'Saturday Night Live': Melissa McCarthy and 'Peter Drunklage' liven up the show

melissa-mccarthy-outside-the-lines-snl.jpg Melissa McCarthy put in one of the more go-for-broke performances in recent memory during her first time hosting "Saturday Night Live." Would she bring the same high energy level to her second gig?

Pretty much, yeah. There was nothing quite as manic as the ranch dressing sketch from her last time, but McCarthy once again showed a great aptitude for physical comedy and a willingness to go all in on the characters she was playing. Let's run down the show:

Cold open

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un tells his people that he's changed his mind on same-sex marriage ... before going on a long digression about all the women he's slept with (17.5 million and counting) and his ability in the sack. Bobby Moynihan doesn't break at all as the monologue gets more ridiculous, which is good. Less good is the ending cameo by Dennis Rodman, who gets the "Live from New York ..." honors.


(It sounds as though announcer Don Pardo is back this week. So yay for that.)

Monologue

McCarthy comes wobbling out in ridiculously tall platform heels, needing first a few extra notes and then a chair to make her way upstage. She semi-joins Taran Killam for a dance number while still on her knees, makes her way back to her feet and then goes flying when Killam re-enters. It's a great bit of physical comedy.


'Outside the Lines'

"SNL" decides to spoof the video of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice that got Rice fired this week. It's dicey territory for comedy, since he was abusing his players, but the sketch goes so far over the top that it at least wrings a couple laughs out of McCarthy's tightly wound coach.


'The Voice'

Outstanding impressions of the judges and their very enthusiastic response to singers by Bill Hader (Adam Levine), Kate McKinnon (Shakira), Jay Pharoah (Usher) and Jason Sudeikis (Blake Shelton). Plus this line from McCarthy, as a not-very-good auditioner: "I live in a basement, except without a roof ..." Sudeikis: "So you live in a hole?" McCarthy: "Yes, I -- I live in a hole."


Honey-Baked Ham Bakeoff

McCarthy as a very enthusiastic bakeoff competitor who was told to work on her presentation. So, naturally, "Push It" with the word "ham" randomly inserted in places and Moynihan and Killam in pig costumes. Better on video than on paper -- but NBC alas doesn't have it online (probably because of the music rights).

'Bathroom Businessman'

A funny parody of taking your work with you to the john gets funnier when it turns into a PSA for not e-mailing or texting from the toilet. "Nothing is that important. And it's disgusting."


Musical guest Phoenix

The alt-rock band performed two songs from its forthcoming album "Bankrupt!" and managed not to fall victim to the "SNL" acoustics curse. Both "Entertainment" and "Trying to Be Cool" sounded crisp and strong. Here's "Entertainment":


Weekend Update

A character-palooza of an "Update" this week, featuring Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy ( Vanessa Bayer), Charles Barkley ( Kenan Thompson) and Drunk Uncle. Moynihan doesn't so much play Drunk Uncle anymore as he just free-associates in a Drunk Uncle-ish voice, but the bit got substantially more interesting when "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage joined D.U. as his brother-in-law, Peter Drunklage. "You know what's in my Tumblr? Regret." Aces, and the campaign to have Dinklage host starts in 3, 2 ... oh, who are we kidding. It started the moment he appeared on the screen.


Post-Update sketches

The game-show sketch: Nothing special. The Pizza Eater: Better, with McCarthy once again committing fully to her nutball character. But "The Art of the Encounter" is far and away the best of the late-in-the-show sketches, with Cecily Strong and McKinnon as hosts of an early '90s dating instructional video an McCarthy and Killam as bad actors playing out their scenarios. A fine, weird way to close the show.


What did you think of "SNL" this week?

Photo/Video credit: NBC
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