Sometimes, the best episodes and sketches in the history of Saturday Night Live are those that, when the writers inherently recognize the guest host’s strengths and weaknesses, lean into both instead of ignoring one in favor of the other. (Ryan Gosling‘s inability to keep it together comes to mind, repeatedly.) Such was the case for this weekend’s Liev Schreiber-hosted episode, in which the Ray Donovan actor was cast in various scenes that required, as he admitted in the monologue, something he’s not known for: being funny.
“I am not someone who is generally considered to be a funny person. Which is a good thing, you see, because the way I see it, this is all about managing expectations,” he explained. “Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being funny. If you are, good for you. It’s just never really been my thing. I have attempted humor in the past. It mostly involved trying to talk to girls while I was in college, but I’m not going to lie, that didn’t go so great.”
It’s a simple joke for the monologue to hinge on, let alone the entire episode, but it works. Schreiber is principally known for his more dramatic film and television work by general audiences, so for SNL to use this as the episode’s mission statement is a great, easy way to get the ball rolling. And roll it does, for while Schreiber’s participation this season isn’t quite as good as Jonah Hill‘s last week, it contains some of the year’s greatest SNL moments so far.
Here are five of the more memorable moments from this week’s show.
Ms. Rafferty returns
SNL loves recurring characters just as much as audiences do, so when Kate McKinnon’s Ms. Rafferty popped up in “Paranormal Occurrences” alongside Cecily Strong and a mulleted Schreiber, everyone in Studio 8H and at home knew they were in for a treat. And what a treat it was! Rafferty’s first two appearances on the show were in episodes hosted by a giggling Gosling and concerned alien abduction. This time around, the trio was interviewed about encounters of a more ghostly nature. Or as Rafferty declared, “Beetlejuice got me on one of those Bird scooters.”