Michael Keaton was the host of Saturday Night Live. The ‘Birdman’ star returned as host for the first time since 1992. Was it a successful return? See a roundup of reviews from the TV critics and check out video highlights of the episode below!
Yes, it’s been more than two decades since Michael Keaton of ‘Beatlejuice’ and ‘Batman’ fame graced the stage of the famed Studio 8H. He hosted the first time more than three decades ago, in 1982. And as he himself quipped in his monologue, “A lot has happened since I last hosted in 1982. I had a baby; she’s 31. I also have a new girlfriend; she’s 28.”
And thus with his long absence from SNL, there’s much catching up to do, and we got the hoped-for spooks of ‘Beatlejuice’ and ‘Batman’ during the monologue as cast members Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan portrayed superfans who wanted him to play these iconic characters with them. It started the night off on a high note — yes, complete with a brief musical. Later on, Keaton portrayed a rather disturbed CEO of an advertising firm in one skit and later, a grandfather in an Easter skit. As is always the case, skits are polarizing and these two in particular are no exception.
Overall, with so much going on in the news, Saturday Night Live took steady aim. The cold open handily spoofed the March Madness Final Four by illustrating the persistent (and frankly scandalous) emphasis of the NCAA of athletics over academic studies. So long as college athletics have become such big business, we see students’ academic live sacrificed, as the skit so pointedly illustrates.
Another favorite target, CNN, got its latest scolding, as SNL spoofed their coverage of the Germanwings crash which has followed the network’s usual 24/7 plane crash of reporting on “breaking news” — with the use of CGI animation and reenactments — when in fact there is no “breaking news” to report.
Later on, we witnessed a scathing takedown of Scientology, which is much in the news with the premiere of the documentary ‘Going Clear.’ In the SNL universe we had a thinly disguised “Church Of Neurotology” in the form of a parody of one of the Scientology’s 1990s videos. As the skit progresses we discover some of the participants are now missing after having criticized the Church. As they say, the story remains the same, but the names have been changed. That’s the joy of parody, as it lives beyond the reaches of lawsuits.
So what did the critics have to say of Michael Keaton as a returning host and the episode as a whole? Here’s a roundup.
“…. With nary a clunker to speak of, this was the second solidly written episode in a row, again eschewing easy, well-worn territory (not a Keaton movie parody or game show sketch in sight) in favor of conceptual, writerly pieces that found laughs in originality and performance. None were breakout hilarious (although one will undoubtedly get all the press in the morning), but most rode on a current of originality, which goes a long way. ….” — AV Club
“….We were worried about this being a weak show, especially with a lame cold open and it being the second of three shows in a row. Maybe it was Keaton’s hosting of some good ideas, but we laughed at almost all of the sketches tonight. A nice effort overall. Grade: B+…..” — Carter Matt
“…It was a tough act to follow from last week with The Rock killing it with his hosting duties, but Michael Keaton was more than an admirable successor. The episode wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty damn close. Highlights included the opening monologue, another razor sharp job from the Weekend Update crew and sketches like ‘Happy Easter From Michael Keaton’ and the Mike O’Brien short that riffed on 10 Things I Hate About You….” – Fansided
“….Keaton managed a few laughs here and there — his opening monologue fending off Batman/Beetlejuice fanboys Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam was decent, and the demented final Easter-themed sketch worked mainly due to the host’s unhinged commitment (as well as an adorable baby chick). But the writing was so dismal in other instances that not even the entire Justice League could’ve done much about it….” – TV Line
See the video highlights of SNL with host Michael Keaton below!
Church of Neurolotogy
Pictures: PR Photos