You know what I’m writing off this year? The next generation.

Cold Opening – Kim Jong-Un
I laughed the most when he said “Wichita State.”  Everything about Dennis Rodman screamed that he had just walked out of a time warp. B

Melissa McCarthy’s Monologue
This – THIS – is the sort of the offbeat, but so perfect, concept every monologue should aspire to. B+

Outside the Lines
This sketch took basically all the concerns of college athletics and took them to the comedic nth degree.  That is a formula for success. A-

The Voice
The impressions of the judges were technically proficient, but a little perfunctory.  Good thing Melissa had come up with an actual character. B-

Honey Baked Ham Bake-Off
Ham. B

Bathroom Businessman
This would have worked better if it had just committed to being a commercial for the Bathroom Businessman, seeing as it established that so well.  Three minutes is not enough time to effectively commit to promoting something indecent AND speak out against that indecency.  The protestation of “I’m wasting my career in the bathroom!” definitely landed though. B

Phoenix perform “Entertainment”
I was just about asleep during this performance, but it was just so fun, I had to move my feet even a little bit.  Sounded like Japan. A-

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Seth, you’re on something resembling a roll.  The Eric Holder burn and the warning to the middle of the ocean about North Korea both really stuck the landing.  This Week’s Story That Was Funnier Than the Punchline: Naked and Afraid. B
-The Segments: -Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy: Basically the same as last time, but it’s shtick that sticks.  David Ben Purrion for the win!  Also, I liked how Jacob’s pronunciation of “rock music” sounded like “reck music.” B
-Charles Barkley: Charles isn’t quite as confused as Kenan makes him out to be (he’s actually quite intelligent), but he talks a lot, often without fully listening to what he’s saying.  Plus, he’s never lost that accent.  And he does have a history of gambling.  So that’s how you get quips like not knowing that Wichita’s a state or that it doesn’t have witches and betting $5 million on himself to win the Masters. B+
-Drunk Uncle: Drunk Uncle is one of the best modern philosophers.  His observations are so spot-on.  I’m sure a lot of people would like to deduct Luna Bars.  I mean, I know I would.  And writing off the next generation?  How damning and affecting.  I’ve also got to agree with Drunk Uncle that Peter Drunklage was a little too drunk.  He was drunk-drunk more than funny-drunk.  You know, cause the thing is, Drunk Uncle works so well because he has a personality beyond just “drunk.”  I did appreciate, though, Peter Drunklage mentioning that there’s regret in his Tumblr.  I’m sure everyone would like Peter Dinklage to just go ahead and host.  (What was up with the groans over the Immigration Return Service?) B+

Million Dollar Wheel
Once again, Melissa McCarthy uses a character with some depth to conquer a one-joke sketch.  I also liked the fact that Suzanne had to resign because of an alcohol problem – the host’s! B

Loan Application
“Do what you love, and the money will follow.”  Hey, I love to watch comedy! B+

Phoenix perform “Trying to Be Cool”
A nice tune to wind down the night.  The outro reminded me of “Changes” by Yes. B+

The Art of the the Encounter
Some things that are never not funny: retro dating advice, generic comments about sports scores, telling someone “you bore me”, confused and inconsistent gender politics. A-

I am not sure how well some of these sketches could have worked without Melissa McCarthy, because not only is she a supreme comedic actress, she seems to have written her characters’ entire backstories with her performances.  There were some sketches – The Voice, Honey Baked Ham Bake-Off, Million Dollar Wheel – in which I wasn’t too confident about them working, but Melissa just killed it.  And then there were some sketches I knew couldn’t possibly go wrong – The Art of the Encounter, Outside the Lines – and I wasn’t disappointed.  On top of that, the writing was sharp.

You’re welcome, Chief Pays No Bills.

This episode’s best sketch couldn’t possibly not be funny: