When it was first announced Chris Hemsworth would be hosting Saturday Night Live, like with any first time host, I couldn’t help but think, Huh, I wonder what that will be like? Not once did I imagine Hemsworth acting alongside a live chicken. What a world! And you know what? Chris Hemsworth turned out to be a pretty great SNL host. Who knew? Here is your Thor-packed scorecard…
Sketch of the Night
“Spaceship” (Hemsworth, Strong, Thompson, Zamata) Chris Hemsworth endeared himself to the hearts of many by appearing alongside a live chicken and trying to garner a good performance from that chicken. I wonder what that chicken was thinking. What a weird day it must have had! One minute, it’s on a farm; the next, it’s on the eighth floor of a skyscraper. I’m sure what that chicken was actually saying was something along the lines of “Where am I? What am I doing here? Wait, is that Chris Hemsworth?”
“Reality House” (Hensworth, Bennett, Mooney, Killam) This is one of the best deconstructions of reality television I’ve seen in a long time. Every beat was perfect – particularly the talking head shots of everyone just repeating dialogue we’d just seen. My only complaint is that Bennett and Mooney were doing their Bennett and Mooney voices and this is becoming kind of a crutch of theirs when they work together and I wish they’d not do it all the time. (To be fair, it’s more like 85 percent of the time, but it’s too much.)
“Weekend Update” (Jost, Che, Jones, Strong) First, it was fun to watch Jost and Che pull the knives out over Ben Carson and I wish they’d do that more often. And they both seemed to be having a fun while doing it, something that’s been missing from “Update” this season. Speaking of fun: Colin Jost screwing up by saying “36 inch penis” was his best moment on the show because (A) he played it off pretty perfectly and (B) his personality was on display and that’s a good thing! Strong’s “Girl at a party” was good as always, but, boy, it’s tough to be on the same “Update” has Leslie Jones because Leslie Jones is just an unstoppable force and nothing is getting in her way.
“Avengers News Report” (Hemsworth, Killam, Bennett, Davidson, Pharoah) This was great on a few levels — as a city lays destroyed, Thor is dancing to celebrate his victory — this wound up being a surprisingly poignant statement on superhero movies. (And, my gosh, Pete Davidson’s “I think I ate a guy” line was just perfect timing.)
“Empire Promo” (Pharoah, Hemsworth, Zamata, Che, Thompson) I am the only human being on Earth who does not watch Empire and I still laughed at this. I will assume that I would have laughed harder if I were more familiar with the source material, so I know this is probably being undervalued. (I probably should start watching Empire.)
“American Express Ad” (Hemsworth) This may have been a little too (A) easy and (B) too on the nose, but whatever. If nothing else, it set the tone that Hemsworth was here to make fun if himself and his “sexy serious guy” persona, even though that’s never really been his persona anyway. If Hemsworth were super serious, there would have been no way he could pull off a character like Thor. He’s always been funny! But here it’s just more obvious.
“Brother 2 Brother” (Hemsworth, Killam, Strong, Mooney, Bryant) This seemed to play really well with the studio audience. And, yes, the “In reality we look nothing alike” bit was kind of an easy joke, but who cares – both Killam and Hemsworth pull it off. And, hey, Taran Killam got to say the words, “My dick’s bigger,” on live network television. This had to be some sort of “dick glass ceiling” that was shattered and we all got to witness it happen.
“Chris Hemsworth Monologue” (Hemsworth, Hemsworth, Hemsworth, Thompson, Strong, Mooney, Moynihan, McKinnon) This was nice! There wasn’t a lot to it, but Chris Hemsworth (to differentiate from all of the other Hemsworths on stage) was charming and seemed fun.
“Movie Set” (Thompson, McKinnon, Hemsworth, Zamata) OK, this sketch. The first time I watched it, it felt like it went on for about an hour. Then, the second time I watched it, it still felt way too long, but Hemsorth and McKinnon’s exaggerated lines and mannerisms are really funny. (“DYYYYYY-ING?!?!”) Anyway, it just takes forever to get to them. I have so many mixed feeling about this sketch! Screw it, it just went from my least favorite sketch of the night to cracking the “good.”
“Cold Open: Hillary Clinton” (McKinnon) Amy Poehler’s Hillary Clinton is the most known SNL version, but as good as Poehler is at pretty much everything, her Clinton was never that distinct or that memorable — other than the fact she shared some moments with Tina Fey’s Palin. So it certainly isn’t blasphemy that Kate McKinnon has taken over the role, unlike when it was impossible to replace George W. Bush after Will Ferrell left the show. The last time we saw Clinton on SNL, she was portrayed by multiple people, including McKinnon, Bayer (her third time as Clinton) and host Miley Cyrus. Now, it’s official, McKinnon is Hillary Clinton, which means we will be seeing a lot of Kate McKinnon as Clinton over the next two seasons and who knows how long after that – so it’s kind of a big deal! And McKinnon was already pretty good – adopting a sort of whimsical cockiness; I get the impression Hillary Clinton is not an easy impression to pull off — even though the sketch itself wasn’t the most memorable. It’s natural that it will take at least a couple outings as Clinton until McKinnon figures out exactly how to portray her.
“The Iggy Azalea Show” (McKinnon, Pharoah, Zamata, Hemsworth) Everyone was pretty good in this sketch, it’s just the sketch itself felt too draped in “in the moment” popular culture. Like, so much that by the time it ended, it already felt dated.
“Porn Stars: Dolce & Gabbana” (Strong, Bayer, Hemsworth) It’s weird, these are pretty much the same thing every time, but sometimes they really work and sometimes they just feel flat. This just felt like a flat installment.
Average Score for this Show: 6.55
· Martin Freeman 6.89
· Woody Harrelson 6.75
· Bill Hader 6.73
· Chris Hemsworth 6.55
· Amy Adams 6.52
· Kevin Hart 6.39
· Chris Pratt 5.99
· Jim Carrey 5.94
· Cameron Diaz 5.92
· James Franco 5.89
· Sarah Silverman 5.86
· J.K. Simmons 5.81
· Blake Shelton 5.58
· Dakota Johnson 5.47
· Chris Rock 5.38
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.