Saturday Night Live: Edward Norton and Janelle Monáe

[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.]

Hey everyone, welcome back from the break! How did you enjoy it? What did you do? Any fun vacation stories? It was pretty tough not having a new SNL to watch last weekend but we made it, and that’s what’s important, congratulations! Pats on the back for everyone. This week we return to normal and Edward Norton got to host, yay! He is a very good sport. This was his first time hosting ever even though it would have made sense for him to have hosted 10-15 years ago.

Luckily they touched on this in the monologue, which was good! Since not all of us are harmonica players like Bruce Willis, Norton told jokes instead, the best of these being that Lorne Michaels asked him to host in 2000 and he’s been preparing for 13 years since because the role’s so demanding. Then ~surprise guests~ Alec Baldwin and Miley Cyrus joined Norton to teach him about how to be a good host, which definitely makes sense from 15-time host Baldwin and not so much from 2-timer Cyrus but in this case I am choosing to suspend my disbelief! Because Ed Norton is charming and just in general appears very game for hosting. Norton tries out some impressions and is pretty good and then continues on this spoooOooOky Halloween episode, let’s look at some clips!

I’ve seen a lot of pumpkin spice jokes in my time (…spent on the Internet in the last month!), but this was a refreshingly gross take on the joke. Congrats! Kate McKinnon reprises her role from the E-Meth commercial parody as the best person at commercial parodies.

Nasim Pedrad makes a very rare appearance (Get it? I mean because she’s barely on the show these days!) in a school sketch as a kid too excited about candy to understand Ed Norton’s stranger danger talk. I like her slowly winning over all the students around her. Good job, Nasim! So nice to see you.

The bad savant sketch was pretty bad but I liked Norton in it. Because he’s trying! Out of curiosity I checked to see if there’s been a Rain Man sketch on SNL in the 25 years since that movie came out. There has been, 24 years ago, but I guess it was time to do another one. *SHRUG*

Then we got better again! We can chalk up the Wes Anderson horror trailer as another of this season’s very well-executed pre-recorded videos, right next to the Girls parody and “We Can’t Stop” video. Alec Baldwin guest appearance is welcome even though I know he’s just promoting his new talk show in which I have so little interest.

Bobby Moynihan’s second-hand news character on Update is okay but the character’s annoying voice is unpleasant. I liked the rest of Update though so I’ll show you that instead! Happily receiving the kisses they blew at all of us at the end.

You may remember 12 Years a Slave as being the movie not chosen for Videogum Movie Club because how do you be funny about it?! SNL tried though, in a sketch called “12 Days Not a Slave,” so points for trying I guess but :(. Aidy Bryant makes a good face in this sketch and there’s one Miley Cyrus twerk gag about cultural appropriation so I think now we’ve made all the jokes about her that we need and she won’t be back for a while.

My absolute favorite sketch of the night was the final one, a very welcomely weird sketch featuring Norton as a spooky and sassy Dad showing off the goodies he has in store for Trick-or-Treaters. “This is a peanut scotch-taped to an M&M because that’s just how my mind works.” Happy Halloween, Adult Ruth!

Hmm, let’s see, other sketches (there were a lot this week): Steve Harvey halloween costumes and the one where everyone’s a virgin trying to understand what sex looks like were both pretty good, and the “Critter Control” one was mostly forgettable. I will say though that Edward Norton deserves a bundle of celebratory merit badges on his Moonrise Kingdom scout leader vest because he was so sweet and funny! Before he says goodbye at the end, he asks, “Has anybody ever had more fun than I just did? No.” And then when the whole cast hugged, it felt more genuine than usual. Halloween: the warmest of holidays.

Almost forgot, the musical guest was Janelle Monáe, she was energetic and her set looked really cool. I hope everyone takes a cue from her and Katy Perry and keeps on dressing up the stage a lot. I liked the second song better than the first; what did everyone else think??