The “Saturday Night Live” Five-Timers Club is an exclusive affair, consisting of some of the show’s best hosts and guests, including Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and Tom Hanks.
Saturday night, Justin Timberlake joined the club, and those three — plus many more — were on hand to celebrate as “SNL” pulled out the celebrity guest star stops to support Timberlake in what was one of the show’s best episodes this season.
Timberlake’s opening monologue, an entrance into the exclusive club that recalled the original 1990 sketch introducing it , featured Baldwin, Martin, Hanks, Candice Bergen, Paul Simon, Martin Short and Chevy Chase, as well as original cast member Dan Aykroyd as a bartender. Talk about a star-studded start — if you’re into the legends, of course.
As a recurring host, JT has his share of characters, and he wasted no time in showing them off. “It’s a Date,” a game show with Bill Hader as host, featured Timberlake and former cast member Andy Samberg as the too-’90s-R&B-for-words friends who created musical poetry with “Dick in a Box,” “Motherlover” and more during past seasons. But wait — there’s more! The duo was flanked by Martin and Aykroyd, reprising their roles as the Festrunk Brothers, who are, of course, two wild and crazy guys in search of “big American breasts.” Props for the “DuckTales” drop, too.
One sketch later, Timberlake returned as the overly enthusiastic, walking/dancing/singing/rapping billboard for whatever ‘ville’ is in these days. This year? Veganville, going up against the fine Bobby Moynihan of Sausage Depot. Sure, there were the parodies of “Ice Ice Baby” (“Brown rice, baby”), “We Found Love” (“…in a meatless place) and more, but the “Harlem Shake” bit (“Drink a vegan shake”) takes the (egg-free!) cake.
The episode’s cold open featured a rare appearance by the show host, Timberlake, playing Elton John performing at a rememberance of fallen Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Draped in a flashy blue sequined coat, JT did a parody of John’s hit “Candle in the Wind.” It’s not the first time he’s portrayed the legendary singer, either; Timberlake played the singer in his 2002 video for “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore,” and has been linked to a possible Elton John biopic.
Also of note on the Timberlake side: an uneven bit as the court officer in the recurring “Maine Justice” skit, featuring Samberg as the straight man in a Maine courtroom that doesn’t seem to know where Maine actually is. Also, also: as Roman emperor Caligula (he’d have sex with a pig) and porn star Ricky V.I.Penis.
And of course, the songs. Accompanied by backing band the Tennessee Kids, JT rolled through lead “The 20/20 Experience” single “Suit and Tie,” a surprisingly filled-out rendition (at least, compared to its studio version) that featured Jay-Z on the rap, surprising no one. It was, understandably, a suit-and-tie affair from Timberlake to the backing dancers, and JT is a master showman, strutting about the stage with Hova in tow. By the way: the lyric “shit so sick / Got a hit and picked up a habit” was changed slightly to “My hits so sick / Got rappers acting dramatic.” Kanye diss, mayhaps? You be the judge.
He followed it up with a curtailed version of the eight-minute “Mirrors,” introduced by Chase, Short and Martin as the Three Amigos (but seriously, why was this the only way they reprised this role?).
But Timberlake wasn’t the only star of the show. After months away from the Weekend Update desk, Stefon made a gallant return to inform incoming Spring Breakers of the hottest clubs in the city, including the always-classy <deep voice>Your Mother and I Are Separating</deep voice>. Tears.