'SNL' recap: Seth Rogen gets an evening of predictable jokes
The Seth-Rogen-likes-weed jokes will never get old, apparently. And Seth Rogen knows it.
In the third-time host’s monologue, Rogen read from a journal documenting his time at 30 Rock preparing for Saturday Night Live, including: “Just got pitched about 50 ideas about weed. Unfortunately, we can only do about 10 of them.” The Pineapple Express star milked the line, but this wasn’t the only drug-tinged joke of the night — surprise!
Though it did seem like we were going to escape the episode without an entire sketch dedicated to the munchies, Rogen’s onscreen stoner reputation prevailed. The second-to-last skit starred a spectacularly goofy Kyle Mooney as a weed enthusiast who doesn’t actually smoke pot. Rogen made an appearance in it as a drug dealer, and the two bonded over a weird song. It was all very weird, actually. And not very funny.
Rogen excelled in the non-drug-themed skits, particularly when he played a clumsy husband opposite wife Aidy Bryant, who was stuck with two arm casts and needed his help in everything, from raising a glass at dinner to applying lipstick.
And, as expected, he did bring some A+ guests: When he mentioned that he didn’t need famous friends to help him out in his monologue, Zooey Deschanel slyly walked behind him on stage. James Franco visited a displeased Rogen, then made a joke about that one Instagram thing. “Great prank, I’ve been waiting at the Ace Hotel for like three days!” he said. Uh, glad he has a sense of humor about that? Maybe?
Taylor Swift — who was probably there for bud Ed Sheeran, though I’d rather imagine her and Rogen as besties — also showed up, but didn’t really add much (except her beauty, duh). Although it was a nice surprise to see Deschanel, Franco, and Swift, it’s true: Rogen doesn’t need his famous friends’ help — he’s perfectly amusing on his own. He committed to each and every joke on the episode, even though the writing was pretty weak when it came to the sketches. Looking back, this will probably, sadly, be another forgettable Seth Rogen episode.
But Rogen did get some good material — including a sketch about dog food that we promise is a lot more entertaining than it sounds.
Rogen and Cecily Strong shined in a confessional-style commercial for Blue River Dog Food, a product the couple switched to after finding out what ingredients their big-brand dog food was made from — including chicken byproduct meal. The horror! Watching Strong have a complete breakdown (seriously, she straight-up screamed for part of it) about how she felt lied to by big brands was delightful, and the whole thing was a ridiculous play on how ingredients-obsessed everyone is these days. Extra points for the adorable dog who co-starred.
So the sketch where Rogen and Bryant play a Southern-accented couple did have a fart joke, but we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a great one. In the bit, Bryant’s arms are broken, and she can’t do anything for herself. Unable to feed herself, Rogen shoves a steak all over her face. Displeased by his feeding method, she angrily asks him to cut it. So he farts. “You said cut it, and so I did.”
Later, he reveals that he knew exactly what she meant, but just wanted her to suffer — because Bryant, who already has two arms in casts, lipstick all over her face, and wine spilled all over her chest thanks to the clumsy Rogen, isn’t already suffering enough.
Though Strong’s crazy cousin impression was entertaining, the engagement party sketch didn’t exactly inspire knee-slappers. The premise was that Rogen was engaged to Vanessa Bayer, but Strong reveals that he once had a sexual experience with another guy — while that guy was asleep. The joke was lazy, and another example of weak writing. Come on, guys! Let’s move on from the gay jokes, shall we?
Sketch We Forgot About Right After It Happened
A joke about Paul Ryan’s muscles? Really?
In the “Monster Pals” prerecorded short, one scary-looking monster (who gets bullied by a bro-tastic Rogen) goes through the city looking for his other monster friend, Jim by tapping on the shoulder of anyone and everyone. “He’s not gonna find him!” we think. But soon enough, he finds Jim — a.k.a. James Franco — who has gotten monster-to-human facial surgery since the last time his friend saw him. Best line? “I don’t go by Jim anymore. Now it’s”–dramatic pause–“James.”
Best Riff on CNN
Bayer plays a wannabe mom who’s using CNN’s new pregnancy test to check her status. But the problem is, the test updates every 10 minutes with breaking news headlines like, “Oscar Pistorius removes his legs in court” and pregnancy fun facts, and takes weeks to actually register whether or not the user is pregnant. The premise was clever (seriously, if you follow CNN Breaking News on Twitter, this sketch will really speak to you) and Bayer’s frustration was comically relatable.
Vanessa Bayer killed it as Bar Mitzvah Boy Jacob in a Weekend Update sketch. She made repeated jokes about how bad her mom’s tuna casserole is and resisted all of Strong’s attempts to bond with her. And when Strong brought up Derek Jeter leaving baseball, resulting in some hilariously awkward fumbling as Jacob tried not to cry? Amazing. You and your Yankees-themed yarmulke are invited back anytime, Jacob.
Best Musical Moment
This one goes to musical guest Ed Sheeran, who started off “Sing” with just his acoustic guitar — intimate! — only for the lights to reveal his backing band about a minute in. The Englishman’s goofy smiles showed how happy he was to be there, and we were pretty happy he was there, too.