‘SNL’ Recap: Jamie Foxx And Ne-Yo

If you went to sleep before Ne-Yo’s first musical performance during last night’s SNL because all you had seen so far was a disappointing cold open, yet another musical monologue, a game show based around saying the word “bitch” as much as possible, and a recurring sketch about white people pretending to be Japanese, like I did before finishing the episode this morning, I urge you to go back and watch the rest of the episode. A weak beginning was completely wiped away by a strong finish. Except for that “bitch” thing. That was just terrible.

Django Unchained star/host Jamie Foxx was good. Very good, in fact. Remember how excited Jeremy Renner looked two weeks ago before his piano stopped working during the monologue, at which he began to resemble a stock photo model for “end of the world terror”? Foxx had that pre-malfunction look in his eyes the entire episode; he danced, he jumped, he insulted the audience (more on that later), he seemed excited to be there, and although he tripped over his lines a few times, it was never distracting. If anything, like Stefon’s chuckles, it only helped the sketch. To paraphrase (and mutilate) Foxx’s monologue, how good was that? Very.

One of the best things about this episode: after the tame cold open, about Republicans bullying John Boehner, there wasn’t a single other political sketch. Considering the show’s success this season with doing anything even remotely topical (which is to say: *fart noise*), you’ll hear no complaints here.

The monologue was frantic and all over the place and slave jokes, but things were fine…until Foxx wandered over to the piano. SNL writers have to know that everyone criticizes their desire to put a musical number into every monologue, right? That being said, “Birthday Song” is pretty great.

Still a premise with one joke, but “J Pop” hasn’t entered “The Californians” territory yet because Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer, and special guest FJBJ designer Dante, kept things so energized…duh duh. Even if you wanted to take your (squinty? Now they’ve got me doing it) eyes off Bayer’s adorable look or the bunny set design, you couldn’t, especially when they break into song or start dancing again…duh duh.

Plus, it was a helluva lot better than…

…because goddamn, was this awful. “Bitch” is a perfectly funny word, but when it’s screamed approximately 863 times in a five-minute sketch? Not so much. I do want to name my first child Mookie Meeks, though.

I’m torn, like Alex Cross/Madea deciding which bathroom to use. On one half of the face, the premise behind Tyler Perry Presents Alex Cross 2: Medea Special Ops is brilliant (and slightly different than Buddy System’s parody), even if Alex Cross did come out two months ago. On the other, the execution wasn’t as solid as it could have been. It felt like the writers stopped trying once they came up with the basic plot of the lowercase-digital short, with the same jokes happening multiple times. But I’ll give it a pass because Madea spoofs are comedy gold.

Another reason why Hanukkah > Christmas: the Jews don’t have to rely on a fat man with a cholesterol of “a million.” We await the nice gold man with the endlessly curly beard filled with matzah crumbs, instead.

I laughed out loud at 8:15 a.m. at “Sug…ar Knight.” Didn’t think that was even possible.

For a bit about a pimp who sells trees to freaks like Fred Armisen, who receives a nice sappy beej from a shorty pine, there’s very little to say about “Marcus Banks: Tree Pimp.” It was good?

A+ It ran for just the right amount of time, everyone hit their beats perfectly, and it played off one of the host’s most prominent attributes. Namely, that Jamie Foxx is — SPOILER ALERT — black. If the contestants had been Jay, Kenan, and, say, Tim Robinson, “Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney” wouldn’t have been nearly as funny or even possible, especially with the “Djimon Hounsou or Chiwetel Ejiofor” capper.

CHARLIE DAY ALERT. “Maine Justice” was weird, had no point, and you sound like a jerk if you try to explain the premise (“So, it’s Maine, but everyone speaks like they’re from Louisiana because…”). In other words, it was great, like a nice cold glass of molasses on a sticky summer night.

And may anal never go out of style.