Oh Jon Hamm, is there anything that you can’t do? You are a prodigious Banger of Secretaries, you effortlessly knock triples into the gap during celebrity softball games and nothing seems to be standing in the way of you becoming a member of the SNL Five-Timers Club. Speaking of which, how did Hamm perform during his third hosting stint this weekend?
Quite admirably! Regardless of the quality of the writing (which, just like every episode, was a little up and down this week), Hamm gives every sketch his all. He’s actively engaged in the delivery of the material and, unlike a lot of hosts, actually seems like he could fit into the ensemble cast. Most of all, Hamm always seems like he’s having fun up there (even when he’s doing the Best Cry Ever), and that energy is contagious with both the cast and the audience. Does this make him the best host of the show who’s not already a Five-Timer? Discuss!
And while you’re thinking about whether Hamm is better than James Franco, Jack Black or Justin Timberlake (it can’t be coincidence that all of their names start with the letter J, can it?), follow along for our weekly breakdown of how the Not Ready For Primetime Players performed this week.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE POWER RANKINGS: 10/30/10 (Host: Jon Hamm; Musical Guest: Rihanna)
1. Kristin Wiig (44 points): Last week, we were ready to write Wiig off. She didn’t annoy us nearly as much this week, although I was forced into giving myself Ear Muffs every time she opened her mouth during the Vincent Price Halloween sketch (her pill-popping Judy Garland wore out its welcome years ago). On the good side, though, “Darlique and Barney” was a pleasant surprise and Garth and Kat are always aces.
2. Bill Hader (41 points): On Bill Hader’s very first episode of SNL way back in October of 2005, he scored the first huge laughs of his young career with his Al Pacino impression. Five years later, his Pacino still SLAYS, but his finest moment of the night was his heretofore unknown impression of Alan Alda. I can only assume that the name Alan Alda means nothing to a large percentage of SNL‘s viewing audience these days, but for us olds up way past our bedtimes on Saturday night, it was quite the moment.
3. Fred Armisen (27 points): Armisen plays Liberace at his hound doggiest, but those of us old enough to remember when Liberace frequently appeared on television know that he was just as hammy (if not necessarily as obsessed with double entendres) as Armisen plays him. Also, although his appearance as Prince was brief, it was a welcome flashback to one of the first characters that got Armisen recognition on SNL.
4. Kenan Thompson (22 points): Kenan’s Cosby impression is, has always been and will always be gold. Also, I rather enjoyed the horny-yet-guilt-ridden police chief he portrayed in the otherwise forgettable “Highway Cops” sketch.
5. (tie) Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis (21 points): After narrowly missing our list of the Top Ten Sketches of SNL: Season 35, Shy Ronnie and Rihanna made their long-awaited Digital Short return. Can we be honest with each other? If so, here goes: I thought “Shy Ronnie 2″ was a little lacking in the inspiration department. The jokes didn’t grow (except for the boner, natch) from the foundation they built last time, and on the practical tip, why was she making a music video with someone who she damn well knows doesn’t know how to enunciate? That said, there was certainly a lot of chatter about it on Twitter over the weekend, so what do I know?
7. Taran Killam (15 points): Remember how great “Les Jeunes de Paris” was? Well, as lovely as his Pee Wee Herman and Gilbert Gottfried impressions were this week (Confession: they were only okay), “Les Jeunes” is still the best thing he’s done so far this season. And since NBC hasn’t decided to put this sketch online, we thought we would. Don’t say we never did anything for ya, okay?
8. (tie) Abby Elliott, Bobby Moynihan (14 points): Everytime I see Abby, I think to myself, “Shoulda been you, Slate, shoulda been you!” Her Joan Cusack was okay, I suppose, but she’s never been able to up her game past the point of being a fairly decent impressionist. As a featured player, she should be bringing MUCH more to the table. As for Bobby? Screaming and a bad wig does not a Sam Kinison impression make. BRING BACK MARK PAYNE! (If I say it enough, think it will happen?)
10. Nasim Pedrad (12 points): Everyone gets an off night, I suppose. Still, I remain firmly on Team Pedrad. Once Wiig vacates the stage at the end of this year (which has got to happen, right?), it will be Pedrad’s time to shine.
11. Paul Brittain (10 points): After what seemingly was Paul Brittain’s breakout episode last week, he didn’t get much in the way of air time this week.
12. Jay Pharoah (7 points): So far this season, we’ve seen Jay do impressions of Denzel Washington, Will Smith and now, Eddie Murphy. I am looking forward to seeing what else he’s got going for him besides this, but Lorne has yet to give him that chance.
13. Vanessa Bayer (2 points): Ooft, this must’ve been a frustrating week for Bayer. She was the first of the new castmembers to earn a lead spot in her very own sketch (see: Miley “It’s Pretty Cool” Cyrus), but she’s been treading water every week since. Hang in there, kiddo!
And really, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that bizarre David Spade/Fred Wolf collaboration, “Dog In Purse” (which, weirdly enough, isn’t online). As much as I miss David Spade’s sarcastic takedowns of the rich and famous, this bit felt really stale and out of place on the show.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE POWER RANKINGS: SEASON 36 TOTALS
1. ⇑ Kristin Wiig (149 points; Last Week: #4)
2. ⇑ Bill Hader (145 points; Last Week: #5)
3. ⇓ Andy Samberg (143 points; Last Week: #1)
4. ⇓ Fred Armisen (141 points; Last Week: #2)
5. ⇓ Kenan Thompson (131 points; Last Week: #3)
6. Jason Sudeikis (98 points; Last Week: #6)
7. Bobby Moynihan (83 points; Last Week: #7)
8. Nasim Pedrad (79 points; Last Week: #8)
9. Taran Killam (72 points; Last Week: #9)
10. ⇑ Paul Brittain (61 points; Last Week: #11)
11. (tie) ⇑ Abby Elliott, ⇓ Vanessa Bayer (58 points; Last Week: #13 and #10, respectively)
13. ⇓ Jay Pharoah (57 points; Last Week: #12)
Need a refresher on the Scoring System?
Here’s this week’s sketch-by-sketch breakdown:
Also, did you know that we’re showing classic episodes of SNL every night on VH1? It’s true!