Coolio: 1963-3162

Cold Opening – The Rush Limbaugh Show
The gag got old, but there was enough variety such that the laughs had no definitive endpoint.  Taran’s Rush was solid; at first, I figured that Bobby would be playing him, and then for about a minute or so, I thought it was Jason.  So what I’m saying is, Taran did a good job of playing what I imagine Jason Sudeikis playing Rush Limbaugh would be like. B

Jonah Hill’s Monologue
Jonah does a good job playing pompous.  Now that he’s lost weight, maybe he should get fewer lovable schlub roles and more entitled jerks. B

Six-Year Old
I was surprised to see the return of Adam Grossman the 6-year-old Jewish insult comic, but that character does fit like Jonah like a glove.  This was better than I remember the first iteration being.  Bascially all the insults just stuck quite well. B

Digital Short: Science Finders
Here’s a return to form for the digital short.  It starts off with an obvious – though well-designed – joke that is pummeled into the ground, then the narrative veers off into a bizarre direction, and random new characters suddenly show up, and ultimately another – though much stranger – joke is pummeled into the ground. B+

J-Pop America Fun Time Now!
They’re still doing those stupid sounds at the end of their words, but otherwise this sketch is coming into its own, what with Jason’s professor finding new ways to react and a backstory being developed. B

The Shins perform “Simple Song”
The Shins – probably more so than any other indie act – are a band that I have heard a lot about without actually listening to them very much.  I don’t think I’ve heard anything by them since their first SNL appearance on the Jake Gyllenhaal show (which might make sense actually, since I think they were on hiatus).  I don’t remember them being this jaunty and upbeat, so I was surprised at how much and in what way I approved of them. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: I was hoping that the psycho turkey would reappear in that second joke about Michigan. C+
-The Segments: -Paula Deen: There was more to this bit than last year’s Paula Deen sketch, but ultimately this performance is all about Paula Deen being a disgusting person, and while that can lead to some good gags (nutrition being a bad word), it isn’t much of a character. C+
-Sarah Palin (as played by Andy Samberg): Resoundingly inconsequential, but also a crash course in how to be hilarious. A-
-Stefon: Was that meant be a Home Alone reference with “… … Kevin?”?  It is incredible how Stefon has resisted staleness despite sticking so closely to formula.  Mulaney and Hader seem to be challenging themselves in the sort of way that comics have been doing for decades with the Aristocrats joke. A-

Primate Research Center
Bizarrely ambitious for SNL.  It took me nearly half the sketch to realize it was Fred under all that makeup. B

Liza Minelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp
Kristen’s Liza was decent, although she did seem to be drifting out of it after a few minutes (I almost feel like I could do a better Liza impression thanks to my love of Arrested Development).  I can enjoy Kristen Wiig being perfectly silly like this, but there was nothing about this sketch that justified a duration longer than a minute. C

The Shins perform “It’s Only Life”
This was more the tempo that I was expecting from the Shins.  It wasn’t as fun as their first song, but they sound like they know what they’re doing, so I can’t really knock them. B

Anniversary Song
I’ll allow you to have your inexplicable Coolio tribute, SNL, if it means everyone on the show is having this much fun.  Also, the memorial photo produced probably the biggest laugh of the night. B

Overall
Weekend Update was on fire, Jonah spun in his wheelhouse, and while no sketch was magnificent, there were a lot of moments that will be hard to forget.