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Saturday Night Live: 38.16 – “Justin Timberlake”

Justin Timberlake is pulling a double duty again! This is the third time he’s done this on the show. The first two time’s he hosted he pulled double duty, but the last two times he only acted as host to musical guests Ciara (and technically he appeared in her musical performance as a featured artist) & Lady Gaga. But now he has a new album to promote and he’s got some new songs to perform. Let’s see if he can win Guest Actor Emmy #3 for this appearance also.

Cold Open: Memorial for Hugo Chavez
Fred Armisen opens the sketch by giving a Spanish introduction to Elton John, who is performing at the Chavez funeral. Timberlake is Elton John and he performs a revised version of “Candle in the Wind” dedicated to Chavez. Timberlake does a great job but I don’t think it was particularly funny or a great subject to the song about. Timberlake was great to watch. He played Elton John once before in a music video for John’s “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore”, which was probably the last time an Elton John music video appeared on MTV.

Timberlake opens the monologue with: “It’s great to back hosting SNL for the…5th time.” Timberlake then mentions that he’s now a member of the Five-Timers Club. Timberlake walks off stage and gets invited into the exclusive Five-Timers Club room, where he receives a smoking jacket and is greeted by Paul Simon (side-note: how short is Paul Simon? I never knew that he was so tiny.) Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks & Candice Bergen (yay! I love that she was included) also greet him into the club. Dan Aykroyd is the bartender and treated like crap and Martin Short is a butler that serves drinks. There’s a great moment where Timberlake realizes that it’s a reunion of The Three Amigos and Short is the only one excited by that. Great monologue.

It’s a Date
Vanessa Bayer plays a guest on a old-fashioned style dating show and Bill Hader is the host. Bobby Moynihan is the first eligible bachelor and he’s just a normal boring guy. The second contestants introduced are Timberlake & Andy Samberg as the characters from “Dick in a Box” & “Motherlover” digital shorts. Then the third contestants are Dan Aykroyd & Steve Martin as their classic SNL characters the ‘Wild and Crazy Guys’. It’s fun just to see those characters come back and Moynihan’s reactions are great too. “Was I supposed to bring a buddy?” The sketch maybe goes on a little too long, but I’ll give it a pass because of the special circumstances from the guest stars.

“Bring it on down to Veganville.” I should be tired of the _____ville sketches, but I think it would be a big disappointment if he didn’t do one of those sketches. This time he’s competing against Bobby Moynihan as a guy trying to drum up business for his store the Sausage Depot. Moynihan is a little outmatched in this sketch. His character is just an Italian stereotype, but Moynihan tries his best with some line reading. Timberlake is amazing though. I loved his take on “We Found Love”: “We found love in a meatless place. Dance break. I wish I had some glow sticks.” I wonder if Timberlake comes up with this song parodies himself because the music is never this creative in weeks where he doesn’t host. And holy shit…the Vegan Shake was phenomenal.

Commercial: NuvaBling
A commercial for a new birth control device…the NuvaBling. The blinged-out contraceptive device. It’s a little uncomfortable but it’s hilarious. The female cast members are really the stars of the show and they’re given a whole commercial to show off their skills.

Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z – “Suit & Tie”
Surprisingly Justin Timberlake introduces his own performance. I thought one of the SNL veterans would’ve definitely introduced it. It’s a great performance and Jay-Z makes a cameo appearance to do his rap verse during the song. It’s a pretty fantastic performance. The biggest indicator: I actually watched the whole thing and didn’t hit the fast-forward button once.

Weekend Update
Jokes about Hugo Chavez, the pope selection, and the Stars Wars movie open the segment. The funniest part starts with jokes about a new Hebrew version of Playboy Magazine. “You have to look at the breasts from right to left.” LMAO. Another great one: “Don’t forget Daylight Savings starts tonight, so the clock on your oven will be wrong for the next 6 months.” And now an appearance from Stefon! Bill Hader is amazing. Weekend Update is pretty short this week. It ends right after Stefon finishes describes yet another club. It’s probably because the monologue ran longer and “Suit & Tie” was about 5 minutes too, slightly longer than most musical performances.

The Tales of Sober Caligula
Justin Timberlake is Caligula and he tells stories about being sober and changing his ways. All of his followers have gathered to participate in an expected sexual orgy. Instead he’s hosting a game night and having a night of fun that doesn’t involve sexual debauchery. It’s a funny idea but there’s something a little off with the execution. The jokes could’ve been a little sharper and they could’ve hit on some other notes than the same ‘wholesome’ joke they were pushing throughout the entire sketch.

Maine Justice
This is a repeat of a sketch from earlier in the season. It’s basically a courtroom show set in Maine, but it actually seems to be taking place in the South. All of the actors are playing southern stereotypes to the hilt. Andy Samberg is the guy being sued and he seems completely confused by what’s happening. Kate McKinnon is the plaintiff and she’s pretty hilarious. Samberg doesn’t work very well as the straight man but Timberlake & Sudeikis get a couple of nice laughs in the process. The crocodile thinking he’s a judge was the funniest part of the sketch for me, mostly because it was completely ridiculous.

Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors”
This time his performance is introduced by Steve Martin, Chevy Chase & Martin Short in their costumes from Three Amigos. That was fun. Timberlake performs a song from his new album “Mirrors”. The song is apparently 8 minutes longer but he performed a shortened version of it. It’s pretty great (and I like it better than “Suit & Tie”). I’m just not sure what the 8 minute version sounds like and why it’s so long. I’ll wait for the radio edit version. Still, this was a great performance and Timberlake’s vocals have never sounded better.

Short: She’s Got a Dick
This is parody movie trailer featuring Justin Timberlake & Nasim Pedard starring in a romantic comedy: with the twist being that Pedrad’s character apparently has a penis? It doesn’t really make much sense and I think this is buried towards the end of the show for a reason. They really should’ve cut this out of the show and left it as a Hulu-exclusive or something like that.

Moet & Chandon
This is “sort-of” a repeat of a sketch. Vanessa Bayer & Cecily Strong play two airhead models that are promoting a new product: Moet & Chandon champagne. Justin Timberlake plays a guy that keeps getting brought it too early. “Did someone say celebrate?” It’s a really random sketch, but it’s appropriate that it’s the final sketch of the night. Bayer & Strong were hilarious and really sold the sketch because of their delivery. Timberlake also has a great moment at the end where he refers to the product as Monica & Chandler champagne.

Another solid hosting and musical guesting job from Justin Timberlake. I don’t think it was as memorable as some of his other episodes, mostly because everything after Weekend Update had trouble taking off. But I think another Guest Actor Emmy is in his future. He won the last two times by just being the host and this time he was also the musical guest. I wonder if this episode or the Martin Short one will end up being their Emmy submission.

The show is off for 4 weeks. Wow. The next new episode will be April 6 with host Melissa McCarthy (who was robbed of the Emmy last year) and musical guest Phoenix. Can’t wait for that. It’s going to be a long wait too.

Justin Timberlake

Three Amigos reunion.