His monologue, which essentially just allowed him to do his stand-up without being interrupted, as most hosts are, by "audience questions" and other cast-related bits, was the strongest monologue on the show in a very long time, and sadly, also the high point of the evening:
It seemed as if the show wasn't sure what to do with Galifianakis at first, opening with the dreadful kissing family skit (which, like a sketch that may have inspired it, Little Britain's "bitty" sketch, gets very tired, very fast) and this one-joke and seemingly endless sketch revolving around the word bidet:
But the awful kissing family bit and the tired bidet sketch were instantly redeemed by a digital short wherein Galifianakis made his way into several NBC shows in a creepy and hilarious way:
A role he continued to play in a nice callback on SNL's Today show:
But I think the biggest laugh of the night may have come during Kenan Thompson's "What Up With That" sketch (which randomly featured Paul Rudd and Frank Rich), wherein Galifianakis appeared as flute player R,J. Sizzle, wearing a ridiculous and amazing peach jumpsuit. There's also a 20-year-old reference to Baby Jessica in the well, which, as a commenter pointed out last night, is "dangerously Family Guy:"
And speaking of Kenan, he also showed up during Weekend Update to play Mo'Nique, because SNL still thinks Kenan Thompson in drag is an acceptable substitute for every black woman who ever lived, ever. Weekend Update is becoming a real drag in the show: Meyers' political jokes are about three days behind Colbert and Stewart, and it has gotten to the point where you can essentially play SNL bingo during his time on screen. Gay joke? Check. Rape joke? Sure! Poop joke! You bet. Kenan in drag? Why not:
And finally, Galifianakis showed up as a dancing college student in a fairly scathing CNN sketch that pointed out the idiotic nature of The Situation Room:
Oh! And Vampire Weekend was there. Even if you don't like them, you have to admit that they sounded pretty good:
When the episode ended (after a pretty solid pageant sketch that isn't online yet) I have to say I felt I bit frustrated. Sure, there were some highlights, as always, but it seemed as if the show treated Galifianakis as an afterthought, shoving him into the same tired sketches (Wiig's Today, Kenan's "What Up With That," the kissing family mess, The Situation Room) instead of creating sketches around him, which is what they seemed to do for host Jon Hamm (which paid off nicely). As Claire Zulkey of the A.V. Club notes: "I think it was the high hopes I had for the episode that made my disappointment that much worse. Way to take one of the funnier, odder guests the show has had in a while and almost completely squander him."
It's not the first time the show has completely wasted a host: the great Hugh Laurie was subjected to a similar fate, and if I recall correctly, Neil Patrick Harris did as well. It's strange to me that these men were all treated like celebs doing cameos in a comedy film; you see them for 2 seconds, they say something funny, and then they get out of the way so that the recurring characters can do their thing. Occasionally you get a Jon Hamm or a Justin Timberlake, but one gets the feeling the show would rather do away with the celebrity guest angle altogether sometimes.
Galifianakis opened the show with this joke: "Sometimes I'll do something and I'll think to myself, ‘That is so Raven.' And then other times I'll do stuff and I'll be like, ‘That was not very Raven.'" This show was sort-of-Raven.
Zach Galifianakis/Vampire Weekend [AV Club]