'Saturday Night Live' and January Jones: Betty Draper tells jokes

Wow. From the season’s best edition to the season’s worst in the space of a week: That’s the way it goes with the always unpredictable (but not always in a good way) Saturday Night Live.

You’d think, freed from the constraints of the artfully over-thought Mad Men, January Jones would have cut loose as this week’s host. Alas, she soldiered through most of the night just the way Betty Draper would — stiffly, with no sparkling spin in her delivery, breaking character to giggle occasionally.

Since so many reviewers have compared Jones’ Betty Draper to a housewife version of Grace Kelly, it didn’t take much imagination for the SNL writers to work up a Hitchcock parody… and even less to make its sole joke the notion that Jones’ Kelly couldn’t stop farting while filming a scene from Rear Window. (Sketch docked an additional notch for Bobby Moynihan’s lousy Hitch impersonation — that’s one any mediocre nightclub comic used to be able to do in his sleep 30 years ago.)

SNL actually had the — what, laziness? gall? — to do two 1950s pieces with Jones: the Hitchcockian gas-attack and send-up of an old instructional film, a “Ladies Guide” to hosting a party. It included lines such as “Homosexuals should be addressed as ‘missus’ or ‘miss’ depending on their age.”

Indeed, there was a weird theme to the evening: homosexual panic. Wiig played a newswoman whose attraction to an interview subject (Jones) reduced her to a gibbering mess. Bill Hader played a Dr. Jekyll (married to Jones) who had “sex with men” when he becomes Mr. Hyde. And the “Digital Short” was all about Fred Armisen constantly coming upon Andy Samberg on the toilet in unusual places, like an elevator or out on the street, culminating in Armisen pulling down his pants and sitting on Samberg-on-toilet; they both freaked out. What was up with all this?

“Weekend Update” welcomed back Darrell Hammond, who did a Lou Dobbs that sounded only vaguely like Dobbs. Not that it mattered, given the lines he had to recite about CNN’s John King having “that Latin tinge.” You know, because Lou Dobbs, in funny-land, equals racist. Not exactly a fresh take.

Poor Jenny Slate had to take over for the fired Michaela Watkins in a Kathie Lee and Hoda sketch. Slate had to compete with the memory of Watkins’ original impersonation and sit by while Wiig did mugging that wasn’t freshened with anything new.

The Black Eyed Peas were fun.

I keep going through my notes, looking for something that was genuinely funny. Am I forgetting anything? Okay: Putting lyrics to the Mad Men theme during Jones’ opening monologue was worth a smile. There: I ended on a positive note.

Did you find anything funnier than I did?

(Follow me on Twitter.)

Comments (428 total) Add your comment
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  • Kimmer

    The Kim Kardashian bit was funny. And I think I laughed another time….?

    • Nihilistic

      Please someone stop Ken Tucker from repeating the lie that Taylor Swift hosted the best episode of SNL this season. Anyone with the slightest semblance of taste knows that distinction goes uncontestably to Gerald Butler. His Beauty and the Beast sketch contained more laughs than the entirety of Swift’s monotonous episode.

      Stop repeating the lie, Tucker. Saying it again and again doesn’t make it any more true!

      • Jane B.

        Nihilistic = Gerard Butler

      • Joel

        Yeah, no, I’m with Ken on this one. Taylor Swift was the best. The whole show was awesome.

      • Nancy

        I agree with Tucker, Taylor was having fun. I am not even a fan of hers but really enjoyed her hosting, she wasn’t stiff, it may have something to do with the fact that she’s so young and can just let loose and hav fun unlike the older people who may see this as a job. Anyway, time for snl to revamp itself by bringing back Justin Timberlake or Alec Baldwin

      • maurice

        Ken… if you have the audacity to say that taylor swifts snl was the best of the season, not only should you lose your job, but they should take your writing credentials as well. yes i will say that her monologue was funny, only because she was in her comfort zone. After that the show just plain sucked!!!! Her comedic timing was horrible, and i condsider that a compliment! I’m tried of everyone kissing her ass because of what happened at the mtv music awards. I mean what kanye did was wrong, but how can someone win “best video of the year”, but not win best female video?… bottom line, Taylor Swift SUCKS!!!!!!

