To commemorate the Halloween season, Saturday Night Live brought Jim Carrey — who originally swung by in 1996 and 2011 — back for his third time as host. Iggy Azalea was the musical guest, and she debuted a new joint called “Beg for It.” Let’s get to the three best sketches, and maybe hand out a Best Costume Award while we’re at it.
“Carrey Family Reunion”
Does it matter that we’re being forcefully reminded of Dumb and Dumber To‘s existence if that reminder comes with Jeff Daniels throwing himself all the way into a Lloyd Christmas impersonation? Easily the night’s best getup, tied with Bobby Moynihan as The Mask.
The sketch’s premise is that Carrey may have gotten all his best characters and lines from his quirky family members, several of whom are named after Carrey’s actual sizable fam. And then the execution, where Carrey just stands in the middle of the impression-fest, occasionally contributing, is unforgettable. “Allllrighty then” flies around like the Carrey family’s version of “hello.” Jay Pharoah plays the cable guy. Vanessa Bayer does that Ace Ventura–style butt-talk. Cecily Strong takes the Carrey-mimicking game to new heights. And in case it wasn’t all meta enough for you, there’s a Carrey family photo at the end, giving us an SNL snapshot for the ages. (Also: Weekend Update show-stealer Leslie Jones appears in one of her first two scenes since being moved from the writers room to the featured player bullpen this past week.)
Forget the whole awkward office party premise, forget Vanessa Bayer as a Michael Scott–ish Miss Chiquita. Jim Carrey and Kate McKinnon brought the funniest body humor/costume humor since Chris Pratt, Taran Killam, and Ariana Grande showed up as scantily clad superheroes in the premiere. Carrey, his bulge, and McKinnon both came dressed as Maddie Ziegler, the 11-year-old child dancer from Sia’s “Chandelier” video, and they had the moves to match.
“Wait!” you cry. “That video came out in May, has been viewed 263 million times, and has already been parodied by the likes of Lena Dunham and Jimmy Kimmel!” SNL‘s reply? “Who cares?” This is one of those sketches built around a terminally insane bit that doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks of it. And holy Halloween, does it work. Carrey’s face-gymnastics and silly-voice-potpourri can feel pretty dated and tired at this point, but his physical comedy as a dancer and a guy flopping all over the screen is untouchable. The skit might not have worked as just a dance party, though — it’s Carrey and McKinnon heading into the audience, getting Lorne Michaels and Iggy Azalea involved, that brings it home.
The monologue can be a chance to see a host be him- or herself for a quick minute, a funny-but-sober moment of calm before the storm of silliness and satire breaks out. But this is a Halloween episode, and it’s Jim Carrey, so we begin instead with a devil/Elvis hybrid named Helvis. The monologue dips quickly into “WHAT IS HAPPENING??” territory and doesn’t ever really go away. Does it help to know that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind helmer Michel Gondry directed a short film in 2003 where Carrey rolls around a city in a motor-powered bed and sings an Elvis-like tune about pecan pie, sort of like he did here? Hopefully! Compare the two here: