Taylor Swift hosted the best 'Saturday Night Live' of the season so far... really!?!

Taylor Swift proved to be this season’s best Saturday Night Live host so far. Whether shrewdly letting her Kate Gosselin wig do most of the acting during a typically pungent parody of The View, or gleefully screeching while wearing braces in a public-service commercial satirizing texting-while-driving, Swift was always up for the challenge, seemed to be having fun, and helped the rest of the cast nail the punchlines.

Swift began the night strumming her guitar and singing “Monologue Song (La, La, La),” whose lyrics nicely dispatched the heavily anticipated Kanye West jokes, as well as invoking Swift dates Taylor Lautner and Joe Jonas.

Speaking of Lautner, a clear stand-out was the beautifully-shot Digital Short spoof of Twilight that subbed a Frankenstein-monster family for vampires and featured Swift doing an impeccable mopey-Bella:

In her day-job, Swift’s appeal relies in part on the thin vulnerability of her voice and her sensitive-songwriter lyrics. But here, Swift proved admirably resilient in a wide variety of sketch roles, whether she was required to imitate Kristen Wiig’s nervous Penelope character, or Kenan Thompson’s tough convict in a “Scared Straight” sketch that cracked up its own participants. (The host also performed two songs.)

Even the Swift-less “Weekend Update” was strong this week. Many of Seth Meyers’ jokes had a sharp snap, there was a fine Amy Poehler cameo during a “Really!?! with Seth & Amy” segment.

I always love Fred Armisen’s “Nicholas Fehn” moments on “Update.” Armisen, in a shaggy wig and Army-green jacket, toting newspapers, melds Mort Sahl, George Carlin, early Robert Klein, and his own take on any pretentious “conceptual” comedian — it’s an inspired put-on.

Swift inspired more of a female, girly-in-the-best-sense sensibility in SNL than it’s shown since the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler days. I’m thinking, for example, of a sketch such as the one in which Swift and Nasim Pedrad played delightfully devoted-to-each-other roommates, irritating a boyfriend played with fine exasperation by Andy Samberg.

This was one of the rare SNLs where even the late-in-the-evening bits were home-runs. A satire of pop singers contributing to a kid’s-movie soundtrack included dead-on impersonations of Randy Newman by Armisen, Wiig as Natalie Merchant, and Samberg as Adam Duritz.

All in all, these 90 minutes went by Swiftly and niftily.

Agree? Disagree?

(Follow me on Twitter.)

For more on SNL: Taylor Swift sings to Kanye West and Taylor Lautner

Comments (377 total) Add your comment
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  • sculliosis

    Agree. Hopefully the cast continues to pump out episodes like this.

    • Nihilistic

      Are you mad? It was a painful episode to watch. Taylor Swift should stick to the music industry, where mediocre talent is actually celebrated! I feel bad for the three talents actually left on SNL: Hader, Wigg and Samberg. It’s not their fault they’re given such sub-par material to work with, they can only do so much with the rubbish they’re handed.

      Worst episode of the season.

      • Rachel

        Are you watching the same show as the rest of us?

      • Aaron

        Yeah I’ll admit I’ve been disappointed by SNL lately (last five years) but last night had be me cracking up all the way till the end. I don’t think Taylor could have done a better job.

      • Ryan

        Thank you so much Nihilistic! This episode was flat-out painful. I didn’t laugh once and constantly felt awkward whenever Tayler was on screen. I cannot even fathom how someone could have enjoyed last night’s episode. It seriously concerns me that people have no guage on humor any more. This was one of the worst SNL episodes I have ever seen.

      • Isembard

        Apparently you and I saw the same show (well, what I could stomach). Of course, I wasn’t terribly hopeful when the utterly talentless – can we say, “nails on a chalkboard voice”, kids? – Taylor Swift foisted upon us.

      • apple

        Amen!!! Taylor Swift’s wooden performance was painful to watch. I was embarassed for the whole cast. The best part of the whole show is Weekend Update. The rest of the show was very boring and very unfunny.

      • SKR

        I have to disagree, so far this season I have thought SNL nearly unwatchable, but I thought swift was funny and appeared to be having a great time(and she is what 16-17?, better than I could have done at that age)

      • Ashley

        Taylor’s actually 19.

      • wtmf

        that was funny i don’t see why your so criticizing about Taylor doing it

      • Writing

        You are apparently unaware that the actors on SNL do most of their own writing.

      • snl buff

        Actually SNL actors do not do their own writing. Thats why SNL has a WRITING TEAM. Only Seth Meyers who is head writer does some actual writing. Andy Samberg writes some of the digital shorts. everything else is done by WRITERS. If actors did most of their writing don’t you think Tina Fey would’ve been funny on her years at SNL?!?!?

      • Bill

        I think she was great. Very funny. The Kate Gosslin impression was right on. And Shakira was a lol moment. Best SNL of the season so far.

      • Lord Desslok

        @snl buff – Tina Fey was the head writer while she was on the show.

      • Zoe

        Taylor swift is a gay bitch. This was probably the worst snl ever. and she shouldn’t stick to singing cause she sucks at that too.

        She really shouldnt have said anything about joe or kanye in her monolouge. I guess someone just isnt over joe if shes still mentioning it. and i mean its hollywood come on they have busy schedule so what if he couldnt see her in person to break up with her. I wouldnt fly out somewhere just to break up with and ugly cunt like that. && im glas kanye interupted her i dont think she deserved an award.

      • Alain Maltais

        How badly did you get beaten up when you were young, no perspective at all, just derision…

      • Alain Maltais

        I think you deserve Red’s foot in the *** Zoe, or mine for that matter. What’s wrong with you?…

      • Jake

        I totally disagree that was the best show. THe only way that you could say that is if your blind! Taylor si AWESOME

      • Greg Lisek

        Man-there are a lot of jealous haters here. If I DIDN’T like Taylor Swift that STILL would have been the funniest episode so far that season.

    • Rhonda

      I agree, too. I’ve been saying she should host ever since early this year when she was the musical guest on the NPH episode and she was Annie in that “Broadway recession” sketch.

    • SO 2009

      This is when KANYE should have interrupted her!!!! The only thing he’s guilty of is poor timing!!! Her performance on SNL sucked!!!!

      • steffi

        word.

    • Sam Mayday Malone

      Taylor Swift was awful – there was no reason for her to be on the scared straight sketch, she barely said or did anything – the guys craked up becasue of kenan which they have done in the past. SNL has become terrible relying over and over again on the played out Kirsten Wiig who is a one note comic whose sketches are all similar – penelope/gilly/etc – they are boring

    • Bobby’s Robot

      It was one of the better episodes this season, but no thanks to Ms. Swift. She was a little stiff in her sketches, and as a singer, well, I’m a better singer and I’m not a very good singer.

      • Nessa

        I’m going to be completely honest with you, the point of the Monologue song was to be funny and make fun of herself, Joe Jonas, Kayne West, etc, not showcase her talents. Silly songs like that are never to be taken seriously into consideration of the performer’s talents.

    • Pink

      SNL Buff: Tina Fey was the head writer during her final years at SNL.

    • Ray in CLT

      I thought this was one of the funniest SNLs in a long time. They were at the top of their game. Maybe the Yankees winning the Series put an extra buzz in New York. Excellent skits, excellent host.

  • Lee

    As one who rarely, if ever, watches Saturday Night Live, I was pleasantly surprised at how well Taylor Swift did. Versatile would be the correct word. She was able to do what I hoped Megan Fox could, but didn’t: pull off the various routines, make them somewhat believe…and, at times, funny. Best inspired bit? The spoof on Twilight. Hilarious. All in all, a good night for Saturday Night Live!

    • ccf

      I was impressed. She jumped in feet first and gave it her best shot. I was one of the best of the season. They need to shorten it to an hour and dump some of the crappier skits.

