Saturday Night Live hit a major home run last night with host Michael Keaton taking the stage alongside musical guest Carly Rae Jepson. Keaton hadn’t hosted the show since the early 80’s, pre-Batman, Beetlejuice, and the more recent Birdman, and gave the show one of the strongest episodes not only this year but in a long time.
What made Keaton such a strong host? He’s an incredibly diverse actor with a live comedy background. Before he shot to international stardom in 1989 playing the Caped Crusader, Keaton turned in fantastic performances in Ron Howard’s Night Shift and Clean and Sober while making audiences laugh in Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously and the previously mentioned Beetlejuice. I could go on for pages about how under-appreciated I think he is as a performer–if he weren’t so personally quirky, I sincerely believe that he could have easily given Tom Hanks’ career a run for its money–but I’ll quit while ahead and look at some of the highlights of last night’s show which, with or without Keaton, soared.
Michael Keaton Tribute Monologue
Probably for many of the reasons I mentioned in the introduction, this monologue really landed with me. First of all, it was hilarious, but secondly, it felt incredibly sincere. Need proof? Here’s my interview with Taran Killam last summer where he told me, “Michael Keaton, the first Michael Keaton Batman in ’89 was like, the movie that made me want to be an actor.” Additional touches of silly including Jay Pharoah sliding in first dressed as Prince ready to “Bat-Dance” and later as Harry Belafonte and the cast dressed in Batman and Beetlejuice t-shirts pleading with Keaton in song to “play Batman” with them. It reminded me of earlier this season when Jim Carrey hosted and it became very clear that the whole cast had probably grown up doing impressions of Carrey’s iconic comedic characters and were ready to pay tribute to their idol. Watch Keaton’s opening monologue for yourself in the clip below!
Silly, ridiculous and absolutely on point, SNL took on the absurdity of CNN news coverage utilizing the cable news network’s original reporting technology including animated reenactments, puppets and a performance art group.
Weekend Update had a very strong showing this week with Che and Jost nailing their jokes and seeing a cameo by The Walking Dead favorite Norman Reedus.
Weekend Update: Jebidiah Atkinson Reviews Television Shows
After Reedus crashed the Update desk wielding his crossbow as Daryl Dixon, infamous critic Jebidiah Atkinson made an appearance to review our so-called “Golden Age of Television” giving his thoughts on Mad Men, Game of Thrones, I Love Lucy and others.
This sketch was so delightfully weird, y’all! What would be in bizarro Michael Keaton’s Easter Basket? Let’s find out!
What were some of your favorite moments from the night? Did you geek out over Keaton delivering some of his most quoted lines from Batman and Beetlejuice? What did you think of “Prom Queen” and “Neurotology Music Video?” Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Saturday Night Live returns next week with host Taraji P. Henson and musical guest Mumford & Sons.