The writers seemed to make a greater effort this week to write for the show host, Jude Law. This fine actor took on a variety of roles (a 1960s Russian ballet master, a sauve Spanish murderer, himself) and he pulled each off perfectly. But in a week when the strongest performances came from pre-recorded video, musical guest Pearl Jam and a completely unexpected appearance, it wasn’t enough to make Law the most interesting thing on the screen.
Even his monologue, a Cliffs Notes of his experience starring as Hamlet on Broadway, seemed to fall short. Here’s what did hit the mark.
Faux commercials! There were several of them this week, including one repeat.
We’ve seen the Kickspit Underground Rock Festival before. But the ultimate in brainstorming every awful thing you can imagine happening at a music event is still funny. Bad bands (Mrs. Potato Dick), bad guest appearances (Mark Furhman), bad giveaways (pitchforks) and bad ideas (no Port-a-Johns).
Mocking Toyota’s recent recall and PR nightmare, this commercial couldn’t stop being funny if it tried.
For all the single ladies, Broadview Security will not only save your life, it’ll save you a lot of money in door replacement costs.
That unexpected appearance was Jerry Seinfeld, who stopped by Weekend Update to weigh in on the Eric Massa scandal. Almost needless to say, this bit was far funnier than the show’s first attempt: an exit interview cold open. Seinfeld and Seth Meyers really captured what I imagine is our nation’s shared sense of exasperated pseudo-confusion about the Congressman’s reaction to his situation… as if we’re all squinting our eyes, dog-cocking our heads and saying “Really!?!”
When it came to cast performance, Law’s second nod at his Broadway “Hamlet” stint really brought out some of the character heavy guns. Playing the actors Law went up against in his audition were Bill Hader as Al Pacino, Andy Samberg as Nicholas Cage, Bobby Moynahan as Nathan Lane and Jason Sudeikis as Sam Elliott. That last was my personal fave, primarily because it honed in on my favorite movie, “The Big Lebowski.” (“The butt abides!”)
But of all the sketches, the one that makes the truly funny cut this week is a spoof of “Twilight Zone.” The black and white backdrop, the spooky theme and Bill Hader as the foreboding announcer all set the tone to creepy, but the outcome was nothing short of hilarious. Bobby Moynahan was a riotious rendition of the thing on the plane. Nasim Pedrad, Abby Elliot and Jude Law were perfect as the stewardess and the couple respectively. And I won’t spoil where Pearl Jam makes their mark here.
Pearl Jam was also perfect during two performances from their last album “Backspacer,” “Just Breathe” and “Unthought Known.”
Following the second performance we inadvertently got a promo for the March 20, 2010 episode (Sigourney Weaver and the Ting Tings), which makes me think everyone’s a little tired.
Maybe when the show returns April 10 the writers will be rested enough to keep up with Tina Fey as host. Hell, she’ll probably just write everything herself, if she hasn’t already. Justin Bieber will be musical guest.