SNL Digest: Taraji P. Henson/Mumford & Sons (4/11/15)

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Taraji P. Henson" Episode 1680 -- Pictured: (l-r) Keenan Thompson and Taraji P. Henson with Mumford & Sons members Ted Dwane, Winston Marshall, Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett on April 9, 2015 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC)
(Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC)

Taraji P. Henson keeps SNL on its hot streak with another fantastic episode of the show.  Mumford & Sons debut songs from their new album.

The past 3 episodes of SNL have been on a hot streak as far as the show’s been concerned.  The Rock, Michael Keaton, and now Taraji P. Henson have all knocked it out of the park, each with a unique sense of humor all their own.  It’s nice to see Taraji get some renown now that she’s been a breakout star of Empire, and SNL seemed to work really well with her in terms of a range of sketches and characters.  There was what felt like a lot of pre-taped pieces this week, but the live sketch work was just as strong.

What You Missed:

Clinton Video Cold Open

Kate McKinnon’s Hilary Clinton has such a great energy to the characterization.  The jacket over a jacket and the whole concept of Hilary filming her announcement on her phone was a great take on the news we all know is coming.

“Christina, meet my hand in the air”

Monologue

I was a bit ambivalent on the whole gospel “I made it” opening (even though the vocals were great) until they brought the rest of the cast in.  Then I was totally on board.

Depend Legends

How has no one done this sketch concept before?  Quickly, beautifully executed.

Teacher Trial

This was a surprisingly timely sketch given the recent re-emergence of Mary Kay Letourneau.  Pete listing off the full list of nicknames was beautiful.

Dreamworks Sneak Peek: Home 2

This was one of those stealth here’s-a-bunch-of-celebrity-impressions sketches, but that’s okay, because it featured Taran reacting to all of them as Jim Parsons.

QVC

Kate McKinnon is a national treasure and sketches like this are why.  Anyone else doing this material would not have sold it.  It actually felt like Taraji was overdoing it this one.

Mumford & Sons – “The Wolf”

To be a complete hipster music snob for a sec, I played Mumford & Sons’ breakout hit “Little Lion Man” 6 months before it went huge here in the states.  I felt like a lot of their stuff had the same basic dynamic pattern, but I’m liking this new electric direction they’ve taken.  This was nice.

Weekend Update


  • “Cops hate pictures – it’s like their least favorite thing to shoot”
  • KATE MCKINNON’S CECILIA JIMENEZ IS BACK!  I love this character
  • I liked Colin’s bit about 7-11
  • I like that Jacob has dealt with all recent Weekend Update hosts.  Michael’s attempt to engage are great.  That said, I was less than happy to see Billy Crystal show up as the podiatrist.

Hollywood Game Night

Another impressions sketch, but I like those (especially when SNL bites the hand that feeds it with Hollywood Game Night here).  Beck’s Nick Offerman is voice-only, and Cecily’s Marion Cotillard was really just a fancy dress, but Kate’s Jane Lynch is the glue that holds this all together.

How 2 Dance with Jangle

This was one of the bright spots of the Chris Rock episode earlier this season, so it was nice to see it come back with Janelle’s mom (even if there didn’t seem to be much of a point beyond that).

Sesame Street/Empire

You knew Cookie was showing up if Taraji was hosting.  I’m speaking about both Cookie from Empire and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.  This was everything I wanted it to be.

Cinema Classics: Their Own League

SNL keeps doing this sketch again and again, but with so many different ways to have a movie “fail”, it feels fresh every time. Bobby is great in this in what I’m guessing is the Rosie O’Donnell role of this sketch.  This sketch only had one joke, but at least it didn’t try to tell that for twice as long as it needed to.

Connectatron

This one was slightly too short for me.  I wanted to see Mavis whoop Sharkasaur’s ass.  That said, the commitment to 90s Power Rangers-style effects was a nice touch.

What You Didn’t Miss:

  • John Singleton’s Game of Thrones was an idea where I was nowhere near the center of the Venn diagram for the jokes. It’s also not available online, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was well done, even if you can’t watch it/evaluate my pop cultural failings.

We’re back on May 2 with Scarlett Johansen

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About Ben Smith 225 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