Now who’s the horse?

Cold Opening – Hugo Chavez Memorial
A sketch about Elton John reworking “Candle in the Wind” for Hugo Chavez?  That’s like the definition of inspired.  “If a candle could pull out 2 pistols” and “capitalism killed Mars” (with its spoken-word breakdown) were the highlights. B+

Justin Timberlake’s Monologue
The Tom Hanks’ five-timers club monologue was more thrilling than this one, seeing as it followed that original so closely.  But considering that the five-timers lounge hasn’t been fully revisited since that first appearance, this was more welcome return than diminishing return.  It was particularly nice to see five-timers who don’t stop by that often anymore, like Chevy and Candie Bergen.  I also appreciated the historical context, such as the recognition that John Goodman hosted 11 consecutive seasons.  And Steve Martin, your arrogance is so delightful. B+

It’s a Date
Honestly, my favorite parts of this sketch were the reveals of the Dick in a Box singers and the Wild and Crazy Guys as the bachelors.  But those were great moments!  This was a clever way to resurrect those characters.  But their shtick wasn’t as strong as it was in their best appearances.  Interestingly enough, Bill Hader got the best line of the sketch by clarifying that the Dick in a Box guys would take the bachelorette to the mall and then rail on her butt.  Shouldn’t the Festrunk brothers’ pants have been tighter? B

This may have been my favorite -ville sketch yet.  I was a little wary of it, because of the lack of Will Forte, but Bobby’s stereotypical Italian-American meat-peddler may have actual been the best foil thus far, with his cries of “you hippie morons” and “sorsage and balls.”  I’m liking this Harlem shake business, and this was easily the best one I’ve seen yet. B+

I always enjoy the attitude of women in feminine product commercials (“I wanted a birth control that takes a limo, not the city bus”), but this bit didn’t hit like memorable SNL parodies Annuale or Kotex Classic.  This was probably because there just isn’t much of a point to make birth control blingy if it’s not going to be seen.  Reusing NuvaBling as earrings was worth a chuckle, though. B-

Justin Timberlake ft. Jay-Z performs “Suit & Tie”
This song is no “SexyBack,” but how many songs are?  “Suit & Tie” has been growing on me at least somewhat, and JT brought it to it with his performance. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Shortest update in a while.  Maybe that was to Seth’s benefit?  The Dennis Rodman, infinity pesos, Honky Tonky Bar Fight Airlines, reading breasts from right to left, and Hooters-sex dungeon jokes all worked for me. B+
-The Segment: -Stefon: This was the best Stefon routine that I can remember in a while, because there were actual jokes (Stefon writes for Smash, Russell Crowe’s singing sounds like Jasper the Gorilla passing a kidney stone) instead of just descriptions of Stefon’s flights of fancy (which do remain great, they’ve just necessarily lost their novelty).  Also, the last words of Sweet Willie Walker (“My wallet?!  Yeeeeeah right!”) were brilliant, and “Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” will seemingly never not be funny. A-

The Tales of Sober Caligula
This sketch gets a pass for being clever, but it didn’t go too far. B

Maine Justice
I think I’m seeing the appeal that those who really liked Maine Justice the first time have seen since the beginning.  Treating Louisianan Andy as a “Yankee Southerner” was what really sold it for me. B+

Justice Timberlake performs “Mirrors”
I forgot how this song’s beat goes, but based on how much I enjoyed the performance, I’m sure I’ll like it the next time I hear it. B+

She’s Got a D!@k
I’m not sure what the joke here was exactly.  Was Nasim a man who inexplicably looked like a woman?  Was she a woman who somehow had a penis?  Did she have both male and female genitalia?  At least Fred’s Eugene Levy was reliably great and Kenan dutifully filled the role of confused best friend. C

Moët & Chandon
I wasn’t expecting this sketch to recur.  Not that the first rendition wasn’t good – it’s one of the contenders for best of the season – it just had a bizarre, one-off feel to it.  But I suppose Brooky and the one who can’t remember would keep making their own commercials in the hopes of getting free products.  “Magnum cum loudly” and “Now who’s the horse?” were the highlights. B+

A lot of returning favorites, and though most of them didn’t match the level of their best previous appearances, they were good enough to make this episode a winner.  It was more or less played safe, but cleverly so.

There were a lot of contenders for best sketch of the night, and what I’m spotlighting here may not have been THE best (that was probably Stefon), I picked it for the historical significance: