Between a few more digs at the NBC late-night situation and many jokes about “Avatar,” “Saturday Night Live” managed to crank out a pretty funny (pre-“Update”) episode with host Sigourney Weaver.
It’s safe to say that the cast and writers of “SNL” are on Team Conan — Conan O’Brien is one of their own, after all, having done time there as a writer in the late ’80s and early ’90s before getting the “Late Night” gig. The show’s opening featured a dour-looking Conan (Bill Hader) and a denim-shirted Jay Leno (Darrell Hammond) appearing on “Larry King Live,” and it was clear that the room was with O’Brien. Plus, Fred Armisen did a spot-on King.
Weaver, whose father, Pat Weaver, ran NBC for a time in the 1950s and created “The Tonight Show” in 1954, referenced her dad and the Conan-Jay debacle in her monologue too. Reading from a memo her dad wrote at the time of “Tonight’s” inception, she quoted him saying that the show should be something light before people drift off to sleep, and the last thing it should be about is controversy. Whoops.
Weaver — who last hosted in 1986 — was game for just about anything, appearing as a scary-looking Russian darts player in an ESPN Classic sketch (eh) and teaming with Kenan Thompson on his latest Grady Wilson instructional sex video sketch.
I’m not always a fan of the Grady bits, but this one — with Weaver playing his Danish lady friend — had me laughing pretty much throughout as she and Grady demonstrated techniques like the Old TV, the Brandy Snifter and the Sneezing Crab.
Weaver also got “Avatar” director James Cameron to appear in the digital short — “James Cameron’s Laser Cats 5.” Even with an Avatar Machine, Lorne Michaels still said no.
The most consistently funny sketch of the night, though, was “Weekend Update.” Abby Elliott did a fantastic Meryl Streep impression in advance of the Golden Globes, and Seth Meyers managed to explain his network’s late-night problems perfectly, noting that it was like a marriage that NBC was perfectly happy with, except it saw someone hot and decided to marry that person in five years, but the first wife wasn’t happy about that and got in really good shape, so when it was time to divorce NBC decided not to, but married the second wife anyway, and then both of them were upset, but NBC had a plan to make it work and held a big news conference to tell everyone about it, but still nobody was happy, so the only thing left to do was to kill the second wife.
I don’t do the bit justice there, but it was brilliant on Meyers’ part.
Weaver gets a thumbs-up from us (we’ll agree not to talk about the “Disco Booty Junction” sketch if you will), and aside from a few snoozers past the 12:30 mark, this was one of the more enjoyable “SNL” efforts this season. What did you think?
Photo credit: NBC