“Saturday Night Live” episodes are like cantaloupe: You can pretty much tell from the first bite how good they’re gonna be. Last Saturday’s episode, for instance, was good fruit: It started strong and stayed that way. Buoyed by a stellar hosting turn from Anne Hathaway–who’s pretty funny and not too hard on the eyes, either–the show debuted a number of new characters and impressions. But which, you may ask, were the best? Not to worry, we’ve got your back. After the jump, we rate this week’s impressions from one HA to five.
Rachel Maddow (HAHAha), Nancy Pelosi (HAHAHAHAHA), John Boehner (HAHAHAHA) and Charlie Rangel (HAHAHAha)
Abby Elliott’s take on MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was pretty accurate; it just wasn’t super-funny. Much more successful were her castmates’ takes on a random selection of politicians. We loved Kristen Wiig’s version of Pelosi–those crazy eyes should have their own show. As for Keenan Thompson’s take on Rangel, it was the exact opposite of Abby’s. It had nothing to do with how the Congressman talks or acts–Thompson played him like a cross between Ted Kennedy and Redd Foxx–but it sure was hilarious. As for Bill Hader’s attempt at John Boehner, well, it’s hard to say. Sure it was funny, but do you have any idea what John Boehner actually sounds like?
Miley Cyrus (HAHAHAHAHA), Billie Ray Cyrus (HAHAHA) and Katie Holmes (HAHAHAHA)
We’ve pointed out Vanessa Bayer’s brutally funny Miley Cyrus impression before, and she nails it again in this spot-on parody. Jason Sudeikis does a fine job as Billy Ray, though the soul patch really does a lot of the acting for him. But the craziest surprise of this sketch is Anne Hathaway’s left-field imitation of Katie Holmes. Hathaway’s voice is perfect, just like the rest of the mannerisms. Are celebs ALLOWED to make fun of each other like that? We don’t know!
Prince William (HAHA), Queen Elizabeth II (HAHAHAha), Prince Charles, (HAHAHAha) and Kate Middleton (HAHA)
Though the impressions in this sketch were a mixed bag, this was our favorite of the night. While Andy Samberg at least succeeded in looking like Prince William (notice the thinning hair), his voice sounded a bit like Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins.” Anne Hathaway was a bit Poppinsy as well in her take on Kate Middleton, but really her only job was to avoid distracting people from Bill Hader and Fred Armisen, whose intentionally bad impressions of Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth were the whole point of the sketch. We’re totally going to start pronouncing “throne” like Armisen does: FRONE.
Guy Fieri (HAHAHAha)
Bobby Moynihan is just one of those people who looks funny. He doesn’t really have to do anything to get us rolling–just slap a fake beard on him and turn him loose. Fortunately, he does manage to bring a bit to the table in his impression of the Food Network’s loudmouthed barbecue guy (who, as Moynihan enjoys pointing out, loves putting booze in his food). All right, the sketch might not have been a tour-de-force, but watch this guy pretend to suck down a whole chicken and tell us that’s not funny.
Jay-Z (HAHAHAHAha), Drake (HAHAha) and Biggie Smalls (HA)
Impressionist extraordinaire Jay Pharoah (him of the Denzel impression last week), brings his talents to bear yet again with three new Thanksgiving-themed raps. Done in the styles of three of hip-hop’s biggest
names, they vary a lot in quality. Best of the bunch is his Jay-Z imitation. The dude BECOMES Hova. The others don’t fare quite as well. While he does a solid job with Drake’s style, the voice doesn’t do a ton for us and, besides, it’s just not that funny. Worse still is his Biggie impression which, sad to say, does not hypnotize us.
Judy Garland (HAHAha)
Call this one a practice round, since Hathaway’s gonna be starring in a Judy Garland biopic next year. Her imitation of everyone’s favorite troubled starlet (in her role of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”) isn’t too shabby–when she’s actually doing it. Unfortunately, it seems to us like Hathaway slips into and out of character a bit. Besides, this time around she’s totally eclipsed by Armisen’s hysterical turn as a deleted character from the movie. Our favorite moment: when Armisen interrupts Dorothy’s rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to ask “Did you WRITE that?”