‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton, Henry VIII, Russell Crowe highlights (videos)

SNL -If there is one thing that we know about “Saturday Night Live” this time of year, it is this: They love to milk the heck out of election season. It’s funny that we’re celebrating something that is just not another Donald Trump segment. Granted, this time around it was the second-most-overplayed candidate on the show so far this year in Hillary Clinton.

Granted, can you blame them when they’ve got Hillary Clinton in the cast? Everyone knows that she’s going to deliver, and her Hillary was delightfully out-of-touch. It takes a real pro to carry an entire cold-open by yourself, and Kate did that as she had Hillary wear different caps, claim “Chicago” was the most-popular musical on Broadway, and make threats using the Three-Eyed Raven from “Game of Thrones.”

Overall, an amusing start to the show. Not super-memorable, but we’ve certainly seen worse this season.

Still with us? Then let’s go through the rest of this episode as it happens.

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Russell Crowe Monologue – Who knew that this was going to be anywhere near as fun as it was? Crowe had a good sense of humor about himself, made fun of his serious-movie reputation, and seemed to have pretty good timing. Sure, there was a generic movie plug thrown in here for something more than a month away, but he did make fun of Ryan Goslin and we’re always down for that. A much-improved monologue over Peter Dinklage last week.

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Hemorrhoid Commercial  – This was amusing, mostly because of the editing and the way that they had Beck Bennett pop in and eventually proclaim that Taran Killam was his “best friend” for taking his hemorrhoid cream. Yes, it was slightly reliant on gross-out humor and “SNL” has gone a little nuts with that, but we like that it was a commercial parody we did not see coming. The intro was probably a tad long.

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Al Sharpton piece – Is this the most random Al Sharpton cameo ever? The Black Approval Index bit was the clear highlight, especially for the jokes about Trump and Ted Cruz. Everything else, from the weight talk to the awkward way this ended, was odd. What was also odd was seeing how Crowe was not in this sketch, which interestingly aired before the first commercial break.

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Henry VIII sketch – Crowe’s first opportunity to do a sketch tonight was marred by two separate things: Really poor writing, and also some technology that seemed to cause a delay here and there in the timing. It’s like someone thought up the idea to have people visit a Henry VIII hologram, only for him to ask continually for a male heir. We guess that this was meant to be King Henry VIII before King Edward VI, since the sketch otherwise wouldn’t even be historically accurate!

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Dating Game – This was such an obvious miss from start to finish, mostly because it was the second sketch in a row to try and make Crowe one of the creepiest men humanly possible. Hearing him list off parts of the human anatomy wasn’t really funny, even if he did put a ton of effort into it. Kenan Thompson tried to do his best job at saving it with some great reaction shots and off-the-cuff humor, but to no avail.

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Weekend Update – Horrible. Probably the worst one of the season. It was too obvious during Kate McKinnon’s segment that Colin Jost was just reading off of cue cards, some of the jokes were mediocre at best, and did we really need to see the return of Bruce Chandling? Was anyone calling for that? It was not only unfunny this time, but also uncomfortable. We know Kyle Mooney has other characters, so why not give one of them a try for a change over recycling this?

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“Survivor” spoof – As a longtime fan of the show, it makes sense that we’d be over the moon about something that was openly mocking the CBS reality show in any capacity. Unfortunately, this really wasn’t too funny beyond just having Crowe play a really creepy uncle of one of the contestants who he barely knew. This is something we’ve always wondered about from the family visit. We just wish this sketch was better, and Beck Bennett did something more to play Jeff Probst than just wear his shirt.

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Pizza Place – The good news for Good Neighbor fans is that Kyle and Beck got one of these on the air that was not Inside SoCal for a change. The problem? It really wasn’t funny, since it was basically two man-childs freaking out over getting to work in their favorite pizza place from childhood. Also, there was no ending at all.

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Shanice Goodwin, Ninja – There was something about this sketch that was oddly endearing, at least when it comes to Leslie Jones busting out some physical comedy. We’d like to see it again, especially since we figured out in here precisely what the problem is with Crowe as a host: He is spending so much time trying to get the voices right that he just seems off the majority of the rest of the time.

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Oprah Winfrey trailer – Strangely, the final two sketches of the night were better than most of what came before him. Had Mike O’Brien not already done this fake movie trailer with Jay-Z, we probably would’ve laughed even more. Still, we would say that this was a fun reenactment of Oprah’s journey to stardom, and there was a great cameo to boot from Jason Sudeikis.

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Overall – A pretty lifeless show. Crowe struggled early and often, and barely was in the show compared to some other past hosts. Granted, the writers gave him very little to do, and there were many moments that were downright painful to watch. Grade: D+.

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