Saturday Night Live: Paul Rudd And One Direction

By Jenny Nelson / December 9, 2013

[Ed. Note: Jenny Nelson is a writer, student, and -- most importantly -- Videogum intern. She'll be taking us through this season of Saturday Night Live.]

Check your watches! What year is it? Do you have a watch that says the date on it? Including the year? Go get one, I’ll wait! Okay, now set the time, including the date, and get back to me on what year it says on your brand new watch (you’re welcome)! Because this weekend Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Will Ferrell, and David Koechner were all on Saturday Night Live, and they brought back a recurring sketch last seen in 1998, which means, depending on when you looked at the TV, it could look like anytime between 1995 and earlier this year! What a confusing thing if you’ve been using a late night comedy show to tell the date, but what a treat if you watch it for the laughs, which I assume at least some of you do!

The cold open was great. It’s about The Sound of Music but then there’s a special surprise guest — look who it is! There’s singing and little doll hands and I mostly like this sketch and then surprise guest #2 really hits it out of the park, so great job all around on the cold open, you guys! What a show already.

I found the monologue to be equally enjoyable. The gist of it is that Paul Rudd is excited to, in his third time hosting SNL, finally not be overshadowed by the musical guest, until TWIST it’s One Direction, until TWISTx2 Paul Rudd has a boy band of his own and it’s everyone from Anchorman. (The whole cast!) (Just kidding, it’s just the leading men.) After some initial fighting, everyone joins together to sing “Afternoon Delight,” which is lovely. It’s one of the most magical parts of Anchorman and also of this episode, and you can watch it over here.

I think I speak for the whole Internet (kidding, I would never!) when I say that this next sketch really hit close to home. Paul Rudd as adult male 1D fangirl is very funny. Remember Paul Rudd in Clueless? I think he’s still pretty cute. Also, just wondering, does anyone know off the top of his/her head what the rules are for music licensing in an SNL sketch? Is it that it’s okay to go online if it’s a boy band singing? Or, like, if the sketch was really good? Or…?

The “Diner Divorce” sketch where Paul Rudd and Vanessa Bayer argue but feel better every time they hear Fleetwood Mac’s “I Don’t Want to Know” was very funny to me as well. This is partially because I like Fleetwood Mac but in a way where I think they’re funny, but also there are some good lines in this sketch like, “She’s not a gold-digger she’s a silver miner!” and, “His name’s not Duncan, it’s Dunkin’, like Dunkin’ Donuts, like you say Dunkin’ Donuts but then you stop,” or those are approximations of those lines; I’m paraphrasing because this sketch isn’t anywhere online (that I could find in several minutes of Google searching) since I guess no one else liked it. Woops!

Weekend Update brought back two of my favorite guests, the first being Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, who had a lot of the same joke to say about the XBOX 360, and then shed some tears about Seth leaving soon. It’s so sad he (Seth) is leaving! I mean, not really, because he’s getting his very own show, but still, you know? We can still be sad.

Also joining Seth was Taran Killam’s Jebediah Atkinson. This time the 1860s newspaper critic reviewed some Christmas specials including A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was really soon to bring back this character who just debuted three weeks ago, and I don’t think it was quite as good as last time, but Taran Killam really gets into this character and had some good lines here, so I could watch a few more of these.

After Update there was a sketch about Michelangelo that was mostly jokes about tiny dicks, real mature you guys, and otherwise nothing special but I’m sharing it because I like Jay Pharoah going, “Man, kill yourself!” a bunch of times in it. Bring him on as a recurring character, just kidding, absolutely do NOT do that.

The “White Christmas” sketch was probably hit or miss I guess? It touched on all the “black movie” tropes but with white people, which mostly made me uncomfortable, but “The Macklemore of movies” was very, very funny. 96% miss and 4% hit, for me at least.

Also hit or miss was the final sketch of the night, “Bill Brasky,” which I think in general people loved if they were fans of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay-era SNL and so were familiar with this recurring sketch from the nineties, but if you weren’t in on that, then you kind of just chuckled to yourself? Or I don’t know.

There was also a handful of other sketches in this episode– a skinny Santa sketch that, no offense, but [fart sound], umm an Al Sharpton sketch in which Kenan couldn’t read right but everything else about the sketch was pretty bad, and then a sketch where Cecily Strong remembers past lovers.

One Direction’s performances were both great. Some of the boys stared straight into the camera and it felt like they were making real eye contact with me and only me! I read somewhere (on the Internet) that people who don’t like One Direction are taking them more seriously now that they saw a performance with a banjo in it, which is ridiculous because the banjo is inherently a very silly instrument, you guys.