John Goodman hosted ‘SNL” last night for a remarkable 13th time (only Alec Baldwin, 16, and Steve Martin, 15, have hosted more), and the first time since 2001 (kind of unbelievably, Seth Meyers was part of that 2001 cast). Like Alec Baldwin, there used to be something special about a John Goodman hosted show (he hosted every season between 1989 and 2001), now, well, it just kind of felt like any other show. But, hey, Stallone and De Niro showed up to make camel toe jokes! (Oh boy.) This may have been the most consistent show of the season in that the highs weren't that high, but the lows weren't that low. Here is your penultimate scorecard of 2013:
Sketch of the Night
”Dance of the Snowflakes” (Goodman, Bayer, Thompson, Bryant) Here’s why I liked this sketch so much: Before the voiceovers even started, I was imagining myself in the audience, having paid money to watch these four bozos prance around wearing snowflake costumes. So, yes, each performer questioning if what they were doing was “dumb” made me laugh because it’s exactly what I would be thinking if I was wearing a giant snowflake costume while doing a not-at-all-complicated dance in front of other human beings.
”H&M” (Pharoah, Goodman, Killam, Ensemble) It's really nice to see Jay Pharoah get another shot at a pre-taped segment. Though, I'm not exactly sure why this aired so late in the show. Honestly, if "SNL" hired a "We have all of our sketches written, we just don't know what order to put them in and we need someone to do that" position, I would apply. The order as of late has been baffling.
”Shallon” (Goodman, McKinnon, Pedrad, Milhiser, Bryant, Tompson, Moynihan, Wells) I don’t blame Nasim Pedrad for going back to the “I’ll play someone under the age of 15” well. I mean, it gets her on the air, which is unfortunately kind of rare this season. Fun fact: Nasim Pedrad right now has the fourth highest seniority on the show behind Seth Meyers, Kenan Thompson and Bobby Moynihan (which is soon to be third after Meyers leaves). It’s just a shame that she gets so little to do that when she does get something to do, the subject is, “Wow, Nasim Pedrad got something to do.”
“Guy Fieri Christmas Special” (Moynihan, Ensemble) Boy, Bobby Moynihan does a great Guy Fieri – to the point that if the Food Network ever lost Fieri, they could probably just hire Moynihan and not many people would notice. After this sketch aired, there was a real commercial (at least I think it was real) for Fieri’s Food Network show and I couldn’t stop laughing. I wish Moynihan would open a restaurant next to Fieri’s Times Square restaurant as performance art.
”John Goodman Monologue” (Goodman, Thompson) In retrospect, this is almost a shame – because Goodman looked like he was having so much fun singing his “booty” song that it at least appeared like that energy might be maintained throughout the show.
”Weekend Update” (Meyers, Strong, Thompson, Moynihan, Goodman) It was actually a little sad when Seth Meyers mentioned that this was the last time he’d be on the air with Drunk Uncle. Sure, we’re starting to see advertising for Meyers’ new late night show pop up, but it’s felt like business as usual for Meyers on “Weekend Update,” even though we only have a few more shows left (he's still reportedly going to be on until February) before he departs. And in a way, this installment of “Update” felt like it was holding something back – look, Kenan Thompson as Santa Claus was fine, but after Megyn Kelly’s dumb statements, the joke was that he was there at all, not really what he had to say -- like it was saving its energy for next week's 2013 finale.
”Last Call” (Goodman, McKinnon, Thompson) I do appreciate the amount of gusto that goes into this sketch, but there’s really not much else going on that we didn’t see in the first two iterations. Well, except this one may have been the saddest. Look, Kate McKinnon is always a hoot during these, but I wouldn’t mind seeing something a bit different next time – Kenan Thompson only has so many shocked expressions that he can do. (At least I think, he does have a surprisingly high amount of them in his arsenal. I’d love to see a “shocked face” competition between Kenan Thompson and Bobby Moynihan.)
”The Christmas Whistle” (Goodman, McKinnon, Pedrad, Milhiser, Bryant, Killam) I could have done without the Christmas Whistle being the sound of a man choking on a whistle. I kind of liked this sketch better when the whistle was the supernatural sound of an angel that, quickly, became annoying because of how often it occurs. Regardless, there was a good energy here from everyone involved.
”Too Hot” (Goodman, Killam, Strong, Thompson, Bennett) And here’s where we have our John Goodman as Linda Tripp flashbacks. (Why do I have the feeling that I just triggered a Google alert somewhere?) You know … this was almost fine. I honestly don’t have much else to add. I laughed a couple of times, but I could have also lived my life happily without it. I do wish Beck Bennett would have done the “cartoon wolf” noise, though.
”Cold Open: Obama Mandela” (Pharoah, Thompson, McKinnon) As if there was any chance that the fake sign language guy wasn’t going to be the cold open. Though, I kind of with they had put him in different situations than just with Obama. Having him with Obama didn’t really provide much comedy because what the real fake sign language guy was doing was much more bizarre than what Kenan was doing.
”Holiday Hallmark Countdown” I kind of feel bad that Tony Danza is in this cavalcade of fake Hallmark movies considering that Danza actually gave a good performance in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon” earlier this year.
”The Three Wise Guys” (Goodman, Stallone, De Niro) Hoo boy. You know, it wouldn’t have been so bad if either Stallone or De Niro had been the host tonight, we could all just write this off as a bad sketch. I mean, it’s certainly not what we’re going to remember from John Goodman. But the fact that these two showed up just to do this is what keeps me awake at night. But, hey, I’m sure that “Grudge Match” will be great. I hope there’s a camel scene.
Average Score for this Show: 5.76
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter. Click below for this week's "SNL," Not Ready For Primetime Podcast featuring Mike Ryan and Hitfix's Ryan McGee.
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