'Saturday Night Live' Recap: Zach Galifianakis Hosts a Star-Studded Show

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Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)

Saturday Night Live screengrab

Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)

Bring on the weird!

This season of “Saturday Night Live” was feeling a bit stale, but Zach Galifianakis once again freshened up the show last night with his delightfully oddball humor. And he got a little help from some famous friends, too.

Check out what made us laugh, wince, and groan.

BEST CAMEOS: Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms in “Jennifer Aniston Lookalike Competition”

Galifianakis was at his weirdest (best) as the outraged loser of the Aniston contest. “I’ve taken farts that look more like Jennifer Aniston,” he scoffs at the people who placed above him. Meanwhile, Taran Killam’s Aniston impression was insanely good. But the purpose of this sketch was to bring in Galifianakis’s “Hangover” co-stars, and it was a treat to see them all in long, blonde wigs.

BEST: Monologue

Zach Galifianakis has got such a quirky, different style than most hosts, and a wonderfully wacky tone was set from his monologue. “Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving,” Galifianakis said drily, to giggles and guffaws.

He went on to joke about playing charades with deaf people (they’re great at it) and stumping Google (“How many candles does Dave Navarro own?”) to answering a cell phone that was really an Altoids tin. Very absurd, and very funny.

BEST PAYOFF: “Darrell’s House, Part II”

“Darrell’s House, Part I” was a lackluster sketch, featuring Galifianakis as a nervous, antsy guy taping a public access show. He kept asking his cameraman to make various cuts and edits, and even insert Jon Hamm in place of his friend (Kenan Thompson). It felt a bit flat and unfinished.

It all made sense a few minutes later, when the sketch returned in its edited form -- with all the cuts, sound effects, and (yay!) the real Jon Hamm. It’s so rare for “SNL” to do these delayed-payoff sketches (they did one during Kevin Hart’s episode), and they’re awesome every time.

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BEST FAKE AD: “Match.com”

Again, “SNL” showed how well it can do these spoof commercials. They’ve had some really funny ones this season, from the Pope retirement ad to Nuva Bling, and this one also hits the mark. Kate McKinnon is becoming a master at impressions, and she was perfectly dry and no-nonsense as Martha Stewart, who apparently likes men “rough like a rustic burlap wedding invitation.”

WORST: “Game of Game of Thrones”

We really wanted this to be good, as we’re all big “Game of Thrones” fans. But another game show sketch? Really? Not only that, it was just one long “nerdy people don’t know anything about real life” joke. Not even a cameo by Jaime Lannister himself, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, could turn it around.

[Infographic: 'Game of Thrones' Season 3, By the Numbers]

BEST COMEBACK: Bill Hader’s James Carville on “Weekend Update”

Can’t remember the last time Hader busted out Carville, but we were so happy to see this impression return. Hader looked like he was having a blast, and left us grinning with his manic card-dealing hand gestures and talking to Grandma Carville’s ghost.

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BETTER THAN USUAL: “Cold Open: Fox & Friends”

“SNL” has done a pretty dreadful job this season of tackling current events, and they still don’t really have anything witty to say about Jason Collins coming out or New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s large soda ban. But Bobby Moynihan’s zaniness turns this sketch from “blah” to “ha!” We seriously LOLed when he sucked down the comically large 16-liter soda. Plus, the corrections at the end are always funny (our faves: “Smurfs are not elected” and “Force-feeding is not how Jedis eat”).


“SNL” doesn’t really push the envelope much these days. It’s stayed away from really edgy humor recently, but this sketch was surprisingly and pleasantly edgy. Galifianakis was a racist M&M store greeter who mistakes Nasim Pedrad as Indian (when she replies that she’s Pakistani, he says, “Is that your tribe?”) and faux-apologizes to Fred Armisen’s Mexican employee for calling him dirty by saying, “I’m a total slob. Maybe I don’t deserve to be in this country either.” But even while he’s saying sorry, he just keeps being racist, like telling Thompson, “Please don’t talk over me. This is not a movie theater.” The sketch will probably be divisive, but we’re just glad to see “SNL” take some chances now and then.

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