Even in its current mediocre state, sometimes you expect big things from Saturday Night Live. Usually that expectation stems from the host, and in that sense it’s hard to think of a bigger and better get than Will Ferrell.
The SNL alum is one of the 10 or so greatest cast members in the show’s history and he’s followed his time at Studio 8H with an increasingly illustrious movie career. Ferrell’s return this week meant that the writers would have the chance to work with a bona fide elite funnyman and that the show could celebrate itself with one of its biggest stars. Also working in this episode’s favor was a heavy dose of ancillary star power — Will Forte, Ana Gasteyer, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, a shirtless Jon Hamm in leather chaps, Liam Neeson.
It’s the type of thing that seems hard to screw up from a distance, and yet they couldn’t quite get things right over the full 90 minutes. Ferrell’s first 45 minutes were terrific and then, thanks to a combination of poorly conceived sketches and way too much Kenan Thompson (insert your own joke here about how they’re one and the same), the episode collapsed. If you want a serious indictment of the show’s current state, look no further than this week. Ferrell’s turn as host was far from the worst of the season; in fact, this was probably one of the funnier episodes of the season. The fact that it wasn’t much, much better is damning all the same.
I’ll step down from my soapbox now. As always, the must-see sketches are embedded below, ranked in order of their importance.