We said earlier in the day that “Saturday Night Live” needed to have the best show of the year given the expectations that were there for Lady Gaga as host … and they actually managed to deliver! This show was the funniest one that we’ve seen in a long, long time. Pound for pound, it was actually better than what we had with Justin Timberlake last year. It may be our favorite show since Gaga was last on as a musical guest and Timberlake was the host years ago.
It’s no joke here when we say that over an hour into the show, there was still no sketch that they didn’t like. From the cold open straight on through to even some of the sketches after “Weekend Update,” this show was a winner.
Rob Ford opening – You know that you’ve messed up in Canada when your politician makes it to the cold open on an American sketch show, and as someone who knows and loves the city of Toronto well, we have to say that this was hilarious. Sure, Bobby Moynihan barely did an impression, but the ENTHUSIASM. Of course, the bigger joke may be the somehow, Ford does all of this stuff and still gets a higher approval rating than the last two Presidents have in their second terms in office.
Lady Gaga introduction – This was a pretty awesome way for Gaga to start off her show, as she perfectly spoofed her own persona and her hit “Applause” by finding some silly ways to ask for it. She also understood that not everything had to be funny, at least so long as it is entertaining. We also don’t think that Gaga really gets enough credit for being a great singer. Her voice was really awesome during this entire opening, even when she was being carried by other guys.
Paxil, Second-Term Strength – A little predictable as far as commercials go, but we rolled on the floor for a minute watching Jay Pharoah’s President Obama downing nearly a whole bottle of pills while thinking about the Obamacare website. Sometimes, you don’t need a complex idea for laughs so long as the presentation is there, and this worked.
Waking Up with Kimye – We’ve never really felt like Kardashian impressions were really that good (and we’re sure that Kim hates being perceived to be an idiot), but Pharoah’s Kanye West was completely hilarious … especially that laugh. This is almost what we imagine the Kim / Kanye relationship being like. Gaga’s Apple store employee was also pretty delightful, especially in how understated she was from start to finish.
Worst Cover Songs of All Time – Okay, Gaga has just won so much respect for appearing in this infomercial as herself “covering” Madonna’s “Express Yourself” by singing “Born This Way.” There were some pretty good impressions in here, but nothing compares to seeing Aidy Bryant just stand there as Adele covering the theme song to “L.A. Law.”
Weekend Update – Jebidiah Atkinson was the real highlight here: A brilliant recreation of a reviewer in the Civil War era who slammed the Gettysburg Address, leading to the paper to issue a retraction 150 years after the fact. It was so ridiculous from start to finish, especially with Taran Killam breaking at the end of it. The best part of this is that there was an “NCIS” joke, and in Canada, there was an “NCIS” commercial that aired immediately afterwards.
The co-op board – This is where the show could have fallen apart, and while not every joke in this skit about a co-op board and its crazy cast of characters worked, there was so much of it that did that we are still consider it a winner.
Spotlightz – This feels like an ad for that Ark Music Factory that produced Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” It was basically four minutes full of awkward children performing scenes from movies badly. Plus, you get to see Gaga die while reenacting “Forrest Gump.” We don’t know how she did that “Training Day” monologue while not swearing.
Blockbuster in Memoriam – A great send-off to a company that has memories for almost any kid who grew up in the nineties. It was weird, funny (the Redbox scene), inspired by movies and TV, and almost genius in way. This may be one of our favorite post-Weekend Update sketches in years. It’s right up there with the drunk pitch-ladies played by Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong.
School talent show – Usually when we see a school sign, it’s a sign of terrible things to come. But this was something different: It was pure insanity and joy. This is pretty much what some pageant parents do, anyway.
Gaga as an old Lady – A really funny take on what is probably Gaga’s worst fear realized. This is what made this so funny, along with her own replications of some of her greatest hits. Gaga played herself a lot on the show, but given so much of herself is a character, it was fine.
RoseZone – This ad for a commercial that gives you the highlights of reality TV shows was probably the weakest thing of the night, but there were still a couple of good moments and it was over really quickly.
Nothing. Seriously. There was no dud of a sketch tonight, which may be the first time that we’ve ever said that in a review.
Lady Gaga’s performances
We usually don’t talk that much about that here, but it’s just hard to not talk about the sight of R. Kelly and Gaga basically simulating all sorts of R-rated stuff on the stage. Also, where did R. Kelly come from for this song? We have this image in our head of Gaga listening to “I Believe I Can Fly” and owning the Space Jam Soundtrack, and that made her want to fulfill her wish of eventually getting him on a song someday.
As for the second song, we’re not familiar with it … but it was a great song. Why doesn’t Gaga release this as a single? We actually like it better than her song with R. Kelly.
Overall, we cannot say enough good things about this episode. Even though it may not have had a “D*** in a Box” sort of iconic sketch that will live forever on the internet, we can’t think of the last time “SNL” made us laugh start to finish the entire way through with nothing bad in between. Grade: A+.
What did you think about tonight’s “SNL” episode? We want to hear from you below! Meanwhile, click here if you want to read some other highlights from this season. We’ll have some videos posted here in the morning.