The show tackles all the White House firings, Betsy DeVos' disastrous "60... Minutes" interview and brings back "The Californians."
It's always fun when a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member returns to the show that made them, and Bill Hader was one of the strongest performers of the past decade. A master impressionist, he also had several amazing characters of his own, perhaps most famous being his New York nightlife "expert" Stefon. Would he bring any of his classics back to the "SNL" stage?
Of course he would. And he even brought along his friends John Goodman, Fred Armisen and John Mulaney to liven up the festivities, playing opposite all three of them at different points throughout the evening.
Hader seemed more interested in playing weird old dudes than trotting out the classics, which is both disappointing and a testament to his continued growth and evolution as a performer. Why rest on your laurels when you have new ideas, even if a lot of them were bizarrely sexually charged and cringeworthy levels of uncomfortable? We don't know if that's what Hader brought to the show, or if the writers fed off of his energy, but this was definitely the most in-the-toilet episode of "SNL" we've seen in quite a while.
As usual, we're ranking all the sketches from worst to first, including the Cold Open and the regular "Weekend Update" segments. We'll skip the musical guests, because they're not usually funny - unless Ashlee Simpson shows up. We wrap up with a look at the cast member who had the strongest week.
Bill Hader and Cecily Strong played a May-December couple, only Hader's character may have been December a few years later as he was significantly older, recklessly tooling around in a motorized wheelchair and barely had any idea what was going on. And then the sketch featured sex on-camera (kind of). Hader had taken Cialis and when "it's here" they have to take advantage of it, so Strong simply climbed up on his lap. She was under a courtesy blanket, but we're with Heidi Gardner, Melissa Villasenor and Aidy Bryant in that it was uuuuuuuncomfortable! Hader cracked a little after his chair pushed Villasenor halfway across the set, but that was really the only funny moment, and it wasn't on purpose.
MONOLOGUE: Bill Hader
After eight seasons on the show, the premise of this monologue was all the things Bill Hader is still learning about how "SNL" works, like the fact that the celebrities who show up to harass people doing impressions of them is totally planned, and the "SNL" commercials are totally fake. But then he subverted the monologue entirely by revealing it can be as short as the host wants, and so he had the wardrobe people come out and turn him into his character from Fred Armisen's classic sketch series, "The Californians."
Bill Hader portrayed a Canadian film producer dubbed Canada's Harvey Weinstein for telling an assistant she looked nice and asking where she got her sunglasses. Basically, it was about everyone feeling sorry and resigning for basic kindness, because Canadians are just so gosh-darned nice. Cecily Strong, as host, even brought out musical guest Arcade Fire so they could all say sorry to one another. It's the oldest Canadian joke in the book, and the sketch had nothing else to say about Hader's character, which was disappointing.
Jurassic Park Screen Tests
Yet another excuse to trot out some quick celebrity impressions, this time from the '90s era. There were some good ones in there, but no super standouts for funny. We saw Hugh Grant (Alex Moffat), Alan Alda (Bill Hader), Ellen DeGeneres (Kate McKinnon), Wesley Snipes (Chris Redd), Roseanne Barr (Aidy Bryant) Adam Sandler (Pete Davidson), Whoopi Goldberg (Leslie Jones), Pee Wee Herman (Mikey Day), Drew Barrymore (Heidi Gardner), Joey Lawrence (Kyle Mooney), Gwen Stefani (Melissa Villesenor), Sinbad (Kenan Thompson), Al Pacino (Hader), Lusa Kudrow (McKinnon), Jaleel White (Redd), Eddie Vedder (Luke Null), Jodie Foster (McKinnon), O.J. Simpson (Thompson), and Clint Eastwood (Hader). Yes, there were that many impressions, meaning very little time for any of them.
Kyle Mooney tried to turn Heid Gardner and Alex Moffat away from hiking to Sacred Rock in Sedona. It was the setup for Bill Hader to do another wild-haired old kook, who told them a story about getting anally probed up there. Man, this episode is more crass than usual. The sketch itself took a bizarre turn at the end as Moffat and Gardner debated what they wanted to do, while behind them Mooney was abducted by the aliens and another one brought Hader his green-skinned baby. And then... it just kind of ended.
