Bruno Mars played both host and musical guest on 'Saturday Night Live' this week, and the show decided to keep it safe and play to his strengths for the majority of the night. It wasn't as entertaining an episode as last week's romp with Christina Applegate, but it had its fair share of laughs, good music and a surprisingly touching video sketch.
Best of the Night
The guest host took part in a video sketch that seemed crazy at first--a fragile young man takes a job to roam Times Square in a giant mouse costume, but his fragile emotional state means that he'll fall apart if "no one waves back." With wonderful acting, a cinema verite-style filming, and a sweet story, "Sad Mouse" turned out to be one of the highlights of the evening. It was refreshing to feel myself tearing up over the poignancy of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch rather than the awfulness of one.
The "Saturday Night Live" cold open had fun with the latest presidential debate, poking fun at both the awkward town hall folks and the hostility between the two candidates. There was a bit of a political jab at the President and Governor both saying a lot of crap that means nothing, but mostly Jay Pharoah and Jason Sudeikis played up the schoolyard fight aspects. The Prez doing a mic drop was a highlight, as well as a surprise appearance by Tom Hanks as the member of a "brain trust."
Stefon. Do we need to say anything else? This "Saturday Night Live" recurring character once again delighted us with his descriptions of bizarre night clubs on the "Upper Lower Side" that feature human pinatas and a Jewish Dracula whose name made Hader totally lose it on camera. The biggest audience laughs came for Stefon's night beginning at 7pm: "I wake up...then I go home," and for his dog "Bark Ruffalo."
Mars used his vocal and comedy skills on a sketch about an intern who helps fill in the vocal gaps when the power goes out at the streaming music site Pandora's headquarters. The impressions of stars like Bieber and Katy Perry got better and funnier as the sketch went on, and the host gripping Sudeikis's hands to help him lean into his choreography on the Michael Jackson medley was the pinnacle.
Other high points for the host included a musical monologue, and adding his best robotic creepiness to the carnival animatronic band The Merryville Brothers. You thought Bill Hader and his triangle were freaky, wait till you see robot Tom Hanks try to cop a feel. Watch all the "Saturday Night Live" videos at the website here.
Worst of the Night
Taran Killam did his best Brad Pitt impression to make fun of the actor's latest Chanel No. 5 ads. The first mini-commercial did an amusing bit of satire on the nonsensical nature of most perfume advertising, but the repeat segments for other products strayed from the original point and got tired fast.
In Mars' one true stretch away from music on "Saturday Night Live," he starred as an eye-patch-wearing resort clerk who tells visiting guests about the scary molesting Yetis in the area. Yep, it was pretty much as bad as it sounds.
The host performed two numbers, "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Young Wild Girls." It may have been the sound mixing for "Saturday Night Live," but the first song sounded more like the extended jam session that a band does live once they've completed all the actual verses of the song. "Young Wild Girls" was sweeter and more melodic, and both tunes displayed Mars' amazing vocal skills.
Overall the night had more laughs than duds, and stands as a pretty solid effort for a sketch comedy show. What did you think, "Saturday Night Live" fans? Was Bruno a hit or miss as host?
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