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SNL RECAP: Kevin Hart Leads a Lackluster Show

Welcome to Edition No. 53 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Kevin Hart-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Kevin Hart do?

The last time Hart hosted SNL, we got an energetic and funny show. This time? The energy was still there, but the show was just weird. And not good weird.

Hart definitely gave it his all, performing in his usual all-shouting persona. SNL let Hart down though, saddling him with sketches that were mediocre — at best.

I can't say for certain that the usual SNL crew took the weekend off and let a bunch of new workers run things, but that's how things seems during several sketches. In one sketch alone, a TV screen didn't work and a prop couch crashed into a wall. In another sketch, the camera never cut to Beck Bennett's character. Shoddy work.

What were the best sketches of the night?

The best sketch of the night had nothing to do with Hart. Instead, Kate McKinnon broke out her killer Justin Bieber impression, spoofing the pseudo bad boy's Calvin Klein underwear commercials. As McKinnon's Bieber strutted, flexed his boyish muscles and got frustrated with a scooter, Cecily Strong stood by as a frustrated model.

As SNL's cast and writers have grown dramatically more diverse over the past season or two, the show has been able to explore sketches dealing with race in a much fuller way than it had before Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones came aboard. A sketch featuring Kenan Thompson, Jay Pharoah and Hart as a trio of black guys hanging out on a street corner, talking about yuppie activities but still ending with a shooting wouldn't have worked two seasons ago.

I kept waiting for Hart to run out of breathe during this sketch, but his sky-high energy never died out. Unfortunately, SNL couldn't even cut from one camera to another properly during the sketch, failing to cut from Hart to Bennett while Hart's rapper was mocking Bennett's character's lip disease.

SNL used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to mock the Academy for snubbing Selma and modern protestors for using Twitter and hashtags. I was kind of hoping that Thompson's MLK would even bring up the fact that Twitter was more angry that the Oscars snubbed The Lego Movie than it was that Selma only got two nominations.

Jay Pharoah's Kevin Hart impression: Dead on.

How was 'Weekend Update'?

There was only one guest during "Weekend Update," most likely to make up for the length of Hart's stand-up monologue. Luckily the one guest was McKinnon's latest "Update" guest, a woman who leaves mean notes on her neighbors' apartment doors.

How about the rest of the show?

Apparently no one on the SNL crew thought they should check to make sure if a simple TV and a moving couch worked before the episode began. Hart did the best he could to play along when the TV screen failed to display the first Instagram photos, but he would have been screwed if the TV didn't start working. You can't have a sketch about Instagram photos without being able to see the Instagram photos.

Beyond the technical difficulties, this sketch was just bizarre. While it started out as a basic talk show sketch, the SNL writers threw in the curveball that Hart's host was keeping his guests in a dungeon behind the set's wall.

Hey, SNL, let's "Get On Up," more "What Up With That?"

No idea how this sketch made it to air.

Sure. Whatever. Let's have a singing sketch.

What's next?

SNL is back on Jan. 24 with Blake Shelton hosting and performing as the musical guest.
SNL RECAP: Kevin Hart Leads a Lackluster Show Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 1/19/2015 Rating: 5

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