'Saturday Night Live' recap: No turkey whenever host Anne Hathaway was onscreen

In a shocking move, Saturday Night Live began its Anne Hathaway-hosted show this week with an opening political sketch that was actually pretty funny. Abby Elliott did a Rachel Maddow impersonation that captured many of the MSNBC host’s verbal refrains and gestures, and kept the tired jokes about her haircut to a minimum. Kristen Wiig pared her Nancy Pelosi down to suitably sharp edges and death-ray eye gazes, while Kenan Thompson’s Charlie Rangel was an caricature of assiduous avarice.

Since Hathaway’s opening monologue involved a Love and Other Drugs nudity joke that featured the cover of the current Entertainment Weekly, I’ll recuse myself from judgment. Fortunately, Hathaway was extremely amusing in the first sketch of the night, dismantling Katie Holmes’ mannerisms opposite Vanessa Bayer’s Miley Cyrus impersonation. Bayer has proven her Miley bona fides before, but this was her best yet, with her Miley introducing Hathaway’s Holmes as having starred in Dawson’s Creek “back in the 1900s” and showing her audition tape for the new Batman movie.

You know how airline passengers are chafing about the new TSA pat-down policy? Boy, SNL certainly does: The show did a fake sex ad about the excessive fondling, and then Seth Meyers made no fewer than four jokes about the TSA at the start of “Weekend Update.” Total result: maybe a snicker-and-a-half. “Update” nearly capsized under the weight of Bobby Moynihan’s heavy-handed Guy Fieri impersonation, but was rescued at the end, as Jay Pharoah powered through a fine series of Thanksgiving songs as they might have been delivered by Jay-Z, Drake, and Biggie Smalls.

SNL fared particularly well with music this week. In addition to Pharoah’s work, there was a series of mostly-terrific vocal impressions for the soundtrack to a Disney-esque kiddie film called Horse Play. Wiig’s Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, Andy Samberg’s Robert Smith of the Cure, and Hathaway’s Alanis Morissette were especially good.

Speaking of music, I was a pushover for the florid excessiveness of Florence and the Machine — this was melodic melodrama operating at a highly enjoyable level.

Hathaway proved to be a wonderfully essential supporting player numerous times. Her Judy Garland in a “lost scenes” from The Wizard of Oz sketch captured Garland’s tremulous voice impeccably. (Bonus points for her handling of that sweet dog playing Toto so well.) (Extra bonus points for the precision of Bill Hader’s Bert Lahr/Cowardly Lion.)

The host heroically threw herself into a Thanksgiving soup-kitchen sketch dominated by Kristen Wiig’s Penelope character; Hathaway’s parody of Penelope’s mannerisms were funnier than Wiig’s.

Hathaway even eked out the only laughs in a fake ad for “Mega-Mart” in just a few seconds on-screen as an excessively caffeinated customer. And Hathaway’s New Yawk accent was a solid complement to Bill Hader’s highlight this night: His embodiment of the sort of well-past-his-prime newsman that pops up on local news shows. Too bad Hader’s horn-rimmed Herb Welch supposedly died at the end of the sketch; I hope he’ll be resurrected.

Hathaway wasn’t the kind of first-rate SNL host who dominates the proceedings the way, say, Alec Baldwin or Steve Martin do. Instead of brawny power, she brought a brightly-lit wit, an avid enthusiasm tempered by sure skill. She was charming, sure — we expect Anne Hathaway to be charming. But she was also bold and adventurous.

What did you think of Anne Hathaway and this week’s SNL?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (230 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 7
  • ellebelle

    I thought the cold open was fantastic! They really need to start utilizing Abby Elliott’s talents more on the show, because she’s hardly in any sketches but whenever she is in one it becomes clear that her comedic skills are being utterly wasted. Same goes for Nasim. Anne was a great host last night, she is such a triple threat.

    • Ann

      Much better than lame-O Scar Jo from last week. anne should do an album…great voice

      • Roger Sterling

        Anne Hathaway has a CLOWNFACE.

