Funny. Really funny. Genuinely and truly funny! That’s not often said about modern Saturday Night Live, but that’s sure what we got on Saturday. Mad Men madman Jon Hamm hosted up a storm of characters and was sexy (almost) all over this week.
Cutting to “clips” from his stints on the teen show Late for Class, QVC and Def Comedy Jam, Hamm’s monologue was a great display of deadpan humor, poking fun at his pre-Don Draper days.
The sketches that followed, however, took him well beyond that one-trick pony joke, showing a great range of not just acting chops, but humor.
In the Andy Samberg digital short “The Curse,” Samberg earns the wrath of a homeless man. Hamm plays “Lost Boys”-like sexy shirtless sax player Sergio, who appears at the most inopportune times. For a joke that’s based in a sort of repetition that makes the final scenario’s outcome obvious, the visual impact of the punch line is downright disgusting in the most hilarious sense.
“Closet Organizer” is a sketch that deserves more than just a quick mention. While Will Forte went slapstick by having stuff hurled at him – jeans, socks, underwear, blankets, lamps, water, trophies, marbles, additional water and pies, pies, pies, pies, pies! – Hamm got the real laugh as the moronic misogynist offering his testimonial.
But it’s not just that sketch by itself that earns the writers a notch in their belts. It’s the payoff in a referential later sketch, also starring Forte and Hamm, that gives it real comedic depth…. the way we love it when stand-up circles smartly back to an earlier bit. Comedy nerds, you know that as a “call back.”
Plus it proves that even in plaid, Hamm heats up the stage.
In fact, the only time Hamm wasn’t the brightest star on the set was when Fred Armisen, in drag as a typewriting stenographer, showed Wiig how to make her own gimmick actually work, repeating “I can’t find my crackers” to absurdly funny effect.
Meanwhile, Michael Bublé may be a love him or ignore him singing performer, but when he’s side-by-side with Hamm in a pork and champagne commercial, he’s nothing short of riotously talented.
I’m leaving a few out, and it’s not fair! Because seeing Hamm as hot Scott Brown, donning disco red, white and blue or as an Indianapolis Colts coach turned alien is just as funny as anything else I’ve described already. But we can’t just go on and on, and it’s only right to point out that the show, while fantastic, had its low-points, too.
The weakest sketch was either (no surprise) the Kristin Wiig spotlight “1920′s Party” or (total surprise) Weekend Update.
Oh, yeah, there were a couple of great news lines… Mac addicts probably groaned at this one about the new iPad: “This week Apple released a thing that does stuff that its other stuff already does.” And you can’t go wrong comparing President Obama to Aquaman and Indiana Jones. But for the most part, Meyers’ usually spot-on one-liners fell a bit flat this week. The segment did, however, include another fantastic appearance by Bobby Moynihan as Snooki from “Jersey Shore.”
And on that odd note… next week’s host is Ashton Kutcher with musical guest Them Crooked Vultures