It was only a matter of time before Charlie Sheen’s recent interview antics were going to get the Saturday Night Live treatment. The show dove head-first into the strange and strangely fascinating behavior with a Cold Open that made him the host of his own twisted talk show, Duh! Winning! With Bill Hader well-cast as Sheen (a role we’ll likely see him in for a while) and Abby Elliott as musical side-kick Christina Aguilera, the debut of the sketch featured a fantastic array of equally screwed-up guests.
Fred Armisen portrayed douchebag dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Taran Killam took on fired designer John Galliano, and, as he has with most of his impersonations, disappeared into the role. And this week’s host, Miley Cyrus, made a pre-monologue appearance as Lindsay Lohan.
After a quick wardrobe and hair update, Cyrus’s monologue proved she can take it just as well as she can dish it out. She quickly and deftly took aim at cast member Vanessa Bayer’s portrayal of her. It took a split second to make the connection, but the delivery was spot-on. She then moved right along to a musical apology for her relatively minor gossip mag fodder, all the while roasting some of gossip culture’s greatest hits.
In yet another talk show format, Andy Samberg and Kenan Thompson took on the roles of Taboo and Apl.de.ap, the lesser-known members of Black Eyed Peas. Full of silly dance moves, the real laughs came with unwanted cameos by Will.i.am (Jay Pharoah) and Fergie (Cyrus).
Poking fun again at herself, and a lot of other former child stars, Cyrus teamed up with Thompson as Raven-Symoné to introduce the world to the Disney Channel Acting School. Teaching such craft as wearing loud clothes and talking loudly and the “Pause Then Dis” technique, the fake commercial was as harmless as it was hilarious.
As expected, the show finally went where we thought it would. Vanessa Bayer brought out her own version of the host on the Miley Cyrus Show. After offering an intentionally awful impersonation of Charlie Sheen, she introduced her always over-the-top supportive dad, band-leader and sidekick Billy Ray (Jason Sudeikis) and then her guest, Justin Bieber.
The real Cyrus — in jeans, a hoodie, a leather jacket and short wig — poked playful fun at the singing sensation. Reducing Bieber’s persona to a few key gestures, she vocalized them they were enacted. “Wink, cocky nod, point.” Where did he learn all those cool moves? Take a quick glimpse at his Swagger Coach. The whole bit, but particularly the ending, had to feel “pretty cool,” to Bayer.
The second half if the episode didn’t offer anything remotely as funny as the first. But Weekend Update did include one truly funny Sheen-centric segment called “Winners and Losers.”
Next week’s episode will be hosted by Zach Galifianakis with musical guest Jessie J.