Alec Baldwin commenced his 15th hosting assignment for Saturday Night Live by noting that he was now tied with Steve Martin. A TV was wheeled on-stage for Martin to appear “via satellite” to jabber amiably, only to have Baldwin shove the television off-camera. The bit was quick and funny.
That was followed by a jaunty, extremely well-choreographed Digital Short starring Andy Samberg as a cocaine-addled businessman who sang and danced about his ruined life with demented energy.
I’ve decided to devote this final SNL recap of the season to just the sketches I thought were funny. Therefore I won’t mention the loooong Kristen Wiig-centric sketch: She was Starfish, the “new script supervisor” for a Dallas-like TV show called Arizona Nights, with Baldwin and Samberg. The guys could barely get their lines out as Starfish yammered.
Thank goodness for Nasim Pedrad and her Bedelia character, introduced earlier this season in the Tina Fey-hosted week. A teen nerd who loves her parents and says things like “courtesy’s contagious,” Pedrad had this sweet-natured kid deliver heartfelt, intricately-worded speeches about how cool her dad (Baldwin) is. Pedrad makes someone who’s usually a figure of ridicule into an interesting, quirky, fully realized young girl.
The night’s best fake ad consisted of Abby Elliott impersonating Sally Field in a fake ad for Preniva, a drug to prevent “bone loss.” The satire was forthright and clear in “Sally”‘s warning: “Preniva won’t solve all your problems — you’ll still be a woman.”
The high point of “Weekend Update” was an appearance by Stefon, the New York “city correspondent” played to eyebrow-moistening perfection by Bill Hader. Stefon, clearly an audience favorite already, recommended that innocent tourists go to sordid nightclubs that feature unique novelties such as “Germfs” (German Smurfs, natch) and “a party room filled with human bathmats.” Stefan is like a contemporary Warhol Factory character: sweet, jittery, and gravely decadent.
Baldwin’s best acting was probably in the late-in-the-evening, absurdist sketch about a military sniper trainer whose garbled, bellowed order — it came out something like, “Tay da shaaa!” — baffled nervous soldiers played by Jason Sudeikis and Kenan Thompson. Baldwin delivered his gibberish with machine-gun speed, and did a lot of good rolling-around slapstick.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed a couple of lively blues-rock numbers, with an emphasis on the guitar work of Mike Campbell.
To sum up the 35th season of SNL: I’d say the best editions were the ones hosted by Fey, Taylor Swift, and Zach Galifianakis. Pedrad wins best-rookie award. Best dancing: Sudeikis in every “What Up With That?” sketch. And SNL never shoulda gotten rid of Michaela Watkins.
Your opinion of last night’s show, and nominations for the season’s best, please?