Taylor Lautner's hosting of "Saturday Night Live" has all the "Twilight" fans in a flutter and may foster one of the highest rated shows of the year.  Who knew Lorne Michaels could be so timely?  Will Lautner be able to show some acting and comedy skills that have been missing from his big screen work so far?  Does it really matter for his legion of fans out there? Let's find out...

Intro

A trio of scandal plagued politicians; South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (Sudeikis) Nevada Senator John Ensign (Bill Hader), former Presidential candidate John Edwards (Will Forte ) hold a press conference to criticize the "orgy of media attention" to the Tiger Woods mess. Here are some choice bits:

Sanford: "This is excessive and lurid and it has completely overshadowed of our own extramarital affairs."
Edwards: "I had a love child!"
Sanford: "When I went to visit my mistress I had a really preposterous story about the Appalachian trail."
Ensign: "My girlfriend was married."
Edwards: "Again, I had a love child!"
Sanford: "My wife just filed for divorce, but you'd never know it by the media's coverage."
Ensign: "I played hush money."
Edwards: "Maybe I wasn't clear, I had a love child. An illegitimate bastard love child. Don't you people care?"
Sanford: "But Tiger had a huge number of girlfriends."
"Why this clear double standard. Perhaps racial?"

(After Ensign lists Tiger's ethnic heritage Sanford Edwards corrects him.)
Edwards: "No, he's not Puerto Rican, you're thinking about A-Rod." (Huge laugh from the mostly New York crowd.)

The skit basically ends with the trio saying their own scandals would have had to been astronomically worse to hit the Tiger level.

Grade: B-.  Good idea, but where was the punch line?  Was missing something to knock it out of the park.

Monologue: Taylor Lautner

[OK, can we talk about the fact he's lost all that muscle? Already?  When does that become a story?]

Taylor on hosing the show:
"I remember when 'SNL' first started. I was negative 18 and I said to the other babies in heaven. 'One day Im gonna host that show.' And they said, 'You're gonna be a comedian?' I said no, I'm going to be a werewolf."

Taylor on his busy year:
"I was in a movie called 'New Moon.'" (cheers)
"I also took my shirt off a lot. Too much in fact. Even Matthew McConoughy told me to cool it."

Taylor on his love life:
"Before we start the show there are a lot of rumors going around about me being romantically linked to a certain country superstar."
(Cut to Keenan Thompson as Reeba in the audience."
"Reba and I are just friends.  With benefits of all." (Laughs.)
"I've also become close with a singer named Taylor Swift. I was actually at the VMA's when Kanye West interrupted her acceptance of an award and I was up on stage and as you could see i really stood up for her."
(Arrow points to Taylor doing nothing.)
"I know. I mean, I guess I could have done a little more. I mean, what I really wanted to do that night..."
(He does a very impressive backflip.)
(As the theme from 'Kill Bill' plays he does all sorts of flips and karate moves and pulls out his sword.  Holy [expletive]!  That's some serious sword work there!)
(Uh, oh. I think he was supposed to hit a model with Kanye's head with his leg but missed and then uses his hand instead to devastating fashion.)
(After saving a "fake" Swift from a "fake" Kanye he goes up to the mannequin of Swift and just before he's about to kiss her...)
"I'm sorry, I can't. My heart belongs to someone else."
(He then turns and gives a kiss to Reba in the audience.)

Grade: A.  Y'know, he's got way more talent than people give him credit for.

Rose Bowl Intros

In this bomb of a skit, a TV producer is trying to get Oregon players to tape quick bumpers for this year's Rose Bowl.  Lautner plays a third-string back up quarterback who is too nervous to get it right.  It drags on way too long.

Grade: C.  That's the first skit out of the monologue? Egad.

Big news freaks Aunt Sue

This skit finds Lautner in a long haired dark wig (perhaps to make him look older?) with his wife (Jenny Slate?) telling some relatives about their plans to surprise his parents with news of their first baby. The whole scenario is just a set up for Kristen Wiig to play another overly nervous/freaky (take your pick) character. This time it's Aunt Sue, who just can't contain herself from freaking out at having to keep the secret.  She's "Freakin' excited!"
 
When the parents arrive, guess what happens? Sue gives it away almost immediately and then freaks out and climbs up the chimney.  When she hears it twins she falls of the roof, jumps back into the house through a huge glass window, destroys the Xmas tree, etc.

Grade: C.  Wiig's quirky characters are running incredibly thin.  The physical comedy at the end saved it from a D.

A message from the PGA Tour #1

The PGA Tour Commissioner (Jason Sudeikis) is here to reassure us all that the PGA will be just fine without Tiger Woods after his announced "indefinite" hiatus.

