Spoilers for last night's "Saturday Night Live" coming up just as soon as I enjoy some ham in the john...
To Jon Hamm's annoyingly perfect CV -- charismatic, great actor, damned handsome -- we can apparently now add good comedian. If he starts playing in Hugh Laurie's band, something may have to be done about the guy before he begins his plans for world domination.
Hamm's episode didn't necessarily have the highs of the Tina Fey-as-Sarah Palin sketches, but it was one of the more solid 90-minute episodes they've done in a while, and Hamm proved to be a great sport and an even better mimic. His James Mason impression in the Vincent Price Halloween episode was brilliant, and his JFK (admittedly, an easier impersonation to pull off) in the "Solid as Barack" variety special was very good too.
(Speaking of Mason, I must once again ask a question that went unanswered the last time I raised it about a year ago: can anyone identify the comedian who does a bit in which he imagines Mason replacing Moe as leader of The Three Stooges? It's driving me nuts.)
For a show that even the monologue acknowledged is fairly obscure, "Mad Men" got a lot of love -- and, in some cases, did jokes that depended on (and, thankfully, got) the studio audience's knowledge of the series to work.
(For a counter-example of this, I think back to when John Travolta hosted right as "Pulp Fiction" was coming out and they did a long sketch mashing up "Welcome Back, Kotter" with "Reservoir Dogs," and it died because nobody in the theater appreciated Barbarino dancing to "Stuck in the Middle with You" while slicing someone's ear off.)
Of the two most explicit "Mad Men" sketches, I thought Don Draper's guide to picking up women was the funnier idea -- and also the one where Hamm seemed more in character, though that may just be because they had the time to get his hair done right for video, but not for a live show where he couldn't be greased down all night -- but the Two A-Holes shooting down a classic Don Draper pitch was funny in its own right. Will Forte's Pete Campbell sounded weird, and Bill Hader overplayed Salvatore's queenier qualities, but Hamm playing it straight worked, and on a meta level I loved the contrast between Elizabeth Moss trying very hard to fit in and be Peggy and John Slattery being unable to resist showing how amused he was to be there.
I also thought the sex criminal Halloween sketch was a good example of a strong premise that they introduced, told a few jokes about, then got out as quickly as possible (so quickly they didn't even bother to end the sketch, in fact) before it got overplayed.
Finally, I'm reluctant to bring this up because of how nasty and juvenile everyone tends to get whenever politics and this show are discussed -- and, as a reminder, play nice and talk about the show and not about the politicians, or each other, or I start deleting comments -- but after reading complaints here and elsewhere that the show was giving Joe Biden a pass on all his recent gaffes, I was amused to see not one but two sketches -- both the Obama variety show and the opening sketch with Biden and John Murtha saying crazy things -- mocking Biden.
What did everybody else think? And are you as bummed as I am that Amy Poehler (who gave birth over the weekend) likely made her final appearance ever on the show in the Don Draper's guide video?