The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Seth Rogen

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The extremely uneven 39th season of SNL is in the homestretch. Seth Rogen returns to the stage to help drag us to the finish line (just a few more eps to go). It’s been five years since Rogen hosted, and we’re expecting plenty of pop culture references, 420-friendly sketches, and one too many dick and fart jokes. SNL isn’t short on the latter, but we’re willing to give the good-natured comedian a chance. See how it all went down last night, below.

The Best

“Seth Rogen Monologue”

Rogen can’t recall what his early days on the show were like (a common theme in his life), so he’s keeping a journal this time around. It’s charming enough, but a few friends drop by to help out and steal the show — namely Taylor Swift (“Whenever a man shows emotion, I appear!”). The James Franco cameo felt like an uncomfortably orchestrated PR thing (more on his Instagram debacle, in case you were living under a rock this week), which might be why audiences appear to be so sassy tonight. Prep for a lot of awkward silences in the forthcoming sketches.

“Shallon: Drug Safety”

Nasim Pedrad’s Shallon returns, and she’s ready to smoke some crack thanks to a presentation from Rogen’s D.A.R.E. representative. Nothing new here, but the energy is infectious, the jokes are dependable, and Bobby Moynihan delivers a strong assist as always.

“CNN Pregnancy Test”

Beck Bennett and Vanessa Bayer have become one of my favorite duos to watch together. This clever sketch spoofing CNN’s overkill method of news delivery shows off their naturalism as a husband and wife waiting for their home pregnancy test results.

“Steakhouse”

Impressive SNL — I expected the first fart joke a lot sooner than this. Rogen and Aidy Bryant show off their physical comedy here as a couple who have trouble communicating. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but hearing Bryant call her breasts “flying saucers,” watching Rogen apply lipstick, and seeing the stars trying to contain their laughter after the aforementioned fart joke is good enough to elicit laughter.

“Monster Pals”

Hands down my favorite sketch of the evening, SNL writer and current featured player Mike O’Brien takes us back to his strangely moving “Sad Mouse” sketch in 2012. The ennui-filled “Monster Pals” finds a distraught creature searching for his friend who goes under the knife in order to become human. Understated and surprisingly poignant, “Monster Pals” feels like a throwback to the oddball days of ’70s-era SNL and the Lonely Island digital shorts.

“Blue River Dog Food”

A cute puppy and a hysterical Cecily Strong.

“Weekend Update: David Ortiz & Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy on Passover”

Kenan Thompson as David Ortiz talking Samsung. (“Samsung Galaxy: If it can’t fit into my pants, that’s a problem.”) Then, Colin Jost and Cecily Strong welcome Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy back to a lonely post-Seth Meyers world. Vanessa Bayer clumsily pawing at her face to wipe away tears at the mention of Derek Jeter is good stuff.

“Herman & Sons”

Aidy Bryant running across the screen screaming while pushing a shopping cart after the mention of “swimming in hobo sperm.” ‘Nuff said.

The Worst

“GOP At Coachella Cold Open”

Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush want to appear hip to the Coachella crowd, plugging their “new” version of the Republican party, but using words like “homeslice” is too dweeby and out of step even for them. It is great to see Beck Bennett and Taran Killam open an episode, so thanks writers! And thanks to Taran Killam for showing us his “guns.”

“Engagement Party”

I think this was around the time in the evening when I started to notice everyone reading their cards, which was totally distracting. This was also the time in the night when we all learned that Cecily Strong as a loud-mouthed, obnoxious type just isn’t funny, and that SNL’s gay jokes are always grade A awful.

“Undercover Sharpton”

SNL is trying to suck up some of that Dyke & Fats lovin’ from Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon’s 1970’s cop spoof a few weeks ago, but it fails all around. I’m digging McKinnon’s mob lady bartender, though.

“420”

Kyle Mooney’s character doesn’t smoke weed, but he sure loves to talk mumble about it. This one must have been written during the wee hours of the night when Rogen and company were bonding over a bowl.