The newest episode of “Saturday Night Live” featured comedian Sarah Silverman as host and the band Maroon 5 as musical guest.
Silverman was briefly a cast member for the show and in her recent outing as host, she attracted notice for a sketch in which she appeared as Joan Rivers and a monologue in which she talked with a younger version of herself.
At the beginning of her monologue, Silverman said that it’s “so crazy to be here hosting ‘Saturday Night Live,’” then quipped, “I mean, is it really crazy? Everybody always says it’s so crazy to be here hosting ‘Saturday Night Live.’ I’m a pretty big comedian. It kind of makes all the sense in the world.”
She then wandered into the audience holding a microphone and sat on an audience member’s lap, whom Silverman complimented and then told her, “Your turn… keep going, be creative.” When Silverman returned to the stage, she mentioned her history at “SNL” and then answered questions (on topics completely unrelated to Silverman’s monologue such as “What did you feed the dinosaurs?” and “What makes the human knee bend?”) from her younger self in the audience.
The sketch in which Silverman imitated Rivers took place at an event in the afterlife which also included appearances from such figures as comedian Richard Pryor (Jay Pharoah), Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (Bobby Moynihan), and Queen singer Freddie Mercury (played by Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine).
Rolling Stone writer Zach Dionne wrote that Silverman’s “’return,’ as a first-time host, was a total triumph… Silverman was on-point enough that we're guessing even the haters were queueing up her HBO special before bedtime.”
However, Dennis Perkins of the A.V. Club called Silverman’s monologue “sunny [and] assured” but wrote that “while Silverman... blended into the ensuing sketches ably enough, the monologue was the only real opportunity she had to impart her sensibility to the show.”
And Vulture writer Joe Berkowitz wrote that the episode made a “strong start” – he said that her monologue is “what hitting the ground running looks like” – but that it made a “nosedive off a cliff.”
“In a lot of instances the jokes just weren't there, leaving us to savor the occasional funny line like scraps,” he wrote. “Those of us whose parents always fall [a]sleep immediately after ‘Weekend Update’ when attempting to watch SNL may have had the right idea.”