“Saturday Night Live” does celebrity impressions like Arby’s does sandwiches–constantly and with little regard for quality. From week to week, the show delivers a ridiculously mixed bag of parodies, from brilliant takes on Miley Cyrus to WHUUUUH??? impressions of Charlyne Yi. So how can you tell which are worth watching on Hulu once you’re back to work on Monday? Clutch, obviously. We’ve done the hard work for you and rated this week’s celeb impressions from one to five “HA”s (a lowercase “ha” equals half a “HA”). Check them out below.
Barack Obama (HAHAHAHA) and Hu Jintao (ha)
Fred Armisen’s been doing his take on the prez for a while now and he’s pretty much got it down. The voice and the hand gestures are dead on, though he needs to work on that Barack Obama smile. Bill Hader’s take on the Chinese Prime Minister Hu Jintao leaves a bit more to be desired. The dude is just mumbling fake Chinese! Not that we’d know Jintao’s mannerisms if he clubbed us over the head with them but come on, guys. That impression is an international incident waiting to happen.
Dina Lohan (HAHAHAHAHA) Ke$ha (HAHA)
During the opening monologue, host Scarlett Johansson gave some advice to young starlets hoping to stay out of the tabloids–”WEAR UNDERWEAR” was high on the list. She was interrupted by Kristen Wiig in a fantastic Dina Lohan getup and Abby Elliott doing her best Ke$ha. Wiig was awesome as Dina; she totally nails the smokey voice and glassy eyes. As for Elliott, well, give us something to work with here! Putting on some faux-tribal face paint doesn’t make you Ke$ha. Was she even smeared in glitter? (This one isn’t online, so here’s a photo.)
Patti Stanger From “Millionaire Matchmaker” (HA)
First off, does everyone here know who Patti Stanger even is? Maybe the best way to describe the star of Bravo’s “Millionaire Matchmaker” would be by saying that she looks NOTHING like Scarlett Johansson, who played her for this parody. Where Patti is lumpy, Scarlett is curvy; where Patti is off-putting and weird, Scarlett is, well, Scarlett. Pretty much the only detail about Patti that they captured here is the way she says “Shut up!” all the time, and that’s just not good enough.
Denzel Washington (HAHAHAHAha) and Chris Pine (HAHAha)
New cast member Jay Pharaoh has already busted out his incredible Denzel impression twice since joining the “SNL” crew at the start of this season. He gets the ticks and mannerisms so right that it’s uncanny. Fellow newbie Taran Killiam doesn’t get a ton to work with on his Chris Pine impression–having stubble isn’t really a personality trait to copy. Best moment: the hilarious way Pharaoh says “OK!” when Killiam goes in for the hug.
George W. Bush (HAHAHAha) and Kanye West (HAHA)
We’re of two minds about Jason Sudeikis’ George W. Bush. On the one hand, he doesn’t really sound like ol’ 43 at all. On the other, he manages to capture some essence of Bushness, like when he says, “Come on, haters, recognize.” Bush would never say something like that, but if he did that’s just how it’d sound! Jay Pharaoh, for his part, totally goes off the rails with this impression of ‘Ye. Usually the guy is an excellent mimic (see Denzel above), but he just misses the boat here. Should have hooked up some Auto-Tune!
Paula Deen (HAha)
We love us some Paula Deen. For those who can’t place the name, she’s that lady on the Food Network who cooks ridiculous southern foods, like Chocolate Fried Beef or Beef Fried Butter. She makes your grandma look like a pile of puke. Which brings us to our whole issue with Kristen Wiig’s impression of her: Where’s the hominess? She gets the voice right–the way Deen says “booter and awl” is perfect–but everything else about her seems more like a beauty pageant judge than a home-cooking guru. A rare miss, Kristen!
Special Bonus: Check out SNL’s parody of MTV’s own “16 And Pregnant” and “My Super Sweet 16.” We love it!