NEW YORK — Having hosted “Saturday Night Live” four times before this weekend, Justin Timberlake was more than prepared for his fifth appearance, but to the delight of many fans, he chose to incorporate veteran “SNL” hosts and former cast members into the show.
For his monologue, the show’s writers revived the concept of the “Five-Timers Club,” which was first introduced in 1990 when Tom Hanks joined the club (for a full list of Five-Timers, go here, and check out the original Five-Timers sketch, with a baby-faced Conan O’Brien as the doorman, here).
Timberlake took a back seat in the sketch, which was dominated by old-time “SNL” hosts having a good time: Paul Simon, Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Chevy Chase, Candice Bergen all appeared, with Steve Martin especially hamming it up (“I always thought that if an ‘N Sync member were to make the club it would be Joey Fatone.”).
Martin Short and Dan Aykroyd also appeared, but as waitstaff, since they were “only” cast members.
The sketch primarily consisted of cameos, except for an interlude where Taran Killan and Bobby Moynihan fought each other to the death for Hanks and Baldwin’s entertainment.
Then, it was a battle of the idiotic macho duos in “It’s a Date,” where Vanessa Bayer went on a dating show and encountered, as her suitors, Bobby Moynihan, “Bachelors #2” (Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg, reprising their cheesy “Box” crooners) and the Festrunk Brothers, also known as Martin and Aykroyd’s “wild and crazy guys.”
Timberlake and Samberg sang songs to a delighted Bayer about dates where they’d watch “Duck Tales,” smoke crack and take her to the mall before “both of us railing on your butt.”
How well the Festrunk Brothers aged as a comedic concept is up for debate although Steve Martin looked remarkably un-aged in that loud outfit.
Samberg also appeared in another installment of the giddily strange “Maine Justice,” a court show wherein Maine residents inexplicably speak like a bunch of drawling, handkerchief-fanning Louisianians (yes, that’s really the concept.)
For some reason Samberg was cast, however, as the straight man in the bit while everyone else around him relished the ridiculousness of the scene, talking about New England everglades and gators.
Finally, Jay-Z made an appearance three minutes into his and Timberlake’s song “Suit and Tie,” in a performance filled with swinging musicians and tuxedo-clad smooth backup dancers.
“SNL” goes on break for the rest of the month, returning April 6 with Melissa McCarthy as host and Phoenix as musical guest.
-Claire Zulkey, Los Angeles Times