It was Old Home Week for ‘Saturday Night Live,’ as Amy Poehler’s season premiere hosting gig turned into a big reunion show, featuring appearances from other ‘SNL’ alumni Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Justin Timberlake and even New York Governor David Paterson.
After a somewhat tepid cold open about anti-masturbation witchcraft-dabbling Tea Partier Christine O’Donnell, Poehler’s show turned it up a few notches with a shaky monologue that turned into a wacky star-studded dream sequence featuring ghosts from ‘SNL’ past haunting her nightmares, including Fey and Fallon taunting her about ‘Weekend Update,’ Timberlake mocking her for being a bad kisser and Dratch getting mauled by a polar bear.
Rudolph came on for the centerpiece, reprising the “Bronx Beat” sketch with Poehler and giving musical guest Katy Perry a chance to mock her current ‘Sesame Street’ flap while making her ample bosom the center of attention once again. She bounced in as a teenage librarian wearing a tight Elmo shirt bursting at the seams, as if she just developed over the summer, while Poehler cracked “It looks like today’s show is brought to you by the number 38 and the letter double-D.” But they also came to her defense, saying “Never be embarrassed about your body” and “Who cares if kids are lookin’ at boobs? Boobs feed babies! I turn on ‘CSI’ the other night, and there’s a dead guy with a worm in his eye! But we can’t look at the tops of boobs? So dumb, America!”
Poehler also slid back into her ‘Weekend Update’ chair for another round of ‘Really?!’ with Seth Meyers, and when Fred Armisen came on to do his usual hilariously stumbling impersonation of Governor Paterson, the real deal came on to put a stop to it – while illustrating to everyone just how brilliant Armisen’s impression really is. Paterson showed he has a good sense of humor, though, by doing everything Armisen did as Paterson – including insulting New Jersey and blocking the camera. His best line was comparing his work in the government to ‘SNL’ by saying “there’s a lot of characters, it’s funny for ten minutes, and then you just want it to go away.”
Of the four new cast members, the biggest impact was made by Jay Pharoah, who did pretty good impressions of Will Smith and Chris Tucker. No one else really got a chance to show what they could do just yet. That tends to happen on the alumni get-together nights.