Finally, an episode of Saturday Night Live that was actually funny!
Of course, it helped that Hugh Laurie was the host. He’s a talented comic, and he was able to prop up the other SNL cast members whenever he was on stage.
- The monologue was perfect: warm, friendly (you can call me “Sweet Cheeks”), and totally abandoned the “we have a great show…” setup line – a ballsy manoever (yay, UK spelling!), given Lorne Michaels’ rather tight formula.
- Hugh’s protest song was terrific, and summed up the problem with the majority of modern protest songs: they can spell out all the world’s ills, but can’t prescribe a solution.
- Tim Calhoun on Weekend update!!!
- The Hardball sketch where Howard Dean challenged Ken Mehlman to a fistfight – classic.
And a special note should be paid to the “cold open”: having Borat appear live on U.S. network TV is really gutsy. He’s a very un-PC character, and his entire monologue likely left a lot of overly-sensitive viewers infuriated, aghast, and ready to call their local NBC stations in protest. Sure, some of his lines – heck, most of his lines – were over the top, but that’s the schtick. And even the closing credits had Borat kissing Hugh Laurie’s crotch – again, on live TV.
And one more thing: Beck’s two songs were great, and the synchronous puppet show was… different, to say the least.