After a few forgettable episodes in a row, Saturday Night Live hit it out of the park last night with host Larry David. This was one of the two best episodes of the season by far (along with the Tracy Morgan episode), and made me wish Lorne Michaels hadn't waited until season 41 to have David host the show. Surreal commercials, pre-taped political mashups, a hilarious stand-up monologue, saliva-drenched makeout sessions, real-time Weekend Update jokes, Kevin Freakin' Roberts—this episode had everything that makes SNL great. Bernie Sanders certainly thought so.
— Tyler Greenawalt (@TyGreen14) February 7, 2016
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 7, 2016
— CNN (@CNN) February 7, 2016
You already know about Bern Your Enthusiasm—the brilliant Curb Your Enthusiasm/Bernie Sanders mashup—and Steam Ship, in which the real Sanders finally meets his Jewish counterpart. If you don't, go watch them now. They were the two biggest, headline-grabbing sketches of the night. The fact that they induced a desperate longing for more Curb episodes was an unavoidable side effect.
Larry David killed on SNL, but now I have Curb deprivation sadness.
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) February 7, 2016
And Strong's Susie. They were all great. Made me miss Curb even more. https://t.co/AQ4l0vKDKx
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) February 7, 2016
But there was so much more! David needs to consider a stand-up tour, or at least more late night appearances, after his excellent, dip-hating, prick and shmuck-baiting Monologue. Even better: it initially seemed highly questionable that FBI Stimulator would be the first sketch after the Monologue...until we got our first look at Kevin Roberts, who is one of David's three greatest characters (along with "Larry David" from Curb and George Steinbrenner from Seinfeld). If greats such as Melissa McCarthy and Louis C.K. can host almost every season, then I think we can all agree that Kevin Roberts deserves to make a yearly appearance as well.
The many faces of Larry David. pic.twitter.com/Gw9zvdfgpE
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) February 7, 2016
Totinos was the best fake commercial they've had all season (all credit to the eternally underrated and funny Vanessa Bayer), with the kind of simple but perfectly-executed twist that these kinds of ads don't always reach. Peyton and Cam singing "Ebony and Ivory" had just the right amount of social commentary and bite to surpass other recent sports-related sketches. And the reappearance of Last Call in the 10-to-1 slot was a very welcome sight, especially once Kate McKinnon started licking David's head.
Larry David is my favorite host we've ever had. #SNL
— Chris Kelly (@imchriskelly) February 7, 2016
Weekend Update started out very strong, with a few minutes at the top all about the disastrous Republican Debate that was going on that very night, as well as McKinnon’s new character "Sturdy Barbie," new guy Jon Rudnitsky's first breakout appearance (with some pretty tight dance movies), and a Zoolander 2 tie-in featuring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
Click through for all those sketches, plus a toothless Ted Cruz Cold Open (if only Ben Carson were surging again and we could get more of Jay Pharoah's brilliant, ever-evolving impression of him), a songwriting workshop, and music from The 1975.
I'm the guy who told the singer from The 1975 to roll his eyes between each verse when they were on SNL.
— Todd Barry (@toddbarry) February 7, 2016
Hopefully the writers and actors can keep the momentum going next week with always-excellent host Melissa McCarthy, and musical guest Kanye West.