If you were to make a list of personalities that should have been castmembers at Saturday Night Live, Jim Carrey would be near the top of that list. His brand of comedy, especially in his prime, was perfect for the sketch show as was evident in his breakout opportunity being on the sketch show In Living Color. The fact that he is so perfect for this show led to my surprise that this was only the third time he had hosted the show. This was just one of three things that made this an anticipated show entering Saturday night. Second, it was the debut of Leslie Jones as a featured player. After several successful guest spots at the Update desk, the writer was promoted to the newcomer cast. Third, it was the Halloween episode which always brings something special.
The cold opens this season so far have been quite uneventful. This is usually where the show gets jumpstarted with a statement on today's pop culture or current events (or both). It seems the writing staff has been trying so hard to find stories to address that they have created a series of flat, forgettable sketches. This is the latest in this run as they make a use of Pharaoh's spot-on Obama as they discuss the questionable selection of the recently-appointed Ebola Czar. I'm getting bored just talking about it. At least Al Sharpton shows up at the end to talk about the Ebola Caesar.
One thing that became apparent from the moment you spotted Jim Carrey in this episode was that he would definitely be bringing his special brand of silly to this episode. This started with Helvis, Carrey's Devil/Elvis hybrid. He then sang a song about pecan pie. The host singing a song in the monologue is something that happens quite often, but this was more than just your average monologue song. It was, like I said, just pure silliness, and I loved it.
I don't know what happened this week at the Update desk, but all of a sudden everyone clicked. Michael Che is continuing to improve every week, and Colin Jost seemed to relax for the first time at the Update desk. This week reminded me of the hayday of Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey at the Update desk. It was one of the highlights of the show. The first guest was a clever take on the standard rom-com formula. This was delivered to perfection by Vanessa Bayer, and received perfectly by Che. It was one of the best original characters they have created recently.
Next, we have this season's first Drunk Uncle appearance. Since Bill Hader left the cast, Drunk Uncle has definitely taken Stefon's place as the most popular Weekend Update guest. The formula is the same sketch after sketch, but it never ceases to be funny. This was definitely no exception as it takes advantage of the added dynamic of having a black Update anchor with one of the show's most racist characters. It was also refreshing to see Bobby Moynihan have a pretty significant role in this episode. He had been riding the bench for much of the season so far.
This was an easy choice, as this sketch went viral in the days following the broadcast. It's nice to know I am not the only one that finds the new Matthew McConaughey Lincoln car ads a little odd. This led to Jim Carrey unleashing his beautiful McConaughey impression on the world as he recreates the ads, making light of just how ridiculous they are. A series of three ads showed throughout the night, each more hilarious than the first. If you haven't seen this yet, or even if you have, take a break and enjoy.
Honorable mention has to go out to the Carrey family reunion. Although it wasn't the funniest sketch of the night, it was a wonderful tribute to the amazing career Jim Carrey has had, and the wide array of characters he has created. It also allowed for Jeff Daniels to make an appearance to remind us all that Dumb and Dumber To is coming, ready or not.
There were a couple of clunkers that came out near the end of the episode. The worst of these sketches was definitely this portrayal of the zombie apocalypse. As a group hunkers down to fight off the oncoming onslaught, Carrey arrives wanting for him and his son, who has obviously already become a zombie. Outside of watching Pete Davidson make a pretty convincing zombie (I'm telling you, future star!), this sketch really is without laughs.
Dark Horse Sketch
Just when you think this episode is winding down, this sketch pops up that redefines the entire episode. A costume party at work turns into a ridiculous tour of the entire studio as Carrey and Kate McKinnon (and even Iggy Azalea for a moment) dance in the fashion of the girl in the music video for Sia's "Chandelier." You know it's something special when Lorne Michaels can't even keep a straight face during his cameo.
As I said in the start, silliness was expected, and silliness is what we got. Not all sketches were great, but the Lincoln ads and the dance routine created pretty spectacular book-ends as both are early candidates for a list of top sketches of the season. Add that to a return to the glory days of Weekend Update, and you have a pretty spectacular episode that is definitely worth a watch or two.