The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Vince Vaughn

It was 17 years ago that Vince Vaughn played Trent in Doug Liman’s Swingers, the fast-talking Los Angeles scenester with a thing for cocktails and the waitresses that serve them. There are tons of Hollywood wannabes like Trent, but Vaughn’s good looks and manic delivery made it hilarious and believable. He was “money.”

The actor never topped the role, despite the many projects that followed and a dalliance as a dramatic leading man. We saw Trent in Vaughn’s opening monologue last night as the actor prowled the audience, singling out people for a snappy tête-à-tête. “I don’t have the skills to navigate this relationship in a way that’s healthy for me,” he quips to a young woman after squeezing her close, ejecting her from the audience, and reeling her back in. Yep, Trent’s still a dick — but that smarmy, rapid-fire bravado is still somewhat charming and forgivable while Vaughn works the room like a showman.

Swingers references the fifties through its 1990’s lens and reminds us that some things never change. The philosophy and technique is really still the same, but the faces are different. Vaughn’s gotten lazier since his Swinger days, as his stale performance last night proved, but he’s still that guy we can’t help but like a little bit — even though we know he’s doomed to repeat himself.

The Best

Vince Vaughn Audience Monologue

Breaking down a few walls.

Al Pacino HBO Biopics

Bill Hader’s Al Pacino impression is always good for a few laughs, and he got to work the Scarface accent to death. However, we hated Hader as Dr. Conrad Murray — in blackface — even if the skit hinted that things went too far.

History of Punk

Fred Armisen played a Johnny Rotten-esque frontman (renamed Ian Rubbish) from the 1970s with a surprise soft spot for Margaret Thatcher. “You’re a very special lady!” he growls into the mic. And hello there Sex Pistols’ guitarist, Steve Jones. Thanks for showing up.

Last Call II

Louis C.K. performed this skit better a few months ago. Vaughn seemed bored. He didn’t bother to pretend he wasn’t reading cue cards. Kate McKinnon saved things when she talked about “blended genitals” and crawled inside Vaughn’s sweater to make out with his chin. He makes out with her nose, they plank, and we wonder when we get to see more McKinnon. She was featured throughout the night, but knowing SNL, this was a rarity.

The pervy Weather Channel soap opera sketch had a few great, goofy lines, but Hulu insists that you watch it over here.

The Worst

Junior Prom

Vaughn plays a creepy, rich guy that sponsors a prom so he can slow dance with teen boys. Not funny, and Alec Baldwin/Canteen Boy did it better.

Short Term Memory Loss Theater

We’re always happy to see Jay Pharoah in a sketch that doesn’t have anything to do with Obama or Principal Frye, but this one is a dud. Bill Hader plays a psychiatrist/drama teacher who feeds his amnesic patient-actors every single line in a theatrical performance.

Roundball Rock

John Tesh jokes and tiny hammers. Meh.