Saturday Night Live – Season Finale (Ben Affleck / Kanye West) Recap

Rating: 9.4

It’s the Season Finale. It’s Kanye. Let’s do this.

Cold Open – Al Sharpton
Hey, you know who I’ve actually missed the last few weeks? Kenan Thompson! Here he is reprising his always-enjoyable Al Sharpton character, complete with mispronouncing words, misidentifying Matthew McConaghey as a senator, and interviewing a Tea Party member. Nothing groundbreaking, but the kind of pleasant sketch that makes you smile that was utterly missing on last week’s Kristen Wiig-hosted catastrophe. (Rating: 7.5)

Ben Affleck Monologue
Here he is, the director and star of ‘Argo’! FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! That’s not fair, of course, Ben Affleck is great and ‘Argo’ was really good. It’s his fifth time hosting ‘SNL’, though Affleck doesn’t exactly get the same welcome to the Five-Timers club that Justin Timberlake did. I don’t know, I think Bobby Moynihan wearing a shirt with a ‘5’ on it is just fine. Affleck then brings his wife Jennifer Garner on stage to explain away his Oscars comment about marriage being work, though it doesn’t exactly go smoothly for him. Look, Ben Affleck isn’t going to carry a whole lot of comedic weight, but he’s a likable, charismatic guy and a rock solid ‘SNL’ host. I’ve got high hopes for tonight. (Rating: 8.0)

Message from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Fred Armisen as Ahmadinejad announces his response to ‘Argo’, movie called “Ben Go F@#$ Yourself.” As you may have guessed, it’s all about how Ben Affleck. You have to appreciate Armisen pulling off Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doing an exaggerated Ben Affleck impersonation. Affleck himself appears to make a ‘Gigli’ joke, topped by Armisen’s ‘Marriage is work’ joke. Got a couple chuckles out of me. (Rating: 7.0)

Xanax for Gay Summer Weddings Commercial
Gay Wedding Invitations are so flawless that they’re stressing out straight white people in their 30’s! “Not necessary for lesbian summer weddings”. We’re off to a steady, if not spectacular, start. (Rating: 6.5)

New York, 1933
So weird. SO, SO WEIRD. I don’t know what the comedic premise is, I don’t know what the joke is, I don’t know what’s going on. Somebody hold me. (Rating: 3.0)

New Beginnings Flagstaff Camp
Ok, here we go. A camp that tries to turn gay kids straight is a home run sketch premise, and Affleck as the conflicted camp counselor turns in his best performance of the night thus far. Plenty of laughs here, though I particularly enjoyed the performances by Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah as the Affleck’s obviously gay fellow counselors. (Rating: 8.5)

(Rating: 10.0)

Weekend Update
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF AFTER THAT KANYE PERFORMANCE. I FEEL LIKE THE COUNTRY IS ABOUT TO DESCEND INTO ANARCHY. IS THIS ‘OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN’??? Ok calming down now – but it’s hard to stay calm when AMY FREAKIN’ POEHLER is back for “Really?!?! With Seth and Amy”!! Amy sticks around (!!!) for an old-school two-person Weekend Update. I forgot how well Seth and Amy co-hosted Weekend Update. This is a treat. Then STEFON (!!!!!!) stops by for his last appearance, and is sent off in beautiful fashion, aka a pre-recorded sequence where Seth crashes Stefon’s wedding with Anderson Cooper and in front of a crowd of previously-mentioned Stefon characters, punches out AC360 and takes Stefon back to the studio where they celebrate with all the recurring Weekend Update characters. I feel like I’m in a dream. Is this real life? (Rating: 10.0)
Greg Pulino Funeral
A fairly funny sketch, actually, but a totally understandable letdown after whatever it was that just happened over the last 10+ minutes. (Rating: 6.0)

Hermes Handbags
WHAAAT!! Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong are BACK as former porn stars selling products. This time it’s Herman’s…er, Hermes Handbags. Probably my favorite recurring sketch, and this had me laughing so hard I genuinely feared for my own safety. Too many classic lines to count, but let’s just highlight “It’s perfect for occasions like: Everyday”, “One of my eyes doesn’t work, it got sucked out by a butt”, and of course, “Your whole hand in”. Oh and Affleck joined in as ‘Girth Brooks’, making an obscenely funny Snickers joke about his pants. So yeah, this was pretty awesome. (Rating: 10.0)

He’s back for ‘New Slaves’, the song that premiered via worldwide holographic projection last night. As a white guy, I’m not going to lie that I’m a little uncomfortable right now. Not as uncomfortable as the NBC censors though, right??? Heh. Heh. Ok, let’s move on. (Rating: 8.5)

Engagement Party
I thought “New Beginnings’ had a home run premise, but “cops trying to not cry while giving emotional speeches” is a freakin’ grand slam. Bill Hader continues to kill it in his last show (as he’s been killing it for years), and it’s all great fun. Enjoying myself so much right now. This is one of the best SNL’s of the season. (Rating: 8.0)

“It’s a Lovely Day”
Ian Rubbish and the Bizzaros play off the season, as well as Armisen, Hader, and Sudeikis. Sniffle. (Rating: N/A)

A sweet ending to what, on balance, has been a very good season of ‘SNL’. Not a classic year, but considering where we were at the start of the season – wondering how the show could survive without Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg – I think the ol’ show has done a remarkable job. It’s been alright, Saturday Night Live, I’ve had a lovely night with you.

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