The Beliebers were out in full force last night for Saturday Night Bieber. For Justin Bieber’s Saturday Night Live hosting debut, the audience was packed – at least volume-wise—with girls that were definitely suffering from some serious Bieber Fever. This was great news for the singer, who seemed most in his element when he was flirty with the camera for the teens at home. The show didn’t miss an opportunity to remind viewers why he was on the program: He’s a teen idol! The girls love him! It’s a good thing he’s still got that demographic locked up (they screamed for just about everything he did last night, whether it was a dance move, a wink or a surprisingly frequent crotch grab) because after last night, it’s unlikely he gained any more adult fans.
While Bieber was in almost every sketch – and, to his credit, wasn’t noticeably reading cue cards – anyone hoping he would follow in the path of another Justin was surely disappointed. For one thing, he mostly did variations on one character – The Teen Idol – and unfortunately, not a whole lot of it landed. It’s too bad they couldn’t do more musical stuff with him. Something comical that also had him singing would have been a great way to merge his fanbase with regular Saturday Night Live viewers, such as the recurring sketch from a few years ago (that was also a Timberlake fav.) “Bring It On Down To…” Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
The cold opener, naturally, focused on the Super Bowl blackout and the resulting free-for-all that occurred among sports analysts when they found out they had to fill 30 minutes of air time but had absolutely nothing to say. The sketch was likely born out of Seth Meyers’ own tweet during the blackout last week: “Who is more likely to cramp up: The players after the layoff or the studio analysts trying to fill time?” Answering his own question: It was the analysts, anchored by Kenan Thompson who repeatedly tried to throw it to reporters on the field, who also had absolutely nothing else to say. But how ‘bout those Two Broke Girls, eh?
Then it was the moment you (or your niece) was waiting for: Bieber appeared. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Bieber continued this season’s theme of almost everyone doing a musical monologue – but at least this one had a somewhat unique angle. Not only was it Valentine’s Day (Cue audience screams 3) it was also Black History Month, Bieber explained. Along with Kenan Thompson, Bieber proceeded to serenade audience girls – I’d love to know if they were real luckiest-teens-on-earth or actors – with a rose and a Black History Month fact that may or may not have been true. Who’s to say if Denzel Washington really invented the peanut? In one of the more random cameos of the season, the bit ended with one less lonely girl brought onstage: Whoopi Goldberg. Kudos to Biebs for playing up the fact that he may be a few tracks short of an album.
The next sketch was love-it-or-loathe-it recurring bit The Californians, this time with Bieber, who showed up as a surprisingly-perfectly-cast surfer runaway. If you’re part of the group that enjoys the jokes about California roadways, click on over. For everyone else, when we returned from commercial, it was time for Justin Bieber to take on the role he’s most comfortable playing: Justin Bieber. Backstage at a show, Jason Sudeikis’ security guard was explaining some new procedures to The Biebs, including the fact that he would now have “12 decoys that look exactly like you,” which allowed the cast to all try out the iconic Bieber hairdo and show off their various impressions of him. Sure, it was pretty basic stuff, but it gave the show an opportunity to mock all the things that are endlessly mockable about him: The winking, “swaggy!”, his high-pitched voice, the crotch grab. Bieber proved once again to be a great sport – and even managed to lift his shirt up for the girls at home (Cue audience scream 735). Bonus: Kate McKinnon’s Ellen DeGeneres made an appearance as a Bieber-lookalike. (Unfortunately, the sketch currently isn’t available online.)
We got a shorter-than-usual Weekend Update, which included two drop-bys: Fred Armisen and Vanessa Bayer’s recurring Best Friends From Growing Up, this time talking about the cruel (but such a great guy!) King Richard III, as well as Kenan Thompson’s One Black Guy in Every Super Bowl Commercial, which the studio audience seemed to really enjoy. Meyers also hit on President Obama’s leaked drone memo and Star Wars spinoffs. For Bieber’s musical debut, he went with an acoustic version of “As Long As You Love Me.” Check it out below:
A pair of fun sketches followed: A Grease parody with Bieber and Cecily Strong had a majority of the cast asking them to “Say more stuff, say more stuff!” as the two recounted their date. It was an amusing-enough concept, with a nice payoff at the end: “You know I’m 11, right?” Bieber asked alongside his infamous wink to the camera; the audience loved it, and screamed for him once again.
Then it was time for my favorite skit of the evening, the return of The Miley Cyrus Show! (Now Sexy! And Adult! With a new haircut!) It’s perfect that Vanessa Bayer’s Cyrus made a return appearance, as Cyrus herself parodied Bieber when she hosted the show. This time around, Bieber played a Fan Club President for Miley Cyrus, which allowed him to show that he has a sense of humor about himself. When talking about “that douche Justin Bieber” he called himself the guy who looks like a lesbian (Man, that just won’t die!) and addressed his recent pot scandal: “I heard he got busted for smoking weed, and he’s really sorry about it, and people make mistakes and he’s never going to do it again,” he said to audience laughs and cheers. The best part came with Bayer’s instant response: “Yeah right me too,” she declared as the two laughed.
Elsehwere in the show, there was a sketch where Justin Bieber was a nice young man that Nasim Pedrad brought home to meet her parents, but an over-the-top protective big brother, played with total commitment by Taran Killam (much like Bill Hader in the Firehouse sketch from a few weeks ago) elevated the whole bit. The big punchline was the phrase “Glice” which Bieber’s character accidently said and Killam then repeatedly shouted. The highlight was probably watching Bieber struggle not to laugh as Killam repeatedly got right in his face. Don’t worry: “Glice” is currently the number three trending topic in the world. Beliebers are a powerful crew.
The final live sketch of the evening was a high-school-dance-set sketch that had Bieber and Pedrad star as a nerdy couple lecturing about abstinence, which gave Bieber the opportunity to say a couple funny slogans: “Don’t do that thing until you get that ring”; “Don’t go poking until ‘I do’ is spoken.” I’ll leave you all with a special Valentine’s Day message from The Biebs which included him sending dirty pics to Hillary Clinton – hey, never say never.
How did Bieber compare to your expectations? Did you enjoy him being a good sport about all the jokes at his expense? Be honest: How many of those fake Bravo shows would you watch?