      • Sam Mayday Malone

        This guy for EW must be getting bribed to boast so much about Taylor Swift, how does a middle aged man find realte to Taylor who uses an awful voice to harp on high school angst and now has hilarious “dance” moves. Taylor ruined the scared straight scene, all she did was take up space. This episode of SNL was awful as well – I never heard of January Jones before and she seemed ill prepared the whole way through. I get that Mad Men is popular, but its still only cable. They should have had Bryan Cranston on (Malcom in the Middle/Breaking Bad/Seinfeld) – he is clearly funny. At least Kirsten Wiig was used somewhat sparingly and there was no Gilly.

      • anon.

        “MAD MEN IS STILL JUST CABLE”???!?!?!? JUST CABLE?!?!?! ARE YOU ILL??? Has anyone noticed that the big three are not that anymore, and you can find good television in lots of unlikely places (like AMC)? Crawl out from under the rock you obviously live under and call comcast or something, geez!

      • mickey

        Sorry I agree with Ken. Taylor Swift was, so far, the best host of the season.

      • rush

        taylor won best female, beyonce won video of the year

      • Em

        The season has been awful, so it’s faint praise, but Taylor has been the best so far. But both factions can agree: the rest of the season has been so abysmal that Taylor’s ep can be the best, but still not be up to snuff.

      • T.L.Wesley

        I agree that the Taylor Swift ep was horrible. The worst of the year until this January Jones episode came along. That one might be the worst of the decade.

      • Kaley

        I agree with Nihilistic, the Gerard Butler episode was the best one of the season. He seems to have natural comic timing, based on his hilarious appearances on late night talk shows (especially Craig Ferguson, because of their Scottish humor). Taylor Swift’s episode was just okay, but January Jones did a terrible job. It was sooo boring and she kept messing up her lines & breaking character.

      • Jack Yardstick

        I think that the order from best to worst goes like this
        ryan renolds/lady gaga
        Gerard butler/shakira
        taylor swift
        megan fox/ U2
        and last of all January jones

        btw… why arent they using andy samberg…like at all, he’s my favorite. bill hader and seth myers r also funny, fire EVERYONE else
        fire everyone else

    • Jonas

      I didn’t laugh at all during the show AND THE BLACK EYED PEAS SUCKED A$$. I was so completely annoyed with the way they perfromed their songs – they came across as completely amatuer. Love their music on my iPod – would not pay 1 cent to see them “live” – THEY ARE HORRID, not “fun”. Or maybe old, out of it TV reviewers are their target audience?

  • cl

    I was thinking before the show last night how great it was last week not to have “potty humor” and then this week, that is what they are reduced to again. Farting and toilet and gay jokes. Really? That is what SNL are paid the big bucks for? They can do better.

    • saturday night dead

      All of the sketches are unfunny and drag on wayyyyyy to long

    • 9

      SNL appears to be caught in a time warp. Fire everyone except BILL HADER, and KEENAN THOMPSON, and bring some freshness back to the show!!!

      • IMASTARRAH44


      • Brian

        Disagreed, fire Keenan as well. He is simply awful. Hader is funny and that is about it. As for Taylor Swift, was there a single sketch where she wasn’t staring at the cue cards the entire time?

    • Lizabeth

      I am actually convinced that at this point they can not do better. It seems like they have a really funny cast that has the potential to be great, but they get lost in really cliched and terrible writing. There is a missing connection somewhere.

      • 9


      • Gregarious


        Ummm…you need to get off the pipe, my friend. Keenan is possibly the worst SNL cast member ever. He is so very one-dimensional when he is given skits. How he has survived on SNL this long is beyond me. I even fast-forward Keenan’s opening cast member introduction. He brings absolutley NOTHING to SNL except for being the token black guy. And he can’t even do that right.

      • Paul

        “they have a really funny cast that has the potential to be great, but they get lost in really cliched and terrible writing”

        Does no-one get this? The comics/actors are the primary writers on the show – if it sucks, it isn’t because they have great potential that wasted on poor writing – it’s 1. they can’t write themselves anything that utilizes their potential or 2. they suck.


