Silver Linings Playbook star Jennifer Lawrence is golden. Not only because she scored a Golden Globe win for her performance in the David O. Russell dramedy, but because she's quickly establishing herself as one of the most charming actresses this side of Emma Stone. And, with her debut appearance on Saturday Night Live, Lawrence continued to prove she could balance between genres. Drama, teen franchise, indie, sketch comedy —Lawrence's playbook is indeed golden.
Speaking of things golden, SNL's cold open centered on one of the most talked-about figures from Sunday's awards show: Jodie Foster, played by the increasingly valuable but criminally underused Kate McKinnon. While poking fun at the actress' quasi-coming-out speech, in which the actress paid tribute to "the voices of reason in my life: Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson," the sketch hit its high mark, with McKinnon stealing the spotlight from Jason Sudeikis, as a far-from-contrite Lance Armstrong, and Bobby Moynihan, as a wide-eyed Manti Te'o.
And it turns out the Golden Globes gave SNL plenty of milage, with Lawrence's monologue centering on audience's misunderstanding of her acceptance speech. With some viewers believing Lawrence was slamming Meryl Streep — "I beat Meryl" was actually a First Wives Club reference — the actress continued the Oscar smack talk during her monologue, slamming Jessica Chastain ("More like, Jessica Chas-ain't-winning-no-Oscar-on-my-watch!") and even 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. ("You think you can beat me? Whatchu talkin' bout, Wallis?") Though the one-liners (and Bill Hader's stoic Tommy Lee Jones) impressed, Lawrence's busy schedule seemed to hold her back during the monologue — if she were relying on the cue cards anymore, you could call her Lindsay Lohan.
Lawrence seemed to hit her stride during SNL's inevitable Hunger Games sketch, which still left a bit to be desired for fans of the dystopian teen franchise. Though Lawrence played along well — making fun of her height-challenged co-star, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta — the post-game press conference concept relied too much on the sketch's secondary characters (reporters that don't exist in the books) than the primary beloved stars. Though Jay Pharoah's question to Peeta — "Have you been using performance-reducing drugs?" — did get some appreciation from the Armstrong-overdosed audience.
The actress' journey on Saturday Night Live continued with a pre-taped Hobbit bit that would have been much funnier if The Onion hadn't already written it a month before. (Though who doesn't identify with frustration surrounding Peter Jackson's insistence on filming in "s**t-vision"?)
Still, in Studio 8H, it played better than the next sketch, which starred Lawrence as a bona fide nasty waitress in an Ed Debevics-esque restaurant. That said, anyone who ever frequented Debevics and was privy to their patented lame insults would appreciate a waitress with real sass — one that told diners, "You peaked in high school, and now you'll sleep with anyone who asked."
But before you insult any jokes from this week's Weekend Update, Moynihan would beat you to it. Playing recurring character second-hand newsman Anthony Crispino, even the SNL cast member had to scoff at his own rib that "they have to raise the Depp ceiling" after Johnny Depp outgrew his mansion. (Cue: Sad trombone.) Seth Meyers, however, made up for the grown-worthy appearance with a zinger about Ann Romney's rumored (and debunked) casting on Dancing With the Stars: "She's probably not a good fit for the show anyway, because I've heard of her."
The next sketch parodied another beloved reality show, Top Chef, but in a world where dogs were allowed to compete. Relying heavily on puns (Padma Leash Me, Tom Collie-Cio, and a Crocks-wearing Mario Barktali were stars of the sketch), the skit was one of those that seemed born out of exhausted writers' rooms at midnight. Still, Lawrence worked, well, like a dog to help the sketch translate, proving to be more committed than the most loyal of pups.
Her commitment to the material only continued in the next sketch, which took place in Taran Killam and Moynihan's recurring Shakopee, Minn., radio station. Though predictable, Lawrence's rapping intern — who couldn't even rhyme "issues" with "tissues" during a flu-themed verse — was sick enough to sell the sketch.
But not quite as sick as "Danielle," a sketch parodying sex-fueled fare you'd find while channel-surfing late-night French TV. One of those wonderful skits that's not as funny as it is strange, "Danielle" delighted if only because it was easy to imagine SNL's writers wondering if they could pull off something so ridiculous. So, did they? Hardly — at least not as much as the following sketch, centered on the correspondences between a Civil War-era woman and her brazen fiancé (the underused Tim Robinson) who constantly demanded "a tit pic or something."
