11:05pm PT by Aaron Couch
'SNL' Recap: 'Walking Dead' Recruits Kevin Hart; Quvenzhane Wallis Named Pope (Video)
Saturday Night Live host Kevin Hart was at his best when attempting to join the crew of The Walking Dead, all while playing the race card to disguise the fact that he’d been bitten by a zombie.
In the sketch, Hart plays a man who comes across Rick (Taran Killam) and other characters from the AMC hit. When the group turns its back to decide if they’ll let him into their camp, Hart, unbeknownst to them, is bitten by a zombe.
When Hart starts displaying some decidedly zombie characteristics (walking with a bum leg, moaning), Rick charges Hart with being "one of them."
What did he mean by “one of them?” Hart demands.
“When someone comes from a different cultural background, they’re automatically a zombie,” Hart says, which prompts Rick and the rest of the group to apologize and insist they’re not racists.
Hart eventually bites and kills Maggie (Kate McKinnon), and when the group protests, he says “Would you rather I eat some fried chicken or watermelon?”
Again, they feel bad, until Carl (Nasim Pedrad) ends Hart’s zombie ways with a bullet.
During Hart's opening monologue, he recounted auditioning for SNL more than a decade ago. He showed the audience three impressions he did back then, and two of them were pretty terrible (as Hart seemed to know).
His take on NBA legend Avery Johnson didn't work because "white people don't know" who that is. Hart's Denzel Washington consisted of him saying "it's Training Day, bitch," and his Robert De Niro was good, though it just consisted of him looking skeptical.
When invited to host SNL, Hart was asked if he did impressions.
“You bet your ass I do impressions,” he said.
Speaking of which, Quvenzhane Wallis probably wasn’t on anyone’s radar for whom Hart might impersonate, but the comedian donned a little girl's dress for a sketch in which the Oscar nominee is made Pope.
As Wolf Blitzer (Jason Sudeikis) points out, she’s "the first African-American, the first female and the first child Pope.” Wallis, a media darling since her Beasts of the Southern Wild Oscar nom, does her trademark muscle flexing and other adorable things, all of which assures Blitzer she’ll make a great Pope.
In its cold open, SNL tackled the big talk this week in Washington: the $85 billion sequester.
President Barack Obama (Jay Pharoah), admitting to knowing nothing about budgets, brings some public sector workers onstage to talk about what the cuts would mean for their services. Among them is an astronaut who says space helmets would no longer have glass and an air traffic controller who says she would have to watch Doritos ads before being able to access her screen. (Read a more detailed description of the cold open here.)
Hart lost his way in a few places, most notably during a Weekend Update segment where he and Seth Meyers dismissed talk in the Supreme Court last week that the Voting Rights Act was no longer needed.
During “Really with Seth and Kevin,” Hart repeatedly stumbled over his lines, at one point chiding himself by saying “God damn it, Kevin."
He got back on track to slam the argument that the act is unconstitutional, saying “Black people don’t like hearing something's unconstitutional. The Constitution used to say I’m three fifths of a person. Don't get me wrong. I’m short. But not that short.”
It’s unclear why, but the episode went past its usual ending time, wrapping at 1:04 a.m. ET. After a commercial break, Hart returned to say a brief thank you to the cast and musical guest Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Then NBC New York went to commercial without the traditional play-out from the band and shots of the cast embracing.
SNL is new next week with host and musical guest Justin Timberlake. It will mark his fifth time hosting the show.
Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @AaronCouch