogen helping Bryant do everything because both her arms are broken. I was just blown away by Bryant’s ability to not lose it when Rogen did things like drawing all over her face with lipstick, opening up her shirt, rubbing steak over her mouth, and straight up farting. This was just the best.
That wedding rehearsal bit was terrible. Seriously, the live audience didn’t even care for it. The entire bit was Cecily Strong pretending to be redneck trash at an engagement party for Rogen and Vanessa Bayer. It all just felt way too serious to be funny. It’s blatantly obvious what the writers were trying to do with this segment but the delivery was really off. Plus, what was Nasim Pedrad even doing there? She had absolutely no lines. What gives?
I hate piling onto the Weekend Update like this, I really do, but last night was another weak outing. This time around it was the absolutely terrible guests. First we had Kenan Thompson as Red Sox superstar David Ortiz. His fake accent was so terrible I could barely understand half the things he was saying. Then we had Bayer as Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, probably my least favorite Weekend Update recurring guest. This is the first time Jacob has been on the Update since his good friend Seth Meyers left but absolutely nothing changed. The typical banter between host and guest was gone and long, awkward pauses ran rampant. I know a lot of people love Jacob but he just does not work for me.
Undercover Sharpton is the perfect example of missed potential. You’d think that the idea of the Reverend working for the FBI to stop a drug bust would be hilarious but it really wasn’t. It almost felt like Thompson was channeling his inner Steve Harvey except not nearly as good. The entire skit really never got a chance to take off too because it was surprisingly devoid of any good jokes. Not even the audience was into this. I would have much rather had some more Dyke & Fats if we’re going the law enforcement route.
Seth Rogen’s third time hosting had one of the strongest starts all season. I was absolutely losing it for almost the entire first half of this episode. The Cold Open was really average, but after that we got an awesome monologue followed by a constant stream of amazing bits. Ed Sheeran was great too, delivering much better performances than I expected. The second half of the show was easily where the weaker skits came in. For me the quality starting dropping at the Update and then it had trouble rebounding from there. It also sounded like the audience left because silence followed nearly every joke. Yet the show ended strong with the Herman & Sons Sperm Bank segment, and I was able to leave the same way I came in: Laughing.