Last night’s host Kevin Hart had the unfortunate circumstance of being sandwiched between SNL’s highest-rated show of the season, with Christoph Waltz, and next week’s highly anticipated guest, Justin Timberlake. It also didn’t help that some audiences had no idea who the Think Like a Man actor and stand-up comedian was, or that Daft Punk’s 15-second teaser for their upcoming album played during a commercial break and created a nice buzz. Despite clumsiness with a few lines, lackluster jokes, and more screaming than we thought humanly possible, the likable Hart’s head was in the game, and his enthusiasm was infectious.
The jokes were focused on race throughout the evening, and then socially conscious rapper Macklemore, with Ryan Lewis, burst onto the stage to perform his song about thrift shops. Audiences have questioned SNL’s reliance on race for comedy every time an African-American celebrity hosts the show (the same debates popped up when Jamie Foxx hosted the series in December). Was last night another heavy-handed move by the writers and producers? See how the rest of the evening played out after the break, where we look at the best and worst sketches of the evening.
Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un
Weekend Update: Really?! with Seth and Kevin Hart
It took what felt like an eternity for the show to warm up, but Bobby Moynihan’s Kim Jong-un perked things up during the Weekend Update segment. Hart then joined Seth for an edition of Really?!, centering on the Voting Rights Act. Hart charmingly goofed a few of his lines, but ultimately seemed like a natural for this opinionated skit: “Supreme Court, don’t think you can’t be called racist because Clarence Thomas is your one black friend. Nothing is more racist than having one black friend. Zero black friends is somehow less racist than having one black friend.”
The Dove Chocolate radio spot found an uproarious Hart competing for a gig against Vanessa Bayer’s boring announcer (played well, but it’s a role we’re tired of seeing her in). There was nothing ingenious about the material here, but seeing Bill Hader almost lose it as Hart got screamy about bubble baths and bags of chocolate won us over.
The Walking Dead
Hart was zombified for a play on The Walking Dead, which made it clear that no one on SNL actually watches The Walking Dead. We loved Nasim Pedrad as young Carl Grimes, and Hart’s zombie pulling the race card while he tried to chow down on the group was good for a laugh or two.
Hart’s screaming was put to good use in the unhinged Z-Shirt sketch. It returned even stronger later in the show during Tim Robinson’s brief funeral skit.
We didn’t really get this boring spoof on the reality series about entrepreneurs and business executives.
Steve Harvey Show: Phobias
When your funniest bit is mispronouncing the word “phobia,” you’re in trouble.
This somewhat amusing, but pointless sketch, felt rushed and squished at the end of an episode that ran about four minutes too long.