      • jony

        “the sort of well-past-his-prime newsman”
        *cough* that means you as well, Ken *cough*

      • Brandon IS Superman

        Congratulations to the writers because they made a great show, and a little (only little) credit to Anne Hathaway for not screwing up the execution. One thing is clear, she is no Judy Garland (her over the rainbow was mediocre at best)

      • Phantom

        @Roger Sterling. Rumor is she is reading for the new Batman maybe. Maybe she will be Harley Quinn. I’m sure that would make you happy.

      • Voice of Reason

        Great show! I just wished they had done a Digital Short with her. If they can waste one on Flabourey Sidibe, they should do one with the uber-talented Anne. I loved the Extreme Activities Competition short they did with her last time she was on where she turned into her Jane Austen character! LOL.

      • mel

        Your a mean cvnt Voice of Reason.

      • mel

        “you’re” I meant, the message is still the same.

      • tC

        @ Roger Sterling and Voice of Reason…I doubt if either one of YOU could be a contestant on “America’s Next Top Model” while you’re both over there talking about how people look. Jerks…

      • TJ. Church

        ScarJo was a far superior host of an (overall) far-superior episode. “Herb Welch” died of embarrassment from being involved.

      • V.O.R.

        To say Anne Hathaway is unattractive is mean (and inaccurate). To say Gabourey Sidibe is fat simply means you have eyes. And on top of that, her acting was atrocious.

      • UncleWalty

        Roger Sterling = Larry David. Don’t feed the troll.

    • LOL

      Anne was great. She should host once every season. Solid episode last night. Even the weaker material was saved by Anne and the cast.

    • cara

      i disagree elliott has any “comedic skills.” she just does impressions. unlike jay pharoah who is both an excellent comedian and impressionist, there is no evidence of elliott writing or actually being funny. her youtube audition tape had impressions with no jokes. when fallon asked her to do impressions on his show she just did the voice and added nothing funny. it seems more like the producers (who she is related to) ask abby what impressions she can do and plug in her maddow or kesha.

      • Ryan

        I personally think Abby Elliot is one of the weakest cast members. I cannot stand her on the screen.

  • rickie

    I agree, it was a good episode all-in-all. Like the new girl’s Miley Cyrus sketch. The TSA commercial parody was pretty funny. Loved the Wizard of Oz. The show needs more Fred Armisen. I thought Seth Meyers was solid on Update as usual. His attack on “refudiate” was one of my favorites of the night, They have the smartest jokes in all of Late Night. Jay Pharaoh is an incredible mimic and Iike watching Seth enjoy his work. Reminds me of when Jimmy Fallon used to be glad to see Horatio. Nice to see Penelope back and glad they used Abby Elliot for a change.

    • Jen40

      I love the Penelope skits and have waited and waited for a new one but I was very disappointed in the one last night. Usually Penelope makes me laugh out loud but last night barely got a snicker.

      • Rjay

        For all its worth, Andre is what one can now call a legend, which will qulfiay him as someone I would like to meet at least once. Thanks to this blog post. LOL.

    • norma jean

      Was “an” caricature Ken?? Really???

      • AuntieD

        And it has not been corrected. I’ve seem errors corrected in other cases. Other writers seem to care and read/respond to criticisms.

    • James D

      Yeah, his bit on ‘refudiate’ was spot on.

    • Erin

      “…they have the smartest jokes in all of Late Night.” You obviously don’t watch Jon Stewart.

      Other than that, I agree with you completely.

      • Debbie Downer

        I’m not one for holy sayings, but amen. The snippets of wit you see on Update are the kind you can see on Daily Show and Colbert 4 times a week

    • Claudius

      ‘The show needs more Fred Armisen.’

      It needs more cowbells.

      • pastafarian

        ..and less Armisen. The nebbish schtick is stale.

      • pastafarian

        I did like his Queen impression though.

  • Ian

    reel gud

    • TorontoTom

      Miiniimal Wiig = reel gud

  • jmp528

    This was the best episode so far this year! The Mega Mart ad was hilarious and so was the sketch of Cate Middleton meeting the rough/ghetto Queen Liz and King Phil. Anne Hathaway’s singing voice is beautiful and she showed it off in the Wizard of Oz sketch. Great episode!

