‘Saturday Night Live’ review: ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Shark Tank’ try to help Kevin Hart

Saturday Night Live LogoKevin Hart spent a good bit of time during his opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live” this week talking about what a diehard fan he was of the sketch show, and we really found that to be true as we watched him put a huge amount of effort into just about everything that he did. He played multiple characters, tried different types of humor, and even at one point tried to be a zombie while dancing like in the Michael Jackson “Thriller” video.

As for the show surrounding him … well, let’s not waste your time here. We’ll have the highlights and lowlights first, and our take on the show as a whole is at the very end.

The highlights

Kevin Hart monologue – What a funny what to open the show. Nobody made Kevin sing, and he instead kicked things off with a hilarious opener that was literally half about him eating a sandwich in front of a homeless guy, and half about him auditioning for the show. This was proof that in doing standup, Kevin Hart can really make anything funny.

Weekend Update – This was a mixed bag. The Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman impressions were particularly terrible, mostly because we know already that Bobby Moynihan can do better (Jay Pharoah was pretty good). On the flip side, Seth Meyers had a few funny jokes, and his “Really?” bit with Kevin Hart worked even when the comedian flubbed his lines.

“The Walking Dead” spoof – Mocking the AMC show was a pretty great idea, and the show really used some of the characters well. While we wish the gag had something in it other than race humor (mostly because that had already been touched on a few times on the show), the lengths that “Rick” was willing to go to not look racist, including allow Hart’s character to eat Maggie, drew a few laughs.

Dove Chocolate commercial – We really don’t understand the idea behind this sketch, outside of having Hart get increasingly more ridiculous as it went along while he read copy for a Dove commercial. The late sketches are like throwing darts on a wall, but strangely this worked for us.

The lowlights

Obama cold open – As a means of starting the show, it was okay; but to be honest, political cold-opens are old news now, and a topic like the federal budget does not really get anyone jumping up and down. Jay Pharoah’s Obama is still okay, but this is just a hard man to really get down pat.

Steve Harvey – Seeing Kenan Thompson together with Hart in a sketch had potential, but to be honest this just wasn’t funny. None of the jokes were really so much jokes as much as they were dialogue, and Kenan’s impression felt more like Kenan this time than the talk show host he was emulating.

Quvenzhane Wallis as Pope – This was a great sketch for about two seconds: The Oscar-nominated actress (played by Hart) was named the Pope. That’s the entire sketch. Nothing after the reveal was funny.

Barnes & Noble – So this was almost identical to that sketch from earlier this season about McDonald’s employees quitting their job. It wasn’t really funny then, and it was not really funny now. Just annoying.

“Shark Tank” spoof – Where was Robert Herjavec? Strangely, NBC cut that guy out of the room, but we don’t think he’ll be too upset after watching it. While the writers at least had an understanding of the show, Kate McKinnon may have been the only person who actually researched her character as Barbara Corcoran. The worst was Jason Sudeikis, whose only similarity to Kevin O’Leary here was the lack of hair.

Z-Shirt ad – A funny concept, but it was mostly just Kevin annoying Tim Robinson for a couple of minutes about the letter on the front of his shirt.

At the end of the day, we can’t really sit here with a straight face and say that this show delivered what we were expecting: constant laughs from one of the best comedians in the business. We hate to really blame the writers since that is such a lazy excuse, but Hart was really game for everything and was funny when doing his own material. We don’t really know who else can be at fault here.

What was your take on this week’s episode? Be sure to vote in our poll below, and you can see what Hart had to say before the show by heading on over to the link here.

Photo: NBC

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