  • Mio

    Come on, Ken! You don’t mention Taylor’s spot-on Shakira imitation? Nailed it! I agree with you–I was very pleasantly surprised with how well Taylor did on this show last night. She more than held her own. And when she busted out a quick ‘Penelope’ imitation, it was really a delight. One of the best SNLs of the season, easily.

    • Rakeem

      I agree! That Shakira impression was the best of the night!

    • Kevin

      She did a great impression of Shakira! It was hilarious.

    • dave

      Lol yea the Shakira imitation was actually really good.

  • Lizzy

    The sketches were great.

    Her singing… eh. She really is a better song-writer than singer.

    • Tarrin

      I agree. She was pretty cute, but her singing was atrocious.

      • Nancy

        Ive heard her sing live, shes great. I think she was having a hard time hearing herself, I dont think her audio was right. She sounded like a singer who just couldnt hear herself which unfortunately happens sometimes.

      • Chappel

        I thought she was pretty good. Any problems she had were probably due to being out of breath from all the running around and costume changes she did just before going onstage to sing. For sure her monologue song was hilarious.

      • Jonas

        I thought she was great on the Monolog song, but when she tries to do the upbeat stuff she strggles too much. Plus, watching her dance is PAINFUL. However I loved her in the sketches and thought she was def one of the better hosts not only this year, but in the past few years.

    • mscisluv

      Did anyone else find it ironic that she sang “She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts” while wearing a sequined minidress?

      • Stef

        Yeah that was pretty funny, she was definitely NOT wearing a t shirt :)

      • Sam Mayday Malone

        All of her songs are hypocritical – they describe an “average girl” which she is clearly not – they sound like something a 12 yr old would write.

      • Khristina

        Maybe she went really overboard with a Bedazzler over her t-shirt and jean shorts…you know, glam it all up for SNL. lol

      • Chappel

        That makes me think of John Lennon singing about how great it would be if there was no money while wearing an expensive suit, playing his very expensive grand piano inside his mansion. Few songwriters or musicians can live up the ideals expressed in their songs. The again, it’s like acting… the “voice” of the song isn’t the singer but a character the singer is “playing”.

    • LiLa

      Remember Burt Bacarach? Good songwriter, not so good performer. But that didn’t stop him from having a great career.

      • Alain Maltais

        Remember Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Marian Faithful,Kim Karnes, Neil Young!!!!!!…real talent is never defined by mediocre critics

  • Steph

    I was pleasantly surprised to see how well Taylor did. I really hope she comes back to host in the future, during which I am sure she’ll do a lot better. The writing is still rather weak, but luckily this week this did a bit better and had a good host to make up for it.But I still wish there were nore sketches that feature the host and a little less weekend updates, although this week’s edition was pretty good. Anyways, Taylor wasn’t perfect but she had a lot of enthusiasum and was fun to watch, not at all cringworthy like past hosts. Firelight was hilarious! And dare a say provided a better trailer than the actual Twilight movie did,lol. Also Taylor did amazing in her second song, I am not a country fan but I think she’s a really good singer.

    • Sam Mayday Malone

      That is because she really is not a country singer, if anything she has more of a pop influence with a hint of country thrown in.

      • Nessa

        You say that because you know “You Belong With Me” rather than “Tim McGraw”, which completely exposes the country-girl side of Taylor Swift.

  • Natalie

    I usaly think SNL is pretty lame but this episode was so funny. Taylor is a great actress !

  • Lizabeth

    I thought Taylor’s monologue was great. She is a really good actress. I am always surprised when I hear her voice because I expect it to be high-pitched and kind of childish, but she sounds so mature.

    As for the rest of the show, it just doesn’t make me laugh like it used to. They have a really funny cast, but the sketches come up short a lot of the time. I’ve never been a huge fan of Seth Meyers and I’m wondering if his role as head writer is the reason I don’t dig the most of the comedy. I don’t know.

  • Frog

    Never heard of her before Kanye. thought she was really fun to watch.

    • Wow

      You have never heard of Taylor Swift before the VMAs? You need to get out

      • Jane

        You need to get out. There’s way better music than hers.

      • me

        I’m with From on this one. I heard of her but only in passing from the gossip columns. I never heard her songs until the VMAs.