    • Roger Sterling

      This was the worst, most unfunny episode of the season.

      • @Roger Sterling

        Hmmm, methinks you also go by the name “Larry David”. Just a hunch.

      • jony

        @ @Roger Sterling
        I only do that when I visit your mom. “Oh, Larry, Oh yes, Larry, …” can be heard from your mom’s neighbors’ house.

      • jmo

        Roger called you out. Nobody cares what you say. Troll another website.

      • @jmo

        Oh but you do, young retard, you care so much that you have to ask me to stop. Suck my balls you tool.

      • t

        @ @jmo…..classy much???? Don’t get your Spanx in a bunch because someone doesn’t like your frickin TROLLING. Oh and “balls” is the LAST thing you have. Now go back to playing “Call of Duty 12″ and leave the commenting to the people that can form thoughts without the use of the words “retard”, “suck” or “balls”.

      • @t

        Clearly, you’ve never heard of the word irony. For someone who can apparently form “thoughts”, you got your panties in a bunch and chose to respond to a troll. Clean the sand out of your lady parts, emo.

      • CARLIE

        I agree – Her talent is minimal, certainly not of the comedic variety. It was painful to watch her (even Jennifer Lopez was better) and after the first horrendous musical interlude with that screaming amazon Florence I turned it off. SNL seems to be getting worse and worse each week. Without a host possessing solid comedic/acting chops ala Alec Baldwin,Steve Martin or Jon Hamm etc. The largely talentless cast twists in the wind. God deliver us Jeff Bridges…He seems to be the only bright spot on the horizon.

    • forrest

      @jmp528 agree totally. Good episode. Great Host. Really good Judy Garland impersonation IMHO. MegaMart was the best “Best Buy” commercial of the year.

    • Kyle

      I was very pleased with this episode! :-) While I haven’t dug all the writing/sketches, I’ve really liked every host they’ve had so far this year. So far, no Gabourey Sidibe’s, January Jones’ or Megan Fox’s.

  • SNLFan

    This was the first SNL episode in a while that had solid sketches. What about their take on the royal engagement?

    • greety

      I liked that sketch….even got a jab at “the Princess Diaries” …funny!

    • Liz

      That sketch was awesome! I can’t believe EW left that out of their review.

  • angeljake

    First comment…yaaaay…Anne Hathaway was great…the show as a whole was good. Good musical guest too.

    • norma jean

      Not even close “angel”.

    • brad

      Anne Hathaway has an incredible body, but she’s also got the face of a dog. The wide berth of her outstretched mouth, when she hit those high notes, was very distracting. She looked hotter when she was younger. This definitely proves that white chicks don’t age well.

      • Shannon

        Brad, I’m not saying you’re a douche or anything, only that Summer’s Eve and Massengill are both very interested in sponsoring your life.

      • catherine

        Shannon, you’re my new hero.

    • Seattle Girl

      Anne Hathaway’s Katie Holmes was SPOT ON — sooooo funny! And I loved that she did that.
      @brad: You are super creepy and obviously blind; are you currently in jail and chose to use your hour of computer time on EW?

      • brad

        Well, I’d rather be blind than have to look at fat pieces of trash. Yeh I mean you’re fat and a piece of trash. And probably the kind of fat chick that’s infatuated with celebrities because that’s the only way they can compensate for their enormity. Hit the gym fat @ss.

      • Tim

        Anne’s Katie Holmes impression was fantastic, but I’m concerned that this will mark the downfall of her career. I work in Hollywood and you cannot underestimate the power, ruthlessness, and brutality of the Scientologists. I’m sure I seem overly “conspiracy theory,” but I’m really afraid they will sabotage Anne’s career (or at least try to).

  • Ap

    Just caught it on DVR. I had to rewind Hathaway’s part in the Mega-Mart skit. That was hilarious!

    • mel

      Yeah I laughed out loud at her bit during that particular skit.

    • Alex

      I had to watch Mega-Mart about 4 times on the DVR. A freaking hilarious parody of an already ridiculous commercial genre and Hathaway’s customer was downright legendary funny. I was impressed.

