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Saturday Night Live: 38.05 – “Bruno Mars”

It’s been only a couple of episodes since the last host & musical guest combination (Mick Jagger in the finale), but Mars isn’t as well-known and has never been an actor. Did he live up to expectations? Let’s find out.

Cold Open: Town Hall Presidential Debate:
Of course SNL had to open this week with their take on the latest presidential debate. Sudeikis & Pharaoh were back as Romney & Obama. Newcomer Aidy Bryant was the moderator Candy Crowley (I knew that was going to happen). Sudeikis & Pharaoh both did their best with the material, but I think it was the audience members asking questions that stole the show. They really nailed the awkwardness of the people and questions from the actual debate. I loved the line at the beginning, “Only my team & I have seen the questions. The commission and the candidates have not seen the questions. And in some cases, the people asking the questions are also seeing them for the first time.” Kate McKinnon was great as the woman who forgot her question. She pulled out a grocery list and directions before finding the card with the question on it. And Tom Hanks had a cameo that was hilarious. I thought it was another solid political sketch. And Aidy Bryant looked thrilled as hell to do the “Live from New York! It’s Saturday night!” I think she’s been the standout of the newcomers and I hope she gets more to do.

Bruno Mars came out to do the monologue. He looked nervous, but I think he was playing into the material. He was a little nervous about how he would do and sang a song about it. “Underneath this suit, I’m a scared Filipino.” Eventually by the end he believed in himself. He went from shrinking violet to overconfident douchebag. He worked the crowd really well and set the tone for a strong show to come.

Brad Pitt for Chanel:
A short film taking on Brad Pitt’s weird Chanel No. 5 commercial. Taran Killam played Pitt in these sketches. He was just making up shit as he went along: saying long words and delivering them with a breathy whisper.

Haters with Sunny Taylor Tompkins:
Cecily Strong played the host of a talk show where regular people come on to take on their haters. Hader, Thompson & Bryant played audience members who are constantly heckling everyone. Moynihan & Mars came out in drag as mother and daughter that were fighting. Mars was funny in his outfit. He played ghetto teenage girl pretty well. This had a few laughs but it mostly played on the joke of Moynihan & Mars in drag/dressed as women.

Brad Pitt for Taco Bell:
Another Pitt short where they take on the Chanel advertisement. This time he’s endorsing the Dorito taco at Taco Bell.

Crisis at Pandora Headquarters:
This sketch was one of my favorites of the seasons and might go down as one of the most memorable of all time. Sudeikis, Hader, Moynihan & Robinson played workers at Pandora that keep the radio stations running smoothly. The power goes out but the backup generators come on. Everything is back up except for the Green Day station. They need to fix the problem. They suggest that the intern Devin, Mars’ characters, sings until it comes back on. Mars is wearing a ridiculous blonde wig that makes him look like a big nerd. He fills in perfectly for Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocals. Then he also has to do for a few other artists: Aerosmith, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Louis Armstrong & Michael Jackson. It really showed off Bruno Mars’ vocal range and his imitation skills. I loved this sketch. Go watch it on Hulu when they finally post it. It’s probably going to take some time because of the music rights issue.

Short Film: Sad Mouse:
Two in a row that I thought were incredible. Bruno Mars plays a guy who’s girlfriend just broke up with him and his father just revealed he has another family. He takes a job as a Mouse character to go around Times Square and take pictures. Everyone is having fun around him but he’s miserable. At the end, he sees a Frog character that also looks sad. They meet and walk away hand in hand. It was really beautiful and much more sincere than most things you see on the show. I’ve watched two more times since.

Bruno Mars – “Locked Out of Heaven”:
Bruno’s first musical performance. He was introduced by Tom Hanks. I love his new single and he performed it really well. The only thing that distracted me was the background people. His band did some dance moves that looked really awkward. They don’t have the stage presence of Bruno and it showed.

Weekend Update:
This was probably the shortest WU of the season. ‘Sad Mouse’ might’ve had something to do with it. Seth opened with a lot of political jokes and did a ‘Debate Prep Edition: Do’s & Don’t’ that had a few funny one-liners. The last 5 minutes were dedicated to the appearance of a SNL fan favorite: Bill Hader as Stefon. This time Stefon was giving tips on what to do for Halloween in NYC. The best part was Stefon talking about the Jewish Dracula: Sidney Applebaum. It caused Hader to completely break character and laugh hysterical. Great moment. They’ve managed to do that character and not make me tired of it.

Haunted House:
This is another recurring sketch. Killam & Hader play robots and Mars joined them. Bayer & Pharah are going through a motorized haunted house and bump into them. The robots eventually turn against them and attempt to kill them with weapons. Tom Hanks appears again at the end of the sketch with a pair of garden sheers. This sketch has run its course but I thought Hanks’ appearance made it more memorable.

Brad Pitt for Franklin’s Dog Condoms:
Another Pitt commercial. They’ve gotten less and less funny as the night went on.

Wilderness Lodge:
Sudeikis & Bayer play a married couple who are spending their weekend at a Wilderness Lodge. Mars plays the lobby clerk that is checking them into their room. The couple says that they want to visit Yeti Point. Mars advises against it and brings out Bill Hader as a man who had an encounter with a Yeti there. Hader really stole the sketch here. He plays a really crazy guy that had a sexual encounter with a Yeti. The sketch keeps playing a one-note gag where Mars & Hader keep jerking their head and staring at the camera every time Yeti Point is mentioned. At the end, Mars & Hader take on the Yeti that appears in the window. Mars is thrown to the side while Hader & the Yeti fall back in love again. It was a little random but Hader & the bizarre ending really made it into something special.

Brad Pitt for the subway doctor:
Brad Pitt endorses Dr. Zizmor, the doctor that has advertisements all over the subway in NYC.

Bruno Mars – “Young Wild Girls”:
Bruno performs another single from his new album. This was probably the first time he’s performed this live and it was pretty impressive. He’s one of the best vocalists in the music industry today and this proved it.

Underground Festival:
Another recurring sketch where Sudeikis & Pedrad play two hip-hop fans advertising an Underground Music festival. This short was slightly funny the first time they did it. But it has run its course and they need to close the book on it. Mars had a brief cameo here.

It was a pretty strong show. I loved Mars’ performance as both an actor and a musical performer. Sad Mouse & Pandora Crisis will go down as two of my favorite sketches/shorts ever on the show. Aidy Bryant also had a breakout moment as Candy Crowley in the debate. She’s been on a slow burn the last few shows. It’s time for her to have a true standout moment. Make it happen Lorne Michaels! The next new episode is November 3. Louis C.K. is the host and fun. is the musical guest. An incredible combination that is sure to make a strong episode. Can’t wait.