    • Lauren

      Exactly. But I disagree with most posters here; IT’S THE WRITERS THAT SHOULD BE FIRED, not necessarily the talent. Every cast member on SNL has had incredibly funny moments(Wiig and her Suze Orman, Armisan as Beyhar, etc.) but they all suck this year. I guess it’s possible that Lorne has been distracted, in between going to Yankees games with Paul Simon and Paul McCartney, or shepherding the multi award winner 30ROCK(which I luuuuvvv). Who knows, maybe his heart isn’t in SNL anymore.

      • JFM

        I agree with Lauren, it’s the writers, not the cast. The show has not been the same since Tina Fey left as head writer. I still like Weekend Update, with Seth Meyer who is now head writer, but the rest of the time the show is sadly unfunny, with the exception of last week – I agree with Ken that it was the best episode of the season so far. Most of the cast is talented, but the writing is just lame. Unless it is improv, the talent is only as good as the writing.

      • Paul


      • Lauren

        Doug Abeles-James Anderson-Alex Baze-Jillian Bell-Hannibal Buress-Jessica Conrad-James Downey-Steve Higgins-Colin Jost-Erik Kenward
        John Lutz-Seth Meyers-Lorne Michaels-John Mulaney-Christine Nangle-Michael Patrick O’Brien-Ryan Perez-Simon Rich-Marika Sawyer-Akiva Schaffer-John Solomon-Emily Spivey-Kent Sublette-Jorma Taccone-Bryan H. Tucker
        How many of those SNL writers names are familiar? I’ll admit that the cast has a hand in the impressions and characters they do, but they ain’t the only ones taking part in the unfunniness that is this season. So Paul, either take a chill pill or undo the caps lock on your keyboard.

      • mostboringseasonever

        I totally agree. They need to bring back Tina Fey.
        The jokes are sophomoric and seem to be aimed at 13 yr. old boys. And they go on and on and on. Fire the writers STAT!

  • jon

    I’ll give you one reason why this season has suffered so much….kristen wiig. Not only is she unfunny, she brings unfunny to new levels. Every one of her characters are one note and start off grating and deevolve into downright annoying. It’s sad that the writers feel the need to continue to put her in seemily every sketch and continue to annoy people late at night.

    • jon

      seemingly I meant to say.

    • peaches

      Agreed!! while wiig has her moments of hilarity, they are few and far between so relying her do the heavy comedic lifting is a miscalculation. Unlike Molly Shannon, Wiig does one charcter in different formations.

      • Mo

        I remember smiling only once during the “Best of Molly Shannon” episode (her Courtney Love impersonation). She was painfully horrible, her characters were all variations of the big and brassy or big and brassy wannabe. Her “IloveitIloveitIlove it” lady and Mary Katherine Gallagher were just sides of the same coin.

    • JMB

      Hear, hear! She is not funny.

    • Al

      Please get her off the show. She was good in Knocked Up but has become grating on SNL. She seems to think sketches are all about mugging and acting foolish.

      • Nancy

        Loooove Kristen! And yes January was painfully boring…so so sad.

    • jujube

      Agreed. I thought she was funny when she started, but by now… Seriously unfunny, seriously annoying, and a major reason I can’t convince my husband we need to watch SNL anymore. After last night’s dreadful episode, I think that battle has been lost. No more SNL in this household.

      • josh

        Ditto. Wiig is horrendous — I can’t watch any of the show for fear she’ll be busy befouling it.

    • California Lady

      Thank you, thank you! I thought I was the only one in the world who isn’t a Kristen Wiig fan. “One note” is an understatement and I’m done watching SNL unless Justin Timberlake comes back.

  • Snarf

    Watching Jones trying not to crack up during the Rear Window Gas attack had me in giggles. Nothing is funnier than watching someone try NOT to laugh.

  • nicole

    January was the worst host in a long time. In her first skit, she was tripping over her lines. I was surprised that she was an actress. Then every skit after that she could not stop laughing and nothing was funny for her to be laughing at. Jason was the MVP of the night. He tried to made it work.

    • Austin

      I agree. I think the show was probably so bad because January was just a dud. She was SO boring.

    • Nihilistic

      In the first skit she was also caught on camera asking a producer off to the side which camera should she face. I had high hopes for Jones as she does such a brilliant job with the Betty Draper character but unfortunately she appears to be a one-trick pony.

