It was Kristen Wiig‘s Greatest Hits Night on “Saturday Night Live” as the cast alum returned to the show just a year after leaving, this time as a first-time host. The episode revisited several of the fan-favorite characters Wiig played over the years, making for an episode that felt instantly comfortable.
The first character to reappear was Gilly, in Wiig’s monologue. The impish troublemaker, thankfully, only popped up for a brief gag. Of all of Wiig’s recurring characters, Gilly was the one who had worn out her welcome way before the comedienne left the show. Much more exciting in the monologue was Wiig’s discovery of (a very pregnant) Maya Rudolph and Jonah Hill getting frisky in a janitor’s closet backstage, if only for this exchange:
Hill: “We’re tying to make a baby.”
Wiig: (To Rudolph) “But you’re already pregnant.”
Rudolph: “It worked!”
From there, the flashbacks didn’t let up. There was Wiig returning to The Californians, a sketch that has felt so empty since she took her leave. Her absence was described in typical “Californian” fashion: She died too fast driving down Ocean Avenue, driving right off the Santa Monica Pier. Playing off the soap opera cliche of characters returning from the dead, Wiig popped up, hilariously disguised as a man (in that she was just a woman wearing a fake mustache). Rudolph’s appearance as Keitha, Stuart’s (Fred Armisen) pregnant second wife in Marina del Rey, and her subsequent ridiculous face-off with Wiig was incredible.
Next up was a visit to The Lawrence Welk Show, with Wiig’s doll-handed Doonece doing what she does best: Singing about putting her panties on a bobcat in her bed and popping bubbles behind Armisen’s head like a loon.
Weekend Update saw the return of Wiig and Armisen’s Garth and Kat, the singer-songwriters who never come prepared. The insane ad-libbing between the two never fails to have me on the floor, and the time away from this gag made the belly laughs that much deeper. Watching Wiig try to keep her composure was, possibly, my favorite thing all week.
The last of Wiig’s stable to take a turn was Target Lady, up to her same old tricks. Confessing to Kenan Thompson‘s shopper that she might be a hoarder, she explains that she has every issue of “Seventeen” magazine. “Why,” he asks. “I like to cut out the model’s eyes and put them over mine when I’m asleep so my birds never feel alone and the ghosts think I’m awake!”
It was a fantastic homecoming for Wiig, reminding us all how valuable a fixture she was during her run on the show. What was your favorite moment?