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Alrighty, then. As to be expected, Jim Carrey pulled out all the stops when hosting tonight’s Saturday Night Live Halloween episode, including reuniting with a special celebrity guest, impersonating Elvis and cavorting in a leotard next to Lorne Michaels. But did all this add up to a treat of an episode? Read on to find out.
The cold open kicked things off with Obama declaring that Ebola spreading to NYC wasn’t all that bad when taken in context with the many, many other problems of his tenure. The sketch was none too spectacular, although Kenan Thompson did liven things up as Al Sharpton, talking about his magical mustache and his short shorts. Thompson’s Sharpton is almost always the best part of any sketch he’s in.
The monologue probably could have been funnier, but there is certainly plenty of absurdist humor in simply devoting an entire segment to Carrey-as-Elvis (sorry, Helvis) singing about pecan pie. This one was best if you didn’t think about it too much and just focused on stuff like, say, how well Carrey mimicked Elvis’ lip curl.
A high point was the recurring-ad Lincoln parodies, centered on Carrey’s solid Matthew McConaughey drawl. “You don’t buy a Lincoln because it makes sense,” Carrey told us. “You do it because you love it, or because you’re an Uber driver.” And we’ll never watch another insurance ad with poor Dennis Haysbert the same way again.
Next up was a gimmicky but thoroughly delightful sketch that can basically be summarized as a Jim Carrey-a-thon. Among the many things learned in this reunion of Jim and his various relatives who are dead ringers for his film characters, is that Jay Pharoah does an impeccable Cable Guy impression. And there’s only a one-out-of-a-million chance that you didn’t laugh at Jeff Daniels wearing a Lloyd wig while snuggling up to his Dumb and Dumber To co-star. (Yes, we’re telling you there’s a chance.)
The hits kept coming, as Carrey and the gang were excellent in a sketch about innocuous ghosts Paul and Phil, who kept making things un-spooky for their far-more-terrifying undead pals. Which one’s Paul, and which one’s Phil? “We’ll never tell. [Brief pause.] Yes, we will,” the surprisingly helpful pair said. We’re just going to say it: This sketch might be even funnier than the classic SNL amusement-ride character sketch of Halloween episodes past, and that’s saying something.
Weekend Update continues to win by letting its hosts loosen up and relax into their roles, as seen by Michael Che‘s funny riff on the similarities between the presence of Ebola and black people at a bowling alley. Speaking of which, the best joke of the segment was Colin Jost‘s crack about the lack of cleanliness at most alleys. Bobby Moynihan‘s Drunk Uncle amused as usual with lines like, “So I’m not a ‘graveyard smash,’ OK?”
A couple of the later sketches — a teen zombie and his healthy dad, a frightened skeptic at a haunted house — were so-so, but there were in fact a number of other late-in-the-game bits that truly delivered. Seeing Carrey and Kate McKinnon frolic through the set in “Chandelier”-esque leotards was a joy, as was Carrey’s Secret Billionaire sketch, primarily because of his speech about 250 Dennises. Is it wrong that we now want to try this Dennis experiment on our own? If you’re a Dennis, please call us immediately. (You, too, Dennis Haysbert.)
Three best sketches of the night:
1. Carrey and Daniels at the Carrey family reunion
2. Paul and Phil
3. Secret Billionaire edges out “Chandelier,” mainly because of all the Dennises
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