So far this season, Saturday Night Live hasn’t taken too many big chances with its guest hosts. Seth MacFarlane was sure to have a flair for the theatrical, and while Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a disappointment compared to his first hosting gig, he was certain to be up for anything. But the first guest this year who presents himself as a giant question mark is Daniel Craig. Craig has never shown his comedic side, but for the most part after this episode, he still hasn’t.
The inevitable presidential debate opened the show with a twist, as the skit showed Obama’s internal monologue. There were some good elements to it, like Sudeikis’ perfect Romney stare, Obama trying to figure out what to get Michelle for their anniversary and Chris Parnell’s appearance as Jim Lehrer.
Craig’s opening monologue was one of his best contributions of the night, when he showed an In Memoriam tape, also called “Or All The People I Done Killed” from all his action films. This segment showed two things about Craig: 1. He doesn’t have any experience with comedy in his films and 2. He was mostly going to be reading cue cards during the night, and usually not convincingly.
The next segment featured a bunch of construction workers catcalling at women passing by, with Craig as Jasper, a new worker who is terrible at it. Craig is thrown in to the show with some strange dialogue and a weird character that only works about half of the time. The reveal that Jasper’s father was a construction worker who was killed for catcalling was so odd that it was a highlight of the bit.
A pretaped commercial showing the lesser-known Bond Girls allowed much of the female cast to show off their rarely shown impressions. Vanessa Bayer as Diane Keaton and Kate McKinnon doing double duty as Jodie Foster and Ellen DeGeneres proved that SNL should utilize these characterizations more often. A big surprise was Nasim Pedrad as Lea Michele. Pedrad rarely makes me laugh, but this impression was hilarious and right on the nose.
The MSNBC segment showing Al Sharpton and Chris Matthews freaking out about Obama’s failures seemed like more of the same that we’ve seen from these news parody segments. McKinnon once again was great in another parody for Long Island Medium. McKinnon is becoming a weekly MVP and is on her way to becoming the standout newcomer for this season.
While it was one of the weirder skits in a night full of weird skits, a bit involving a team going to colonize Mars and starring Bobby Moynihan as Kirby, a man who just missed his kitty cat, was too unusual not to get some laughs. Even though the skit showed the worst of Craig’s hosting, Moynihan is usually great when he’s given the lead in a skit.
Probably the best segment of the night was a better-than-usual Weekend Update. Meyer’s headlines were much stronger, and the guests were fantastic. McKinnon once again impressed as Cecilia Gimenez, the woman who ruined the ‘Ecco Homo’ painting, and an appearance from Big Bird was so adorable, it was hard not to love. Moynihan easily won the adorable award this week, after playing with a kitten in the aforementioned skit, and then wide-eyedly hugging Big Bird during the end of the show.
From there, the skits were almost completely misses. A fake BBC parody for a show called “A Sorry Lot We Are” bored after only about a minute, and then Craig in a skit with his new girlfriend Regine, played by Fred Armisen, felt too similar to the Joseph Gordon-Levitt end-of-night skit from two weeks ago.
When it comes to the Muse performances, first for “Madness” then for “Panic Station,” to me they just sound like every other Muse song. Both songs weren’t close to as epic as Muse can make songs, and they were frankly pretty boring. Maybe it’s just because I don’t understand the appeal of Muse, but easily the worst musical guest so far this year to go with the worst host of the year.
The Craig/Muse episode only had a handful of moments worth watching for, and the writing just seemed sort of sloppy, rehashing elements from bits already done this season. It felt like Craig tried his best to be entertaining, but the material just wasn’t there this week for him when he needed it.
Best Lines of the Night:
-Lehrer’s talking to Obama in the opening skit almost felt like it could have been real:
“Mr. President, Governor Romney has just said that he killed Osama Bin Laden. Would you care to respond?”
“No, you two go ahead.”
-Japser really is terrible at making comments at women passing by:
“She’s like a big bowl of butt soup with extra nipples!”
-Some of the best lesser-known Bond films: Never Die Twice Tomorrow, Quantum of Leap and Hippopotopussy.
-Kirby’s cat, appropriately named Fuzz Aldrin, gets too excited when it’s time to eat:
“When I put his food down, he runs in the kitchen and just slides past his bowl, like a little Tomcat Cruise in Frisky Business.”
-Seth Meyers states that one of the big winners at the debate was Fox News:
“When that thing ended, you guys must have looked at each other and said, ‘I think we can report this one exactly as it happened.’”
-Big Bird’s political humor:
‘Who likes debates? De fishes”