Saturday Night Live made an unusual choice Edward Norton for celebrity hosting duties this week. The actor, not known for his comedic acting chops and not with a project to promote, took the SNL stage by storm in a series of some of the best sketches thus far this season.

Cold Open

Kate McKinnon starred in SNL’s cold open as Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The political open packed a lot of punch, with the primary joke being on healthcare.gov. Sebelius offers troubleshooting advice with obviously out of touch lines, such as “So you want to do computer?” Furthermore, those who send in complaint letters will receive Encarta ’95 and 1,000 free hours of AOL in return in 6-8 weeks.

Wes Anderson’s "The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders"

The faux Wes Anderson trailer had Norton in the character of Anderson favorite Owen Wilson in what was likely the night’s best sketch. Norton gives a spot on impersonation of the drawling actor, deadpanning the lines for the quirky Anderson horror film that references the director’s hits The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom.

Norton As Creepy Halloween Dad’

Calling to mind a fireside chat, Norton plays a dad who’s more than a little bit off. Going through Halloween Candy, the Fight Club actor delivers a series of one-liners that are just out of left field enough to work. When he pulls out what he claims is a single nerd, he says, “Psyche, it’s a boogie.”

“Number’s Savant” Drug Dealer

In a drug deal, Norton embodies Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man character, playing up his savant status. He counts the doors in the sketchy motel room, the pictures on the wall and the cups (5) on the table. When it comes to counting the drug money, however, he struggles mightily. The one-note sketch doesn’t quite work and goes on for way too long.

Sex Crazed Waiters

Set at Ruth’s Chris, the sketch is another one that uses one joke to get laughs – virgin waiters with ridiculous conceptions of sex. Including their urban-inspired sex voices, the wait staff, including Norton, describe what they’d do when they finally get to “do it.”

Halloween on the Steve Harvey Show

In another sketch starring Norton, he plays Mr. Pickler, a special guest of Steve Harvey (played by Kenan Thompson) on his show. His shtick is a nerdy pun Halloween costume creator. Sporting frizzy hair and a pumpkin tie, he displays Facebook, Cereal Killer and Deviled Eggs costumes. When Harvey admits he doesn’t get it, Mr. Pickler enthusiastically insists, “It’s wordplay, it’s wordplay.”

Musical Guest Janelle Monae

On a black and white set and an ensemble to match, musical guest Janelle Monae sang hits “Dance Apocalyptic” and “Electric Lady."

– Chelsea Regan

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