      • Mike

        Some people must not listen to variety radio stations, Taylor Swift is all over the radio.

      • springs85

        Yes… Some us choose not to listen to the radio. There’s way better music than was the airwaves put out.

  • Sher

    I thought this episode was horrible. The punchlines were carelessly thrown away and one only had to hear the audience to see that no one was having a good time. I think the lack of audience-laughing ruined it for me plus most of the sketches were so ill-executed.

    • MeMe

      MAN, I could not agree more. I wanted them to tilt the cue cards or teleprompter down so she would stop looking to the same place every 15 seconds, even when all she did was echo Kel during that strange prison sketch.

      The only decent thing to watch was their spoof on Twilight, after that, I couldn’t keep the channel trained to SNL.

      • SO 2009

        I know, what happened, did she forget her lines or something during that sketch???

      • Look over here

        Couldn’t agree more! When did they stop placing the cue cards next to the camera??? It’s blatently obvious that she was reading the cards the whole time. Looking off camera more then at the person she was speaking to. SNL didn’t even try to disguise it! Here’s my solution to making SNL more fun to watch…if you find yourself staying in on Saturday night…get some liquor together and do a shot each time a character “blank-face” reads off the cue cards.

      • Look over here

        Couldn’t agree more! It’s blatently obvious that she was reading off the cards the whole time. Looking off camera more then at the person she was speaking to. SNL didn’t even try to disguise it! Here’s my solution to making SNL more fun to watch…get some liquor together and do a shot each time a character “blank-face” reads off the cue cards!! Cheers

    • Nic Olas Fehn

      I totally concur. The audience did not laugh at all last night. I had to keep reassuring myself that the sketches were actually occuring LIVE because the audience was definately not feeling it.

  • Keithsmom

    I haven’t watched SNL in quite some time, but I did last night and I thought she did a great job? I laughed out loud a few times. I love Kristen Wiig as well, very talented.

  • Keithsmom

    Lizabeth, I agree. I am not a Seth Myers fan either. I didn’t realize he was Head Writer. That has to be due to the fact that no one else wants the job, lol. You know how that happens in places, everyone who has any intelligence or talent, leaves, so then the underqualified get the management jobs, happens all of the time where I used to work…..

    • Davesdaughter

      You don’t think anyone wants to be a head writer at SNL? Are you insane?

    • S

      I don’t think it’s fair to blame him. While he is head writer, SNL is a collaborative effort – there are 22 writers!

    • Lizabeth

      I think Seth is really smart and politically minded and weekend update is probably a good place for him and you are right S, he shouldn’t get all the blame. But, ever since Tina Fey left her spot as head writer, the humor is not as sharp.

  • Spence

    I loved SNL last night. I also thought the Gerard Butler show was really good. Two thumbs up.

  • Jamie

    Who are you, and what have you done with Ken Tucker? Swift was PUTRID — every time the camera cut to her there was a slight pause while she mentally reviewed the first few words of the cue cards, THEN began speaking…perhaps I was a little too anti-teen girl last night after a b-day dinner was ruined by a table full of high school girls taking pics of each other with their iPhones and screeching for 2 hours. Wiig as Penelope was limp, but her Greta van Susteren was great…STRAIGHT downhill from there…

    • LOL

      Maybe you need to upgrade where your birthday dinners are held. They do have better places than McDonalds you know.

      • sheena

        And how would you know????

  • Kimmer

    Best episode this season. Swift was great.

    • rebs

      it sure was the best of the season…which just goes to show how awful the rest of the season has been.

  • Tmom

    I think this is the first episode in years that I watched the whole way through!! Go Taylor Swift, and whoever wrote the sketches for last night’s show. I was ready to give up on it.

    Lorne, get a clue! This is what we need!!

    • Sarah

      He heheh ikr! I used to watch SNL a lot then i stopped. Then I say Taylor Swift and she made me laugh so hard I cried. The T.R.A.A.A.P.D omg hehe. Then the firelight. That would be a pretty funny movie

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