SNL #37.2 RECAP: Host Melissa McCarthy, musical guest Lady Antebellum

We’re back with another new episode of Saturday Night Live, and host Melissa McCarthy is sure to delight. How do I know this? Because I’m typing this on Monday morning, so I’ve already watched the show. Also, because McCarthy’s scene-stealing performance in Bridesmaids and her Emmy win weren’t flukes. Girl is mad funny. And she’s a McCarthy, too.

Let’s get to the recap!

We open cold with Lawrence Welk and his not-so-tiny bubbles. Fred Armisen always plays Welk, and Kristen Wiig always brings her big forehead and tiny hands as Dooneese, but have you ever seen a sketch with so many other rotating members as Dooneese’s Finger Lakes sisters? We’ve seen them as:

  • Amy Poehler, Casey Wilson and (host) Anne Hathaway plus Wiig (Season 34, episode 4)
  • Wilson, Michaela Watkins, Abby Elliott plus Wiig (Season 34, episode 22)
  • Elliott, Jenny Slate, Nasim Pedrad plus Wiig (Season 35, episode 10)
  • Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer plus Wiig (Season 35, episode 21)
  • Elliott, Pedrad, Vanessa Bayer plus Wiig (Season 36, episode 18)
  • Elliott, Pedrad, Bayer plus Wiig and (host) Melissa McCarthy (Season 37, episode 2)

So how does this latest lineup measure up? Pretty well, as a matter of fact, because making McCarthy an even bigger weirdo than Wiig changes the whole flavor of the sketch. Freshly crude.

Wiig and McCarthy have been comedy buddies since The Groundlings, so they’ve already established great onstage chemistry together. So why not have them together for the monologue, too? These first two sketches with Wiig get the show off to a strong start by showing off that chemistry. McCarthy sincerely instructs her children to go to sleep now, because “Mama’s going to get pretty inappropriate.” But first, she wants to dance. And how about a hand for Taran Killam, who sang with the Finger Lakes sisters in the cold open and shook his money maker during the monologue with tap-dancing Bobby Moynihan. The payoff behind the sheets wasn’t completely necessary, though.

Fake ad slot goes to Lil Poundcake, a doll for girls that…keeps your daughters safe from HPV by administering a vaccination shot! What do you think about that, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry???

This office sketch, “Arlene,” screams out loud as an excuse for the writers to say, you know that airplane scene from Bridesmaids that showed McCarthy wildly hitting on a male passenger, what if we did that in an office and upped the ante? OK. Co-worker Jason Sudeikis is having nothing of it, although Bill Hader’s pony-tailed guy “likes his coffee hot, Arlene.” Kenan Thompson reacts like if he just doesn’t look over, then it’s not happening. Like a regular office worker, then. Jay Pharoah gets to play a non-celebrity who delivers balloons for Arlene to play with inappropriately. This sketch could be wrong and go nowhere, but McCarthy’s full commitment to the bit keeps it together.

An SNL Digital Short: It’s Stomp. Silly. The plot twist doesn’t quite cut it, even though Fred Armisen actually was once a drummer for Blue Man Group.

Oh, Internet commenters. I’ve been getting hit up by spam commenters recently, who are even stranger of a group than “regular” commenters. But Sudeikis hosts this talk show, “The Comments Section,” that features three such online snark machines in Moynihan, Killam and McCarthy, and make them suffer the consequences of their anonymous hate. Gut punches served by Tommy (Hader).

Chris Rock was in Broadway. People liked it! So why not put him in a bunch of other plays, such as Romeo & Juliet, where Rock (Pharoah) can tell Juliet (Pedrad) that her question is moot. Pharoah breaks into stand-up, and his Rock impersonation is pretty good. “It’s blacktacular!” Well, it’s pretty good. Not sure how else Pharoah can work his Chris Rock into SNL, unless they decide they liked it enough to have him do it to provide commentary during Weekend Update.

Lady Antebellum is that country band whose songs sound a lot like pop songs from when you were younger. This one’s called “We Owned The Night.”

Weekend Update.

Armisen has played Libyan dictator Gaddafi, as well as one of his childhood friends alongside Vanessa Bayer, and as much as I like them, I don’t much care for this bit.

Tyler Perry (Kenan Thompson) showed up to brag about being the highest-paid man in entertainment, and he’s making it rain funny money. Perry explains the secrets to his success. You might want to write these down.

Moynihan is running a focus group taste test on Hidden Valley Ranch’s new flavors, and McCarthy is much more excited about ranch dressing than the people on either side of her — Killam and Elliott. This would otherwise be lackluster in the wrong hands, but McCarthy’s Linda sells this so hard and so well. Making it competitive with a $50 reward for the best quote nicely heightens the stakes. But yes, that screencap gives away the ending, doesn’t it? Still. Another sketch where the host brought the most to it, with everyone else in the scene providing nicely quiet straight work.

Turner Classic Movies and Robert Osborne (Sudeikis) introduces us to Lulu Diamonds (McCarthy), an actress to match Mae West. She executes that opening entrance cleanly. But those stairs. Those stairs. They’ll be the end of her, for sure. And there’s nothing Killam, Samberg and Moynihan seem to do to stop it. Maybe they’re caught staring at a stairwreck. Didn’t want to laugh. Couldn’t help but, by the end.

Lady Antebellum says it’s “Just a Kiss,” but is it ever just a kiss?

Ah, the five-minutes-to-one sketch to round out the evening. Never had any complaints, Samberg? As soon as your character ordered an “Entourage tequila, neat,” we knew that wouldn’t be true. Bayer, Pedrad, Wiig arrive on cue to complain about his look and his tiny weiner. But wait, there’s more. And yet, McCarthy seems like a perfect match. Yep, that’s about right. Not out with a bang, but at least not out with a whimper.

Good show, people! See you next week with Ben Stiller and Foster the People.

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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3 thoughts on “SNL #37.2 RECAP: Host Melissa McCarthy, musical guest Lady Antebellum

  1. I agree with your review. I thought Melissa McCarthy was Farley’esque in her commitment to the sketches. Your right – at times I didn’t want to laugh, but I couldn’t stop myself.

    1. I’ll never think of Hidden Valley Ranch the same way again. Melissa McCarthy is a cidomec gem and I hope SNL has her back soon.Best host of the season so far, truly wonderful.

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