The final sketch earned plenty of chuckles, but it's unfortunate that the night's funniest sketch occurred in the first 10 minutes, sans Lawrence. Poking fun at Starbucks' spelling-plagued employees, the commercial for the Starbucks Verismo proved the coffee maker will mistake your simple name for something ridiculous, and complain to its co-worker Verquonica when it gets your order wrong. The faux-commercial served as a shot of caffeine to the episode which could have used a jolt much later.
Still, Hunger Games star Lawrence was easy to digest in the comedy genre, helping elevate rusty, post-vacation writers' bits to laugh-out-loud status. And the experience in live TV should do Lawrence good — after all, she has to prepare for the moment she accepts Oscar gold in real time.
[Image Credit: NBC]
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Last week's Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday featured visits from none other than Bill Hader's wonderfully demented take on James Carville, impressive newbie Kate McKinnon's waving, Beyoncé-loving Ann Romney, and — because no party would be complete without him — Drunk Uncle. So who will show up alongside host Seth Meyers on tonight's second edition of the weeknight special? My personal hope: Stefon. Always Stefon. His political commentary would have everything. No matter who pops up at the Weekend Update desk tonight, the political world has given SNL a wealth of comedy riches over the past week. From GOP candidate Mitt Romney's confusion about the function of airplane windows to Samuel L. Jackson's f**king message for President Barack Obama (not about snakes), it's wise Meyers and co. opted to do two of these Thursday editions. Not only because they have to compete with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but because the next new episode of SNL doesn't air until October 6. With the election getting closer and closer, they too have got to stay in the race. Plus, there's always the vain hope of a Stefon appearance. Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday airs tonight on NBC at 8 PM ET. Until then, check out what Meyers had to say about what's in store for tonight's episode and why Romney and Obama have to stop by Studio 8H before the election. [Photo credit: NBC] More:
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There are three main essentials on the campaign trail for any candidate or candidate's spouse: waving, posing for pictures with babies, and visiting a late night talk show. With just a few weeks to go until the election, Ann Romney has now officially accomplished all three after paying a visit The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The wife of GOP candidate Mitt Romney technically made her first-ever late night appearance on Monday. Kate McKinnon's hilarious take on a non-stop waving, apple cider-guzzling, "freaking awesome"-haired Ann Romney, on the other hand, already made her Saturday Night Live debut over the weekend to clear up those "Stop it... this is hard" comments to fellow Republicans that she made during a recent radio interview.
So when it was time for the real Romney to clarify the statement she made to Jay Leno, she didn't sound all that different from, well, the fake Romney. Both emphasized that she'll stay by her man's side, the campaign trail for a Republican is hard ("It's very frustrating thing because you try so hard to get your message out"), and that she stands by what she said. ("I stepped out of the interview and I was like, ‘Oh dear, was that a little strong?’” she admitted to Leno, then adding that, “everyone I’ve seen has given me high fives.")
While Romney did everything she was supposed to do during a talk show appearance, by giving choice campaign trail sound bites ("We care about the 100 percent", "I love the fact that we have the first African-American president. That means to me that we're leaving prejudices behind"), clarifying Mitt's confusing airplane window statement after her in-flight scare ("It’s his way of making light of how worried he is about me"), and cracking casual jokes ("You know, Jay, he's gotten to be a better dancer") she still seemed to fall into the Romney trap of feeling a bit disconnected and less media savvy than the Obamas. (Though, apparently not to one Leno audience member who appeared to shout, "We love you, Ann!" during her appearance).
To be fair, it was her first go-round on the late night talk show circuit, so maybe she'll settle in with a few more. Just remember Ann, when it doubt, just say Rick Perry's name three times. Or, at the very least, challenge Jimmy Fallon to a potato sack race. Watch actual Ann Romney's visit to The Tonight Show and McKinnon's Romney's debut on SNL below and decide which one had the better late night appearance.
[Photo credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC]
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Last week, Seth MacFarlane let it be known that the premiere episode was going to be all about the boys. From the juvenile jokes to skits on President Barack Obama and Ryan Lochte (hell Jeah!), it was a true boys-only club kind of a night. Well, perhaps with Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosting the second episode -- and for the second time -- the star of such lady-friendly flicks as 10 Things I Hate About You and 500 Days of Summer, women will be more of a focus. Kristen Wiig and Abbey Elliott may have moved on, but that's even more of a reason to make sure Saturday Night Live doesn't lose its funny female niche.
