The 36th season of "Saturday Night Live" kicked off by spotlighting a bunch of familiar faces, introducing some new ones and, of course, putting a comic stamp on the latest pop-culture controversies.
The show's signature opening monologue, this time delivered by "Parks and Recreation" star and "SNL" alum Amy Poehler, featured a trippy dream sequence in which the comedienne stressed about pulling off a successful host stint. The sketch was packed with blasts from the show's past including Rachel Dratch, who gets hauled off by a polar bear, and ex-"Weekend Update" anchors Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon who show up to bully Poehler. "The Social Network" star Justin Timberlake pops up at one point to plant a kiss on Poehler and then blab about her sub-par smooching skills.
Timberlake returns later to lampoon his recent Hollywood gigs in the sketch "Actor II Actor" with Andy Samberg, in which the funnyman bluntly asks the singer-turned-actor, "When you gonna make some more music?" Timberlake then flexed his acting chops by storming off in a faux rage.
The show's "Weekend Update" sketches also boasted highlights, including a dead-on impression of Will Smith by newcomer Jay Pharoah, replete with random shouts of "Woo!" as the comic touted the Smiths' talented brood.
Fred Armisen busted out his bumbling impersonation of embattled New York Governor David Paterson, ragging on upstate New York and dishing on current gubernatorial candidates, Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino. Then, the real Governor Paterson rolled behind the desk, taking jabs at Armisen's impression and critiquing him for still rocking a beard. "I shaved that off a year ago, are you blind?" the sight-challenged politician quipped, before comparing "SNL" to Albany, saying, "There's a lot of characters, it's funny for 10 minutes [but] then you just want it to go away."
Katy Perry didn't say much during her "SNL" cameo but she may have had one of the most memorable comedic turns of the night. The singer, who recently battled drama over a "Sesame Street" clip that was deemed too racy for the toddler set, bounded into a "Bronx Beat" sketch helmed by Poehler and fellow ex-castmember Maya Rudolph. Playing a bosomy teen named Maureen Dichico who's been causing a lot of "hullabaloo" at the local library due to her blossoming figure, Perry fielded exclamations from the chatty duo like, "Honey, you've exploded! Kaboom!" The pair addressed Perry's choice of attire — a low-cut t-shirt emblazoned with "Sesame Street" resident Elmo — with barbs like, "Look at Elmo, his head's all stretched out!" Later, the ladies quip "Who cares if kids are looking at boobs? Boobs feed babies," a wink at the controversy, which sparked whoops from the audience.
Perry also hit the stage throughout the show, first rocking her summer jam "California Gurls." Although she worked the Snoop Dogg-assisted smash solo, she made up for the Doggfather's absence by tricking out the set with lots of pretend sweets and mounds of fake cotton candy. Clutching a bling-laden mic and sporting a snug, bon-bon-studded minidress, Perry vamped it up as dancers in pink bra tops and bewigged singers grooved behind her.
She later returned for her single "Teenage Dream," this time opting for a sexed-up schoolgirl outfit with a sequined tie, tight blouse and tiny tartan skit. Perry began the performance with some a cappella belting and continued to display some powerhouse vocals as her back-up crew bobbed about in cheerleader and football-player outfits. As fog rolled across the stage and her band and dancers worked it in their campy high-school costumes, Perry ripped the final notes of the song and wrapped up the performance with a wink.
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