So before we get to the rundown of the show, we need to skip to the end. When Galifianakis hosted in March 2010, he shaved his beard during a break. On Saturday, his hair remained intact throughout the show — until the goodbyes, when he appeared on stage with what looked to be a freshly cut Mohawk (or a very good prosthetic) and announced, “Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the Mr. T sketch.” More shaving shenanigans or just a goof on his stunt from last time out? We will endeavor to find out.
And now, onto the show, which had a few good pre-“Weekend Update” moments and slid noticeably after that — and which, thanks to two sketches in particular, was the filthiest episode we’ve seen in a long time.
Cold open: March Madness
The affiliate we were watching ran a commercial over the first minute or two of the sketch, but we got the gist: CBS Sports taking the term “March Madness” literally. Good idea, well played by those involved, including another excellent turn by Bill Hader as Charlie Sheen.
After a couple minutes of his typically off-kilter stand-up material and impressions like “the guy from Queens who’s obsessed with cargo shorts” and “the world’s worst braggart,” Galifianakis did a weird, Andy Kaufman-esque rendition of “Tomorrow” from “Annie,” complete with little red dress and accompanied by an easel with non-sequitur titles printed on paper (such as “I smoke so much pot that sometimes I forget to smoke it”). Points off for Galifianakis flashing his pink undies at us — just once, we’d like to see a Galifianakis performance that doesn’t feature his skivvies — but the sheer weirdness of it kind of worked.
More painful than actually watching “The Talk.” Hader as Steven Tyler can’t save it.
‘The Original Kings of Catchphrase Comedy’
A loose, everybody-gets-to-play filmed piece that had a few very funny moments, notably Seth Meyers‘ “Boston Powers” and the note-perfect look on Galifianakis’ face as “Airhorn” Schultz awaited the whoops for his signature bit.
The dirtiest Scared Straight sketch of all time
The “Scared Straight” sketches are pretty much just an excuse to walk right up to the standards-and-practices line, but this one may have been the most out-there of them all, with Galifianakis in a Hannibal Lecter mask joining Kenan Thompson. The line we think we can print here is “Instead of Colin Firth, it’ll be colon first!” The rest? Yikes. Watch above, if you dare.
Digital short: ‘Zach looks for a new assistant’
Mildly amusing kids-as-adults fare, except for the kid who was telling Zach whether the fart noises were funny. He has brilliant timing, and we really kind of hope he pursues comedy as a career option.
Musical guest Jessie J
Jessie J is apparently blowing up in the U.K., but “SNL” was her first televised performance on this side of the Atlantic (you may also know her as the songwriter of Miley Cyrus’ damnably catchy “Party in the U.S.A.”). She performed her single “Price Tag” (with B.o.B.) and later sang “Mamma Knows Best,” and while her kind of pop music isn’t exactly our bag, we get why she’s become a situation in Britain.
‘Weekend Update’ highlights
The interview with Julie Taymor (Kristen Wiig) about “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” was solid, and Meyers had his usual array of solid jokes. A couple of our favorites:
- On President Obama speaking out against bullying: “Obama said he was picked on by classmates who said his ears were too big and his name was funny. Or as he now thinks of it, the good old days.”
- On the NFL lockout: “There’s still ample time for a solution before the season starts, but in what many are saying is a bad sign, Jerry
Jones just listed a 2,100-inch TV on eBay.”
- “‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ set a record for the most preview performances ever without actually opening. The previous record was held by my first girlfriend, Catholic Susie.”
- And: “A series of new pools is opening in Las Vegas that are adult-themed and will have DJs, topless dancers and never enough chlorine.”
Also, he closed the segment with an appeal for donations to Red Cross relief efforts in Japan (go to RedCross.org). Well done.
Noodles Is Dead
The other super-filthy sketch, in which parents (Galifianakis and Wiig) attempt to explain to their suspicious kids that their dog died of auto-erotic asphyxiation. It ended poorly, with Thompson doing the “voice” of Noodles the dog and a technical glitch throwing off the timing.
On behalf of America, we’re sorry, Canada.
Corn syrup ad
A solid ad parody with Wiig and Nasim Pedrad as an especially strident defender of high fructose corn syrup. ThereAreWorseThingsThanCornSyrup.com is still available as a domain name.
End-of-show filler with Galifianakis as the ship’s captain, dressed as a woman so he could sneak onto a lifeboat. He wore a hat, concealing his possibly newly mohawked head.
What did you think of “SNL” this week?