‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Jonah Hill, Andy Samberg’s Sarah Palin score

Three cheers for Samberg!

One week after the vast majority of Lindsay Lohan’s edition of “Saturday Night Live” (one sketch aside) left a resounding thud on the American public, the show regrouped for Jonah Hill and brought us an hour that was wacky, hilarious, and really pretty smart by this show’s standards.

Was it perfect? No, but we certainly had far more to laugh about this time than when Lohan was stumbling to read off of the teleprompter.

What worked

The hilarity started early with a sketched featuring Taran Killam as Rush Limbaugh, where he went on some rather lengthy tangents first about some of the advertisers he lost ever since his comments about Sandra Fluke hit the internet. The good news? He ended up getting some new sponsors — including one that facilitates the mosquito population! While Limbaugh is related to politics, it was still nice to see “SNL” start a show with something other than just the same political spoofs that they have been doing for most of the season. (Yes, Jason Sudeikis’ Mitt Romney, we are done with you.)

From here, things continued to work leading into Jonah Hill’s monologue, which was full of hilarious self-congratulating over almost winning an Academy Award. The only thing better than this? Seeing Tom Hanks come out to actually wave winning some Academy Awards in his face. This transitioned fast into a great sketch reprising the old show bit about a six-year old Jewish kid insulting everyone around him in every away imaginable. Was it sophomoric? Sure, but Hill (as he did all night) brought so much commitment that it worked.

As funny as some of these moments were, Weekend Update still ended up being the real star of the night … and thanks to Andy Samberg doing an impression of Tina Fey doing an impression of Sarah Palin. (We don’t know if this is true, but Samberg said that Tina was sick and that he was filling in at the last minute.) No matter what the reason was that brought Andy next to Seth Meyers, it was just as hysterical watching him get every fact about Palin (who was relevant again thanks to “Game Change” airing) wrong while still trying to do the impression at the same time. The best line? “I can see my house from Russia!” (As if this wasn’t great enough, seeing Bill Hader’s classic Stefon afterwards brought the whole sketch home. Can someone please make a Stefon movie?)

While it’s not related to comedy, may we say that The Shins were incredible as always?

What could’ve been better

In the midst of some greatness, “SNL” still let some duds come into the picture. We’ve never really loved the J-Pop show sketches, mostly because there’s not much real humor there beyond song high-pitched singing that gets old after three seconds.

On another level, why even put a sketch about Liza Minnelli in your show when a good chunk of people watching “SNL” probably have no idea who she is? Kristen Wiig’s impression was pretty great, but the sketch itself was bland.

In general, the first half of the show was far better than what we saw at the tail end — though this is usually the case. Take for instance the final sketch of the evening, which was all about Hill trying to make Coolio work as an anniversary song. It was fun in a party sort of way, but it could have been so much better if the rapping was a little bit better and we didn’t seen the entire plot of the sketch coming from a mile away.

Overall, we really can’t complain too much of “SNL” keeps putting out episodes like this one. How often do you get so many great impressions and surprising bits in one night? Even through its flaws, we’ll be the first to admit we were rolling on the floor for a solid percentage of the show.

What did you think about this episode? Check back in the morning for videos, and feel free to take the poll below!

Photo: NBC

 

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