SNL #38.15 RECAP: Host Kevin Hart, musical guest Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Kevin Hart is the biggest little man standing in stand-up comedy right now, so what happens when you have him host Saturday Night Live?

Let’s find out together, in the recap! For bonus points, sync up this recap with Mike Birbiglia’s live-Tweet play-by-play of SNL via @birbigs. One of these weeks, SNL will ask Birbiglia to host, or at least sit at a special desk on set to provide commentary, and then it’ll get really meta meta up in this house. Until then.

We open cold on Washington, D.C., and a press conference with President Obama (Jay Pharoah) explaining what the budget “sequester” really means.

Cue the rest of the cast. Wow. That was a long way to go for a Village People joke. It takes a village to…oh, I can’t even…I’ll just see myself to the rest of the recap.

Something about Don Pardo sounded younger. That’s because it was the voice of Darrell Hammond introducing the cast (Pardo, who turned 95 in February, reportedly broke his hip).

“Y’all got to clap again. I’m too excited!” Ladies and gentlemen, your host for the evening, Kevin Hart! He says the last time he was in NYC was tragic (must not have been November 2012, when he played two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and filmed it for his next stand-up comedy film!), because of what he saw a homeless guy do at Panera Bread. Watching a stand-up comedian do stand-up in the monologue for SNL is a treat, because when comedians reach this level of fame means you rarely if ever see them do stand-up elsewhere on late-night TV — they head straight to panel. So watch how they treat the scenario. Hart also talked about when he auditioned for SNL years earlier, with his impersonations of Avery Johnson, Robert DeNiro and Denzel Washington.

No fake ad in the fake ad slot. But BET did remember to advertise for Kevin Hart’s Real Husbands of Hollywood series. Close enough!

It’s easy to see why Kenan Thompson’s take on the “Steve Harvey Show” would make it in this week, as comedians love goofing on other comedians. Meta. In this segment spoof, we’re treated to “dogglegangers,” dogs who look like Harvey, and the “King Charles Spaniels of Comedy.” Hart plays a guest dealing with a phobia: He’s afraid of horses. So bring in a lady (Nasim Pedrad) with a stuffed horse. Does it work? Did it work for you?

In other news, Justin Timberlake is next week’s host AND musical guest.

We’re living in a world without a pope. Can you handle that? SNL brings the news to us via CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (Jason Sudeikis), and in Vatican City, Cecily Strong is our correspondent on the scene with a vote by the Catholic cardinals, who have elevated 9-year-old actress Quvenzhan√© Wallis (Kevin Hart) to the papal seat. See if you can make fun of that, The Onion! Thompson plays a cardinal from Africa, while Armisen plays the retired Pope Benedict, and neither can compete with a little girl.

They replayed that fake Starbucks Verismo ad again. Fake outrage begins now.

We continue with our big brand parody theme with Barnes & Noble. Hello, Union Square branch! (That’s the exterior)

Inside, Kevin Hart calls the employees together for a staff meeting. Someone has stolen inventory and must be fired. This is an encore of the fast-food firing sketch, also involving Bobby Moynihan and Cecily Strong as the likely culprits who think they’re the most likely of culprits. P.S. You can say “dickhead” after midnight on network TV, apparently. Good to know. Big fan of the collection of weirdos they work with, though — the more silent, the more better. Except for Carl, who made Kevin Hart lose it all too quickly.

Ladies and gentlemen: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. “Thrift Shop.”

Weekend Update time.

You heard that Dennis Rodman visited North Korea with a camera crew for Vice’s HBO series to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Well, here Rodman (Jay Pharoah) explains, with Kim Jong-Un (Bobby Moynihan) by his side. Unnecessary Macklemore reference. Slightly necessary Tigger reference?

Really!?! With Seth and Kevin Hart examines U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia questioning the Voting Rights Act, describing “The South is the Michael Jordan of Racism.” And a triple-take by Hart…”God Damnit!” before hitting the line, that having one black friend is the most racist. Which is my reminder to remind you that Michael Che was hired as a guest writer on SNL for this week and next. Also: Nice play by Hart to note that he may, in fact, be 3/5 of a regular person in size, but that’s not the same as what the Founders intended. (Note: They did have a pre-recorded Pardo for this piece.

The Walking Dead is America’s most popular scripted drama among people who aren’t old enough to be zombies yet, so SNL finally got around to making fun of it (Move over, Homeland! What’s that? Homeland isn’t on again for a while? Never mind, then.). Nasim Pedrad is a natural as 12-year-old Carl. Hart emerges as a guy named Lyle. Something something allegory for racism.

Look at Sears, trying to be all cute with a “Till Dance Do We Part” parody spoof in their very real ad…

Speaking of businesses, here’s a Shark Tank parody, with Jason Sudeikis (Kevin O’Leary), Kate McKinnon (Barbara Corcoran), Kenan Thompson (Daymond John) and Bill Hader (Mark Cuban) as the entrepreneurs who would be investors. Tim Robinson tries selling them on a Slest, “the exact opposite of a vest.” No sale. Kevin Hart says “shork” for some reason? “OK, check it out” ranks up there as Hart’s go-to phrase when telling jokes, or delivering dialogue when selling sunglasses to lamps. Let’s run the numbers. 69 joke! You get it. Shork box? Really?

Speaking of business ideas that won’t get off the ground, it’s the Z-Shirt!

Let’s try some voice-over work with Kevin Hart and Vanessa Bayer in a recording session for a business. Business block! Three sketches in a row about selling you stuff is a trend. You don’t even need to go to journalism school. Business block! So who would you hire: The white woman who over-pronounces her final consonants, or the guy who shouts his lines? It’s so close, you guys. So close.

Once again, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. “Can’t Hold On.”

What if a funeral were in the 1990s? Oh, wait. She was in her 90s? No. Scratch all of that. Don’t call it a comeback. Call it a callback! Silly. Just plain silly. But they kept it short, which is important if you’re going for a silly callback. Unlike this recap paragraph, which has gone on much too long.

Hey! Kevin Hart in a Cosby sweater!

360 News is your five-to-one sketch at 12:55 a.m. that features Kevin Hart as a news anchor who swivels around delivering news in the round. Ergo, not Argo, 360 degrees. Except he was just in a car crash that put him in a neck brace. Ouch.

That’s our show. Goodnights! They cut the goodni–?!? Really!?! They’d never do that to JT.

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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