‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Colin Jost’s debut, Jebidiah Atkinson, ’12 Years a Slave,’ and Jim Parsons

Saturday Night Live -We’ve been going into this weekend’s edition of “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Jim Parsons with very big expectations, and for a very particular reason: This is a very talented guy, the how has been off the air for a few weeks (time for the jokes to refresh), and the writers would want to prove that they weren’t just great because Seth Meyers was there.

Well … maybe they need to get Seth back. This was the most disappointing episode of the entire season so far. It started pretty bad, and while there were some moments here and there that were enjoyable. They alone do not a good episode make. Parsons did okay, but he did not always have a lot to go on.

What worked

12 Years a Slave casting – One of the best of the night, mostly because it built to something really funny as we saw what it was like trying to get small actors to audition for a part of an evil, vicious slave owner … in front of two black people who made them feel extremely uncomfortable. A great little take on being overly PC in this world.

“Weekend Update” – Most of the jokes were solid, and we love the Jebidiah Atkinson character. We are not, however, going to give the show a whole lot of credit for what it did when it comes to the Charles Barkley – Shaq segment, which was thinly written and nearly fell apart at least twice. There’s a difference between Kenan Thompson starting to lose it, and then Taran Killam. Taran’s breaks as Jebidiah are almost more entertaining because of how they happen. All in all, a decent start for Colin Jost, though he was definitely nervous.

Murder mystery – We wish that this sketch was earlier in the show, mostly because it had a number of laughs thanks to it being one of those murder-mystery dinners where everyone played a character, and Parsons was handed a guy named Dudley whose defining characteristic was “oversexed nutball.” Hilarity ensued.

The bad

“Ellen” opening – Ooh boy. This was not what we were hoping for as we started the show. Instead, we had recycled Ellen jokes, Kate McKinnon being forced to do everything, and Jim Parsons doing Sheldon Cooper doing Johnny Weir. Seriously, all we see is Sheldon out of him.

Jim Parsons monologue – This was not the start to “SNL” that anyone was hoping for. Instead of some great jokes, we had Parsons singing about how he’s not Sheldon Cooper while most of the cast came out and pretended to be other sitcom stars. The only one remotely funny? McKinnon as Angela Lansbury / a bank robber.

Peter Pan and Tonkerbell – This was at least a pretty nice idea. Tonkerbell was a fun little Aidy Bryant character who served as an obnoxious version of the classic Disney character. It was cheesy, but compared to the rest of the opening of the show, there were at least some laughs here.

The Bird Bible – Who in the world came up with this idea? It was probably the worst idea for a pre-taped sketch that we’ve ever seen, and not a single moment of this “Bible with Birds” idea was actually funny.

The Killer Files – A very random sort of true-crime sketch with a few interesting moments about Parsons as a killer who masquerades on bad 1990s dance shows. Remember these? This is like most of what we’ve seen all night: An interesting idea that could have been executed better if it was shorter and punchier.

Spotlightz – Why bring this back? It is mildly funny, but not exactly something we needed to see again. Stage kids don’t do serious movies well. We get it.

Elevator ride – Oh good: An elevator full of poop jokes. We know that the comedy is a little edgier late at night, but the idea of four minutes about something smelly in an elevator was pretty unwatchable.

Western sketch – There were at least some laughs in the last sketch of the night, but the problem here was mostly that Kenan was basically playing Kenan again, and once again, this idea of a “crazy cowboy” really got old in a second or two.

If it weren’t for three really good sketches, this episode would’ve been a complete failure. The live nature of “Saturday Night Live” always makes it riveting, but a few more shows like this could have everyone just watching “Late Night with Seth Meyers” instead and nothing else. Grade: C-.

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Photo: NBC


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