      Still disagree with Tucker’s assertion that Taylor Swift hosted the best SNL this season. Anyone worth their mustard knows that distinction went to Gerald Butler. Give it up Tucker, repeating it AGAIN and AGAIN won’t make it true!

      • Ron

        oh get off it, what is your problem? comedy is subjective you know, some people will find some things funny that others won’t. A lot of people liked the taylor Swift show, denying it doesn’t make it any less true

      • x

        And sorry, CONTINUALLY SAYING she was the best does’nt MAKE it true. Taylor SUCKED!!!!!

      • Anna

        I think Butler had the funniest moments of the season but the Swift show was the most consistently funny of the season.

      • Maggie

        Anna, you’re right. Gerard Butler’s show had moments that were funny, but Taylor Swift’s episode was the most consistently funny.

      • IdinaFan737

        Guess what ‘Nihilistic’ and ‘x’. There’s this thing called an OPINION. It’s where you’re allowed to think something, and someone else can think differently.

      • AD

        January Jones is brilliant as Betty Draper? I couldn’t disagree more. She’s the one bad note on the entire show; she’s an awful actress hired for her cold beauty. She looks the part of BD, but her acting is bad.

      • Smith

        Someone cancel Kanye West’s EW account please.

        Taylor Swift wasn’t the best host you say? Wow, never heard you say that before. In case the .01% of the EW-reading population missed it the first 3,997,800,985 times you posted your views on the Taylor Swift episode, please repeat it again and prove yourself the one-trick pony you are.

        The Taylor Swift and Gerard Butler episodes were mediocre at best but this is SNL we’re talking about and this show has been in dumpter-dive mode for years now. Any time I laugh once at an SNL episode I consider it a “success” nowadays.

        Having said all this, the January Jones episode might have been the worst I’ve ever seen.

      • JV


        Can you at least agree that Taylor Swift was the 2nd best show of the season? She was definitely reading her cue cards or teleprompter, but who cares? SNL skits are not about great acting – they are about being funny. Taylor served her purpose well in each skit even if she did not have every line memorized. I think her braces-wearing teenager in the parent driving skit was great – not too difficult, sure, but she nailed it and contributed to the skit being funny. More than I can say for most other skits this season.

  • David D

    You know, I defend this show more often than not, but this was truly painful. If January Jones is funny, she sure didn’t get the chance to prove it, being the straight-woman from the monologue on. And the closeted-gay reporter might have been amusing the first three times it was done, but it was just i n t e r m i n a l this time. Plus: were the Black-Eyed Peas bleeped in the first song?

    • David D

      i n t e r m i n a b l e, I meant. And seriously: GRACE KELLY??? With sketches featuring Lawrence Welk, Vincent Price, James Mason, Liberace… who’s the intended audience for this show these days, anyway?

      • elora

        As a relative young’un, I have to say that the Vincent Price sketches are always a highlight. I still chuckle at the memory of Jon Hamm as James Mason. Grace Kelly, however, doesn’t scream comedy gold.

      • gigi

        I hope Grace Kelly returns as a ghost and punches the writers in the face. You know it’s bad when a show has to rely on fart jokes for a laugh. Shame on you SNL.

    • Maggie

      Wiig’s closeted reporter bit has been done too many times, and it never varies.

      • EML

        I laughed this time at the end, when she ripped off her shirt and her Spanx were showing and she was trying to cover her stomach rather than her bra. I thought that was funny.

    • x

      So then why are you bashing our opinions then idinafan737???? GO SIT DOWN SOMEWHERE AND SPEAK WHEN SPOKEN TO!

      • Alan of Montreal

        now that was a mature response

      • x


  • karen

    I heard how funny the Taylor Swift SNL was and so I made sure to tune in this week. It was so bad I was just amazed. It got worse and worse. The lowest moment was either the Grace Kelly thing, the Dairy Queen thing or the toilet thing.
    I thought the 50’s thing was kind of funny, though. Maybe because I like the website with the old 50’s jello cookbooks.
    It was particularly disappointing because I was happy to see the women doing more skits. It’s usually mostly the guys. And then it just bombed.
    The guy who did Dr. Jekyll is funny, but even he couldn’t bring much sparkle to his skit.
    So are Tina Fey and Amy Poehler the only funny women?
    Really? REALLY?

