• Scarlett Johansson proves her range on Saturday Night Live, but fails to help with laughs

    It’s difficult when I have to write not-so-nice things about someone for whom I have a lot of professional respect. But this week’s Saturday Night Live, hosted by excellent actress Scarlett Johansson, was simply boring. Her acting skills were certainly present, as she performed a range of characters that included a beautiful, pregnant Latina woman and an over-the-top child theater star. But shortly after the episode ended, I found it difficult to remember anything that really had me laughing.

    Here are a few of the night’s best moments (relative only to the other material in this particular episode).

    Vanessa Bayer may be adorable in real life, but she plays frumpy awkward really well! And Johansson nails her impersonation of “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger as she launches non-stop insults. Line of the night: “You look like a visible fart.”

    Jay Pharoah’s impression of Denzel Washington, and his laugh in particular, is taking on a life of its own. It shines in “Unstoppable,” a faux action flick trailer that finds Pharoah bantering with Taran Killam as Chris Pine and ignoring escalating ridiculousness from Johansson.

    Kanye West made the news and ridicules this week for apologizing to George W. Bush regarding his comments after Katrina. The two were paired for a Weekend Update walk-on. Pharoah’s impression was, as expected, perfectly accurate. Jason Sudeikis as Bush remains a bit of a stretch.

    Though it felt a bit long, a TLC documentary retrospective of the competition between two young theater actresses, “Stars of Tomorrow,” had some chuckle points. Bayer and Johansson’s young actress monologues were enjoyably stilted as they attempted to take on roles that were well beyond their age and physical ranges.

    The November 20 episode host is Anne Hathaway and musical guest is Florence and the Machine.

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