"Yesterday we got some interesting news.  Indefinite.  And that's OK. We're gonna be fine.  People don't just watch golf because of him. WE've still got plenty of stars. Jeff Ogilvie. Boo ha. Trevor Immelmann."
(He takes a swig of some alcohol in a flask.)
"If you love Tiger's fist pump, you'll love Justin Leonard's tip of the cap. Good day to you sir! I think the PGA tour will be just fine without tiger woods. And the sponsors? They ware excited too.(Someone takes two of them off the wall behind him.)
"No Tiger? No problem."

Grade: A.  Perhaps the least annoying Sudeikis skit in some time.  

Show Choir Jingle Jam

Meet the Northeast Middle School Sparkle Players Show Choir:  Dana (Thompson), Meekash (Taylor) and two other girls (most likely Abby Elliott and Jenny Slate). Taylor wearing a weird yellow wig (a trend). Forte is on hand as the school's principal lecturing the students to pay attention and not make fun of the kids as they are about to resume their entire show (much to their dismay).

They start off with a Christmas rap. Meekash does a weird "Sinta Claus dget down.' He must be a foreign exchange student.

Trevor (Andy Samberg) throws a basketball at Meekash.  The principal makes him come up and lectures at him. The kids go on..

Rock N' Roll Hanukkah. "Spin that dreidel" with a Hanukkah Elvis, etc. Trevor yells "This is gay!" and gets in trouble again.  This goes on for a bit where we find out Meekash doesn't understand that "gay" doesn't mean "happy" all the time and the Lautner character does a mean Michael Jackson impersonation.  

Grade: C+.  There is a good idea here, but it doesn't work like it should. Also ends even abruptly for "SNL."

A message from the PGA Tour #2

He's back.

"Hey, Tim Finchem, PGA commissioner. I really want to thank our new sponsor the Madoff Investment group, MLS soccer and the movie 'Old Dogs'. Happy to have you on the PGA team. Some say the PGA tour lacks diversity. We've still got plenty of diversity man. Vijay Singh or Miguel Jimenez. We even have an African golfer, Nick Price! From Zimbabwe.  We are also looking to find the second best black golfer. There are currently none on the tour or the minor league tour. We are gonna take a page from the hit movie 'The Blind Side and find a big guy swinging a stick in the rain."
(Takes a moment and realizes the absurdity.)
"Omigosh."
(A huge swig from the flask.)
(He says they are going to start some new promotions.)
"If you get a slice, you get hit by Kimbo Slice a UFC fighter.
Whoever has the worst score has to appear on 'Jersey Shore.' And of course, we are gonna have sexy caddies.  Wait, that might be bad idea."
What else are you gonna do? Talk to your wife?"
(All the sponsors are taking off the wall behind him.)

Bon Jovi, unknown song #1

I have no idea what song they are singing. Also, couldn't all these guys be Lautner's....grand father?  What a bad combo. Lorne, really?
One observation: If anyone thinks Nicole Kidman has bad cosmetic surgery they haven't checked out Richie Sambora lately.  (shudder.)

Weekend Update

Some of Seth Meyer's jokes this week:

"Gatorade said that it's dropping it's Tiger Woods promotional drink.
Meanwhile, Birdseye is going forward with Tiger Woods side dishes."
"Prostitutes in Copenhagen have offered free sex during the Global Warming Summit. A reminder to everyone with a hooker to cap your emissions."
"At a ceremony at the White House, President Obama told Bruce Springsteen, 'I'm the Prez, but he's the boss' at which point Springsteen ordered our troops out of Afghanistan."

Tiger Woods Mistress Number 15

Abbie Elliott (?) comes out as Tiger Wood's mysterious mistress no. 15.
Mistress: "First of al, I didn't even know he was an athlete. I just knew he was super rich."
Meyers: "Eventually you found out he was a professional athlete?"
Mistress: "Fur-sure. but by then I knew he was super famous, so what was I supposed to do?"
Meyers: "It's hard not to have an affair with someone you're having sex with?
Mistress: "It was more than sex. Oh, Fur-Sure. He would do the most romantic things. Sometimes he'd text me." (After a pause because that's it. Laughs.)
Meyers: What did you think when you saw all the other mistresses?
Mistress: "At first I just thought they were me in different outfits and hairs. Then I found out they were just other people. What's the word when you're mad?"
Meyers: "Mad."
Mistress: Yeah, I was mad. I couldn't believe he would cheat on me. I thought I was special and he was texting me."
Meyers: "Well why did you decide to come out with your story?"
Mistress: "If I didn't come out, I would be known as mistress 16 or 17 and at that point people would think I was a slut!"

More Meyers jokes:
"This week Lady Gaga met with the Queen of England. 'This is weird,' thought both of them."
"General Mills will reduce the sugar in its Lucky Charms cereal. This after Lucky the Leprechaun lost his foot to diabetes."

Native American Comedian Billy Smith.

Fred Armisen returns as the Native American comedy star.  It's hard to do justice to his character or this bit because it all hinges on his pronunciations of specific indian words as joke punch lines.  All you need to know is that while he's off camera, you keep hearing Seth Meyers trying to control himself from laughing (ah, for a two-shot). As it goes on, Armisen also notices and tries to egg Meyers on more.  Great stuff.

One last Meyers joke:
"A man tried to escape from Australia with 20 gecko lizards in his pants.  The authorities became suspicious when they heard his pants say that 10 minutes could save then 10 percent or more on car insurance."

Grade: B+. Better than average jokes and the Indian comedian was pretty hilarious.  

Team Jacob vs. Team Edward




Easily the best skit of the night, we discover that two lab partners in a high school science class just can't get along.  Yep, one is on Team Jacob and the other (thanks to t-shirts on both informing us of their allegiances) is on Team Edward.  And who might the latter be? None other than Lautner in drag. Honestly, it's quite inspired and laugh out loud funny for anyone who knows way too much about "Twilight" like this writer. Some choice lines:

Marianne: "Jacob smells like a wet dog."
Team Jacob: "But at least he's loyal, but he would not leave you."
Marianne: "Edward is a boy."
Team Jacob: "Then why did he sparkle like a princess with a tiara?"

The science teacher Mr. Armstrong (Hader) realized no one is wiling to compromise and "has no choice.  I need you to both debate  Edward vs. Jacob once and for all." (Gasp!)

His other students ask why waste the time on this stupid book?

Mr. Armstrong: "Cause I'm a scientist and I look for answers. Mariana you go first."
Marianne: "Thank you Mr. Armstrong. Love. Can it be planned or is it fated? The moment I heard edward, I don't have the strength to stay away from you. I knew we'd be together."
Student: "Does she think she's gonna end up with the fictional vampire from  'Twilight'?"
Marianne: "Not think, know. She starts kissing the notebook."
Mr Armstrong: "I'm sorry notebooks are for notes not for kissing."

Team Jacob: "When Jacob took of his shirt I saw those changes and I was like 'I want to bake cookies on your stomach."
Marianne: "Those are fake abs."
Team Jacob: "His abs are real.
Marianne: Then the dude who played Jacob deserves an Oscar!" (Cheers).
Mr. Armstrong: What happened to you two? You used to be good friends and then 'Twilight' changed it.

And then: bingo. They both realize they have common ground with...that whiny, annoying Bella.

Grade: A.  Pretty hilarious. Must be seen to believed. Right up there with Shatner calling out 'Star Trek' fans in the 80s.  

A message from the PGA tour #3

The commish is back and he's got his tie tied around his head.
"Tim Finchem, suicide watch. The PGA is back! Did I mention the golf cart races? OK, look I want to thank our newest sponsors. Erie Pennsylvania chamber of commerce, the letter Q and seltzer.
Just stop it. Just stop the commercial."

Grade: A.  These all added up.  Pretty funny stuff.

Ice Cream Stop
 
We find Stephen (Lautner) and Kendra (Elliott) as two teenagers at a frozen yogurt shop in a mall. When the start talking to each other they are constantly "paused" as Keenan Thompson appears as a Isaac Hayes/Barry White inspired love doctor who appears in and out the skit moving left to right on moving platform. This is the type of skit only Thompson can pull off. The man deserves an Emmy (yeah, I said it).

Grade B+.  Went on a bit long, but Thompson makes it work. Good stuff.

Bon Jovi, unknown song #2


Don't know this one either, but how about those commercials for their nationwide tour during the show?  Hmmmmm.  I wonder...

Doorbells and more

Nasim Pedrad (pretty sure it was her) appears as a Long Island/Jersey/Staten Island princess who is hawking her new business of customized doorbells.  And guess what, they all feature her voice.  It's hard to translate this funny bit to print except to say they should definitely bring her back.

Grade: B+. Who knew the last skit could actually be funnY? (Yeah, me either.)


End


Mr. Lautner says he has had an amazing week and that's all folks...

Overall:

The show got off to a rocky start, but the second half had remarkably better skits.  Did they just not play to the rehearsal audience?  Rare that  show turns out this way these days.  Needless to say, the balance of stars was pretty good this week with Wiig getting her seemingly required one crazy skit (sigh), Samberg was actually part of a show without an SNL Digital Short (disappointing cause we'd love to have seen Taylor work with that crew), and Seduekis didn't dominate (yay).  Peculiarly, no celebrity guest stars this week (yep, no Taylor Swift for all those hoping).  Oh, and they laid off President Obama for one week.  Must be the holiday spirit.

Only major downer? The Team Edward/Team Jacob skit was classic, but it's hard to believe they didn't pitch a real "Twilight" send up.  Did Lautner or his peeps nix it?  Curious if we'll ever find out.

Next Week: "General Hospital" performance artist James Franco and the musical stylings of Muse.