      • azulle

        Same with me… I actually watched it several times today and it cracked me up every time. She was utterly hilarious!

  • Casey

    Ms. Hathaway seems like a talented lady.

    • Brandon IS Superman

      The writers make her look that way

      • Joan

        The same writers that made Gabby suck big time? Sorry, but you can have solid writing and still deliver crap if your presenter isn’t talented enough and can’t work with the material. Anne is talented.

      • Eric

        Actually Brandon, the writing on SNL sucks so when a host looks good it has to be due to their talent.

      • WhitneyD

        Brandon, the writers are struggling. They’re lucky to get hosts like Jon Hamm or Alec Baldwin that can elevate a bad sketch. Anne’s a great actress (her solid career in indies and mainstream proves that), but how she did on SNL had little to do with the writers- they’ve proven time and time again that they have no idea what to do with female hosts and cast members who aren’t named Kristen Wiig.

      • Danilo

        Not a huge fan of her but Nolan has been pretty much on traegt with everything he’s done in the 1st two movies so I’ll just take a wait and see approach. I wanted Nolan to leave both Catwoman and Robin on the bench so 1 out 2 is better than nothing.

  • Pottle

    The Mega Mart ad was the funniest thing I’ve seen all year from SNL. When they got to the first three people to touch Kirk Douglas part I fell off the couch.

    • Alex

      Yeah I thought the entire Mega Mart skit was great.

    • denslow

      the mega-mart ad was hilarious. ken tucker is wrong.

    • Laura

      Ken has clearly not held a retail job, since “Mega-Mart” was both true, and hilarious. “iPads for $39.00! 3D TVs for $71.00!” I can’t wait for someone to print a screen cap of that and try and bring it in for a price match…

      • Eric


      • todd

        Of course not, Ken is feeble old sissy whose tastes in entertainment are comparable to that a middle-aged housewife. Just look at the shows he covers. Not to mention the ridiculous drivel in his articles. F*ck him, what the hell does that old geezer know anyway?

      • rory

        Yo Todd. You better hope you make it to geezer – you ageist idiot.

    • jmo

      I laughed so hard at the sketch, I couched myself into a fit. It was a snowball of hilarity.

    • MrSitcom

      “Fire Hazzard!” Hilarious fake ad. Everybody gets their own box cutter.

    • Andreia

      I agree that no-reply is tacky and makes it sound like you don’t want people to reply to your email, whhteer it was automatically sent or not. For those who think it’s cool or makes you look professional, I use info@ your-domain.com for everything related to my website, even automatic emails like if someone registers and their password is sent. If they have any problems, have questions or comments, all they need to do is reply back.

  • Jules

    Anne nailed that Katie Holmes impression and her singing voice during the Wizard of Oz skit was impressive.

    • C

      Anybody could nail Katie Holmes. All you have to do is put your head down, look up and pull your hair behind your ears. Nothing to it.

    • Alain

      Avoiding autoresponders rylpeing back etc add the following headers to your message:Precedence: bulkAuto-Submitted: auto-generatedX-Auto-Response-Suppress: AllSome systems just won’t care about any of them, and there is nothing you can do about that other than some pattern-matching engine, but the above headers will prevent replies from many systems, including MS Exchange systems, and any RFC3834-observant system.

  • Tom

    I thought Hathaway’s Katie Holmes impression was dead on. At some points she was not receiving any laughs because the impression was so bang on, it was somewhat uncomfortable because she nailed Holmes’ shy and guarded, and perhaps, passive demeanor.

    • Brandon IS Superman

      In fairness, a Katie Holmes impression is not terribly difficult, but the Miley Cyrus one was excellent

      • Jones

        Even if the impression was “easy”, I thought it was hilarious, which is the point.

  • mumbles

    What’s even funnier than her performance is that Anne Hathaway has gotten away with dodging the fact that she dated a serious financial fraudster for years and has never come clean about what she knew about his scams.

