Elton, Surprise Guests Rock “SNL”

“The bitch is back! Although I should note, that I say that all the time, whether it’s appropriate or not.”

That’s what Elton John said last night in his monologue on “Saturday Night Live” for his stint as both host and musical guest. With the help of some surprise guest stars, John, who is primarily known more for his music than acting, showcased his comedic talents very ably and confidently.

For instance, John as himself confronted a very combative and surly Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (Fred Armisen and Bill Hader) about the type of music he should play at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. It was amusing to hear John hurl an insult at the Queen of England, albeit a fake one. (“She must be the only queen who wears Ann Taylor.”). Later during that sketch, John performs a very punkish rock song with the Queen on drums and Philip on electric guitar.

In another sketch, the Rocket Man presided over a Knights of the Realm roundtable of British celebrities--Richard Branson, Bono, Ian McKellen, Ringo Starr and Michael Caine (played by guest Tom Hanks)—as they deal with a dragon on the loose. The skit took a jab at the troubled “Spider-Man” musical that Bono is affilliated with, while John referenced the successful theatrical production of “The Lion King,” which John wrote the music for the movie version. 

As for the other skits, John played a co-host of the cinema talk show, “The Silver Screen,” whose guest was “Sucker Punch”’s Vanessa Hudgens (Nasim Pedrad). He also portrayed Bruce, a flamboyantly-dressed cowboy in the Old West who arrives at a saloon riding a unicorn. In the show’s opening sketch, he played Francis Lynn March, a dashing singer-pianist on “The Lawrence Welk Show” who is upstaged by creepy backing singer Doonese (Kristen Wiig).

During the musical segments, John performed two soulful numbers, “Monkey Suit” and “Hey Ahab,” with recent Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell—both of them collaborated on last year’s album “The Union.”

On the “SNL” Digital Short, Tom Hanks pitches a horrible idea of a musical about space to Lorne Michaels, called “Laser Cats.” John played the evil character Droz , whose cats emit lasers from their mouths.

One of the corniest sketches of the night was ESPN’s coverage of a ladies shot put event that featured Hanks as a sideline reporter and guest Carmelo Anthony in drag as shot-putter Carmela St. Knix. (Also making a return to the show was Will Forte as one of the co-anchors on the broadcast). Nearly all of the lines in that skit referenced the event’s sponsor, KY Jelly.

For Weekend Update, guests included an upbeat Moaamar Khaddafy (Armsien); zookeeper Barry Lewis, who caught the escaped Bronx Zoo cobra, only to lose it again; and Nicolas Cage (Adam Samberg) and another special guest, the real Jake Gyllenhaal--Cage laments about why he wasn’t in Gyllenhaal’s latest movie "Source Code."

Next week’s “SNL” will feature Helen Mirren and rock band Foo Fighters.

Sources: Hulu.com, SNL broadcast April 2, 2011

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