‘SNL’ Recap: Lady Gaga Hosted, But A Blockbuster Tribute Was The Real Star

By: 11.17.13  •  84 Comments

One of the most disappointing half-hours of television I’ve ever sat through involved Lady Gaga. She guest starred on The Simpsons season 23 finale, and by guest star, I mean she was treated like the greatest, most wonderful farts-don’t-smell princess ever. It was horrible; The Simpsons treated her like she could do no wrong, which is ironic, because the entire episode was SO wrong. So I was pleasantly surprised that SNL gave her no such treatment, or at least one that wasn’t QUITE as fawning: she was handled like any other host, one who was willing to gently mock her image and star in one of the saddest, loneliest sketches in SNL history. Gaga was seemingly willing to do whatever was asked of her, from pretending to be a nebbishy Apple employee (which wasn’t funny, but still) to putting on her finest Italian accent and black bra to impersonate Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny.

Now before I go any further in pulling a Simpsons and humping the ground Gaga walked upon, there was still a whole lot of garbage in this episode, though not that much! Even better, we got a new great Weekend Update character, an outstanding short film about Blockbuster, and hey, R. Kelly!

Kells makes everything better. (DISCLAIMER: “everything” does not include underage girls.)

Cold Open

“WHOA, that’s a lot of crack.” Bobby Moynihan does a pretty solid, neckless impression of the world’s greatest mayor, and the cutaway to 60 Minutes was an inspired move after his interview with Pleasant Canadian Newsman #48 began to grow stale. Or maybe I’m just sad that Taran Killam’s wife didn’t drop by to show everyone what a REAL fake Canadian accent sounds like.

Paxil: Second Term Strength

One gets the feeling that SNL is ready for Obama to leave office (three more years!), so they’ll have someone more interesting to work off of. This Paxil spoof was the latest in a long line of middling sketches starring the president; a decent idea done decently enough, nothing more, nothing less.

Waking Up with Kimye

WOAH THERE SNL, don’t sock it to Apple and the Kardashians too hard. Are there funny jokes left to be told about the Kardashians, unless they’re said by Joel McHale? It’s almost too easy to make fun of Kim, “the Michael Jordan of wearing clothes,” and her klan; the only joke that really landed here was the visual gag of the Kardashian 11, featuring triangles, boxes of rice, AND clapping. Jay Pharaoh does a killer Kanye, but it could have been used better elsewhere…like something that doesn’t involve a sniveling Genius Bar employee. It’s funny ’cause they’re socially awkward?

Whaaat? The Worst Covers of All-Time

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Speaking of Jay impersonating rappers: hey, Lil Wayne! Not as life-altering amazing as Bobby as Nathan Lane, but still good. This may sound odd, but no matter how good “The Worst Covers of All-Time” might have been, there’s no one way it could have been half as great as the concept. Imagining Rick Ross performing “Cups” is somehow far funnier than actually seeing Rick Ross performing “Cups.” Still, I appreciate any and all Counting Crows references. (Video isn’t available because blah blah blah copyright nonsense, so please “enjoy” the Crows’ on Letterman.)

Co-Op Board

I lived in a co-op building in Brooklyn for two years. On the ground floor, in the door closest to the exit, lived our obligatory apartment building crazy old lady. Her apartment smelled like musty piss, her living room was covered with old newspapers from decades ago, she always wore an ancient nightgown, and one time, unprovoked, she told me a joke that involved President Reagen and diarrhea. She was far more amusing than anything that happened in this sketch. Yikes.

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