Jim Parsons seemed game for anything during his first stint hosting “Saturday Night Live” — too bad he didn’t get the material he needed to make his turn memorable, or at least more memorable than being the worst “SNL” episode of the season.
Watch the skits below and judge for yourself.
Cold Open: “Ellen”
It’s always nice when the show starts with a topical pop culture-related skit rather than a stale political one, so Kate McKinnon’s reliable Ellen DeGeneres impression was a great one to trot out on the eve of her Oscar hosting duties. Host Jim Parsons played everyone’s favorite Olympic commentator Johnny Weir, and while the physical resemblance was amazing, it was hard to believe it was anyone other than Parsons sitting there. The problem is that Parsons’ speaking cadence is so distinctive that it’s hard to imagine him as anyone else. “My mother is a schoolteacher and my father is a christmas ornament” was a funny line, though.
Parsons stumbled over his words a bit in the beginning before launching into a fun half-spoken song about the differences between him and his iconic “Big Bang Theory” character Sheldon Cooper before being joined by “SNL” members impersonating other actors who played iconic characters on highly syndicated shows, including Jaleel White, Jason Alexander (the best impression by far), Henry Winkler, a sweater-loving Bill Cosby and bank robber Angela Lansbury.
Peter Pan and Tonkerbell
Host Parsons might’ve played Peter Pan, but the star of this sketch was Aidy Bryant as a hilarious Tonkerbell, a.k.a. Tinkerbell’s trashy half-sister. “I came because I have 100 percent nothing going on,” she said before mocking the Darling family. “You got a nice-ass house and all your beds in one room!”
The Bird Bible Infomercial
“This is the bible that’s got all your favorite stories portrayed by birds,” explained Mike O’Brien. It was…a sketch. It happened. Let’s move on.
Dance Floor Killer
Beck Bennett hosted a fake Investigation Discovery program about the capture of Jim Parsons’ poorly disguised serial killer, Mark Allen Henry, who shows up on various 1980s dance shows. He made a convincing murderer with the addition of some retro glasses and a comb-over.
“12 Years a Slave” Audition
Did you chuckle at this one, about actors being uncomfortable reading hostile slave-owner roles with a black script reader and a black cameraman in the room?
Colin Jost made his “SNL” debut as new Weekend Update cohost alongside Cecily Strong. He was charming if a bit nervous, and it was still pretty easy to hear how Seth Meyers would’ve delivered each joke. Still, he and Strong had good chemistry. Give the kid some time. The night’s guests were Jay Pharoah as Shaq and Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley, and Taran Killam’s negative old-timey film critic, Jebidiah Atkinson. His opinion of “Gravity” was amusing: “If I wanted to watch a depressed middle-aged woman float around for 90 minutes I would’ve gone to the YMCA pool,” but his Woody Allen joke got the biggest reaction.
Someone on staff must’ve gone to a pretty bad murder mystery show recently, because there’s no other reason why the show would’ve spent so much time on this sketch, in which Jim Parsons’ character was given a weird, inexplicable role to play and spent his evening as a confused spoilsport instead.
Spotlightz Salutes the Oscars
It’s everyone’s favorite overacting children back, this time reenacting wildly inappropriate scenes from Oscar movies. It was as amusing as it was the last time they pulled this one out.
Well, this skit featured Parsons as a boss who pooped his pants. So.
This…was also a skit.
Beck: “Blue Moon,” “Wave”
Both songs were gorgeous, especially the haunting, sparsely orchestrated second number.
What did you think of Jim Parsons on “SNL”?