Spoilers for "Saturday Night Live" coming up just as soon as I go to the googly eyes store...
It had been five years since Christopher Walken last hosted "SNL," and that's far, far too long an absence for a man who's in the upper pantheon of hosts, alongside Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Whenever Walken hosts, no matter how good or bad the show overall is at that time, you're guaranteed something hilarious and weird: Ed Glosser, Trivial Psychic; Census Taker; or, of course, More Cowbell (which for some reason isn't on Hulu).
The thing about Walken is, he's so strange -- and so willing to embrace and/or parody that strangeness -- that it inevitably pushes the "SNL" writers to go to bizarre places they might otherwise not. This week's show had a quintessentially Walken sketch, Indoor Gardening Tips From a Man Who's Very Scared of Plants. That's the sort of thing that you only think up at three in the morning or while high on herb, and the kind of thing that, with any other host, probably gets dismissed in the sober light of day, but with Walken, it's the sort of sketch we've come to expect.
(The fact that Walken may look at the cue cards more than any non-sports or political host in the show's history only adds to the strange appeal of his sketches, I think. It's like he showed up five minutes before the sketch began and is still funnier than the people who memorized their lines.)
His halting, oddly-inflected manner of speaking, meanwhile, makes him ripe for mimicry, which led to the entire cast busting out their own Walken impressions for the Walken family reunion. (Bill Hader's was, of course, the best, but it was pretty straight; Amy Poehler as little girl Walken is the kind of bizarro touch that made the sketch.)
Walken didn't even need to dominate every sketch for it to work. Take the one with Kristen Wiig as a woman who loves surprise parties. There, Walken's just the straight man, but Wiig is so silly (and strange) that nobody else in the sketch needs to do anything but set her up.
One final thought: three installments in, I still can't decide whether Laser Cats is absolute brilliance or the dumbest recurring sketch of the '00s. I suppose that's the point.
What did everybody else think?