Gwyneth Paltrow hosts SNL for the 3rd time tonight. This continues the show's recent trend- 4 of the last 5 hosts are hosting for the first time in a while (De Niro, Bridges, Carrey, Paltrow). A very young Paltrow promoted her hit Shakespeare in Love by hosting in season 24, a 1999 episode that featured the Barenaked Ladies, a Monica Lewinsky cold open, and a Mary Katharine Gallagher sketch. She returned in 2001 for a season 27 episode with musical guest Ryan Adams. This week she promotes another film with Oscar buzz, Country Strong, while possibly also giving a shoutout to her return to Glee.
Cee Lo Green is making his first SNL appearance tonight. He was actually portrayed by Kenan Thompson in the Anne Hathaway episode this season. Green's song, "F*ck You," was a major hit in 2010, and exploded even more when the radio edit, "Forget You" was performed on an episode of Glee by...Gwyneth Paltrow. *EDIT* Green actually was musical guest in a season 33 episode hosted by Ashton Kutcher, as lead singer of Gnarls Barkley.
-Paltrow and Green will sing "Forget You" together. I'm not sure if this was announced or just speculated, but it would be stunning if it didn't happen.
-Paltrow was stuck in London for much of the week, so expect a low workload for the host, and therefore likely several recurring characters.
-I'm going with 1 cameo, by Paltrow's mother Blythe Danner, who herself hosted way back in season 7. Because whenever the host's mother lives in New York and has a movie in the theaters, I bet she cameos.
See you back at 11:30!
Sketch 1- Ahh, Wiig's Greta is back, "embracing civility." We've got Sean Hannity (Moynihan), Michelle Malkin (Pedrad), and Glenn Beck (Sudeikis), all attempting to be more civil. And to show their civility, here's CNN's James Carville (Hader). Carville tempting the others with his extraordinarily liberal day. And Maddow (Elliot) has taken over Beck's chalk board. I enjoy many of these impressions but they've all been better done before. Still, a solid start. B+
Monologue- Gwyneth talking about how, since she last hosted, she moved to London and took time off to become British. Ironically, the first time she hosted her monologue was about her being British. Next, she talks about how she's immersed herself in country music like "Johnny Cash...and that lady with the hair and the big boobs." Next Sudeikis comes out as Kenny "Garth Brooks" Rogers, and Paltrow has to sing a duet of "Islands in the Stream" she doesn't know with him. And here's Wiig's Dolly Parton. And Cee Lo Green, who is a lot shorter than I would have guessed. And he wants to join in on "Islands in the Stream." Not great, but amusing. B+
Sketch 2- Ad parody for The Cape. If you like super heroes who get their powers from pieces of clothing, with The Scarf, The Smock, The Leg Warmer, The Sleep Mask, The Bolo Tie, The Water Bottle Holder, The Scrunchie, and The Television Event of 2011, The Spanx. Again, not great, but not terrible. B
Sketch 3- Looks like we're getting some sort of talk show. Nope, its Game Show Network's Secret Word. That means Wiig's Broadway star. Yup, here she is. Last time Jane Lynch played a comedian, tonight Paltrow plays a socialite. Hader hosts, with Kenan and Killam. Shockingly, Wiig's actress still sucks at this. And Paltrow's isn't better. While other mediocre sketches get funnier on repeat plays, this one is flat. It is what it is, and that's mediocre. C+
Sketch 4- A digital short has Samberg and Pee Wee Herman at a bar. And here's what a drunk Pee Wee Herman is like. Kinda amusing. And there's Anderson Cooper! And Kenan, Wiig, and Armisen, along with the Playhouse gang and AC are at Samberg's apartment for an intervention. And they celebrate their friendship with some more shots. Amusing and random. A-
IN TWO WEEKS- JESSE EISENBERG AND NIKKI MINAJ!!!
