SNL Digest: Woody Harrelson/Kendrick Lamar (11/15/14)

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Woody Harrelson" Episode 1668 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kendrick Lamar, Woody Harrelson and Kate McKinnon on November 13, 2014 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC)
(Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC)

Woody Harrelson sets SNL back on course after some bumpy weeks by making fun of himself and having some fun with the rest of the cast.

After a few weeks away, SNL is back for a batch of episodes pre-Thanksgiving.  Sure, there was that Chris Rock episode a few weeks back, but I missed the original airing and from the sounds of things, there were a few rough sketches.  I’ll get back to that once they re-air that episode, but for now, let’s talk about what happened last night.  It’s been thrown around more than once this year, but SNL is definitely in a “rebuilding” phase and it’s had some rougher moments.  Overall, I thought this episode got things back on track for the show after a few rough weeks, and the break seemed to give everyone some time to recuperate and make the next batch of episodes better.

Woody Harrelson spent most of the episode either playing the straight man to the cast’s craziness, or playing on his image as a stoner.  Not exactly pushing the boundaries of comedy, but there’s something to be said for consistency.  If the Jim Carrey episode was a D+, this was at least a B.

What You Missed:

Cold Open: Obama/McConnell

Now that the midterm election’s finally happened, it’s nice to see SNL trying to bring back some of its political bite.  This opener had a pretty simple joke to it, but it was well executed and didn’t overstay its welcome.  Taran screaming as McConnell when the phone rang had me in stitches.

“I can’t dance like you”

Monologue

My initial reaction to this monologue was “NO! NO MUSIC MONOLOGUES”, but then it quickly became something other than that when it focused on Woody’s “fuzzy” memories of the real 19891.  Plus, the rest of the Hunger Games cast showed up to completely break Woody mid-monologue, which I highly approve of.

The Dudleys

Another video piece that found its joke, heightened it effectively, then got out of there2.  I love the difference in tone between the tweets and the “real” letters.

Match’d

SNL nailed the details of this one.  Cecily’s vocal fry, the unusually overtly sexual nature of MTV dating gameshows, the professions and statements of the contestants.  I was on board with it continuing like this, and then they added in the twist of making Woody Harrelson’s character the dad of the contestant.  And it got even better.  I really liked Kyle Mooney’s work as bachelor #2.

Lockeroom Talk

This did some great stuff with recent concerns over concussions in football.  “Back of the head, PUT YOUR PRINCESS TO BED” rivaled Keenan’s circular speech as the best part of this sketch.

Young Tarts and Old Farts

Sometimes SNL does a sketch simply as an excuse to show an array of celebrity impressions.  I am completely fine with this and tend to love all of these, and this one was no exception.  It’s also nice to see the SNL Writer’s Room agrees with me that Aidy and Meghan Trainor look alike.

Kendrick Lamar: i

This performance made me immediately want to buy Kendrick’s next album.

Weekend Update


They’ve finally figured out who Colin and Michael are as Weekend Update anchors, both alone and together, and it’s making it better every week.

  • “but that ass, tho”
  • “except they can’t, because someone broke the internet”
  • Leslie Jones is an absolute treasure and we are so lucky SNL is sharing her with us.  I could watch a loop of her shouting “LOOK AT MY BREASTS, COLIN” all day.
  • Woody Harrelson is a complete trooper for not cracking up as Taran’s Matthew McConaughey said things like “jump on a turtle’s back, send him into the abyssssss”

Last Call

Kate McKinnon completely dominates these scenes, and her continued innovation in finding new and grosser ways to kiss hosts continues to amaze me.

What You Didn’t Miss:

  • A New Day was a nice throwback to SNL shorts that aren’t so much funny as sweet, but other than some nice visual touches like the Funyuns flag, this one did nothing for me.
  • Sort of how the opener had a very clear joke that didn’t overstay its welcome, this Old New York sketch was a joke that stayed too long.
  • Campfire Song had a great weirdness to it, but it mostly fell flat for me

Next week: Cameron Diaz! Mark Ronson! Bruno Mars!

  1. side note: I couldn’t actually tell if this was supposed to sound like “Blank Space”.  Can anyone verify?  
  2. This is the kind of analysis that you too can bring to every comedy thing you watch after taking improv classes.  I apologize.  

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About Ben Smith 228 Articles
Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at GoodAtInter.net. E-mail: ben@whatelseison.tv