‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Love for Bruno Mars, Brad Pitt, Stefon, and Sad Mouse

This weekend’s edition of “Saturday Night Live” was funny … really funny. It was easily the strongest episode of the season, but it may have very well put everything the show has done to shame since when Maya Rudolph hosted earlier this year. Really, this goes to show you how far bringing back good sketches can go, in addition to having a host that is really open to anything.

We have to start by discussing the latter point here in that you would not know in watching this that Bruno Mars is not an actor. He not only held his own in just about every sketch, but he even stole many of them with his energy and his ability to show off everything from his singing voice to his ability to impersonate other people in the business. Easily, our idea of heaven now would be a season of this show where he and Justin Timberlake just alternate weeks. Even his two performances were stellar, and we totally felt every note.

As for some of the specific highlights of the week there were many:

The Brad Pitt / Chanel spoofs – This was not even something that Bruno was a part of, but it was still hilarious to watch the actor’s ridiculous Chanel perfume ad be taken apart and even turned into a Taco Bell commercial. We don’t always love it when “SNL” repeats the same gag over and over again, but it totally worked here.

Bruno Mars’ celebrity impersonators – While Mars did a great job in most of the sketches he appeared in, this one was the highlight in that he played an intern responsible for covering various artists’ songs for a short amount of time. His Steven Tyler was phenomenal, but so was Justin Bieber, his Katy Perry, and the Michael Jackson impression he pulled at the end. You could see him break character briefly for the Louis Armstrong impression, but we almost didn’t mind that since it proved he was having a great time.

The “Sad Mouse” short – This is not the sort of short that “SNL” has done much of since Andy Samberg left, but we absolutely loved it. Mars played an insecure man who was depressed that nobody waved back at him while wearing a mouse suit, and this tracked his emotional journey. We were surprised by how much this touched us from beginning to end, even when the mouse was engaging in some questionable behavior.

Stefon! – Finally, we have to give some love to Bill Hader’s signature character coming back for a little bit more hilarity during this episode. This is easily our favorite “Weekend Update” sketch, and it almost feels like it would not be as effective if we did not see Hader break character on at least one occasion during it. We were literally rolling on the floor the whole time.

When it comes to weak links during the episode, we don’t want to spend much time hating any one thing since none of them were particularly awful. Sure, the debate cold open was a bit of a rehash, and we did not even love Mars’ first sketch away from his clever opening monologue that much. But these were at least still pleasant, and were not a red flag to turn off the TV by any means. Yes, some of the later sketches were a little bit weaker, but even they were lifted in part by Bruno’s presence.

It’s hard to not stress enough how great of an episode of “Saturday Night Live” this was. It’s really the installments like these that remind us not only why we love this show, but why there is no better weekend escape on TV than to engage in a little topical silliness where anything can happen.

What did you think about Mars’ performance, and the show as a whole? If you want to see who is hosting the next new episode on November 3, all you have to do is click here. We will have videos from the show once they are available.

Photo: NBC

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