SNL #37.9 RECAP: Host Katy Perry, musical guest Robyn

Remember that one time Katy Perry was the musical guest on SNL, but also showed up in a sketch wearing a cleavage-bearing Elmo shirt and jumped up and down? You remember that, don’t you? Want me to wait here while you Google “Katy Perry Elmo gif” and do what you will? OK. And you’re back. Welcome back. If you thought that having Perry host the full show would result in 90 minutes of such sauciness, well, then, um, I’m not sure what to tell you. Joke’s on you? Let’s get to the recap!

We open cold on a segment from FOX News and Greta Van Susteren (Kristen Wiig), which is really about Donald Trump’s planned GOP presidential debate that only has two attendees — Rick Santorum (Andy Samberg) and Newt Gingrich (Bobby Moynihan) — although, of course, it’s really always all about Trump. Which means, hey, look, it’s the return of Darrell Hammond! I hope he’s doing better. You heard about what he revealed in his memoir, right? Yikes. I feel like if you’re going to go after Trump, you really need to whack that mole around quite a bit more than this. The man already is pure hyperbole and hot air. Get after him. Even if he is host of an NBC reality series.

The monologue isn’t online. That’s weird. Is it because she’s sporting a Christmas sweater dress? Is it because the cast joins her onstage sporting some of Perry’s odd costume choices from the past? Nope. It’s because she eventually duets on her own “Teenage Dream” with Wiig. Fine. You didn’t miss much anyhow.

No fake ad in the traditional fake ad slot. Just real ads. Bummer.

Next, it’s the return of the college TV set of J-Pop America Fun Time Now, in which two Michigan State students (played by Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer) are way too into Japanese teen pop culture. They play it so earnestly that it comes off so much better than, say, that Deep House Dish sketch that used to annoy viewers on a regular basis. Having Jason Sudeikis as the professor adviser who reminds us how weird this is also remains a nice touch. Perry shows up as a Hello Kitty superfan. Nice joke about a capella, guys.

Ah, that New Year’s Eve movie that even you think you might appear in. Here’s an ad for the sequel, and thank goodness for Taran Killam’s Ashton Kutcher, who I’d like to see anytime instead of the actual Kutcher. Wait. Didn’t Abby Elliott have a Drew Barrymore? And if so, why is Wiig doing Barrymore instead? Anyhow. Moving on. Doesn’t matter what excuses they use to bring us more of Killam’s Kutcher or Bill Hader’s Alan Alda, just please don’t overdo it. Leave us wanting more, please. Thank you. Simple math: Katy Perry’s bosom > Christina Aguilera’s bosom. Also: Kris “Ludacris” Kristofferson! Also also: That last card with a smiling Seth Meyers. Wink wink. Nudge nudge.

Kristen Wiig has a new character named Kalle, who hosts a Finnish talk show. Katy Perry plays herself. We have a clip.

An SNL Digital Short. If you already had Internet access before Saturday, then you may have seen the “surprise” cameos photographed during filming of said short, so it wouldn’t have been quite the surprise, then, would it? Matt Damon makes a great homeless drug addict. Obviously. But Val Kilmer as eccentric genius is just, real genius inspired casting right there. The Best Friends gets more and more absurd. And that’s a good thing.

This is followed immediately by another taped piece, “Doggie Duty.” Hmmm. Problem spacing out the live sketches, did they? With a fake soundtrack, featuring Randy Newman (Fred Armisen), Gwen Stefani (Wiiggii), Meatloaf (J-Suds), Spin Doctors?!?, Clint Eastwood???, and Florence and the Machine (Katy Perry).

Who is Robyn and where does she come from and is this real life? You don’t need me to post her musical selections, because it’ll just raise even more questions.

Weekend Update time. Some Updates are more exciting than others. This was one of those times.

First up, flirting expert Rebecca Larue, played by Wiig. Turns out Willow Smith was right all along: You just whip your hair back and forth! And other helpful body language.

Alec Baldwin was in the news this week, not for 30 Rock, but for preferring his Words With Friends game more than the instructions of American Airlines flight attendants. Baldwin showed up as the supposed pilot of said flight to offer Baldwin an apology. Smart move by all parties involved in making this happen. Especially for “a word game for smart people,” which I play whenever I’m awake. Try me.

Stefon! With tips on where to take your friends and family during the holidays! Spud Webb FTW (my hero!). Writer John Mulaney is the best, you guys.

Uh oh. The Royal Family is back. This sketch, in case you hadn’t seen it before, is meant to portray Queen Elizabeth II and her husband as naughty naughties in private who also like to rock out. It’s mostly an excuse for Fred Armisen to goof off and Bill Hader to give his James Carville a British accent. Andy Samberg is Prince William (sure), but how is it that Abby Elliott’s bosom is more pronounced as Kate Middleton than Katy Perry’s is as Pippa? She’s got “a Doctor Who ass: pretty good…for England.” Ha. The Christmas song, well, what to say. There was a Piers Morgan insult in there, if you listened really really closely. Katy Perry sang again in a sketch. And it just, well, ended like that.

This Al Sharpton talk show: Just. No. Sorry, Kenan. Although “VandeHei. Sharpton Hi!”

Once again, Robyn. Heavy on the synths.

Final sketch plays out in a cocktail lounge with Jason Sudeikis on the piano, Armisen on the drums, Kenan on bass, whilst Katy Perry and Bobby Moynihan find out they have everything in common. OK. Hold up a second here while I think out loud with my typing fingers. There seem to be more and more sketches like this popping up on SNL, or I’m just noticing them more now, and I don’t mean sketches involving elevator shafts. This sketch featured an actual jazz band in the background. But even in other times, when it’s not a talk show/game show nor about celebrity impersonations, SNL sketches feel kind of like jazz numbers. Not for everyone. Offbeat. Just playing around fun more than laugh-out-loud funny a lot of times. Like that young French dancing group sketch. Jazzy. Think about it.

That’s it for this week. What, no Paul Brittain? Not nearly enough Nasim Pedrad. As for Perry, she was pleasant enough and brought her full attention to each sketch to try to sell it. And she has proven to have enough of a sense of humor (insert sarcastic reference to Russell Brand here, followed by sincere defense of Brand, who is a charming bloke with a colorful language, even if his movie choices are not quite so choice). And yet. Nothing in this episode was nearly as memorable as before, when she jumped up and down in that Elmo shirt. At least we still have that. See you next week when Jimmy Fallon hosts and likely sings a bit himself and most likely does the Barry Gibb Talk Show (so maybe a JT appearance, too?). Tune in next time.

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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