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The three leads in the Hunger Games films dropped by Saturday Night Live this weekend to give fellow co-star Woody Harrelson a boost. Throughout the show, host Harrelson wore dreadlocks, played guitar several times and talked about pot a lot. But were the odds in this episode’s favor? Read on to find out.
Things kicked off in typically topical fashion as Obama and Mitch McConnell bonded over bourbon and pizza. The cold open wasn’t particularly special, although it was fun to see the two team up to badger Hillary Clinton.
Harrelson’s monologue started out effectively and kept getting better. He mocked Taylor Swift for calling her album 1989, saying he actually lived through that year, “even if the memories are a little fuzzy because of the drugs.” As he performed a parody of T-Swift’s tune “Blank Space,” he was joined by Hunger Games guys Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, and finally by Katniss herself, Jennifer Lawrence. “I can’t believe it — the real Taylor Swift,” Harrelson said about Lawrence.
Then, Lawrence tried her best to impersonate Harrelson but couldn’t seem to get the words out. “You’re always so stoned,” she said in an effort to explain why her impression was actually accurate. It was a blast to see these four looking so happy together, although Hemsworth seemed a bit underwhelmed by the overall experience.
Next up was perhaps the best sketch of the season so far: a fake ad for a new sitcom called The Dudleys. “I smell pot roast, and it smells de-to-the-lish,” Harrelson’s gay Mr. Dudley says, before the ad dials down the stereotypical nature of his character, only to dial it back up again. This was a pitch-perfect sendup of TV networks’ desperation and willingness to change their plans at the drop of a hat, based on what social media tells them. Plus, the sketch had Crazy Eyes. What’s not to like?
A dating show sketch involved three guys giving extremely sexual responses until they learned that the host was also the bachelorette’s father. Kyle Mooney stole the sketch with his earnest delivery on lines like how he was only on the show “to learn about the game show industry and how it all comes together.”
A pretaped sketch taking aim at NYC’s pot laws offered viewers a chance to see Harrelson as he probably envisions himself in a perfect world: with long dreadlocks and a colorful hoodie. The show also squeezed in an impression-off in the form of a duets album, allowing Mooney to prove he can do an impeccable Macklemore. And Harrelson played a football coach who encouraged a player to put “his princess to bed” during a tackle.
Weekend Update continued its improvement, with the hosts appearing increasingly relaxed — “But that ass though,” Michael Che repeatedly intoned about Kim Kardashian. — and the segment provided two solid bits, one featuring Harrelson with Matthew McConaughey (Taran Killam), and another with Leslie Jones discussing a woman who got stuck in her ex’s chimney. Che also delivered the best Update joke of the night with a quip about Jimmy Carter “plowing through Tinder.”
All told, Harrelson made for an excellent host, and though he primarily stuck to what he knows — read: plenty of weed references — the episode was a winner. That said, any episode with that ad for The Dudleys would be pretty tough to dislike.
Three best sketches of the night:
1. The Dudleys
2. Harrelson’s monologue
3. Weekend Update
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