SNL #36.15 RECAP: Host Russell Brand, musical guest Chris Brown

Any episode of Saturday Night Live that opens with Jason Sudeikis supposedly playing Bill O'Reilly (when Suds was so good at Glenn Beck, who is completely different), well, that's going to be problematic.


Fred Armisen also still is pretending to be President Barack Obama, and there's that. Nasim Pedrad is super hot as O'Reilly's assistant, though, so there's that, too, right?


Oh, so Russell Brand is the host of this week's episode, and far be it for me to be the only person to think that his outsized personality and size might be problematic for fitting in with the cast (and also, he's British, so he speaks that way). Brand played off of his stand-up act here, in which he acknowledges that he's still more famous in the United Kingdom than he is in the United States.


This Spider-Man lawsuit ad spoof is something that is both believable and funny, as if it were a thing that could play on my TV today and me think, oh yeah, sure.


The show brought back Cheryl Bryant (Wiig) for reasons that cannot be explained, because none of us are sure why her excitable character is a recurring character.


If that didn't seem flimsy enough, there was an entire movie trailer based on the premise that British people have accents so strong that you cannot hear consonants.


Keeping with the theme, they went medieval with the English in this next sketch for a bit about the guy who tastes things for the British monarch to make sure it's not poison. Taran Killam gets this cushy gig. Oh, wait. This was supposed to be a parody of The King's Speech? Then forget everything I said. And forget this sketch.

Chris Brown was the musical guest? Looks like he was trying to punch everybody in his first "song." Hmmm. Who liked this idea?


And now it's time for Weekend Update.


They let Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak (Fred Armisen) give his own interpretation of his departure from power. I'm sure there was a joke in here somewhere. Was it about how America has supported Mubarak over the years? Was that it? Oh, OK. Good one. See how the people got that barb and then rose up against our oppressors.


And then Lil Wayne and Eminem showed up, in the guises of Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam, with their Valentine's Day song. I felt like the audience knew there was something here.


Hey, look. For this romantic weekend, they had city correspondent Stefon (Bill Hader) offer some suggestions for people to go on their big dates. Does Hader break down and laugh at some point? Of course. Of course he does.


So I'd heard that there was something wrong about this "Livin' Single" sketch with Vanessa Bayer, where she hosts an Oxygen channel talk show, and Killam is her DJ sidekick. They start with a running joke about how the DJ is in love with the host. But what happens when the guest is a pastry chef (Brand) who immediately gets all handsy with the host? Oh, I see. The joke is supposed to be how the DJ loves the host, but the guest gets to sexually assault the host in front of the DJ. Funny stuff. In other news, I've become a feminist.


And now three men are in drag as old ladies for "A Spot of Tea." How British! It's like they knew they had a British host or something! The earth moved. Brand tried to show us his junk. And other sketches must have failed in comparison. How. We don't know? We have to imagine how.

Chris Brown was allowed to perform a second song on television. How. We don't know? We must know!


For the final sketch, we got to look behind the curtain, so to speak, at a top-secret Pentagon project about time travel with President George Washington (Brand), with Sudeikis as a military officer, Wiig as Nancy Pelosi, and Hader and Killam as Republicans. It all goes horribly awry. Oh. It was another British joke? I feel like this was all British jokes! The British! So funny!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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