‘SNL’ Recap: Bruno Mars Was Charming (And Tom Hanks)

Senior Pop Culture Editor
10.21.12 43 Comments

This was a frustrating episode of SNL, not only because, with a few minor exceptions (like the saving grace that is Stefon), it wasn’t very good, but also because I don’t know where to direct my criticisms. It wasn’t Bruno Mars’s fault; he did the best he could for someone who, as he admitted during his monologue, had never done comedy before, and actually won me over through sheer perseverance and pure charm by the end of the night (especially in the Pandora sketch; not funny, but impressive). It wasn’t the writers’ fault — what the hell would you do with someone who, again, isn’t a comedian? The cast was on point and Tom Hanks was a pleasant surprise, though he probably should have just hosted instead of randomly appearing in two sketches.

I take back what I said. I know where the fault lies: with Lorne Michaels and the rest of the gang involved with picking guests. There are hundreds of people who deserve to be hosting SNL over the guy who co-wrote a Flo Rida song, and even if he turned out to be a better choice than anyone could have imagined, he’s not, say, Joel McHale, who makes his living being funny on TV. Maybe this is overly conservative of me, but I’d rather SNL book someone who is a comically-proven commodity than take a chance on maybe getting another Justin Timberlake, a once-in-a-decade find. Like Louis CK, who will host the next new episode, on November 3rd.

For that, all is forgiven, SNL. Except for the yeti rape sketch. Some things can’t be unseen.

I guess making fun of “binders of women” would have made too much sense, huh?

It was risky move from Bruno admitting in the monologue that he’s not a funny guy and has no idea why he was booked…wait, why was he booked again? Oh, that’s right: he has an album, Unorthodox Jukebox, coming out on December 10th. Anyways, he sang well, danced well, and you could tell having a musical opener helped soothe Bruno’s nerves. In that, it succeeded. In the jokes department, not so much.


I am furious SNL laid this deuce on a topic as seemingly limitless as Hater Court.

One of the big questions coming into this season was how SNL would handle digital shorts without actually calling them “Digital Shorts.” So far, they haven’t crossed over into Lonely Island territory, until “Sad Mouse,” which was light on the laughs, but still pretty great. It reminded me of something Louie might try to do, minus the ending, touching in a way I didn’t think a 38-year-old sketch comedy show could pull off.

Ugh, does this mean we have to pretend the people in those Times Square costumes, which are more often than not coated in piss and sadness, are real?

After publishing this post, I was reminded of Sad Panda:

Columbia University student Michelle Tay has sent us this exclusive interview with the man behind the [Sad Panda] mask. The audio is in Mandarin, but there are subtitles that tell the 62-year-old Jialing Chen’s story — which includes a hard luck tale of being forced to leave his former restaurant job. Unable to find work again, he started out his journey as Sad Panda, where on a good day he’ll make 30 bucks. His wife works 7 days a week as a private nurse, so the family can afford health care. (Via)

Thank god. (Via)

Not unlike an actual ride at the carnival, “Amusement Park” was fun the first time, when Jim Carrey joined Taran Killam and Bill Hader as the psychotic robots, less amusing the second time, and I WANT TO GET OFF THIS RIDE NOW the third time. It hasn’t reached “Gilly” level of annoyance yet, but there’s literally one joke in the premise, and now that we know what to expect, what’s the point?

Except for Tom Hanks copping a feel. That was cool.

I don’t know, guys. I just don’t know. You’d think being sexually molested by a yeti would be comedy gold, and yet…

This series will never not be funny. I would pay so much money to see Todd Akin and the Legitimate Rapes on the same bill as Sixpence None the Richer. Hopefully they play “Rape Me” together.


I think I hate Brad Pitt now.

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