It's always an event when a former castmember hosts the show, especially when it is a beloved and revered SNL alum. However, rarely do you see a former cast reject that only lasted a season get big enough to garner a hosting gig. As funny as they may be, it is hard to picture a universe where people like Brooks Wheelen or John Milhiser come back and haunt Lorne Michaels to the point that he has to bite the bullet and invite them back to host. Such was the case with Sarah Silverman. Silverman was a featured player in the 1993-1994 season, but didn't make a big enough impression to garner a sophomore year. However, she went from there to become one of the most successful female comedians working today. Rarely does Lorne give a second chance like this, but Silverman definitely deserved it and showed throughout the episode the talent that brought about her original hiring.
It is always a solid start to the show when they go political. This time the show opted for a sit-down interview with President Obama brought to you by Jay Pharaoh. Discussing the recent issues with the ISIS organization in the Middle East, they take this opportunity give their commentary on social media. It is a solid sketch that has a few laughs, but one that is fairly forgettable by the end of the episode.
In one of the longest monologues in recent memory, Sarah Silverman basically combines two monologues into one. You could tell the writers didn't know which idea to go with for the monologue, so they decided to go with both. It starts with her interacting with the audience in an awkward way only Sarah Silverman can. I feel for that poor girl in the front row that Silverman picked out of the crowd. Never mind, no I don't. She got front row seats to SNL!!! After her crowd interaction portion of the monologue was completed, she addressed the fact that she was a former cast member, but didn't really do much other than feed the host questions from the crowd during the monologue. She then took questions from herself back in 1993 via archive crowd footage. It was a creative way to bring up her history with the show. I'm glad they did the double monologue.
The sophomore outing for new anchor tandem Colin Jost and Michael Che brought some progress, but still showed many areas for improvement. For the first time since the days of Seth and Amy do we have attempts at banter between the co-anchors. Although the effort is there, it's still not great. It's better than last season though, when Cecily either didn't have time to develop the chemistry with her two co-hosts or simply couldn't handle the improved nature of the banter. Either way, you can start to see the potential of this tandem. Now on to the guests! First, we had Kenan's Al Sharpton talking about the security breach at the White House. Kenan's impression is so ridiculous and campy, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't funny.
Second, we had feminist folk band Garage & Her performing some of their music. In this short bit, the most notable takeaway is just how similar the styles of Sarah Silverman and Kate McKinnon are. These two are a match made in heaven, and this band is so silly you have to laugh.
What made this such a solid episode was the fact that so few sketches missed. Most of the sketches had their high points and laughs. However, this sketch stood out from the crowd. Over the years, Joan Rivers has been the butt of many SNL jokes. The reason she was probably such a frequent target was because of her great sense of self-deprecation as well as her ability to bash just about anybody. No one was untouchable to Joan Rivers, which I'm sure is what made Sarah Silverman such an admirer. When Joan Rivers suddenly died over the summer, you knew an SNL tribute would come at some point, but it had to be fitting of Joan Rivers. Having Sarah Silverman hosting provided that opportunity. The idea of a sketch where Joan Rivers roasts several dead celebrities in heaven as its newest member may seem quite disrespectful, but if you think so, you didn't know Joan Rivers. It was the perfect way to honor her life, and only someone who respected her as much as Silverman did could bring her persona to life the way she did. It wasn't necessarily a laugh-out-loud sketch from start to finish like many best sketches are, but because of the what this sketch meant and how it was executed, it could easily stand as one of the best sketches of the season. The only problem with this sketch is it once again reminded us that SNL has yet to provide a proper tribute for late announcer Don Pardo.
Granted, this was the last sketch of the night, which is usually a little off-beat and quirky more than funny, however it still has to be good. This infomercial about a high-end blender that turned into a social class debate is one of the worst closing sketches in some time. It got off to an awkward start and never really found its stride as it just seemed to fall flat from start to finish. When the studio audience can barely muster a chuckle, you know it's not good.
Dark Horse Sketch
Silverman's awkward brand of comedy hit perfect in this sketch. After being picked up from the airport from a long vacation, Silverman confides in her friend that she may have cheated on her boyfriend during her vacation. We then discover that her boyfriend (Bobby Moynihan) pops up in the back seat, engagement ring in hand ready to propose in the car. Before the sketch is over, we discover that along with the boyfriend, the back seat also holds mom, dad, and a hungry Adam Levine. It's goofy, it's awkward, and it's hilarious.
Like I said, this episode rarely missed a beat. The lowest moment of the episode didn't even come until the last sketch of the night (however, that sketch was pretty bad). However, outside of the Joan Rivers tribute, this episode rarely hit the unforgettable status. The parody of The Fault in Our Stars was clever but not special, and the commercial celebrating white people was somehow both original and not at the same time. Overall, I laughed more times than not even though the episode ended up being slightly forgettable. I will take episodes like this over that horrendous season premiere any day.