Saturday Night Live Scorecard: Was Paul Rudd Once Again Overshadowed by His Musical Guest?

Poor Paul Rudd. Last time he hosted SNL, his performance was overshadowed by musical guest Beyoncé (and her "Single Ladies" sketch with Justin Timberlake). This time Rudd had to compete with a Beatle. After a very slow start, the Paul Rudd-hosted edition of SNL recovered into one of the most memorable but wildly unbalanced episodes of the season. Let's be clear: Rudd did a fine job, but this was Paul McCartney's episode. Not only did McCartney appear in three different sketches, the former Beatle got four -- four! -- musical segments: Performing "Jet," "Band on the Run," a "Day in the Life"/"Give Peace a Chance" hybrid and "Get Back." So, how was the rest of the show that didn't involve McCartney singing? On to the scorecard!

Sketch of the Night

"Digital Short: Stumblin'!" (Samberg, Rudd, McCartney): Not on Hulu for probably about 50 different reasons -- using the "9 to 5" theme, Paul McCartney singing to the music of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" -- so hopefully this YouTube clip stays up at least for awhile. I am 100 percent on board with "Stumblin'!" The premise starts with the first lyrics from Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" -- "Tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen," changing them to "Stumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen..." then putting the word stumble in every lyric following while Samberg stumbles around the streets of New York. Then, inexplicably, McCartney shows up and repeatedly sings "walking in slow motion" before jumping into a tiny harmonica solo. Look, I have no idea what any of this means, I just know that I like it. "Stumblin'!" earns the first score of 10 for this season. Seriously, put this one up there with "Lazy Sunday" and "Jizz in My Pants."

Score: 10

The Good

"Weekend Update" (Meyers, McCartney, Hader): "Update" lives and dies on its guest segments. Honestly, just use Stefon every single time. I have no idea what it is about Stefon that makes Hader giggle, because Hader is so good about not breaking character, but he can never make it though a Stefon bit without laughing. It's not annoying like Fallon used to be, considering Fallon laughed at everything; Hader rarely breaks, which is why this is just so damn entertaining. Also, I've noticed, Meyers' version of "Update" has some of the most awkward endings. He never ends on the best joke, just a joke. And when that joke doesn't work, it's a strange way to sign off. Look, it's not like I know what I'm talking about compared to Meyers, but his "but I reckon it could be" line -- based on the penis size of men who grow up on the country versus the city -- would have been a great end joke as opposed to the joke about a baby stuck in a toy crane vending machine.

Score: 7.5

"A Message from Mastercard" (Hader): Wow, back-to-back weeks with a Julian Assange sketch. No longer hosting his TMZ style show, Assange is now behind bars and he's not happy about it -- unleashing threats to the American public that include forcing everyone to watch the fourth season of Hanging with Mr. Cooper and taking away your one profile picture on Facebook that makes you look thin.

Score: 7.5

"What's That Name?" (Hader, Rudd, Bayer, Thompson): A new game show that gives out astonishingly low dollar prizes for being able to correctly identify the name of a celebrity based on a photo. The prize amounts go astronomically high once the game shifts to guessing the names of people the contestants know in real life -- like Rudd's doorman. I would be terrible at the "people I've met" portion of this game and it made me queasy even thinking about possibly being a contestant. Thompson as the doorman, Norman, is the reason this sketch works.

Score: 6.5

"Meryl Streep on Ice" (Elliott, Sudeikis): Typical Meryl Streep, annoyingly humble right after she gives a breathtaking performance, this time as an ice skater. True, Elliott's Streep impression isn't the best, but the general idea of what's going on here is a pretty great idea. Also, I'd probably buy tickets to this show if it actually existed.

Score: 6.5

"Paul Rudd Monologue" (Rudd, McCartney, Brittain): Not a lot going on here, but Rudd is just so damn charming it's hard not to enjoy his bit about the droves of fans waiting outside chanting "Paul!" And I did laugh out loud when Paul Brittain rushed on stage to announce that, "Yo, yo yo, featured player Paul Brittain is in the mother freaking house!" I have a feeling that a picture of him standing on stage with the other two Pauls is currently framed above Brittain's bed.

Score: 6.5

"Spotlight" (Sudeikis, Rudd, Hader) Rudd is practicing a scene from Cabaret and has some issues with the spotlight operator. Actually, I was just happy to see Jason Sudeikis who was all but forgotten during this show. The premise is not great, but listening to Sudeikis explain why Tangled is the Inception of animated films is enough to (barely) push this into the "good" category.

Score: 6.0

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Comments

  • Jamie says:

    I feel like Jay Pharoah has a lot up his sleeve that's just waiting to bust out, and I really hope he gets the chance to expand on his principal character. It was weird and, I think, has the potential to be pretty great if they shift a few things.
    I'm starting to feel pity for Abby Elliot at this point. The four new people have had way better material and screen time all season. And they're better than her. Seriously, I've never once been wowed by her.

  • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

    I for one am so tired of the default "Presidential address" cold open. It's one thing if you've got a Phil Hartman or Dana Carvey or Darrell Hammond doing a spot-on, funny-in-itself impression - but Armisen fall so short.
    "What's That Name?" was pretty funny, because I am 100% that way with people. I'd like to see it again. P.S. It's Norman.

  • Jimmy O. says:

    To the writer: I hate to break it to you, but Pharoah's principal is not an original character, but a, you guessed it, impression. Whom might you ask? None other than Principal Frye of Pharoah's high school alma mater, Indian River High School in Chesapeake, VA. How do I know this? Because I went there. After last night's episode, every IRHS alum knows exactly whom he was doing. He's not original. You can even do a facebook status search of "Mr. Frye" to confirm this.
    I'm happy for our home-town boy to be on the screen, but he has nothing to offer than impressions. I was especially disgusted by his turn on Weekend Update a few weeks ago when he did his rap. It was nothing more than "Hey, watch me do a bunch of impressions I can't write into a cohesive skit."

  • Mike Ryan says:

    Wow. Thanks for sharing that. I mean, I assumed he got that from somewhere, but at least it's not a celebrity impresion. I liked his rap, I hated his "Jay Pharoah" shirt.

  • Kristen says:

    I'd be perfectly content with 90 minutes of Stefon every week.

  • rebecca says:

    Where has Sudeikis been this season?

  • Scraps says:

    Nine Asian Balkis!!

  • Chandler N. says:

    Im still a student at Indian River and the school was buzzing about it all day. He actually came to the school not too long ago to ask Mr. Frye if it was ok to do it.
    I, however, like the impressions that Pharoah does. He is extremely talented at doing them. Maybe eventually we will get to see an original character, but i think that maybe its better for him now as a new cast member to establish a name for himself doing impressions.

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