James Franco hosted SNL for the fourth time this past Saturday, and it was a wild episode. The cold open featured a slew of children on live television, which is a recipe for insanity. Some of the kids were great, some of them froze, but I’ll take it over another Donald Trump sketch any day. Franco brings a lot of smiles and positivity everywhere he goes, and I enjoyed the episode overall. Here are the three best sketches from Saturday night.
One of the main themes running through this episode was James Franco playing James Franco. He did it in Christmas Charity, and he did it in the final sketch of the night, Reunion. The reason I picked Reunion over Christmas Charity was Heidi Gardner, who played Pretty Mandy. This is Gardner’s first season on SNL but she’s getting a lot of screen time and more importantly, she’s delivering. Angel from Weekend Update was dynamite, and Pretty Mandy’s odd accent and fixation on darts and bull’s-eyes killed me. I wouldn’t mind seeing Pretty Mandy show up again, preferably when Davey Franco hosts (that needs to happen ASAP).
2. Gift Wrap
Gift Wrap is one those over the top sketches that Will Ferrell perfected during his time on SNL, and it really set the tone for Franco’s show. The cold open was off the rails due to some of the children forgetting their lines, and this was sketch was off the rails because of the excessive fake blood. Franco played an overexcited gift wrapper who wasn’t go to let some missing, bloody appendages stop him from wrapping customer’s gifts. The gag got funnier and funnier, and if you’re wondering why Leslie Jones couldn’t get out her lines, it’s because she almost threw up in her mouth. Franco also confirmed this was his favorite sketch from the show, and you could tell he was having a blast.
1. Spelling Bee
My favorite type of SNL sketches are when they take normal scenarios and turn them on their head. That’s why Spelling Bee was the top sketch for me. James Franco plays the moderator who decides to make the words, definitions and usage a little too personal. Franco nails it too, until Little Pig Boy. It’s tough to blame him for breaking when his character has to deliver the definition and usage of Little Pig Boy with a straight face. I’ve watched this sketch four times and it just gets better.
Seth Meyers’ original content often get over-shined by all the powerhouses on late night TV these days. Honestly it’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Let this video of Leslie Jones giving live commentary for “Battle of the Bastards” be a reminder that we should’d get caught slippin’ on good ol Seth Meyers.
PS- Needed the Kenan cameo.
Ghosts – Well, who else was he going to call?
Director Paul Feig took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal his all-female leads for his upcoming “Ghostbusters” reboot.
It’s no surprise that at the top of the marquee are Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, the stars of Feig’s megahit comedy “Bridesmaids.” McCarthy in particular has developed a De Niro-Scorsese like bond with the director, having also starred in Feig’s “The Heat” and the upcoming “Spy.”
Rounding out the new-look “Ghostbusters” cast are “Saturday Night Live” vets Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.
The fab foursome will be filling the proton packs once wielded by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and the late Harold Ramis, stars of the first two “Ghostbusters movies” in the ‘80s. Sony had high hopes for a third installment of the supernatural comedy franchise, but original director Ivan Reitman dropped out in the wake of his friend Ramis’ death last year.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) January 27, 2015
I’m not a huge fan of reboots, but Paul Feig just put together a murderers row of comedic actresses that pretty much guarantees that the ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot is going to be great. I’m happiest for McKinnon and Leslie Jones, the former becoming a legendary SNL performer and the latter rising up the ranks from the writing team to be a key cast member this season. Wiig and McCarthy killed it in another Feig movie, ‘Bridesmaids’, so you know they’ll be familiar with his directing style. Add that familiarity to all four women’s comedic acting chops and you have yourself an instant classic. As a side note on Kate McKinnon: what a fucking year. First she’s nominated for an Emmy for her masterful work on SNL, and now she’s starring in a major summer blockbuster. The movie will be released in July 2016, so let the unreal expectations and constant analysis begin!
LJ – The 40th season of Saturday Night Live has had some good and very bad moments through the first three episodes, but there has certainly been some promise displayed by the show’s new blood. For starters, Pete Davidson earned rave reviews for his debut routine on Weekend Update, while he has also shown his talent for delivering laughs in sketches. But some people might argue that the show’s brightest new star is Leslie Jones, who was hired as a writer earlier this year after a talent search. Jones eventually got some screen time on Weekend Update last season – remember the controversy? – and she made several great appearances in the first three episodes of this season.
Apparently Lorne Michaels and Co. have heard us laughing with Jones, because Deadline reports that she has been promoted to featured player ahead of this week’s episode starring Jim Carrey. That’s obviously great news – hopefully for the ratings, too – but let’s hope that it’s not the end of Jones swinging by Weekend Update to call Colin Jost a “sexy vanilla muffin” and “delectable Caucasian.” He probably benefits from her incredible personality more than anyone.
Love me some Leslie Jones. The UPROXX article pretty much hit the nail on the head, but Leslie and Pete Davidson have been the shining stars through season 40’s first three episodes. She’s clearly a gifted comedian, but it’s her energy that sets her apart from the other cast members. Between her Weekend Update spots and her cameo in the ’39 Cents’ skit above, we’ve only seen her appear in racially motivated sketches, so it’ll be interesting to see how she is used outside of that type of comedy. Now that she’s officially a featured player, I’m doubly excited for Chris Rock to host. That’s a magical combination waiting to happen.