No, it’s not still the 90’s, but Jim Carrey was front and center on Saturday Night Live this week, as the energetic comedian hosted SNL for the third time. While I’ve never been a huge fan of his movies personally, I was extremely pleased with Carrey and the whole cast this episode, as it ended up being arguably the best episode of the young season, in my opinion. Between Carrey’s charm and comedic skills, and Iggy Azalea’s showmanship as musical guest, the show was firing on all cylinders throughout the night.
The episode started out very topical, per the norm, as SNL lampooned the Ebola fear sweeping the nation with a relatively flat Obama press conference. While Pharoah’s Obama impression is always spot on, I feel as if the political writing lacks bite still. This has been an issue on and off the last year or two, and it’s one the show will need to get right if they want to recapture some of their old political sketch glory. But, soon after the open and the credits, Jim Carrey swooped in to steal the show, as he came out in an Elvis costume with devil horns. His musical performance as “Helvis” was hilarious and bold, and definitely showed from the get-go that Carrey planned on putting on an epic hosting performance.
After such a bold monologue, Carrey somehow managed to raise the bar a bit higher as the show embarked on an episode long recurring spoof of Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial. Carrey was spot on with his spoof on the actor, and the recurrence of the commercial twice more during the show made it downright legendary, as his character’s subtle craziness started to show with every return, getting to the point where he ran over the Allstate insurance guy while in a daze saying “Liiiiiincoln.” It was such an out-of-left-field spoof, but the commercials were some of the funniest parts of the night, and it was a much appreciated inclusion in the show. The first live sketch followed the original installment of the Lincoln commercial, and it was basically a nod to Jim Carrey’s career. If I had only watched Carrey’s movies during his career I probably would’ve appreciated this skit more, but even without knowing the references, I could definitely appreciate this skit for what it was and how his fan’s would appreciate it. My favorite skit of the night followed the second Lincoln installment, as Carrey and Taran Killam played ghosts ruining a ghastly haunting in a graveyard by being extremely awkward. The skit relied on timing and off-kilter humor, two things that when synced nicely make for serious hilarity, and the performances by the whole cast really worked well. At this point in the night I was seriously questioning why I never cared to watch any Carrey movies, since I absolutely loved everything about his performance to that point.
For the first time this season, SNL featured an over-the-top musical performance, this one delivered by Iggy Azalea and her companions Rita Ora and Mo. Iggy, who has made a breakthrough into the pop music conscious in 2014 thanks to her smash hit “Fancy,” opened up with her breakthrough hit, featuring a number of dancers, and a provocative dance number to accompany it. She quickly transitioned mid song to “Black Widow” featuring a live performance from singer Rita Ora. The two of them made for quite a provocative duo as they interacted and danced with each other towards the end of the first performance. While SNL musical guests include a wide array of styles and genres, visual elements and provocative performances are certainly never discouraged as they do tend to keep eyes glued to the episode. This, for me, was the first really interesting performance of the season. The second set was marred by Mo’s troubles keeping on sync with the backing track while Iggy performed her song “Beg for It.” It was a bit off putting to hear the chorus being mangled, but it is live television and these things will happen. At the very least, Iggy Azalea sounded great live, and put on two very good shows for the crowd that will have people talking for a little bit.
Weekend Update featured the return of fan favorite “Drunk Uncle,” played by Bobby Moynihan. While he’s never been my favorite recurring character, it was a pretty good moment when Drunk Uncle came out and met Michael Che, and immediately let his latent racist tendencies get the best of him as he wheeled his chair over to Colin Jost to talk to him instead. It was a decently daring moment, but it was very much in character, and made for a decent laugh in a bit I generally don’t get much from. Overall, Weekend Update wasn’t overly memorable on its own, but at this point I think the writers are mainly relying on the guests they roll out to keep it fresh, which was a perfectly acceptable method when Seth Meyers was on the desk, and stands to be with Che and Jost as well. I wish they would write the two of them to interact more; it could make for great comedy as Michael Che really is a funny guy and his interactions with Jost’s business-like persona could make for great moments.
Of the last sketches of the night, the obvious winner was the Halloween office party, which featured Carrey and Kate McKinnon’s characters both going to the party dressed as the dancer from Sia’s “Chandelier” video. Obviously the only way for the characters to prove which of them had the best costume was to a dance-off. The two then proceeded to go into one of the most epic dance-offs around the SNL set, even interacting with Lorne Michaels off the set. I love when the skits break the fourth wall, and this one did it unabashedly, wrapping up Jim Carrey’s hosting performance in a very fitting fashion, as he went out as daringly as he came in.
Overall, I thought this episode of SNL was spectacular. Jim Carrey didn’t miss a beat for the entirety of the night, and his performances through the skits managed to elevate the performances of the cast and the writing of the sketches themselves. With a less talented comedic mind, I could easily see of the skits falling flat, but Carrey knocked everything he was in out of the park. I think it’s safe to say SNL has its formula down for the rest of the season; rely on veteran comedic hosts and star musical guests, and the show won’t disappoint. Next week should be much the same, as the host will be Chris Rock and the musical guest will be the incomparable Prince. It should be a good one, as much as the last two were. Keep it up SNL, I sure am entertained, and I’m sure a lot of viewers are as well.