The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Fred Armisen

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SNL vet and Portlandia star Fred Armisen closes out the 41st season of Saturday Night Live, bringing some old characters back to life (the pretentious and erotically inclined Regine), while also delivering some refreshing new bits to the show (his opening monologue captures the comedian’s quirky-cute vibe). While it’s great to see some old faces (Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, and Maya Rudolph), we missed players like Leslie Jones — who has been a bright spot throughout the season, but was nowhere to be found. Armisen’s comedic style isn’t always suited for a mainstream audience, but the actor-musician played it pitch perfect throughout the evening. See how it all went down last night, below.

The Best

“Hillary & Bernie Cold Open”

Hillary and Bernie drink and dance it out at the end of the race.

“Fred Armisen One Man Show Monologue”

Fred Armisen delivers a heartwarming and charmingly weird reenactment of his first audition for SNL, complete with a Prince impression. Also, hurray for a real-deal attempt at an actual comedic monologue instead of the weird propping up the guest like a human puppet on the stage.

“Expedition”

The local theater troupe performs the story of Lewis and Clark, who are DTF and negotiate a threesome with Sacagawea in front of a high-school class.

“New Girlfriend”

Jason Sudeikis stops by to introduce his snobby new girlfriend Regine (an Armisen character favorite) to his friends. The cast can’t keep it together when Regine pervs out to neck kisses and other gropings. The guacamole shoe and other improvised physical comedy nail it.

“Farewell Mr. Bunting”

An ode to Dead Poet’s Society that feels like it meanders, but when it hits, it’s off-the-rails hysterical. The timing and editing were perfection.

“The Harkin Brothers”

What starts out as a sketch becomes an excuse to sing about summertime in Fayetteville, Arkansas, dressed as a fictional ’70s-style Southern rock band.

The Worst

“SNL Digital Short: Finest Girl”

A blatant tie-in to Andy Samberg’s new film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping in which the joke feels five years too late.

“Weekend Update”

The “Weekend Update” crew kills the momentum. Maya Rudolph’s impression of an impeached Dilma Rousseff is only fun for the Golden Girls joke and “poopies,” leaving concerns about her variety show. Kenan Thompson’s Willie, Michael’s cheerful neighbor, revisits his racially tense summer memories.

“Escape Pod”

A first-class escape pod takes forever to lift off. Nothing offensive or horrible, but this one builds too slow for a late-in-the-evening spot.

“High School Theatre Show With Fred Armisen”

The insufferable student theater troupe stays insufferable and is insufferable to watch since nothing ever changes with this joke, like, ever.

Musical Guest: Courtney Barnett