Now updated for the Trump era, Hader stopped his monologue short to jump right into this sketch with surprise guest Fred Armisen. Kate McKinnon joined them as Rosa's (Vanessa Bayer) replacement, as the latter had been deported. Pete Davidson showed up as Hader's illegitimate son with Rosa, who really wanted to know what was up with those ridiculous accents. But really, it was all about the traffic and the best ways to navigate L.A. traffic. Spoiler warning: There is no best way.
Kiss Me I'm Irish
Beck Bennett hosted this dating show, with Bill Hader as the bachelor whose favorite fruit is gray and claim to fame is maybe punching Bono in the back of the head. "Better to be safe than sorry," Bennett told him. We couldn't help but wonder if Saoirse Ronan helped them with those Irish accents, as everyone but Aidy Bryant put one on. She was joined by Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong, but then it became all about McKinnon and Strong being Hader's cousins, and that this was just how things were done. If people thought the Irish should be offended by the Air Ireland sketch (which featured Ronan), they must have been up in arms about this. We're just upset that it wasn't funnier and kind of petered out.
Undercover Office Potty
What if your lap could be a secret toilet? Then you'd never have to go to the bathroom all the way down the hall. Except that if you just keep buying new toilet lamps and never clean them out and fill up your office, that gonna smell rank. And that was the premise of this commercial parody with Beck Bennett as the time-saving lamp user. Meanwhile, Kyle Mooney and Chris Redd were disgusted by the stench of his office after he acquired about ten of them. Luckily, Cecily Strong's announcer saved his ass again (literally) with a whole line of office supply toilets. Yeah, this premise was pretty dumb, but everyone was so committed to it and it was so very dumb that it became funny again.
COLD OPEN: Anderson Cooper 360
Kate McKinnon's Jeff Sessions went on with Alex Moffat's Anderson Cooper to explain the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (two days before he would have received retirement); Sessions felt bad for firing a white Christian, but also described himself as the last shield of protection over Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian election tampering. Frequent '80s and '90s surprise guest John Goodman then made a return as fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, followed by Fred Armisen's Michael Wolff -- still making things up -- and Bill Hader's Anthony Scaramucci. While most of the guests gave a reserved performance, Goodman was all fired up as Tillerson, shouting and breaking glass. It reminded us of how great he's been as host of this show. Somebody book him to promote the "Roseanne" revival!
"Tillerson will return to his previous job as the eagle from The Muppets," Michael Che said as part of "Update's" coverage of all the firings in the Trump White House this past week. He then upped the ante by asking if America was really prepared to see whatever video or images Stormy Daniels might have on Trump. "What if he's good?" he asked. "Are you prepared for that?" It was just the latest in a sexually charged evening, followed by Colin Jost chastising the media for teasing him with headlines touting Trump's downfall. "It's like I told my high school girlfriend," he said. "I'm totally fine with waiting, but then you gotta stop rubbing the outside of my pants." Kate McKinnon brought some clarity as Betsy DeVos seeking to explain her disastrous "60 Minutes" interview. She explained quite simply that the words coming out of her mouth were bad and that's because they came from her brain, which sums it up pretty well.
Pete Davidson dropped by then to talk about NFL player Kevin Love opening up about a panic attack. But he was mostly jealous that Love was trying to take his spotlight with his "little panic attack." We continue to applaud Davidson for normalizing mental illness with these appearances where he can joke about it, even while acknowledging how serious these problems can be. And then, to everyone's delight, Bill Hader's Stefon showed up to reveal "New York's hottest club," (with an able assist by John Mulaney as his attorney) and it was as ridiculous as ever, with Hader cracking up constantly. He lost it completely when he dubbed Che "Moonlight" and Jost "La La Land." Does he read these club descriptions for the first time on the air?
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
It was another close one this week, this time with Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon having the strongest and most consistent nights. Beck Bennett and Pete Davidson had memorable turns in one sketch each, but it was the consistency of McKinnon throughout the night that gave her the slightest edge. She wasn't great in the Californians, but she killed it as an Irish kissing cousin, Besty DeVos and her classic Jeff Sessions impression set the tone early on. Plus, her Jodie Foster and Lisa Kudrow impressions were spot-on!
"Saturday Night Live" returns Apr. 7 with host Chadwick Boseman and musical guest Cardi B, airing live coast-to-coast at 11:35 p.m ET/8:35 p.m. PT.