    • pj

      add mya rudolph

      • Jane

        Um, no.

      • sheena

        Amen Jane, remember her lousy Oprah and Whitney HOUSTON impersonations??? Blecccch!!!

      • IdinaFan737

        I really loved Maya Rudolph when she was on. Though I agree, her Oprah was bad.

    • Helen

      ana gasteyer was great, she gets no respect.

      • ThrewItOnTheGround

        The trio of Cheri Oteri, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon were the BEST.

      • wbtym

        I completely agree about that trio! No one beats ‘em!

      • Alan of Montreal

        I agree with Ana Gasteyer and Cheri Oteri and I would add Tina Fey, but Molly Shannon was as one note as Kristen Wiig has unfortunately become (though I still love Target Lady). I think they need to bring more diversity into the cast to shake things up. Maybe they need a new showrunner.

  • Benoreno

    With the exception of the “Ladies Guides” instrucitional film, January Jones was horrible. She seemed out-of-place and had no comedic timing. And watching the Today Show skit with Jenny Slate made me miss Michaela Watkins even more. Now, can anyone explain to me why Lorne Michaels fired Michaela and replaced her with Jenny? Anyone?

    • Maggie

      Word! Jenny Slate was horrible as Hoda Kotb. I have yet to see Slate do anything this season that would explain why Lorne Michaels hired her. And to get rid of Michaela Watkins made no sense. Seeing Slate badly play a character Watkins did so well makes it all the worse.

      • Terri

        That Hoda and Kathie Lee skit went on for faaaar too long. I was so glad when the Black Eyed Peas came on and clobbered Kathie Lee! They should have had more skits with them in it.

    • mscisluv

      I felt bad for Jenny Slate having to do an impersonation of Michaela Watkins doing an impersonation of Hoda Kotb. I actually found those Today show skits hilarious, but you can’t just throw another cast member in there and think we won’t notice…although Kristen Wiig is unbearably annoying, maybe they thought that would distract people?

    • $$

      Alan’s the only one on the face of the earth who loves Target Lady. Gimme a break!!!

      • Juniper

        I beg to differ… I love the Target Lady, and I love Kenan’s lines about her: “Does her hair look like bangs that wrap all the way around her head? Does her voice box sound like it’s covered in egg?” Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s hilarious.

    • Jamie

      I agree I was not impressed AT ALL with the impersonation of Hoda by the new person. They should have got rid of Abby Elliott instead of Michaela Watkins.

      • Lois

        Abby Elliott is funny. They should have kept Watkins and Elliott, and not hired Jenny Slate.

  • Elizabeth

    Yeah…it was bad…I was so looking forward to it with January Jones..it was a painful SNL.

    • Alan of Montreal

      I think sometimes they bring in guest hosts who are considered “hip” at the moment, which January Jones is (though Elizabeth Moss is arguably the more popular actress on the show). The problem is that some just aren’t comedians. Jason Patric was awful when he was on, and even Julianne Moore, while brilliant in drama, just sucks at comedy. But like someone said earlier, blame the writers–there’s no cleverness to the humour anymore. It’s all just juvenile humour that caters to 13 year olds who wouldn’t watch the show anyway. They need to clean house, fire Seth Meyers as head writer, and bring someone who’s edgy without necessarily being dirty to make the show relevant again.

      • Jany

        “though Elizabeth Moss is arguably the more popular actress on the show”

        Since Moss is married to Fred Armisen, it would have made more sense to have her host. I think that would be a first to have the spouse of a cast member host.

      • colin

        Ooh, good call. She’s got a theater background too, so one assumes she’d be more comfortable with the SNL environment than Jones. However I can only assume there’s an unwritten rule against spousal hosting, because why was Will Arnett never a host when Amy was on?

  • XSE Drake

    Did anyone catch Jones whispering “which camera?” during the Today sketch?

    • me

      That’s what she said. I fast-forwarded during much of the show. Does she ever naturally laugh or smile? She was so stiff…

      • JFM

        I worked on the set of American Wedding with January Jones, and she was just as stiff and boring in life then as she was last night. I remember thinking she was a terrible actress and that she would not have much of a career. Turns out she is perfect for “Mad Men” and terrible for comedy or anything that requires showing emotions – just like she was in real life back in 2002.

