SNL: Showtunes, Stefon, And An Epic Cherry BattleS

I think it's safe to say that most of us had pretty high hopes for last night's Gabourey Sidibe-hosted episode of Saturday Night Live. And though the show wasn't perfect, there were some pretty great moments:

After yet another forgettable political cold open featuring Fred Armisen's Barack Obama, Gabourey took the stage and performed one of the best monologues of the season, a number designed to remind the studio audience, and the folks at home, that movies aren't real, and that Gabourey Sidibe is not Precious. For some reason (I'm guessing music clearance issues), the monologue isn't online yet, but it set the tone for the rest of the show, which was relatively silly and fun, thanks to Sidibe's willingness to commit to even the most bizarre scenarios, such as the digital short she starred in with Andy Samberg, titled "Cherry Battle":



Sidibe was noticeably nervous at the beginning of the show, stumbling over her lines in this Suze Orman sketch, which also features a pretty great impression by Kristen Wiig:



Sidibe was also nervous in this sketch, where she played Mrs. Johnson, a "crazy lady talking nonsense." She recovered after an early stumble, however, and clearly became more comfortable as the sketch went on:
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It's gotten to the point where I really just want to skip Weekend Update, but Bill Hader's "Stefon" (yes, that's how they spell it, before you yell at me) character was a highlight, as anything Bill Hader does usually is:



And for some reason, Kenan Thompson's take on Steve Harvey's week of hosting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? made me laugh quite a bit, as well:



Many of our commenters in the live thread absolutely hated this sketch, featuring Will Forte's creepy "Hamilton" character (as opposed to Will Forte's creepy...everyone else he plays) who was attempting to prove that he had moved past his racism due to the election of President Obama:



But my favorite sketch of the evening was probably the return of Jenny Slate's Tina Tina, who came back to sell some alarm clocks, with Gabby's help:

Overall, I thought it was a pretty solid show, in that it was definitely different than most of the shows we've seen this season: there was no overload of Kristen Wiig, only one sketch relying heavily on Fred Armisen doing a "hilarious" accent, and it didn't feel like we were being forced to watch a recurring character festival with the host being relegated to the background. It was also pretty awesome to see a few women-only sketches, and the wackiness of the show had a nice energy that kept things from ever getting too dull. It's always exciting when SNL goes in a different direction, and one hopes that they'll continue to perhaps try to step outside of the safe, familiar things in order to keep the show evolving.

The next episode is the one the entire internet has been waiting for: Betty White featuring Jay-Z. Let the Golden Girls sketch casting speculation begin!