What was the best bit during the so-so SNL that host Larry David promised in his opening monologue? The breath-of-fresh-air appearance of Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hans (Owen Wilson) during “Weekend Update” to pronounce, fashionwise, on the state of the presidential candidates. OK, so I’m a sucker for malaprops (“couscous” for “caucuses”) and rimshot rejoinders, but after David’s surly predictability too-often reprised, I belly-laughed at the separated-at-birth photo of Kim Jong-un and Hillary Clinton, and the observation that Bernie Sanders “is a champion of the 99 percent — apparently the 99 percent off at J.C. Penny.” Stiller and Wilson may have perfected their own brand of silly brainlessness, but what a relief they were during an evening of missed opportunities (“FBI Simulator” — or, as NBC says on the SNL site, “Stimulator”), near misses (that “Tostinos” spot as an episode of The X-Files) and never-shoulda-seen-the-light-of-day (“Last Call,” with host David and Kate McKinnon as aging bar flies who’ve been dining on too much comic excrement). You think I’m kidding? See for yourself:
I’m sure some will regard this closing sketch of the night as pushing-the-envelope stuff. But this kind of thing only works when the low-hanging fruit of gross-out humor is infused with a carbonating sense of human unpredictability. Call me stodgy but here, it wasn’t just flat, it was putrid.