RECAP: SNL's Season 38 Debuts With Seth MacFarlane
Saturday Night Live opened its new-look 38th season in good hands. First-time host Seth MacFarlane, who wrote, directed and starred in the hilarious summer comedy, Ted, and is also the creator of the popular animated television shows Family Guy and American Dad, hosted the NBC sketch-comedy show's premiere and did not disappoint.
Perhaps his most memorable performance was his spot-on Ryan Lochte impersonation on Weekend Update. In the sketch, MacFarlane, 38, played up Lochte’s poor on-screen presence in interviews and commercials by mumbling his words and drifting in and out of concentration. At one point MacFarlane sent the crowd and Weekend Update host Seth Meyers into a fit of laughter when he trailed off and said, “It feels so weird to be dry.”
Of course, with any good SNL episode, there was more to the show than just its outstanding host. Musical guest Frank Ocean of Odd Future performed two tracks off his new album Channel Orange with “Thinkin’ Bout You” and “Pyramids,” in which John Mayer made a surprise appearance and and delivered a guitar solo. And, never one to pass up a juicy celebrity blunder, SNL capitalized on cast member Bill Hader’s over-the-top Clint Eastwood impression to mock the actor/director’s now-infamous empty-chair rant at the Republican National Convention. The prerecorded feature, “Eastwood and Chair,” which billed Eastwood and his host, Chair, as “the comedy duo that rocked the Republican National Convention” spliced together bits of Eastwood sharing barbs with his “host” and ripping on political figures such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (“Just let people eat their soda”) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (“I think we’re gonna need a bigger chair”).
The season premiere also marked a sign of change for the show as viewers finally saw how things would be without Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Abby Elliott, who all departed over the summer. Continuing the show's shake-up theme, fans also got their first taste of the new Barack Obama, now played by Jay Pharaoh, who officially took over impersonating the P.O.T.U.S. from veteran Fred Armisen. Pharoah will now go toe-to-toe throughout this political season with Jason Sudeikis, who plays both Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden, and Taran Killiam, who is now set as Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
Saturday Night Live will try to up the ante next week when it welcomes Joseph Gordon Levitt as host and Mumford and Sons as musical guest. SNL airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC. – Hal Sundt
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