So it turns out Saturday Night Live was saving most of its Kanye West-Taylor Swift jokes not for Swift, but for this week’s show hosted by her boyfriend Taylor Lautner. And they were just as lame as you’d expect.
The only thing worse would have been if SNL made a lot of obvious jokes about Tiger Woods — and that’s just what happened: it seemed as though half of the show last night consisted of Tiger material.
Woods was the subject of the mirthless cold-open. And then Jason Sudeikis played a PGA commissioner made nervous about Woods’ announced “indefinite break” from the tour in no fewer than three unfunny promotions for the PGA tour. As an incentive to keep people watching the golf tournament, he promised that “if you hit a slice, you get hit by Kimbo Slice” and that whoever gets the “worst score has to appear on an episode of Jersey Shore.” Judging from the applause for the mere mention of that MTV phenomenon, SNL should have done a Jersey Shore parody this week. Even when the writers make the right reference, they’re doing the wrong sketch for it.
But wait, there was more: Three Tiger jokes on “Weekend Update,” including a character-moment for Nasid Pedrad as “mistress number 15.” Pedrad’s performance was good; it was the punchlines that failed her.
The first time I laughed was when Fred Armisen wheeled out his “Native American comedian Billy Smith” during “Update.” I can’t help it: I love Armisen’s inventive varieties of bad comics (“These jokes kill on the reservation”).
To those of you who’ve noted how little most of the female cast members are given to do, it’s worth noting that Abby Elliott put in more screen-time than she probably has all season, and that Kristen Wiig limited herself to just one big screech-out moment, as nervous “Aunt Sue.”
Oh, right: host Lautner. He danced at every opportunity, such as a show-choir skit, but there was certainly no glee to be found here:
Lautner also gamely played a girl who was on “Team Edward” debating a “Team Jacob” fan portrayed by Jenny Slate. There was also a school sketch that made so little sense, there was a weird moment when students played by Andy Samberg and Pedrad questioned the teacher (Bill Hader) as to why we were all listening to “this nonsense.” They were, in effect, surrogates for the audience, in the studio and at home. The sketch dribbled to an embarrassingly studio-silent conclusion.
Biggest laugh of the night: Ricky Gervais, not on SNL, but in a real commercial for the Golden Globes (he’s hosting on NBC Jan. 17).
Just before Lautner said good night, there was a moment of silence for Heino Ripp, who was a technical director for SNL from 1975 to 1983 and whose history in television extended all the way back to Sid Ceasar’s classic sketch series Your Show of Shows in the 1950s.
Music guest Bon Jovi made a lot of anthemic rock. That Jon Bon Jovi seems like a nice guy.
Here’s an open plea to next-week host James Franco: It’s up to you to redeem the month of December for SNL, pal. Please leave General Hospital immediately and start rehearsing.
Did you watch? Did you laugh at/with Taylor Lautner more than I did?
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