First, I have to admit: I j’adore Christoph Waltz. He’s such a pleasant, charismatic, beautiful, beautiful man, and I am rooting for him to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Dr. King Shultz in “Django Unchained.” However, I don’t think Mr. Waltz “gets” sketch comedy. He certainly tried his best this week, but he always had a little too much grace, a little too much bravado. That being said, for whatever reason, tonight the best sketches were also the most offensive. Take a look at the highlights of the night:
1. “DJESUS UNCROSSED.” The “D” is silent. A pitch–perfect parody of all of Quentin Tarantino’s films—foot fetish and all. Not only did Waltz make a great Jesus, but Taran Killam brought back his Brad Pitt, and Keenan Thompson actually did a convincing Ving Rhames impression! Has Keenan ever done a celebrity impersonation before? I mean, he does a decent Bill Cosby, but everyone does a decent Bill Cosby (a–zip–zap bippity–boo–woo! Jello pudding!). Best sketch of the evening, bar none.
2. WHAT HAVE I BECOME? That’s the thrilling question on the year’s hottest new game show, where average folks are literally forced to ask themselves if they’ve done anything substantial with their lives. I love making light of existential crises, so the realistic sadness of the characters—particularly with Bill Hader’s adult Katy Perry fan—was a nice change of pace. Waltz shined as the game show host, but once the questions turned on him the sketch fell to pieces. Christoph, close your mouth when you chew scenery like that!
3. FRED ARMISEN FLAUNTS IT. We had two recurring–character–tryout sketches tonight, and as always the one who wasn’t Nasim Pedrad won. Look out, world, for Regine (Fred Armisen)! The pretentious feminist who only likes to talk about social action, but goes weak in the knees (and neck, and belly, and ears…) at the slightest touch. We’ve seen her before, and this time she works slightly better, thanks to Armisen’s physicality. Waltz, as her boyfriend, was more than happy to play Regine “like an instrument,” and in the process we all got a good and prolonged look at Armisen’s lovely lady–man lump. However, when it was Christoph’s turn to writhe in ectasy, we got this strange dance move instead. Poor dear, he really isn’t suited for this sort of thing.
4. THE JAMARCUS BROTHERS GET YOU IN THE MOOD. The only time SNL used Christoph correctly was when they fully embraced him as the strange Austrian man that he is. Here, the Jamarcas Brothers—Donelle (Jay Pharoh), Marcus (Thompson), and their adopted virgin brother (Waltz)—sing some tunes to get you in the mood. Waltz was perfect here, awkwardly yelling during the song as if participating in a “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” call–and–response. Cecily Strong, who is clearly the featured player to watch, carried the sketch with her husky Jamarcus apologist.
5. A RUSSIAN SEGMENT AND YOU DIDN’T USE CHRISTOPH WALTZ?!?! Lorne! What the heck are you doing? He would have been perfect on Weekend Update commenting about the Russian meteor! I know he’s Austrian, but that’s close enough and you know it. That being said, Kate McKinnon played the miserable Russian stereotype Olya perfectly, delivering the best performance of the night. Sometimes, you just have to let the Not Ready For Prime Time Players do their thing.
6. ALSO ALABAMA SHAKES WAS REALLY GOOD. That girl has got a voice! And hilarious mouth movements.