The column missed out on Seth Meyers’s return to Saturday Night Live in mid-October, which is a bummer since, aside from Alec Baldwin’s unsurprising (and unwanted) cold open, it was this season’s best episode so far. Previous guest hosts Awkwafina and Adam Driver managed to put on some spectacular bits, of course, but their respective episodes failed to muster the energy necessary to carry all 93 minutes of the traditional runtime.
This has less to do with Awkwafina and Driver, and more to do with creator Lorne Michaels and season 44 co-head writers Colin Jost, Michael Che and Kent Sublette’s continued (and largely unsuccessful) attempts at political comedy. Not only has the program’s political satire been lacking as of late, but former cast member Taran Killam’s recent story about Michaels apparently going out of his way to appease then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hasn’t done SNL any favors either.
Enter comedic actor-turned-auteur director Jonah Hill, who served as Studio 8H’s master of ceremonies for the fifth time this weekend. It’s a great episode overall, though the reasoning for this is circumstantial at best. Maybe it was the return of fan-favorite character Adam Grossman or the increasingly public (and problematic) shadow cast by Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande’s canceled engagement. For all we know, it was good simply because of the three-week break viewers had between episodes.
Here are five of the more memorable moments from this week’s show.
The Five-Timers club welcomes Jonah Hill with a warning
Speaking of breaks, the break disgraced comedian (and former SNL guest host) Louis C.K. has taken between sexual misconduct revelations and his return to the stand-up stage has caused some consternation among fans and critics. Hence a timely and well-placed joke in Hill’s “Five-Timers Monologue” sketch, in which Tina Fey, Candice Bergen and Drew Barrymore respond to the host’s implicit “I want to jacket right now” dig at Louis with plenty of overt side eye. It’s a welcome twist on the Five-Timers club gag, and one that Hill gleefully plays along with for the benefit of Fey, Bergen and Barrymore.