ONTO THE HIGHLIGHTS!
Off to a FINE Start: Things fired off a bit differently this time around as Kelly Ripa's (Nasim Pedrad) big blink-less eyes stared at audiences in the first skit. Yes, it was LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, and the Blind Sideyness of it all was enough to conjure a few belly laughs. Pharoah delivered a spot-on Strahan impersonation, especially when he squeaked through gapped front teeth about how amazing it is that HE GETS PAID to do essentially nothing! Their first guest was good ole' Robert Pattinson (Bill Hader). The smoldering scowl, the gentle hair toss, the brooding... oh it was glorious. I think it's safe to say we've made up for last week's boys show already.
Shirtless Gordon-Levitt!: What an opening monologue, you guys! The episode could have ended right here and it would have been just fine. More than fine! Because you know why? JGL heard a loud cry, a plea, to remove his shirt. And Lord did he listen. I should have known when he first walked on stage, chipper as ever and looking a bit pale in the face. The nerves, of course. And although his Looper line about Ashton Kutcher being the real life younger version of Bruce Willis, or something, I don't know it didn't really make sense, it was quickly forgotten when he segwayed into his Magic Mike number and RIPPED HIS SUIT OFF. At first, he didn't bare it all. He teased us a little keeping a tasteful vest on. But then, he ripped some more. And yes, HIS SHIRT CAME OFF. He has abs! And no hair! Who knew?! No one knew, no one until tonight. This changes everything.
Tres Equis: Or, The Son Of The Most Interesting Man In The World. Creative, catchy accent, manicured facial hair, it was all there! All you need to know: "He can make a woman cringe, just by entering the room." Overall, a short and sweet skit, though I fear JGL's gotten exceptionally attached to this character -- he's having way too much fun in all white. I don't think this is the last we'll see of TSOTMIMITW. I don't think so at all.
Tampons and Conservatives: We're back to the female portion of the evening. It doesn't get anymore estrogeny than a tampon commercial, and that is exactly what Vanessa Bayer owned. She was fantastic. I see Wiig in her, I do, and it's getting me all tingly. And what's better than spoofing a fluffy-haired, soft-voiced menstruating lady, you ask? Well, a clan of republicans handing out the latest brand: g.o.b. "Now with wings!", that's what.
Mumford & Sons: The musical entertainment of the night! They were everything you'd expect. The band rocked out, extremely aggressively actually, with "I Will Wait." It was super enjoyable, even for non-hipsters (though they really could have trimmed the facial hair just a bit). I was actually pleased to not hear "Little Lion Man," though let's be honest, an emo song is an emo song is an emo song.
Weekend Update: It's in good hands with Seth Myers, this I know to be true. The one negative thing I can say, it needs to be cut down a tad. Maybe a little more than a tad. I mean, it just seemed to take FOR-E-VER. But it was amusing. After ripping on Romney's tax return release and love of a good spray tan, he focuses on President Obama in a new segment "What Are You Doing?" Oh yeah, and comparing Romney's campaign to Lost was pretty amazing -- Is Clint Eastwood supposed to be the smoke monster? Then, Kate McKinnon enters as an impeccable Ann Romney. I just want to hear her say "Beyonce" over and over again. Is that possible yet? Yada yada, Pharoah is here -- God bless his impressions -- and tackles ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith to discuss Tim Tebow and Marc Sanchez.
The Finer Things: This was Keenan Thompson's spotlight act. He and Pharoah, clad in cheetah and army print, are a perfect pair. Sipping out of champagne glasses, the two chitchat about, what else, fashion! JGL enters in Yankees gear for some Fashion Week banter. Actually, they carried on a conversation about Marc Jacobs and Helmut Lang that made complete sense. It was bizarre and pleasantly impressive. Again, getting back in good graces with the women.
Let's End on That Note:There were a few more skits after The Finer Things, but aside from Mumford & Sons back on stage, it was pretty bland. Tim Robinson finally made his appearance as a man being set up with his co-worker's daughter and it was fairly disappointing (for the record, JGL in a dress was not disappointing). What I can gather from this episode is that SNL appears to be JUST FINE. It's off to a great start, and Gordon-Levitt proved for the second time that he can in fact be funny on a whim. "Weekend Update" was the ultimate must-watch-on-repeat video, as was JGL's Tres Equis skit. What did you think of the latest episode? Let us know by sounding off in the comments section below.
[Image Credit: NBC]
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