Look, you don't have to tell us twice about Elton John: The dude is an icon. "Crocodile Rock," amirite people? He's glammier than six Adam Lamberts and crazier than a dozen Lady Gaga eggs. Still, we couldn't quite figure out what he was doing on our television Saturday night. Is he starring in some movie we're not aware of? Does he have an album out? Who exactly thought he'd be a viable host of "SNL"? Because I'll tell you what: Mr. Honky Cat isn't exactly known for being a comic actor. "How was the Elton John concert? Oh, it was hilarious," is NOT something people say. Sure, he looks funny, but that's not the same thing. The idea that he could anchor an entire hour and a half of sketch comedy is a bit of a head-scratcher, if you ask us.
Someone at "SNL" must have been thinking the same thing because they decided to give Sir Liberace Oompa Loompa some backup: a cavalcade of celebrity cameos to spice up the night. He had Tom Hanks' sword, Will Forte's bow, Jake Gyllenhaal's axe and Carmelo Anthony's, um, lack of charisma to help him out. And, guess what: some of them did celebrity impressions. Check out the best ones below.
Lawrence Welk (HAHAHAHA)
Since "SNL" has been doing a great job listening to our requests, allow us to make one more: Stop taking good sketches and repeating them until we want to hang ourselves. This is, by our count, the fourth run through of the "Lawrence Welk Show" sketch--each one with its unique flourishes (and different celebrity guests) but the exact same joke: that the singing Maharell sisters have one sibling a few chromosomes short of a genotype. As always, Fred Armisen does a great Lawrence Welk impression (we love his "tank you, tank you"), but it seems a bit wasted here on the same old recycled material. NOTE TO SNL WRITERS: You can't surprise people with the same joke twice.
Sirs Richard Branson (HAHAHA), Bono (HAHA), Michael Caine (HAHAHAHAHA), Ian McKellan (HAHAHA ha), Mix-a-lot (HA) and Ringo Starr (HAHAHAHA)
This sketch, about a meeting of the Knights of the Realm to discuss what to do about a dragon terrorizing London, allowed a number of "SNL" cast members to dust off their British accents. The results, as you might expect, were mixed. Bill Hader played Virgin Galactic owner Richard Branson as an unstable kook (which seems about right), while Keenan Thompson and Andy Samberg grunted out a few syllables as Sir Mix-a-lot and Bono, respectively. Fred Armisen was solid as Ringo Starr and Taran Killam's insane take on Gandolf/Ian McKellan was delightfully wacky, but Tom Hanks stole the show as Michael Caine.
P.S. This sketch opened with a fake-out clip from a British TV show called "Fancy A Jar, Do You?" that they cut away from to set up the Dragon attack. We hereby formally request that "SNL" do a complete version of this concept.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (HAHAHAHA) and Prince William (HAHA)
Another repeat sketch dependent on a surprise joke that no longer surprises, this bit was saved from disaster by the awesomeness of Fred Armisen's and Bill Hader's ridiculously low-class impressions of the Queen and Prince of England. We love the way Armisen aggressively exposes some thigh as he menaces Elton John. Bonus moment: their punk performance to end the sketch (to the best of our knowledge, the song was one they made up themselves).
Muammar Qaddafi (HAHAHA ha)
Fred Armisen's done this Qaddafi (we're sorry, Quadafi…we're sorry, Kaddafi…we're sorry, Gaddafi) impression before, but we love his delivery on it. The idea of the despot as a mostly sane (if a bit too OK with genocide) guy really makes for an excellent sketch, especially when he starts making a bit too much sense about foreign policy.
Vanessa Hudgens (ha)
Ugh. This is, without doubt, the worst "SNL" sketch we've seen in a looooong time. Setting aside the utter throwaway-ness of the very funny Nasim Pedrad's Vanessa Hudgens impression (which was barely an impression), the sketch tried to get laughs out of exhausted gay stereotypes and tittering jokes about a middle-aged gay couple in a committed relationship actually kissing. DUDES, KISSING IS NOT A JOKE! Anyone still shocked and amused by gayness needs to get their Glee-card punched.
Worst of all, though, this sketch was a total ripoff, right down to the movie reviewer setting. Damon Wayans and David Allen Grier were doing "Men on Film" skits for "In Living Color" 20 years ago, complete with the exact same two-director-chair staging and catty back-and-forth. We can't wait until next week, when "SNL" busts out their groundbreaking "Dead Parrot" routine.