Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SNL 39.12 Review - Jonah Hill, Bastille

Original Airdate - 1/25/14

I have fallen a little behind in my reviews, but it's time to catch up.  2014 has gotten off to a mediocre start with some top flight stars doing their thing, but the writing has been inconsistent keeping up.  A perfect example of this was the Jonah Hill episode.  I love Jonah Hill.  He is turning into one of the most well-rounded and versatile actors out there.  I mean, he was able to get an Oscar nomination the same year he was in This is the End.  That's impressive.  This was his third time hosting the show, and if one thing has been proven in those three shows, it's that Jonah will be consistently funny no matter what he's doing.

Cold Opening

In preparation of the upcoming Olympics, SNL had to take as many shots at Russia as it could.  Here was the first.  One of the biggest issues going into these Olympics (which turned out to be a non-issue) was Russia's ban on homosexuality when some sports in the Winter Olympics are predominantly (or at least stereotypically) done by homosexuals.  So in case there was an issue, SNL decided to hold a heterosexual figure skating competition.  So you have dude in football jersey playing air guitar, black gangster realizing black people done't skate, and more.  As silly and stupid and demeaning all the reinforcements of stereotypes are, it's actually pretty funny.


Jonah Hill has made it tradition to make fun of himself and how he's a silly slapstick comedian now with two Oscar nominations in his monologues.  A guy like that has to be getting a big head.  Well, there's nothing that can keep you humble quite like your buddy Leonardo diCaprio (notorious for being full of himself) coming out and treating you like a 10 year old.  This all leads to a top 3 moment of the season so far.  (By the way, when is Leo going to host his own SNL?  I think it's a little long overdue.)

Weekend Update

As the countdown to Seth Meyers's departure continued, there didn't seem to be any signs of change in the near future.  There were two featured guests on Weekend Update.  The first, the cop who arrested Justin Bieber, was less than groundbreaking but topically funny.  The second featured the latest shot at Sochi society as Kate McKinnon portrayed a desperate Russian woman wondering why anyone would ever choose to come to Russia.  She has had characters like this before, and they keep coming back back simply because they are absolutely hilarious.

Best Sketch

You know you can be considered an SNL regular when you have a recurring sketch as a host.  It's even better when your recurring sketch is the first sketch of the show every time and is consistently the funniest sketch of the episode.  That's the case with Jonah Hill's Adam Grossman, a 6 year old Jewish boy chatting it up with those sharing a table with him and his parent at Benihana.  It's hilarious, even though he's always "JUST KIDDING!  I'M SIX!!!"

Worst Sketch

With as hilarious as Jonah Hill can be, there were definitely some duds.  In fact, there may have been more duds than hits this episode.  Here is the biggest dud of them all, possibly the biggest dud of the season.  Jonah and Cecily are taking care of a horse who kicks them and punches them.  That's the sketch!  That's it!  And yes, it's as stupid as it sounds.  Even the last bad joke gets ruined.  It's just bad (so bad it's not available online, but this one was bad too).

Dark Horse Sketch

Almost immediately following this crappy sketch came this gem.  Jonah is trying to impress his boss at a dinner at his house.  He is so nervous that he keeps making silly little mistakes in casual conversation.  Every time he does that, he goes to the bathroom for a pep talk the whole party can hear.  Jonah yelling at himself.  Priceless.

This seems to be a common theme of SNL recently.  They have some amazing talent, top-notch hosts.  The problem is the writing is just no good.  More times than not, no matter how good the acting is, the writing just hasn't been able to keep up.  This episode is a perfect example.  Jonah Hill, when he was allowed to be Jonah Hill, made the sketches work.  However, too often the sketches couldn't get out of their own way.  It's almost like they try to be too creative.  Either way, Jonah Hill (with some help from Leo) made this episode better than average.


Watch the full episode here:

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