The general consensus is that the average episode of Saturday Night Live tends to be hit or miss. Sometimes it will make you chuckle, sometimes it will leave you with that awkward feeling like when you’re holding the door but the person behind you is that impossible distance away that you don’t know if you should wait or go in, so you wait and it turns out you made the wrong choice, but you’re stuck there until they finally walk in and you can lower your head and try to forget it just happened. Luckily this was one of those rare few episodes that they get more right than wrong, in that they hit it out of the park. They decided that everyone who happened to be in New York at the time should make an appearance. More specifically, a group of rather talented individuals who’ve hosted the show at least 5 times in order to commemorate Justin Timberlake and induct him into the group that night. Even more specifically, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Candice Bergen, Chevy Chase, Tom Hanks, and Alec Baldwin. Also in attendance were Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, and Jay-Z.
So you have Justin Timberlake at 30 Rock, what do you think they are going to do? Exactly what you expect they would. They teamed him up with Andy Samberg. But because they had Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin, they put the modern duo next to the classic duo of the “Wild & Crazy Guys.” For the uninitiated, it’s what you expect Andy and Justin would be doing if it were the seventies and they were immigrants. It’s past meets present in a funny way. And it’s amazing how old the show is. On an unrelated note, did you know that the voice that announces the cast, host, and musical guest belongs to a man named Don Pardo, and he’s been doing it since the show started in 1975?
For this episode they pulled all the stops and played all the old standbys. Besides his duo with Samberg, they did another sketch with Justin’s singing and dancing mascot, Stefan, and an appearance by another former sketch group, the Three Amigos. That would be Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase. Fans of the show will definitely feel that strong elation from a nostalgia trip that most shows are too young to inebriate their audience into. But after that comes the sadness of witnessing just how much the members of the original cast of SNL have aged.
But what saves the episode is that everything is so funny. So, so, so funny! Seriously, if nothing else check Hulu for the Stefan skit they did. I thought that character had jumped the shark a few appearances back, but they hit him out of the park in a way I didn’t they could. At one point in the show they even did a Harlem Shake. Really, this episode, as cliche as it sounds, will leave you in stitches. Your sides will hurt. You’ll laugh a lot because it’s funny. Watch it.