Jane Lynch shines in a solid Saturday Night Live episode

From her very first line of her very first time hosting Saturday Night Live, Jane Lynch let us know that this was going to be truly fun episode to watch.

She walked onstage with an unabashed “Wooooooo!” that wasn’t audible over the band, but was clearly heartfelt. She was bursting with excitement as she greeted the crowd, jumping up and down with uncontrollable glee. Yes, glee! Even the “so great to be here hosting” line had added pep with a quick “Right off the bat I want to say that you all look taller in person, too.”

Her approach was endearing. She was so excited that she was slightly out of breath. Her delivery was so natural, she either didn’t need the cue cards or is so subtle you just couldn’t tell she was looking at them. It really felt like she’d just popped by to a moment ago to say hello.

Her welcoming eye contact and conversational style set the tone and built great momentum for what was to come…. beginning with a Sue Sylverster-centric “Glee” theme song suggestion that demonstrated her great voice and her knack for funny mid-song asides and one-liners.

I’m just gonna click the figurative “Like” button for the next quick bit, a commercial for a “Damn it, my mom is on Facebook filter.” Lynch plays the newly-joined mom to Andy Samberg’s suddenly censored college kid. It’s short, it’s silly and it’s got the perfect element of truth to it. Plus the word “dungarees” is always funny.

But then it was straight into the sketch we’d otherwise have been thinking about all night until it happened: “Glee.” It nailed all of the right quirks of the show’s ensemble cast, with Samberg’s way-more-gay Kurt getting particularly great laughs. Lynch, of course, played her own trouble-making Sylvester and introduced Kristin Wiig’s insane character Gilly to the club. But Bobby Moynihan easily won MVP for this sketch with a quick appearance and single line as Kurt’s dad.

You’ll have to watch the full episode to see that one, though. NBC didn’t pass the clip along.

Next, in “The New Boyfriend Talk Show,” Samberg plays to perfection a sweet, savvy kid who interviews the random guys his mom, Lynch, brings home.

Samberg seemed to really connect with Lynch this week. You’ll see just how much in his twisted digital short with a great twist ending, featuring Lynch as his relaxation therapist.

She stepped back a little to let Jay Pharoah take the lead in“Returns and Exchanges,” pulling out an impression of Denzel Washington working as a Macy’s employee to prepare for an upcoming role. But she went head-to-head with Wiig and pulled off the especially amazing feat of outshining the ever-effervescent Mindy Grayson by playing mumu-donning Catskills comedienne Peggy Zeller on the game show “Secret Word.”

And all this was within the first half of the show! The momentum definitely slowed in the second half. Maybe a walk-on during “Weekend Update” might have helped, since it seemed like even when the writing in a sketch was a little off, Lynch’s presence made up for it.

She teamed up with Wiig on “The Suze Orman Show” and sang a never-ending NBC Sunday Night Football theme song that included player statuses, team history, a nacho recipe and a score update. The show closed with Lynch directing a commercial for Tax Masters, a weird bit about a dude with a twin growing out of his head.

Beginning to end, through great writing and mediocre, Lynch performed like an at-ease old pro, not a nervous first-time host. It’s only a matter of time before we see her inducted into that Five-Timers Club.

Next week’s a repeat of the season premiere with host Amy Poehler and musical guest Katy Perry.

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