'Saturday Night Live' Hosted by Steve Buscemi: What the Critics Are Saying (Video)
Boardwalk Empire star Steve Buscemi returned to Saturday Night Live as host for a second time this weekend.
Buscemi, who first hosted the NBC sketch-comedy show in 1998, and the SNL cast took on such topics as Miley Cyrus, Batman, Dateline and Christmas.
In his opening monologue, Busemi talked about his transition from character actor to the leading man of an HBO series, during which he took questions from "audience members" -- i.e., castmembers posing as the "Hey Bro" guy (Andy Samberg) and the "horror movie girl who can't find her friends (Kristen Wiig) -- and advised them on how to becoming leading characters.
The sketches included "The Miley Cyrus Show," which portrayed the teen star as a stoner, and "Coach Bert," which centered on a college basketball coach who is being investigated as a sexual predator.
So what did the critics think about Buscemi and the episode overall?
Kelly West of Cinema Blend's Television Blend blog had positive things to say about the show.
"There were a number of funny sketches during last night’s episode, including the cold open, which had Fred Armisen as President Obama, talking about America’s Most Powerful," West wrote. "Congress tops the list there, but Oprah, Pixar, and the NFL also make the cut."
On the other hand, TV Line's Michael Slezak wasn't a fan of the cold open.
"The episode itself was a mix of the amusing (the tagline for the Frozen Mexican Dinner ad cracked me up, and Seth Meyers scored big with several 'Weekend Update' punch lines) and the infuriating (is it possible Fred Armisen’s Obama impersonation gets less authentic and more lethargic every time it’s trotted out?)," he wrote, adding that "most of the sketches relegated [Buscemi] to supporting-player status -- with little or not change to score serious laughs."
However, he did praise the Cyrus sketch as one of the night's best.
FlavorWire's Emily Temple echoed the latter sentiment, opining that Buscemi was "a little underused."
"It’s kind of ironic -- his monologue was about how psyched he was to have achieved success as a leading man after being pegged as the 'creepy guy' character actor for so long, and then in almost all of the sketches he was the object, the guest, the frame -- but very rarely the star. Sigh!" she wrote. "Don’t worry though, he still got some good play, and though the show as a whole didn’t live up to either of our two favorite episodes so far this season (Melissa McCarthy and Jason Segel), it was definitely above average."
Hitfix's Ryan McGee gave the monologue a B-plus, though thought it curious that the segment didn't put much focus on Buscemi himself.
"Normally such a dispersal of attention away from the host would signal a lack of faith on the part of the show, but Lord knows Buscemi has the chops," he wrote.
Jezebel's Cassie Murdoch praised the Cyrus sketch as "the most lively" and the monologue as "solidly funny."
As for Buscemi, "he's a pro and pulled it off well, but nevertheless the show was a little low on the LOLs," she wrote.
Jane Lasky of Examiner.com likewise praised the Cyrus sketch as the best of the night.
As for Buscemi, "as far as his self-deprecation was concerned, that was still intact," she wrote.
AOL TV's Mike Ryan wrote that the show overall was a "solid engagement" and that the "Coach Bert" sketch was the best of the night.
"Not the most laugh-out-loud hilarious sketch of the year, but, as far as crafting a comedy sketch based on a horrible, horrible subject – this is, to this point in the season, SNL at its absolute best," he wrote. "The first perfect '10' of the season."
Collider.com's Brendan Betinger agreed that the "Coach Bert" sketch was the best of the night -- "It is hard to make pedophilia funny without getting icky, but I think they nailed it," he wrote -- and praised Buscemi as "a very capable host" in a "very funny episode."
Watch the "Miley Cyrus Show" and "Coach Bert" sketches below.