SNL: Jeremy Renner Was Great, But If I Never See ‘The Californians’ Again, I Will Die Happy

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Getting there…we’re geeeeetting there. After a few weeks of unimpressive showings of Saturday Night Live, I think we might be getting back on the right track again. Last night was hosted for the first time by Jeremy Renner, with four-time musical guest Maroon 5. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jeremy, but I thought he was actually really great. The key was, they just let him be himself. He was committed and into it, but not running around in drag like Joseph Gordon-Levitt or overacting like Anne Hathaway.

That said, if I have to see the sketch ‘The Californians’ one more time, I’m gonna lose my mind. That’s not a funny sketch anymore! It was marginally funny when Kristen Wiig was still on the show and would try not to break, but now it’s just Fred Armisen laughing at himself, and other cast members doing varying degrees of California accents while wearing blond wigs. As soon as you see that SOAPNet logo, you know that sooner or later they’re gonna start talking directions, and that it’s gonna go on for about two segments longer than it should.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, ‘The Stand Off’ was absolutely perfect. First of all, in addition to Jeremy Renner, it included two of my favorite guys — Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan, second of all, it was well-written and acted, and third of all, Adam Levine had a cameo. Boom. Count it. Ten points for SNL. It was three guys who refuse to let a stand-off get in the way of their normal activities. One guy needs to pick up his kid from dance class, so they go do that, never taking their eyes off each other, and end up spending all day together, showering together and sleeping in the same bed and everything. Awesome sketch, I wholeheartedly approve.

There was also a decent sketch based off of The Avengers, in which Jeremy starred in real life. It wasn’t the funniest bit of the night, but Bobby Moynihan as The Hulk and Kate McKinnon‘s dead-on Scarlett Johansson impression more than made up for it.

The ‘Coroner’ sketch was also pretty funny, but my favorite part was watching Bill Hader trying to break Taran Killam while he was playing a dead body. But even without that, still decent. I didn’t laugh out loud, but I’m not mad at it.

And on to my favorite part of the episode — the commercial. This one was a tourism ad for ‘Your Hometown’ and it encouraged you to just go back home instead of going on some fancy vacation. You can share a room with your parents’ exercise bike and home office, almost visit your old high school teachers and then drive away, or find the best bench on which to smoke pot. And in case you think this isn’t realistic, ask anyone in their twenties what they do when they visit home.

Other highlights included the real Chris Christie coming on Weekend Update, Tim Robinson making me laugh for the first time ever as a dramatic reenactment of Jill Kelley walking out her front door, and Cecily Strong playing Paula Broadwell reading fake, 50 Shades of Grey-style excerpts from her book, All In, about General Petraeus.

Looking forward to next week with Jamie Foxx!