Sigourney Weaver was the undisputed star of this week’s Saturday Night Live, and it’s not simply because she was the host. From the moment she took the stage for her monologue until she waved goodnight during the all-cast round-up, Weaver really dug in and owned her experience. She strutted onto the stage in a slamming black ensemble, rocked a huge smile and dove in with confidence. It’s insane to think this woman is in her sixties!
In her monologue, Weaver expressed gratitude for all of the amazing roles she’s gotten to play over the years, Ellen Ripley in Alien, Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist and Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar. “All of them strong, independent, fearless bitches!” But she confessed herself to be unlike these characters and more “kind of a wimp.”
All evidence was to the contrary, however. She took on a series of roles over the course of the night, fulfilling them with great gusto, and ultimately proving herself to be just strong, independent, fearless a … er, bitch? Nah, she’s lovely!
Her first sketch of the night positioned her as a voluptuous Swedish sex kitten, demonstrating some not-so-ordinary techniques.
The real star of her next sketch, ESPN coverage of a ladies darts tournament, was a mustachioed Jason Sudeikis, with his one-liner commercial breaks and the repetitive but always funny delivery of the word “douche.”
James Cameron made a cameo appearance, setting up the highlight of the night, pitching his next project: James Cameron’s Laser Cats 5. Like Cameron’s films, Andy Samberg threw everything but the kitchen sink into this digital short: references to everything you’d expect, and then some, not-so-special effects, deliciously awful dialogue and, of course, Ellen Ripley in all her glory!
She was a daring disco diva, a narcissistic web-obsessed version of herself, a sexy lounge singer terrified of heights and, as was to be expected, Dr. Augustine in an Avatar homage in which Bill Hader simulates sex in a glass box. (A necessary shout-out to set, costume and makeup designers on this one!)
Through it all, Weaver’s presence and acting chops never flagged. A couple of non-Weaver highlights also deserve mention here.
During Weekend Update, Seth Meyers covered the big news of late: Sarah Palin joining Fox News as a contributor, Mark McGwire’s steroid use and the release of the book Game Change. But the real genius came in Meyers’ take on the topic du jour: the late night host saga. “This week, you didn’t need Cinemax to see someone get screwed on TV” as Conan O’Brien’s picture appeared beside him.
Explaining the situation through a marriage metaphor, Meyers wrapped it up with a confession. “Look, obviously I’m invested in this because it affects me. If Jay can take his job back from Conan, that means Conan can take it back from Jimmy, and that means Jimmy might come here, and I cannot go back to being in a sketch once every three weeks.”
Late night was also the subject of the show’s first cold-open that’s actually made me laugh in a while.
Larry King (a bespeckled, suspendered Fred Armisen) gets Jay Leno (a chinless “denim on denim” Darrell Hammond, who is enjoying a short stint back) and Conan O’Brien (a big haired Hader) side by side. Sudeikis joins as David Letterman via satellite, giving a riotously one-dimensional giggly portrayal, nailing Dave’s idiosyncrasies and throwing a lot of glass-smashing pencils. And in fact, the sketches sudden final reveal, which I won’t spoil, was unexpected and perfectly delivered.
Next weeks’s show is hosted by Jon Hamm with musical guest Michael Bublé.