Recap: Lena Dunham on Saturday Night Live (with video)

Lena Dunham SNL

Lena Dunham like you’ve never seen her before … on network television!

The much-blogged about actress/writer/director hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time tonight. Dunham, of course, is the creator and star (and sometimes writer/director) of HBO show Girls, which is wrapping up its third season this month. Dunham flubbed her lines a few times but it was a really fun episode with just two sketches that didn’t land (Men’s Rights Activist and What’s Poppin’), but two that killed (Scandal and Eve: The First Girl), and some others that were so-so.

It was announced that Louis C.K. would host the next new episode on March 29. It’ll be the comedian’s second time at the helm, having hosted last season. No musical guest is set yet.

You can read recaps for past episodes of Saturday Night Live right here.

In Canada, you can watch Saturday Night Live on Global’s website. Saturday’s episode is usually up by noon on Sunday.

Cold open

Does anyone remember Liam Neeson pre-Taken? Does Neeson himself remember that he was in Schindler’s List and Kinsey? Jay Pharoah’s Obama enlisted the help of Neeson to send Russian President Vladimir Putin a message he can understand. This was a really fun way to start, even though the Neeson cameo was a bit out of left field. It’s great to see a newsy, political and timely cold open.

Video via mediaiate.com.

Monologue

A rocky start for Lena Dunham. She seemed a bit nervous and just a tad too happy with herself when the few jokes in her monologue landed. Tonight’s monologue concept was Lena being approached by strangers with their sex stories, with members of the cast revealing some TMI stories that Lena had no interest in hearing. I think it was funny, but if this is any indication of the rest of the episode then Lena will be playing second fiddle to the rest of the cast. She was very easily overshadowed here by Vanessa Bayer and Aidy Bryant who, to be fair, overshadows everyone.

Ooh Child

Neat pre-recorded sketch about four friends singing “Ooh Child” by The Five Fairsteps in a car with the GPS interrupting one of the friends every time she starts to sing. This was a nice music bit, though, and it’s sure to make “Ooh Child” sales go up 12,000% this weekend.

Scandal

Crazy that it took three insane seasons of Scandal before SNL tackled it. It’s an easy target because it’s so ridiculous and over the top, and that they have new cast member Sasheer Zamata makes me wish for more of these in the future. Lena Dunham plays new Gladiator Kelsey who’s generally very confused about how everyone at Pope & Associates does everything so quickly. It’s a perfect parody and a really great SNL so far.

Video via mediaite.com.

What’s Poppin’ 

The first misfire of the night is a rap talk show with a white rap group that hosts Pharoah and Kenan Thompson just are not into. This sketch is probably better than everything they did last week, and Aidy Bryant steals it again (“My flute amp!”)

Eve, The First Girl

Lena Dunham’s take on Eve; the pre-recorded sketch is a send-off of religious epics with Lena Dunham playing a Dunhamified Eve and Taran Killam playing Adam Driver as Adam.

Video via Tumblr.

What Are You Even Doing? You’re Being Crazy

Doesn’t SNL have enough tween-hosted talk shows? Here’s another that got stale pretty quickly, Jon Hamm made a cameo appearance and hey, there’s Nasim Pedrad!

Weekend Update

He’s just going to get better, but Colin Jost was the weakest link in this week’s Update which saw Taran Killam as Matthew McConaughey as well as Vanessa Bayer and Fred Armisen (third cameo tonight!) as Vladimir Putin’s best friends from childhood, defending him as “the best,” but also gossiping about inviting them to lunch only to find out there were other friends of his there.

Taran Killam as Matthew McConaughey: video via mediaite.com.

Men’s Rights Activist

I always feel uneasy when punchlines in jokes are just cast members doing accents: in this case, Cecily Strong plays Marisol, a Latin woman who brings her boyfriend Bruce to a jewelry party. She doesn’t realize, though, that he’s a men’s rights activist until her other friends point it out. Strong is good, and even when Dunham flubbed her line she was convincing in her skewering of the MRA.

Pimpin’ Pimpin’ Pimpin’ with Katt Williams

More celebrity impressions: Jay Pharoah’s Katt Williams is far superior to Drake’s, Brooks Wheelan’s Jared Leto was just the opening act to Lena Dunham’s Liza Minelli (not as good as Kristen Wiig’s, but hey) and Taram Killam’s so-so grouchy senile Harrison Ford. Pharoah killed it as Williams, but the real surprise came with Noel Wells’ spot-on Lena Dunham. Also a pleasant surprise that the quality of the post-Update sketches hasn’t let up too much.

Will Smith concert

So they’re just gonna end all episodes of this live show with a pre-recorded sketch, huh? This was a strong one about the absolute hell of group emails and planning an activity that’ll involve more than one person.

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