  • Cloudy day

    I thought the cloud gazing scene was pretty funny…

    • pinkbunny

      I thought that bit–which was clearly an afterthought that they wouldn’t have had time for if there had been more laughter earlier in the show–was the best thing of the night. I also sort-of liked the “Ladies’ Guide.” The end. Everything else was truly terrible.

  • joe

    Abby Elliott has a sweet ass. Nice!

    • Nihilistic

      That wasn’t her ass. It was as padded as the girl who played Kim Kardashian.

    • well, of course,

      because that’s the only real value of any female. Who cares if they have any talent? Nobody’s watching anything except how sweet their asses might be. Guys like you suck. Only the stupidest most worthless sluts care whether you think their asses are sweet. They’re likely to find it gross or creepy coming from you, anyhow.

  • dsm

    Black Eyed Peas were a mess, as well.

    • Amy

      Couldn’t agree more. I turned up the volume a few times to see if maybe I wasn’t hearing it correctly .. but nope, they were TERRIBLE. I actually couldn’t believe how bad they sounded and they kept running into each other on stage. Perhaps had a bit too much to drink in the dressing room? haha Hope so, because otherwise that’s just disappointing.

      • SO 2009


    • Nihilistic

      Yes, they SUCKED. And poor Fergie looked like she’s definately been eating her emotions lately. At least she tried to put on a brave face. It’s just unfortunate that face was thirty pounds heavier than usual.

      • Sarah

        I actually commented to my husband that it is nice to see a little meat on Fergie’s bones. She was downright skeletal for a while. Your comment is idiotic. Heaven forbid a woman be allowed to eat a sandwich.

      • Yes

        They suck.
        Yes, she’s inbred meth-addled fatty-fatty white trash.
        But, PLEASE learn to spell ‘DEFINITELY’.
        it is NOT with an ‘A’.

      • Leela

        Guys, she put on weight for the movie Nine. She had to gain 20 pounds.

      • Lois

        I thought Fergie’s weight gain looked good on her. But her hair color was too dark and looked awful.

    • Jonas

      Totally agree. The honor to play a 3-song set should only be reserved for giants in the business like U2 or Coldplay. Phoenix got to play 3 songs too but they’re awesome. So sick of watching will.i.am’s dumbass eyeball movements to the beats of his horrible songs.

      • Helen

        they probably had to sing 3 songs to fill dead air b/c Jones sucked so bad. She has to be the most boring host ever. Well what do you expect from someone who dates Ashton and Josh Groban? Well it seems as if she is a real life Betty Draper, shut up and stay pretty. I can’t wait til we get Mad Men E ture Hollywood story. Something tells me she’s a pain since the other members seem to know how to act. Jon Hamm’s john hams for everyone!

      • sam

        something tells me YOU’RE a pain!

    • Lizabeth

      Who is surprised by that. They are the worst. They must have been ready for an uneventful show if they gave the Peas 3 slots to perform.

  • wakeforce

    I thought the Ladies Guide to parties was lightly amusing, but the rest od the show stunk! And they didn’t even to attempt a Carrie Prejean joke. So much for being a topical show!

  • D

    It was bad. And I love January Jones and Mad Men, so I really wanted to see her do well. But Grace Kelly farting???? Come on!! And unless you are of a certain age or are a huge fan of Turner Classic Movies–you wouldn’t even know who Grace Kelly was! Totally a head-scratcher, that’s for sure. And just UNWATCHABLE. Thumbs down!

    • DT

      Yeah, I guess Jon Hamm is the only naturally funny person from Mad Men we’ve seen so far, though they should let John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, and Christina Hendricks have shots. I love January Jones, but she displayed no comic talent and little charisma last night. She looked cute in that DQ uniform, though.

      • Lyn

        Have to say, I saw Alison Brie (plays Trudie on “MM”) on that goofy middle-of-the-night show “Red Eye” and she really was a bright charmer. Seems to have a great personality; could see her doing well on SNL. But I understand that not that many people are addicted to “Mad Men”!

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