Christoph Waltz is a very talented actor. No one denies that. He even won an Oscar. But going into his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live, we had reservations. Delivering movie dialogue with wit and timing can easy; doing it live is not. Thankfully, we were so, so wrong. He was great.
But first, you knew this was coming. There was no way the "poop cruise" was going to go unnoticed by the SNL writers. I mean, it's a POOP CRUISE. A poop cruise is the kind of news story SNL writers pray for. How long do you think that writers' room conversation went? "So, we're leading with the poop cruise, right?" "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Good." That was it. Anyway, the sketch was kind of good? Jay Pharaoh as the ship's broken down comedian was great. Bobby Moynihan as the ship's heartbroken Jack Hanna (someone ate his monkey) stand-in was great. Jason Sudeikis and Cecily Strong excelled as the ship employees in charge of addressing the crowd were strong. (They had some Farrell and O'Teri like chemistry going, no?) But near the end the sketch starts to drag. As per SNL tradition, they didn't know how to end it so it just... kept going.
Jason Sudeikis as a papal retirement insurance salesman. Waltz as the Pope. Need I say any more? They hit all the notes of a smarmy insurance ad and it's AMAZING. This is what happens when SNL successfully takes a news story, flips it into a mock commercial and goes for broke. It helps that Waltz is here to play Benedict. In lesser hands, this probably gets left on the cutting room floor. Or at least out of the recap. In his hands, with his quiet timing, it shines.
Oh, man, this sketch is a bit rough. Waltz plays an emotionally exploitive game show host who guilts people into realizing their lives are ultimately meaningless, especially in comparison to the achievements of their grandparents. It's bleak to whole way. At the very end, it tries to finish on a lighter note. Waltz admits he never wanted to be a game show host. His dream was always... to dance!! Thankfully the shot of him tap dancing was funny enough to win us (slightly) over.
And this is the sketch everyone will remember from this episode. A cross between Waltz's two movies with Quinten Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, Waltz takes on the role of a lifetime: Jesus H. Christ in Djesus Uncrossed. The extremely graphic, extremely blasphemous sketch needs to be seen. Jesus rises from the dead and is out to exact revenge on the Romans who put him in the ground in the first place. Forgiveness? Nah. "No more Mr. Nice Jesus," Waltz says. Taran Killam reprises his Brad Pitt impression that is always more than welcome. Snaps are deserved for Kenen Thompson's Ving Rhames as Pontius Pilate, too. There's enough blood and guts and callbacks to old Tarantino movies in here to satisfy any fan. It's a wonder they were even allowed to do it.
Oh, and Marco Rubio showed up on Weekend Update to talk about that drink of water he took. There is one joke in this three minute bit. See if you can figure out what it is.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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