I can’t say I was sorry to see Saturday Night Live air its last primetime special of the year yesterday. After all, this means 30 Rock is finally coming back. Plus, Saturday shows that air the same week as a Thursday special never feel like SNL at the top of its game, even when hosted by talented personalities who don’t mind stripping onstage.
Though the Not Ready for Primetime Players looked like they could really use a weekend off – they pulled together four shows in the last 13 days – Update still entertained. The funniest performance of the night was newbie Cecily Strong as “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party,” who got laughs without feeling like a rehash of Bobby Moynihan’s “Drunk Uncle” or Jeff Richards’ “Drunk Girl.” Strong nailed an impression of a person we’ve all met – the girl who’s constantly fiddling with her phone and has strong opinions even though she doesn’t know what she’s talking about – and after watching her big debut, I’m looking forward to her next featured sketch.
Fellow newcomer Tim Robinson also got time to shine in Update’s “Replacement Refs,” a fake sitcom about the NFL’s bumbling officials. I especially appreciate how similar Bill Hader’s hardened criminal is to his Clint Eastwood impression:
Dangit, Dave! I mean, Steve!
And finally, Jay Pharaoh got another opportunity to flex his developing Obama muscles in the episode’s cold open. It wasn’t quite as sharp as last Thursday’s dig at Mitt Romney and the “47 Percent” tape, but that’s probably because the writers weren’t handed perfect material on a silver platter this week. Obama’s goofy Sixth Sense analogy (“One day all of you will be Bruce Willis, and you’ll realize you were employed all along”) and Kate McKinnon as a wild-eyed apple-seller were highlights:
SNL is off until Oct. 6, when the show returns with a new Saturday episode hosted by Daniel Craig. It’ll be great to see what the crew can do after having a chance to recharge their batteries – though last night’s special, which you can watch in its entirety at NBC.com, was still pretty good. What was your favorite moment?
‘Saturday Night Live’ recap: Joseph Gordon-Levitt strips, sings and crossdresses
‘SNL Weekend Update Thursday’: All the ‘Fox & Friends’ ‘corrections’
‘SNL Weekend Update Thursday’ review: Mitt Romney in a ‘Cash Cab’