The beloved Fey carried the show as the host, appearing in almost every skit as a variety of darkly goofy characters. She played the murderous wife of the Model T salesman with delight, but her best skit of the evening was as the newest addition to HBO’s “Girls,” Blerta from Albania (video below). This skit signaled a strong turn for SNL’s ensemble cast and stands as one of the best “Girls” parodies yet, superseding Lena Dunham as the star of “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Fey’s was a steadying presence in this “rebuilding year” for the show, which has lost a few majors last season (Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Jason Sudeikis) and welcomes six new cast members this year—Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Mike O’Brien, Noel Wells and Brooks Wheelan. This is one of the biggest line-up shifts in the show’s run. Tina Fey’s monologue initiated these six newcomers by coaching them as they danced embarrassingly behind her. She then played a new game “Arcade Fire Member or New SNL Cast” (the band played along wonderfully).
So how did these new cast members do? OK. We saw the most of Kyle Mooney, who hosts the fantastic “7 Minutes in Heaven” series. Noel Wells held her own, but didn’t stand out, as Hannah Horvath from “Girls,” while Kyle Mooney brought his Bruce Chandling character to Weekend Update, in one of the most luckless scenes of the night.
But Aaron Paul was well deployed! Playing variations of his “Breaking Bad” character Jesse–joking around as Drunk Uncle’s Meth Nephew (knocking reference employed), endorsing e-meth cigarettes, and of course, explaining his reason for supporting Obama Care in the cold open.
Watch these and more highlights from the “Saturday Night Live” opener below.