    • TvTroz

      Hey, mumbles… I’m sure you are a paradigm of virtue! Let’s print out the indiscretions of those close to you, and let’s see how holier-than-thou you become.

    • anonymous/aka dudette

      She dated a frauster who was also a world class cad. And now he is in jail. It is Miss Hathaway’s right to get on with her life. She was not involved in his shenanigans. Why are you implying guilt by association ?

    • theBigE

      Wrong Mumbles – see her monologue from when she last hosted! She talked about (sarcastically) how wonderful and upright her boyfriends were. She dumped the guy as soon as he was exposed.

  • Jillian

    Anne Hathaway was terrific. She brought a real sense of character to each sketch.

    Jason Sudeikis missed a golden opportunity in the Wizard of Oz sketch playing Robert Osborne of TCM Essentials. He didn’t capture any of the easily mockable quirks of Osborne – his take on Osborne was just plain lazy.

    • J.B.

      I love Robert Osbourne! What’s to mock?

  • SXiPPY

    Florence and the Machine by far the best part of the show. However, Hathaway’s Katie Holmes impression encased all the annoyingly pretentious mannerisms that always made me hate her. Now, I can laugh about it though because Holmes no longer has a career (since Tom Cruise keeps her at home locked in a cage with shredded newpaper and chicken feed, I no longer have to focus on that). Again though, while the writing may be humorous at times; I think we’re caught in one of those dry spells of both the writers and players.

    • j

      Ok, I’m sorry, but am I the only one who noticed how incredibly, awfully FLAT the singer was (Florence? I guess?)? I was cringing through both songs – she is not flat in the studio versions. I don’t know if she was having a bad night or what, but I had to turn the volume down, sorry. Great songs, terrible execution from the lead singer.

      • Slips

        She really can’t sing very well — but you’re supposed to be so cool that you don’t notice.

      • Adorkable

        Florence is usually much better live. It really wasn’t that bad, in comparison to other performers… *cough* Ke$ha *cough*

      • Hyde

        You really aren’t alone. I was shocked at how flat the singer was. I kept wondering if she didn’t have any way of hearing herself in the monitors, because of how consistently and terribly flat she was.

    • Amy Lee

      @ Slips:

      She can sing live quite well, she was just having an off night. Next time you decide to say someone sucks live, do your research and try looking up more than ONE performance of them to make that assessment. Otherwise you look like a dork.

    • u

      I’m a bit puzzled at how people will slam an obviously talented singer for having an off night (and still managing to sound better than most singers these days), yet will rush to defend Taylor Swift (not saying that specifically YOU people are Swift fans, since I don’t know you) when that woman is absolutely bereft of vocal talent. Maybe Americans have lost their ability to identify talent?

  • Ames

    I agree Hathaway was great last night. My favorite had to be the Katie Holmes impression because as others have commented, it was perfect! The Horseplay sketch had me rolling! I especially enjoy Kristen Wigg in all of her sketches, but I’m not too crazy about the new guy Jay Pharoah. All he does is impersonate famous black people, which I will say he does a good job doing, however, is that the only thing they brought him on for? I don’t know how anyone else feels about that…Otherwise, I look forward to SNL every Saturday!

    • Rich

      Well, for years they’ve had Keenan on solely to impersonate famous black people… TERRIBLY.

      If you ask me, Pharoah’s impersonations are SO dead-on, they’re a punchline in and of themselves. And in an era of SNL where the writing has been mostly sub-par, it’s a rare feat to get laughs despite the lack of actual JOKES. SNL has a poor tradition of showcasing its African-American talent (see: Chris Rock) but hopefully Pharoah will start to carry more skits as Keenan slowly fades into the background…..

    • Cam

      I completely agree.I actually enjoy his impersonations but I wish the writers would find a way to incorporate them into sketches rather than having him randomly showing up and spewing them out.

      • Lloyd

        I’ve noticed that about Jay. I’m really enjoying his impressions, but they haven’t used him for anything else. But don’t 4get he is still a new guy, so maybe we’ll see more of him as time goes by.

      • Jimmy

        I hope they let him do some original characters soon! When any actor does the same thing over and over, you naturally start to wonder.

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