Bruce Willis returned to host Saturday Night Live for the first time in 24 years this weekend. Despite Willis’ questionable comedic chops, the players of SNL – old and new – buoyed the veteran action star effectively enough to make for an entertaining show.

COLD OPEN: Gravity references and government shutdown references combined to make a fresh cold open on Saturday Night. Taran Killam and Cecily Strong played astronauts floating in space and trying to make contact with NASA so they can get some help in coming home. An essential custodian played by Kennan Thompson answers their call, revealing that the government is shut down and that “Mission control is not here right now”… but he can take a message. Kate McKinnon also makes an appearance in the sketch as a Ukrainian mother trying to barter with the astronauts. “Give him money to get back to Ukraine where government is more stable,” she says. When the astronauts say they can’t think because of depleted oxygen resources, she deadpans, “Neither can Congress!”

Black Ops: Following what felt like a retro opening monologue from Willis, which included some harmonica playing, he starred in a military-themed skit that poked fun at his frequent onscreen persona; he’s a tough guy who can’t be told to wait in the van. In his version of events, “I walk to the front door I kick it in,” Willis mumbles. “Pop, pop, pop, dead.” Willis, though effective, gets outshined by an adoring private played by Bobby Moynihan.


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The Ol’ Barbershop: Willis plays the lone white barber at a shop with Thompson and Jay Pharoah as elderly black men delivering their “shop talk.” Pharoah channels his best Eddie Murphy impersonation, as Willis channels the chronically out of touch and awkward.

Overprotective Brother: Killam reprises his part of overprotective brother Eddie as his mother brings home a man (Willis) she’s about to go on a date with. Killam hilariously mocks the jacketed Willis for saying “chon” (a mashup of child and son) – a joke that ultimately carries the entire sketch.

Beer Pong: New SNL castmembers Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett star in the sketch as two oddly childlike frat boys. Consequences for hitting a cup in beer pong at their party: whistle a song, draw a roller coaster, get pen pal, chose a rubber lizard, get your own personal baseball card, etc.

WEEKEND UPDATE: Brooks Whelan plays himself in this week's Weekend Update, serving as a cautionary tale to those getting tattoos. In high school, he got the Anothny Keitas tribal stamp, a nautical star and a seascape – all of which mean nothing to him.

Boy Dance Party: When the wife (Vanessa Bayer) leaves her husband (Willis) and the rest of the guys home to watch football, they turn their game viewing into a dance party. Best line: "It’s time for the ladies to go to werk, so the men can twerk."

Edward Norton will host the next new SNL on Oct. 26.

– Chelsea Regan

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