Sketch 5- We seem to be looking at a Bar Mitzvah. It is Brayer is playing the Bar Mitzvah boy, thanking his guests, along with his father, played by Armisen. And they got Taylor Swift, as played by Paltrow! She's doing a solid Swift. And a Jewish themed version of You Belong to Me. Another guest! Jay-Z from Pharaoh. With a Jewish themed version of Empire State of Mind. Joined by Pedrad's Alicia Keyes with an awesome chorus about Jacob's Bar Mitzvah. And here's Elliot's Katy Perry wishing us a Happy Jewish! With Ashkenazi Joos (I assume that Joos:Jews as Gurls:Girls)! And now, Cee Lo Green, a "member of the tribe," with "Talk Hebrew." Brilliant. One of the best sketches in a long time. A+
Sketch 6- This involves Paltrow as a brunette. Record company, trying to figure out how to get "Forget You" on the radio, since the FCC decided "forget" is obscene. And they use "forget" as f*ck. This is amusing. Ok, its brilliant. Also, using "dixie cup," "Nintendo," and "Country Strong" amongst others- you can figure out what for. And that's the intro for... A
Music 1- Cee Lo Green performs "Forget You." We've also got "ain't that some shhh," but seemingly no Gwyneth, shockingly. There are some very distracting silhouettes in the background however.
Weekend Update- Blood Libel, Tom Delay, Verizon iPhone, Meyers editorializing on what the Found Fathers would say about guns/2nd amendment (what are these cars?). Facebook, baboons. And 2012 candidate Jimmy McMillan (Kenan)! Because the Rent is 2 Damn High! And he's running with the GOP! He's running on the platform of The Deficit is 2 Damn High! Extra, Apollo 12, Canadian Skunk, Golden Globes- Bayer is there at the pre-party to talk to the nominees. Pedrad as Aguilera and Hader as Cher for Burlesque. With Moynihan as Chaz Bono as the Golden Globes' Miss(ter) Golden Globes. New ABC sitcom, Volcanic Flambe, Phoenix Jones, and here is Garth and Katt! I feel like they haven't prepared for their performance. This only gets funny when either Armisen or Wiig cracks. Who will go first? Ah, first they have to introduce Paltrow's Kim Castle, their look-alike song writer. Ehh. Still a strong update. B+
Sketch 7- A Globe Theater performance of Taming of the Shrew. Really, a Shakespeare sketch with Paltrow? Ah the debut of "previews" in theater. This is amusing. A preview of "Romeo and Juliet- A Romance to Die For." Make sure to silence your falcons! There are no emergency exits! A preview for Hamlet. Any recording is prohibited. Refreshments in the foyer! Complete with a "let's all go to the lobby" song. Another preview- "You loved Henry the IV..." I could've done without the false history tag, but another strong sketch in what is shaping up as the best episode in a long time. A-
Sketch 8- Pretty sure that was Ed O'Neill in the live look in. An ad for the Fresh Prince 20th anniversary edition. Pharaoh owns Will Smith. Kenan is Carlton. Paltrow is a cop. And obviously no Ed O'Neill. B
Sketch 9- We're getting a Sports Center sketch. Actually SC on ESPN Deportes. Brittain and Paltrow are the anchors. The entire joke might be them breaking into American accents on names. And yet it is still humorous. Ah, they also use American catch phrases. Pharaoh's Kevin Garnett doesn't speak Spanish. An ad for the new beer Tres Equis. Nothing spectacular, but not terrible. B-
Music 2- Cee Lo Green apparently has a second song. It is called "Bright Lights Bigger City." So he's got that going for him...
Sketch 10- Auditions to replace Kathleen Parker, with Hader as Spitzer. Pedrad is Christian Amanpour. Hader's semi-bald wig is terrible. Paltrow as Heidi Klum. And it's Paterson Spitzer! Awesome! So glad to see this impression live on! It is so much better than...New Jersey!
Overall- One of the best episodes in a long time. Very little weakness, and a lot of fun impressions. Paltrow was much better than I expected. A.