What an interesting choice to host SNL at this junction. There has been a solid start to the new season with the new cast members, but there has been a tendency to bring in hosts that have nothing to promote. I find this as refreshing because the people that are there are fully committed to the show and want to be there to have fun. Insert Edward Norton, the first first-time host of the season. It's amazing to think that he has never hosted with the heights his career has seen. This may be because of Norton's tendency to take himself too seriously (he even hints at as much in his monologue), but the man can act no matter what he is doing. He shows that in this episode as he simply becomes another player in the cast of characters. However, absent from this episode was any sketch that poked fun at Norton's own career which is usually a standard, especially for a first time guest (or a long-absent guest like Bruce Willis, he had two sketches that directly attacked him). Maybe this shows that Norton still takes himself too seriously, but not seriously enough to get a little goofy live from New York.
With the government shutdown over, it was going to be interesting how they would address it as this would likely be the place they would talk about it. Instead of talking about it directly, they instead took a dig at ObamaCare and the failures of the Health Care website. I guess they are trying to prove they are still non-partisan. It was still pretty funny.
What has taken Edward Norton so long to host the show? As he puts it, he has been preparing ... for the last 13 years or so. He wanted some advice for his first time so he turned to two people: the most experienced host, Alec Baldwin, and the best host so far this year, Miley Cyrus. What we learned, Edward Norton is pretty awesome at impressions. More on this later.
If there was one criticism of this episode, it was the simple fact that everything felt really short, including Weekend Update. There was only one featured performer this time around after there were two or even three so far this year. It was funny though, as Anthony Crispino makes his return as the second-hand news reporter.
I'll admit, I haven't seen much Wes Anderson, but I have seen enough to know why this sketch is hilarious. First off, Edward Norton has the best Owen Wilson impression I have ever seen (Tom Hiddleston, eat your heart out). Second, it gets the Wes Anderson quirkiness down perfectly. Thanks to Alec Baldwin, we have the perfect narrator to go along with it.
This was the hardest spot to figure out this week. There weren't any legendary sketches, but there weren't really any swings and misses either. Norton fit in perfectly and always seemed to create the perfect character to make the sketch work. Some people might say the worst sketch was Norton's take on Rain Man (which I couldn't help but love), but for me, the closest thing to a miss was their parody of the critically-acclaimed film 12 Years a Slave. In this version, the title is 12 Days Not a Slave, where Jay Pharaoh is enjoying his freedom and wondering why everyone is still all bent out of shape when it's already been two whole weeks since the slaves were freed. It's a fairly funny bit, but honestly what makes this one the lowest of the night for me is the fact that Norton wasn't the main character.
Dark Horse Sketch
I have no idea why, but the last sketch of the night was one of those that grew on me to be one of my favorites of the whole episode. Edward Norton is a weird, eccentric guy walking us through his stash of Halloween candy he was handing out this year. As soon as I saw Bobby Moynihan in the corner, I rolled my eyes and started tuning it out. However, the more ridiculous and random everything got, the more I found myself laughing and loving it.
Edward Norton is probably my favorite host of the season so far. His episode wasn't the best, Miley holds that title still, but I sure hope they have Eddy back soon and continue to let one of the most talented actors we have right now play in the actor's playground that is Saturday Night Live.
View the full episode here: