The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Bruce Willis

We’re three weeks into SNL‘s 39th season with six new cast members, and things are still rather rough around the edges. This week’s host, Bruce Willis, joined the fledgling crew and returned to his comedic roots. The chemistry was fine, but no one sketch truly stood out from the rest. We can chalk it up to growing pains — for now. Once again, the series trotted out its male players and left the women on the sidelines. This was made all the more uncomfortable when reflecting on the episode’s early digital shorts — one advertising a “24-Hour Energy for Dating Actresses” (another tired “women so crazy” dig) and the very Lonely Island-esque “Boy Dance Party” (zany, but yeah… more boys having all the fun). Former host Katy Perry performed “Walking On Air” and “Roar,” leaving us to wonder how much her band hates her for making them wear those awful animal costumes. There was a puzzling repeat of the “E-Meth” commercial, which made us pine for Breaking Bad. See what else happened last night in our best and worst ranking, below.

The Best

“Cold Open: Nasa Shutdown”

Playing off the success of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity and the recent government shutdown, we find Taran Killam and Cecily Strong as two astronauts trapped in space. Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon’s janitors are their only hope for survival.

“Black Ops”

A fun riff on Willis’ tough guy movie persona. Willis plays the Navy Seal who longs for danger and adventure, but is forced to stay inside the van and monitor his team’s mission. Sad trombone.

“Boy Dance Party”

Flashbacks to the “Dick in a Box” days of SNL, this goofy digital short involves male twerking and Shake Shack.

“Weekend Update: Jenner Divorce & Brooks Wheelan”

Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong have stronger chemistry this week, highlighted during this set of Bruce and Kris Jenner jokes. Newbie Brooks Wheelan visited the Weekend Update desk to discuss his terrible tattoos and poke fun at his midwestern roots. These brief appearances are a great way to get to know the newcomers a little better, reminding us that there’s hope that Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam, and Kenan Thompson will make more room for fresh faces soon.

“Beer Pong”

The Sigma frat has all the feelings, and members Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney want to draw the roller coaster of their wildest dreams with you (in colored pencil). More original content like this, please.

“Armageddon”

Sorry, but I have a lot of love for anything crazy cat people. Bobby Moynihan’s Kirby returns — and this time little kitty cat’s in space.

The Worst

“Bruce Willis Monologue”

Bruce can play a mean harmonica and seems adept at fathering children, but the Bobby Moynihan bit added nothing to this monologue.

“24-Hour Energy Drink”

Perhaps a little too insider for the average Joe who just tuned in to gawk at Katy Perry in a schoolgirl outfit, but apart from that, this digital short felt offensive in all the wrong ways.

“The Ol’ Barbershop”

Why did the writers bother with Willis here? The banter between Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson was strong enough on its own, and the film star killed any momentum Pharoah’s stuttering stylist and Thompson’s enthusiastic storyteller had going.

“Weekend Update: Chaplain Barry Black”

Another SNL, another ranty bit from Keenan growing more indistinguishable from the last.

“Centauri Vodka”

I could have gone a lifetime without seeing Bruce Willis topless, in a centaur costume. Was there some kind of furry theme this week with all these animal suits?

“Protective Son”

Annoying, and not in the amusing way the writers had hoped. It’s always weird to see Bruce with hair again, too.

There doesn’t seem to be a video for “Lady Gaga Talk Show,” but we can confirm that Vanessa Bayer’s Lady Gaga sounds like Jacob, Bar Mitzvah Boy.